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I'm curious how the developers feel about working with the 2d images.  I personally prefer 2d for isometric games.  I feel like 10-15 year old games done in 2d are prettier in a lot of ways than the 3d isometric games being developed today. 

 

I would like to know what the advantages are in doing it 2d from a development standpoint.  Is it cheaper?  Faster?  Easier?  Or have all the great looking lighting effects that you've been able to create made it actually more difficult than it would have been if you were using 3d rendering?  I hope there are advantages, because I'd love it if you guys brought on a 2d revival. 

 

There is more than one type of 2D. FEZ springs immedietely to mind, with its unique 2D-3D world, to show that there many ways to go 2D.

 

2D flattened ("sidescroller") pixel art is very cheap to produce. Anyone with hand drawing skills can whip up some shapes and then animate them. Read about how Jordan Mechner produced Karateka's and Prince of Persia's fantastic character animation back in the '80s. To do something similar in 3D, you need motion capture (mocap) suits, a batch of specialized middleware, animation blending etc. etc. = lots of work hours and money.

 

Isometric 2D is actually 3D with a fixed camera angle and distance and eliminated perspectivic shrinking (which is okay to human eyes if the distance between foreground and background objects is not too big). The backgrounds can still be created by 2D artists, instead of the 3D compositing: meshes, maps, shaders, etc. which takes a lot more work. Testing out 3D meshes for proper movement is a lot of QA time, so that you can't go anywhere you're not supposed to (falling through cracks, going through walls, etc.)* Since 2D movement happens on a single plane (purple shape in the video), it's a lot easier to test.

 

About revival -- 2D RP games have never really went away, just got confined to the indie niche. There is Spidersoft's Avernum and GeneForge series. RPG Maker games were continously created, and some of those are enjoyable. There's Knights of the Chalice. And even though most people sneer at browser games, there are a few really good ones: Ge.Ne.Sis, TCT RPG, World's End series, Legend of the Void series, Mardek RPG series, Monsters' Den series. I've had more fun with the free Monsters' Den games than with Dragon Age: Origins (though that's not saying much).

 

--

 

* Remember when Fallout 3 came out, you could skip a large part of the main questline by "squeezing" into a room in D.C. and getting an object without the key? Even with arduous QA testing, a few mesh holes tend to remain.

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ok, now that you've heard all this awesome stuff people are saying about you, it's time for some criticism. I think the dynamic cloth can get a little "heavier" so that it's not flying around everywhere the way that it is when aloth is running around. It looks great, but it's like what Josh said about the swords, sometimes it looks better a little "faker." anyway...less flooopy more heavy.

 

k thx bai

Yeah. Although it may be cranked up for the purpose of show-off. Or it may be just Obsidian worrying that it won't be noticeable enough, given the size of the characters. Anyway, this update reassured me that dynamic cloth could work fine for PoE. It's often a nightmare, what with capes cutting through hands, weapons, bodies and everything, but if there are such problems in PoE, they are small enough not to be seen.

 

Aside from that, I don't realy care much about shadows. There should be some for overall believability, but I've never once stopped my game to pay attention to how shadows move (where light should be).

 

Finally: great update. The game is looking better every time.

Edited by Gorbag
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Nothing gold can stay.

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For what it's worth, the cloth physics look fine to me, but I thought the harsh light from the windows didn't look all that great and sort of highlighted some jaggies on the windows.

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This video as a lot of visual artifacting, you can see how badly the cobbled stone on the ground is blurred in some areas.

 

That said it does bring up the question as to whether anti-aliasing would fix those.

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^ Those jaggies may be the video quality though. I can't really tell.

It doesn't seem like it matches the rest of the visual artifacts to me, but I could be wrong. Either way, it's not a big deal, but in case it's something that slipped and can be fixed I figured I'd mention it.

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You guys are absolutely fantastic! Very talented team. Competent in all areas of isometric RPG, your updates always deliver an awesome experience! Its uplifting to see you elevate the RPG scene.

Same cannot be said about the Wasteland 2 Team's ability to do "isometric-style" graphics, sadly. Mr. Fargo would have made an excellent decision to drop plans for their current 3D representation and somehow convince You to create the isometric engine for Wasteland 2. Their GUI and battle-space art is nowhere near your quality level. Obsidian is truly creating a fantasy world in its own majestic class.

At least I can console my heart with Project Eternity and feast my eyes looking at your screenshots and videos with joy.

Congratulations!

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Any jagged edges or pixelization you are seeing in the video is purely because it is a video.  There is always quality loss when you put something on youtube no matter what quality you film it at and cut the final video to.

 

That said nice update!  It is fun to see those effects and I particularly liked the day/night blend picture.  Gives you a good idea of the range of shading and colors we can see in game.  Also it is nice to hear from the chainmail cat dude once in awhile :)

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It looks like the height information is being stored in both a walk mesh and the graphical height map. Or perhaps the walk mesh is just generated for the area development phase.


