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2D VS 3D

jmanreisjmanreis Member Posts: 39
edited September 2012 in Off-Topic
I am curious about how good 2D isometric can look. It seems that they have committed to that style going forward and I am not sure how I feel about that. I don't think 3D is what ruined D&D based computer rpgs. I think it has been the rule changes/new editions and the insane amount of loot that gets handed out. I think 3D is more immersive but does anyone have an example of a contemporary isometric 2D game that looks really impressive? I would like to check it out and see what a BG3 could potentially look like.

Post edited by Coriander on


  • WardWard Member Posts: 1,305
    edited July 2012
    Baldur's Gate can't be a 3D game without redesigning it from scratch and this will definitely never happen.

    I don't enjoy 3D games much. The fact is when you let a computer do half of the creativity for you it never looks nice. Neverwinter Nights 2 was pretty but it was pretty lifeless.

    Neverwinter Nights came first but despite the shaven feel, the atmosphere saved it from being a bad game.

    At the end of the day I would rather BG3 be isometric.

  • Jedi_GnomeJedi_Gnome Member Posts: 92
    I am actually quite happy it is still 2D isometric. It adds to that D&D feel, like when you use metal miniatures. Seems easier to direct the actions of the party.

  • jmanreisjmanreis Member Posts: 39
    I too am fine with the enhanced edition being 2D. I am just wondering how much better 2D is now or can be vs when BG2 came out. I am just looking for current examples of 2D games to see how they look today.

  • ElectricMonkElectricMonk Member Posts: 599
    @jmanreis The thing is, most RPGs aren't made in 2D today due simply to 3D being the standard - the customers expect 3D. this means that all 2D games made recently are indie games that use graphics that are most likely dated due to being made by independent studios (with far less finances than the major dev companies) rather than due to their being 2D. This makes it difficult to find a good-quality 2D isometric game to show as a comparison to modern 3D games.

    There may be some out there that I don't know of, but I doubt it (unless, like I said, they're indie titles which don't really provide an apt comparison). Hopefully, BG3 made by Trent and team will be that example, and will show us what can be done with a 2D/3D mix isometric modern game.

  • CheesebellyCheesebelly Member Posts: 1,727
    Well, Isometric is partially 2D always. Oster said on Twitter that he loves that kind of style and would like to return it back to life. Then again, I can think of at least a couple of isometric 3D titles (first that comes in mind is Titan Quest, and even today that game looks nice).

    3D would add another dimension, but the isometric style should still be kept for future titles. 3D or 2D - that doesn't really matter that much. I guess for special effects, 3D can be better, but then again, when I think about it, 3D games, generally speaking, age very badly.

    Correct me if I am wrong.

  • azuritazurit Member Posts: 182
    @jmanreis look at the czech game Inquisitor ( ) and see how nice 2D isometric games can be :) btw, the game is currently beeing translated into english (EN version of site ) and is really much like Baldur's Gate

  • ShapiroKeatsDarkMageShapiroKeatsDarkMage Member Posts: 2,425
  • charnamecharname Member Posts: 13
    edited July 2012
    Temple of Elemental Evil is the best looking 2D isometric RPG. At least you can choose your character's height and you can easily distinguish a dwarf and a halfling. Also a great sword really looks great. And the animations are great too. Sadly that game has no depth, no real story and no interesting quests. Such a waste. İ wish devs could use that game's graphics.

    Post edited by charname on
  • KnettgummiKnettgummi Member Posts: 152
    It wouldn't be BG if it wasn't 2D isometric.

    I think a lot of people are obsessed with 2D being intrinsically worse than 3D (it's "one less"), which is just a misconception IMO.

    Baldur's Gate areas are largely composed of pre-rendered 3D models -- there's virtually as much perspective and depth as a 3D game, except the viewpoint is fixed. Of course the older 2D isometric games look dated, because they were built on and for outdated computers. Compared to its 3D contemporaries, however, I think the BG games look great... And I imagine a modern 2D isometric game would be no worse.

  • MississippiGhostMississippiGhost Member Posts: 20
    The only advantage of 2D is that it requires less computing power for the amount of detail it provides. This was indeed a problem when you compared BG2 to NWN... computers back then simply were not powerful enough to render complex scenes in real-time 3D. Only recently 3D graphics have started to rival pre-rendered scenes. We are not quite there yet, but we will be soon in a matter of years.

