General question - why 3D?

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erick.thompson
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General question - why 3D?

Post by erick.thompson » 15 Feb 2012 07:37

I've been poking around the TE stuff, and while it looks very promising, I wonder about decision to go 3D. This may have been asked in the past (I couldn't find a thread about it), but why 3D, or at least why real time 3D? It is far more difficult to program, and doesn't seem to add a lot of value to a game like this. Not trying to kick a hornet's nest or anything.

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Pottsy
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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by Pottsy » 15 Feb 2012 09:24

Welcome Erick.
I think the reason for 3d is so that tangents can be used instead of being 'stuck on the grid'.
See these places:

http://transportempire.com/?about,1
The official thread might answer your question.
railroad tycoon 3 and Sid Meier's Railroads are examples. you can place tracks anywhere so long as there is room.
Cities in Motion is 'stuck to the grid' but it looks great in 3d.
And I believe the original transport tycoon on playstation was 3d.

In conclusion, 3d allows for free range when building and more detail.
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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by erick.thompson » 15 Feb 2012 19:10

That does make sense, but I don't know that you need 3D to achieve that. The tiles don't need to have a 1:1 match with the gfx. You could easily generate tiles at runtime with all the tracks/roads laid out.

The reason that I mention this is that I have been involved with some efforts at community driven games, and I have never seen a 3D based one. 3D is hard - very hard. It is needed for some games (e.g., FPS) but it seems like overkill for this.

Erick

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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by Pottsy » 15 Feb 2012 19:55

I agree with you Erick. I was playing cities in motion with a Frames per second counter on and the 3d for each person slowed the FPS down to 2-3. 3d might be good for certain games but with a transport simulator it can be a nuisence.
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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by uzurpator » 15 Feb 2012 22:28

3d is neither harder to develop or create content for then 2d. The opposite is true tbh.

As for 3D - it is more natural and has much better support then 2d. Simple as that. Besides - with 3d things like smooth map zoom and rotatios are natural :)
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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by erick.thompson » 17 Feb 2012 17:15

uzurpator,

I completely agree that 3D makes rotations and zoom cleaner. While I haven't done any serious game development in about 10 years (I've been programming professionally for approx 18 years), I am curious as to what makes it easier to develop. I suppose that if the gfx are a representation of the underlying data structures that represent everything (e.g., rails, cities, etc), then it isn't hard to go from model to screen, but it's screen to model that seems difficult. Given that you are developing TE, and I have not done game development in years, and never in 3D, there must be something that I am missing.

Erick

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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by uzurpator » 17 Feb 2012 19:02

erick:

3D approach makes it easier to create content - with some textures and proper framework you can create content procedurally, which is more difficult with sprites. Those need to be hand drawn for each rotation/position which makes it a resource hog when you want to achieve realistic results.

As for the screen to model - it is between easy to trivial. One can make an approximation using a bounding boxes for example. When a precise results are needed, then a custom render target can be used to output object IDs for each object in a scene allowing a pixel-precise picking of objects.
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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by Steve » 18 Feb 2012 18:09

I believe most Locomotion graphics are made using 3D models and then exporting 2D views of them.

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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by Twiggy » 19 Feb 2012 02:59

Steve, that is correct. Models are created as 3D, then converted to sprites, as used in game.
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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by erick.thompson » 19 Feb 2012 07:17

Do you think that you can make smaller spites? As opposed to a scaled down 3-D model?

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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by Twiggy » 19 Feb 2012 08:51

There would still be the issue of creating a few hundred individual ones for each model though. The time involved in making a 3d model is far less than that of creating all the necessary sprites for one vehicle
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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by maquinista » 25 Feb 2012 15:00

why 3D?
Because if You prefer 2D, you have OpenTTD or Locomotion.

2D and 3D are two different systems. I like the two systems.
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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by erick.thompson » 27 Feb 2012 19:17

The problem that I have with OpenTTD (which is an awesome game) is that the iso view is limiting. As has been mentioned, the track layouts are fairly limited, and there are a lot of designs that you just can't do.

To be clear, I am not opposed to 3D in general. The primary concern that I have is that I haven't seen many 3D interfaces that allow you to zoom in and out a great deal. I believe that the largest reason for this is that when the sprites are created by hand, they use each pixel to great effect in order to generate a good image. 3D uses a render of the object, which means that at small/large zooms, it won't look as good (it is hard to beat hand tuned for a particular zoom level/perspective).

Erick

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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by Arathorn » 27 Feb 2012 20:29

The same problem exist with 2d-graphics. TTD for example uses the same sprites for every zoom level (though efforts are under way to be load different sprites for the extra zoom levels). But you could load different models for different zoom levels in 3d too (for an example, look at Supreme Commander).

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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by erick.thompson » 28 Feb 2012 01:26

I think would be an excellent idea. I'm not sure exactly how the implementation would work. Still, a good solution.

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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by uzurpator » 28 Feb 2012 21:18

Simple LOD system along with tailored zoom levels can achieve the same results as hand-drawn sprites :)
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Just say NO to the TT fan-art sprite licensing madness. Public domain your art as well.

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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by billybobjoepants » 04 Jul 2012 04:05

I think that, in all honesty, it's a cool alternative to the 2D graphics of TT and open TTD. Don't get me wrong- the graphics of TT are great. It's just another option. Even though it will probably never reach the level of gameplaying intricacy of transport tycoon either, it's kind of cool, really. It's like Simcity versus Simcity 2000.

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Re: General question - why 3D?

Post by SkeedR » 29 Jul 2012 17:14

I would like to recommend that people have a look at Supreme Commander. It's got a beautiful zoom system in it.
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