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Real cheeky inclusion of dynamic cloth at the end, hahaha.

 

Great update

 

I noticed there's no more specular or diffuse map image, why the change from those and the inclusion of albedo (just curious). One obviously is size I guess.

 

We still have a specular contribution in the alpha channel of the albedo map. It's very subtle and difficult to see in the video and screenshots, so I decided not to include it.

 

:) ..it's still the kind of thing that make things look great, though. Always wondered about that. That when developers actually get to talk about tiny details down to how folding the paper plane paper backwards, then forwards, etc., has a big impact on whether the edges are thicker or thinner, and so on -- then they often choose not to.

 

I mean, getting characters to blend in without edges either bleeding or having shears - that's really interesting to hear about, and it's a good example of the care you're taking to really make it all look like, and maybe better than, "2d" animation layers from the Infinity Engine games..  ...no? Maybe? Just saying.

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Yeah after watching it a few times, characters still seem like they float a little bit, whereas in contrast, characters are properly grounded to the scene in Shadowrun Returns (which uses 2D backgrounds and 3D characters).

 

Shadowrun-2013-07-30-14-43-14-46.jpg

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Looks great. I like combined 2D/3D graphics and as a junior programmer trying to learn something about it. Maybe someone can recommend me some books?

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I'm curious how the developers feel about working with the 2d images.  I personally prefer 2d for isometric games.  I feel like 10-15 year old games done in 2d are prettier in a lot of ways than the 3d isometric games being developed today. 

 

I would like to know what the advantages are in doing it 2d from a development standpoint.  Is it cheaper?  Faster?  Easier?  Or have all the great looking lighting effects that you've been able to create made it actually more difficult than it would have been if you were using 3d rendering?  I hope there are advantages, because I'd love it if you guys brought on a 2d revival. 

 

There is more than one type of 2D. FEZ springs immedietely to mind, with its unique 2D-3D world, to show that there many ways to go 2D.

 

2D flattened ("sidescroller") pixel art is very cheap to produce. Anyone with hand drawing skills can whip up some shapes and then animate them. Read about how Jordan Mechner produced Karateka's and Prince of Persia's fantastic character animation back in the '80s. To do something similar in 3D, you need motion capture (mocap) suits, a batch of specialized middleware, animation blending etc. etc. = lots of work hours and money.

 

Isometric 2D is actually 3D with a fixed camera angle and distance and eliminated perspectivic shrinking (which is okay to human eyes if the distance between foreground and background objects is not too big). The backgrounds can still be created by 2D artists, instead of the 3D compositing: meshes, maps, shaders, etc. which takes a lot more work. Testing out 3D meshes for proper movement is a lot of QA time, so that you can't go anywhere you're not supposed to (falling through cracks, going through walls, etc.)* Since 2D movement happens on a single plane (purple shape in the video), it's a lot easier to test.

 

About revival -- 2D RP games have never really went away, just got confined to the indie niche. There is Spidersoft's Avernum and GeneForge series. RPG Maker games were continously created, and some of those are enjoyable. There's Knights of the Chalice. And even though most people sneer at browser games, there are a few really good ones: Ge.Ne.Sis, TCT RPG, World's End series, Legend of the Void series, Mardek RPG series, Monsters' Den series. I've had more fun with the free Monsters' Den games than with Dragon Age: Origins (though that's not saying much).

 

I appreciate your response, it was interesting.  I don't personally consider a handful of indie games a significant number of 2d titles though.  For the last decade, isometric games of any type have been rare and they seem to be getting a revival of their own thanks to Kickstarter.  I think it was a mistake for a lot of those developers to use 3d rendering for everything, because its both uglier (subjective), and I have to believe its a lot more cost effective to use 2d.  The cost of game development has skyrocketed with the advent of 3d rendering, and I think it would be in the best interest of a lot of developers to bring that cost down.

 

Of course, I could just be wrong and developing in 2d the way Obsidian are doing PoE isn't any cheaper.

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I'm sure they just haven't sent out 80,000 NDAs for us to sign yet. Once they do, the backers will be first to know. Maybe we'll get invited to GDC, too.

No, they should just kindly ask people not to tell and hope they won't be totally offended by this. Worked great for Doublefine. I'm sure they'd recommend it.

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Also entrances? is the maga-dungeon suppose have more than one entrance?

It better.

 

A 15 Level dungeon with only one entrance and exit? That'd be the worst level design ever.

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Yeah after watching it a few times, characters still seem like they float a little bit, whereas in contrast, characters are properly grounded to the scene in Shadowrun Returns (which uses 2D backgrounds and 3D characters).