    Now, the huge disadvantage of 2D is that it is static. A good 3D game lets you deform the landscape and create or destroy new objects on screen. 3D allows you to have realistic physics, weather and lighting. 3D allows you to change camera perspective in cutscenes, or zoom in on your companion's face if you have a conversation. On the technical side, 3D scales better with new hardware - you can always up the resolution or add more effects like anti-aliasing or shaders, instead of the original game artists having to re-do all the artwork of the game. Finally, 3D allows for much more extensive modding by the community.

    That being said, in the end the quality of game graphics depends on the skill and talent of the artists involved. The best 3D engine cannot make bad textures and models look good, and neither can 2D.

    For reference, a "modern" isometric game was already mentioned with "The Temple of Elemental Evil" (it already uses 3D characters though!), for a modern 3D game in the perspective of BG look no further than Diablo 3.

  • KnettgummiKnettgummi Member Posts: 152
    Diablo 3 looks fantastic. If only BG3 would have the time and resources of that Blizzard team (minus their poor game direction).

  • MornmagorMornmagor Member Posts: 1,160
    2D can look awesome if you design it like that. Baldur's Gate was not designed awesomely, Planescape Torment was much better looking.

    For Baldur's Gate 3, if that ever happens, i think that if they have a certain amount of resources available, and if they have good artists, they can make a 2D game much better than it would look like in 3D.

    When 2D games started looking good, the technology advanced into 3D. However the first 3D models were atrocious, if they continued with 2D for RPGs we would have an awesome looking Neverwinter Nights.

  • TalvraeTalvrae Member Posts: 315

    Diablo 3 looks fantastic. If only BG3 would have the time and resources of that Blizzard team (minus their poor game direction).

    Really it look dated.... It's barelly an improuvement over Diablo 2

  • NWN_babaYagaNWN_babaYaga Member Posts: 732
    TOEE was a mix of 2d/3d to me and was a very pretty game. It still looks good today. And diablos 3 art direction is childish at best.

  • ErrandwolfeErrandwolfe Member Posts: 11
    I wouldn't even be interested if the EE was in 3D. Nor would I purchase a 3rd if all of a sudden it switched graphical style. So glad its 2D!!!!

  • HeroicSpurHeroicSpur Member Posts: 905
    As always I don't think the tool is what matters, it's what you do with it.

  • TanthalasTanthalas Member Posts: 6,738
    Talvrae said:

    Really it look dated.... It's barelly an improuvement over Diablo 2

    People can bash D3 all they want, but the graphics were a definite improvement over D2. Hell, I actually think D1 looked better than D2.

  • jcomptonjcompton Member Posts: 157
    I tried to make a 2D iso game. I will never make that mistake again.

  • CoM_SolaufeinCoM_Solaufein Member Posts: 2,599
    The problem with 3D games is pretty eye candy is top priority and story and character development is secondary or non-existent. Very few 3D games have good story and character development IMO.

  • Greenman019Greenman019 Member Posts: 206

    The problem with 3D games is pretty eye candy is top priority and story and character development is secondary or non-existent. Very few 3D games have good story and character development IMO.

    Half-Life series

    Either way I think if BG is gonna move forward they should stick with 2d. It has a certain charm to it and can technically have an unlimited amount of detail, 3d nowadays is so advanced it takes so much time to make it look good, why bother when 2d can look as good, if not better. Not to mention the fact that this time is better invested in the stuff that actually matters, gameplay and story.

  • gmazcagmazca Member Posts: 60
    With high resolution textures and improved color accuracy I think 2D games can be relevant today. It would likely have to be a mixture of 2D and 3D though. I think if you can take advantage of things like Direct X with better contrasts and higher resolution textures you could make a very impressive looking 2D game. I don't pretend to know anything about game development though lol.

  • ShadowShadow Member Posts: 20
    The best advantage of isometric 2D is the detail. No worrying about polygon count etc. The detail from a 2D image can be greater with less strain on a computer.

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,980
    Personally I don't feel it was 3D that made the successors to the BG series terrible, just bad writing and generally uninspiring storylines.

  • NWN_babaYagaNWN_babaYaga Member Posts: 732
    I dont know any successors of BG...

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