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Regarding why 2D CRPGs died out in the first place


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Eh.  I think it has to do more with the complexity of the genre than the graphics.  Anyhow, I personally prefer it if Pillars 2 switched over to 3D.

 

Pillars is a combination - fully 3D characters with 3D lighting effects on a 2D background that's been painted over and enhanced far beyond what an average gaming computer could render in real time. Gotta keep those 2D backgrounds, IMO. Otherwise it completely loses the "IE" feel.

 

Though they really could do some work on background transparency. Can't count how many times I'm fighting in the forest and the entire battle is obscured by trees. Obsidian pls.

 

 

Yes please. No sense beating around the bush. 

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Eh.  I think it has to do more with the complexity of the genre than the graphics.  Anyhow, I personally prefer it if Pillars 2 switched over to 3D.

 

Obsidian will need a far, far larger budget for that. And for what? The 2D works just fine and doesn't get in the way of gameplay.

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There were two main reasons.

 

A) Almost universal move to 3D graphics and publishers' demand of 3D for marketing purposes

 

B) Raising popularity of console gaming and publishers' unwillingness to market PC exclusives

 

That's pretty much it.

 

Indeed. 

 

On the first point especially, don't forget that 2D animation in the movie industry got steamrolled for 3D animation too.

 

In the late 1900's / early 2000's, there was a decent amount of 2D animated movies coming out alongside 3D animated ones. (EDIT: Like late Disney Renaissance films beside Pixar ones, and Dreamworks having a mix of both styles.) By the late 2000's/early 2010's, 2D animation is pretty much gone and 3D animation reigns supreme.

 

Is it any wonder the game industry did the same?

Edited by Faerunner

"Not I, though. Not I," said the hanging dwarf.

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There were two main reasons.

 

A) Almost universal move to 3D graphics and publishers' demand of 3D for marketing purposes

 

B) Raising popularity of console gaming and publishers' unwillingness to market PC exclusives

 

That's pretty much it.

 

Indeed. 

 

On the first point especially, don't forget that 2D animation in the movie industry got steamrolled for 3D animation too.

 

In the late 1900's / early 2000's, there was a decent amount of 2D animated movies coming out alongside 3D animated ones. (EDIT: Like late Disney Renaissance films beside Pixar ones, and Dreamworks having a mix of both styles.) By the late 2000's/early 2010's, 2D animation is pretty much gone and 3D animation reigns supreme.

 

Is it any wonder the game industry did the same?

 

Which is strange if you think about it.

3D movies often fail miserably because of the "uncanny valley" effect.

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To be honest, if I could get a Game that had the roleplaying and gameplay parts of a PoE/BG/IWD etc and the Graphics of a Dragon Age: Inquisition that would be absolutly awsome. Dragon Age: Origin was pretty close to being that game. To bad they didnt improve DA:O but instead tried to go more and more the console/actionRpg way.

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Also I thought Morrowind was the one and still one of the best 3D RPGs ever. Very few others engrossed me as much as Morrowind did.

 

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From my point of view IE was getting old and as Atari was going down its ever-going spiral of decline they had to make a push. NWN was born and it was a great success, despite having **** graphics bt that was not enough to pull them out of their **** hole. 2D games died, because of desparate corporations trying to stay relevant yet sticking to their outdated ideals.

 

The problem is that 2D games have been in decline for years now while 3D games flourished. It'll take a lot more than PoE level of polish to get such games going again, simply put this will not happen.

 

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No sleep for the Watcher... because he was busy playing Pillars of Eternity instead.

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3D movies often fail miserably because of the "uncanny valley" effect.

 

Do they? Final Fantasy is the only example I can think of.

 

I think all the Zemeckis ones got pretty bed reviews on that matter.

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3D movies often fail miserably because of the "uncanny valley" effect.

 

Do they? Final Fantasy is the only example I can think of.

 

Try "Food Fight".  I am pretty sure that would set a suitably low bar.  Mind, it is more on account of gross incompetence, rather than just being uncanny.

 

I don't mind 3D in of itself, but I find that the creators of such films can make some scenes very...noisy, in a visual sense.  Sometimes there is too much going on, and I can't focus.

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The full 3D worlds was the new big thing back then and it seemed reasonable to transfer the player inside the adventure and the world instead of watching from afar. More immersive and the rest. And it made sense. Now, this has become the norm for the last 15 years and it's nothing special about it in 2015. All games are 1sr or 3rd person full 3D, action oriented etc, there's nothing special about that anymore. But isometric gameplay is something new for a non-strategy game in 2015. Tactical combat and all that. There are many younger people that experience this style for the first time and it's someting new to them.

Imho, XCOM: Enemy Unknown brought this to the mainstream.

Edited by Sedrefilos
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You talk as if it only were a creative decision. IE games were AAA for that time, and companies could afford handcrafted scenarios, sprites and animations. It´s a pain now only to think about it, when you can use 3D models with textures and let the computer do the maths.

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They ended for many reasons.

 

1) The emergence of 3D as the dominant medium in virtually all genres of gaming.

 

2) The general view of publishers that said emergence was the only way to make money.

 

3) They were considered niche games that were slow-paced and required too much thought for mainstream gamers, and publishers were not interested in niche products as the 2000s progressed.

 

4) Interplay, the publisher that was the most invested in 2D CRPGs all but went under in the early 2000s and closed Black Isle as a result.

 

5) Bioware moved on from their origins into more accessible 3D formats.

 

6) There was no indie scene at the time really, since all games had very expensive physical distribution costs necessitating large publishers.

Edited by Atheosis
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Also these new isometric games are much cheaper to develop now, so companies can use nostalgia to lure grognards :p

 

I don't think they're all that much cheaper to develop.  The big difference is in the distribution costs.  Back when you had to manufacture physical copies of a game and it added huge overhead to every game no matter the development costs.