As per the night/day example screenshot, with the guard standing beside the turret/building corner, it seems like it's still a matter of their feet not quite "connecting" with the plane of the ground. Even though the character is, overall, matching the 2D background, he still looks like he's hovering mere inches (in-game-world inches) off the ground. He's really, really close, but he's not quite standing on it.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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A 15 Level dungeon with only one entrance and exit? That'd be the worst level design ever.   every level design ever.  the worst level design ever.

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Yeah after watching it a few times, characters still seem like they float a little bit, whereas in contrast, characters are properly grounded to the scene in Shadowrun Returns (which uses 2D backgrounds and 3D characters).

As per the night/day example screenshot, with the guard standing beside the turret/building corner, it seems like it's still a matter of their feet not quite "connecting" with the plane of the ground. Even though the character is, overall, matching the 2D background, he still looks like he's hovering mere inches (in-game-world inches) off the ground. He's really, really close, but he's not quite standing on it.

 

It's probably an issue with the shadow. The shade appears faded near where the man's legs touch the ground, whereas in a real world view that's where the shadow should be the most sharp edged and deepest.

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I'm sure they just haven't sent out 80,000 NDAs for us to sign yet. Once they do, the backers will be first to know. Maybe we'll get invited to GDC, too.

No, they should just kindly ask people not to tell and hope they won't be totally offended by this. Worked great for Doublefine. I'm sure they'd recommend it.

 

... I have so many issues with how DFA was handled, but this is by far not one of them.

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Great update! Technical question though: going by this old cookie

 

eternity_resolutions_iwd.jpg

 

the high res maps are looking to be ~15,000x10,000 pixels. With two layers of 24 bit colour and one at 8 bit monochrome, that works out to ~600MB of raw data a map. Are you using lossy or lossless compression or no compression? If you're compressing it, does the decompression take a notable amount of time during level load? Or do you stream it in a tile at a time?

 

Also if you've got dozens of maps like this, just how big of a download is the game probably gonna be?

 

There's actually four layers - final, depth, albedo, and normals - all 32 or 24 bit. They are all compressed, but in a way to preserve as much detail as possible. Decompression is quick, and most of the load time is spent loading the textures off of disk. I don't have the exact size, but the game is going to be average download for today's standards.

 

I honestly wouldn't mind if it took 500GB to have the game uncompressed. so long as the graphics are better. I really hope the compression doesn't take away any really noticeable details.

 

I also noticed in the video, the characters look like they're out of place, they have no realistic shadow at all. Its like they're not really standing on the ground...   one guy said it was as if they were floating. I agree then. hope this gets addressed, it literally made me second guess how excited I was for this game.


Obsidian wrote:
 

​"those scummy backers, we're going to screw them over by giving them their game on the release date. That'll show those bastards!" 

 

 

 Now we know what's going on...

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Yeah after watching it a few times, characters still seem like they float a little bit, whereas in contrast, characters are properly grounded to the scene in Shadowrun Returns (which uses 2D backgrounds and 3D characters).

As per the night/day example screenshot, with the guard standing beside the turret/building corner, it seems like it's still a matter of their feet not quite "connecting" with the plane of the ground. Even though the character is, overall, matching the 2D background, he still looks like he's hovering mere inches (in-game-world inches) off the ground. He's really, really close, but he's not quite standing on it.

 

It's probably an issue with the shadow. The shade appears faded near where the man's legs touch the ground, whereas in a real world view that's where the shadow should be the most sharp edged and deepest.

 

Agree, it's the shadow.

In the SRR screenie, you can see the shadows are under the characters (and seem to be merely ellipses that fade out) and extend beyond their feet towards the camera.  Shadow under figures makes it seem more like they're standing on the ground.

As you noted, the screenies from this update have the shadow too faint and not visible at the near edge of the foot so we get a slight floaty feel.

Not sure if I'd notice it while playing or not.

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Well that's really disappointing, all you need for environment shadow maps is a tiled pre-calculated shadow map. That's it, no need for lightmapping or other oldschool stuff. Just create a planar shadow map from your static sun/moon source and output to streaming tiles the same way the background works.

 

Also just turning SSAO on should still work out well with depth information and etc. Unity has a nice enough built in SSAO right off the bat.

 

We do have dynamic directional light shadow maps. Those are the shadows that are being cast by the spheres and characters. We do not have point light shadows, which can be more complex, and for us is challenging because of our psuedo-2d/3d situation. It's something that I would love to do moving forward! :)

 

 

 

Adam, did you guys switch, or will you switch to Unity 5 while on this project, so many new goodies that seem like they'd be a good fit for you're team, however I understand sometimes switching in mid project creates a lot of new work too. The screenshots of the stuff you're showing at E3 look super cool. I love how you can see in the cracks and see some of the textures. Will your rendering techniques be able to use ambient occlusion or will your files be modible for us so we can go in after the game is out to adjust textures or maps at all?

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