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Also these new isometric games are much cheaper to develop now, so companies can use nostalgia to lure grognards :p

 

I don't think they're all that much cheaper to develop.  The big difference is in the distribution costs.  Back when you had to manufacture physical copies of a game and it added huge overhead to every game no matter the development costs.

 

They are much cheaper to develop. The amount of artists alone, and the cost associated with them, required to make a full fledged and detailed 3D world is absurd. Where do you think a game like GTA 5 invests its 100 million dollar budget? Design?

Edited by eubatham
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I think the industry just got too focused on the trend of 3D. At the time we all thought it was the wave of the future, so naturally moving towards 3D could only make games more awesome. When Bioware announced that NWN would be 3D, I thought it would be great: another BG but in a fully 3D world! Then it came out and looked awful, and my faith was shaken. Still though, the character animations were a huge improvement, so I still had hope. Then KotOR came out and at the time it looked amazing, and I was sold.

 

But as the years went by, and games kept getting smaller and more linear, I started to realize that all those 3D graphics are over used. The fancy graphics in the Dragon Age games serve no purpose other than to look nice. Nothing about the core gameplay requires height or makes use of the 3D environment (yeah DA:I has some ladders, but that could have been done in a 2D isometric game like JA2). The Mass Effect games need the 3D because they're shooters. For tactical party management gameplay, the core gameplay of the IE and DA series, the 3D is just decoration, which would be OK if its incorporation wasn't so incredibly expensive.

 

I've been having just as much fun with PoE as with the Dragon Age games (actually more), despite the lack of 3D. I really wish publishers would let games be in 2D when there was no gameplay exigency for their use. This would allow more experimentation and innovation as the cost of development would be so much lower.

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Just because I keep reading this same old mantra:

 

Pillars of Eternity is not 2D. The landscapes have been modelled in 3D to begin with and the characters and interactable objects are all 3D.

 

In fact, Pillars of Eternity is not less 3D than any other new game release. The only difference is that PoE uses pixel-based occlusion instead of vertex occlusion and has a static camera. Technically, there is exactly the same z information in PoE as in any other 3D game; it's just stored in a different way.

 

 

If we think about it, then PoE appears kind of as the natural evolution of 3D games: All neccesary 3D information baked into a static camera, to optimize games for the booming market of cellphones and overall declining speed of hardware evolution.

Edited by Zwiebelchen
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Just because I keep reading this same old mantra:

 

Pillars of Eternity is not 2D. The landscapes have been modelled in 3D to begin with and the characters and interactable objects are all 3D.

 

In fact, Pillars of Eternity is not less 3D than any other new game release. The only difference is that PoE uses pixel-based occlusion instead of vertex occlusion and has a static camera. Technically, there is exactly the same z information in PoE as in any other 3D game; it's just stored in a different way.

 

 

If we think about it, then PoE appears kind of as the natural evolution of 3D games: All neccesary 3D information baked into a static camera, to optimize games for the booming market of cellphones and overall declining speed of hardware evolution.

Yes. It's extremely high definition 2D painted backgrounds that are split into layers, and then those layers are ran through a program that uses them to build 3D objects. Then the camera is moved to a point where the illusion of a flat plane is created and locked in.

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Yes. It's extremely high definition 2D painted backgrounds that are split into layers, and then those layers are ran through a program that uses them to build 3D objects. Then the camera is moved to a point where the illusion of a flat plane is created and locked in.

 

Uhh... what?

 

Backgrounds aren't "painted" in any way. The entire levels are modeled in 3D, rendered, exported with additional information like occlusion, normal and depth maps, and finally digitally airbrushed a bit to make them a little more lively.

Edited by Caerdon
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BG 2 was made in 2000; NWN in 2002 followed closely by KOTOR in 2003, then NWN 2, VtM:B, KOTOR 2, etc. 2003 was also the time that Black Isle closed.

 

It seems to me to have been a self-reinforcing cycle revolving around a lack of 2D games due to closing studios and Bioware trying something new generating a lack of these games, which combined with the success of the 3D RPG's to generate the idea that these games "don't sell".

QFT. The Infinity Engine was becoming dated, and the success of the Aurora Engine with NWN (long promised and expected to be very different from the IE games) removed any possibility of Bioware developing a new 2D engine.

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Yes. It's extremely high definition 2D painted backgrounds that are split into layers, and then those layers are ran through a program that uses them to build 3D objects. Then the camera is moved to a point where the illusion of a flat plane is created and locked in.

 

Uhh... what?

 

Backgrounds aren't "painted" in any way. The entire levels are modeled in 3D, rendered, exported with additional information like occlusion, normal and depth maps, and finally digitally airbrushed a bit to make them a little more lively.

 

 

"As we mentioned previously, our beautiful backgrounds are rendered out of Maya as a 2D image. They are very large images, sometimes over several gigabytes of raw data, and before the images get into the game we run a program that compresses the data. Maya renders out the backgrounds in four layers or "passes": final, depth, normal, and albedo. These passes are combined together in Unity for per-pixel occlusion of 3D objects, and for real-time dynamic lighting. When we bring the backgrounds into the game, they look like a flat 2D plane, and when viewed in Unity's editor the whole world has an awkward skewed look to it. The illusion comes together only when an orthographic camera is placed at the perfect angle."

 

Emphasis mine.

 

https://eternity.obsidian.net/news/update--79-graphics-and-rendering-

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Rendered means that they are 3D images, so you know.

 

Yeah, after they break apart the 2D super-high def image first, which is why they do the first rendering as they clearly discuss. Then they make the 3D models out of that.

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