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2d Adventure Games - Still relevant?

posted by Marduk on - last edited - Viewed by 628 users

Sorry if there are any threads like this. I know that this is a controversial topic for fans of this genre, but as a person who likes both types of adventure game who is genuinely curious of people's opinions on this matter I think I can "host" (if you like) this debate in an unbiased fashion.

There are those people who are annoyed by 3D adventure games. This is especially the case with revivals of old Adventures (Sam & Max, Monkey Island, Broken Sword, etc), but some will claim that 3D in new adventures are unnecessary, too. Many 'indie' Adventure game titles are done in 3D, although it can be argued that this has just as much to do with budget concerns as anything else.

Some people have asked why they bother with 3D; 'surely hand drawn graphics are cheaper, quicker and easier?' But, surprisingly, some designers (and fans) of 3D interfaces have made the claim that this is not the case; that 2D animation is not quicker or easier.

The debate, like so many others, springs from 'Nostalgic Longing for the Past' verses 'Desire for change and "progression"' (I emphasise the word 'progression' because I've heard it used so many times to describe things that, ultimately, improved nothing or even made things worse).

I, for one, can't comment on the efficiency of 2D over 3D from a technical point of view; I just don't understand that much about CGI or game design. I can make guesses, though; 2D representations would still have to be coloured by computer, the characters would either have to scanned from a drawing and then animated (and I don't know if this would be difficult or not) or made as 2D CGI. But I don't see why this is more difficult or less preferable than 3DCG; most games companies already hire 'concept artists' so it's not like the don't have access anybody with right skill set or would have to take on extra staff to accommodate this.


As I said; I enjoy both forms of game and I'm not going to 'attack' anybody who makes arguments either way, I do hope that others will try not to do so, either.

21 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Animation-wise, 2D frame-by-frame cannot be done as quickly as 3D. But still, 3D animation isn't all done by computers either. It's simpler to do in the way that you only have to construct the characters and scenery once, and then move them around, but you still have to move them around manually. Basically, once you have the models made, 3D is quicker to actually animate but still requires much time and effort. Modelling in 3D is actually really tricky and very time-consuming.

    I'm a 2D frame-by-frame animator myself and I do find it very enjoyable, if time-consuming, and I think it'd be great to see this technique used more often in gaming these days. But I enjoy and appreciate 3D animation too.

    I don't enjoy 3D platform games anywhere near as much as I love the classic 2D ones. I think it has something to do with perspectives (e.g. I like seeing the characters from their side rather than their back, for some reason). But in adventure gaming I like both 2D and 3D. What matters to me much more in adventure gaming are things like the story, character design and puzzles.

    For me, the best thing about 3D adventure gaming is the range of perspectives and camera angles that really make you feel like you're part of the environment. The worst part is that these lovely camera angles can unfortunately make the game very difficult to control.

    But like I said, I enjoy both. I would love to see more 2D animation in media today, hence why I just spent the last 3 years of my life studying it at university, but that's not to say that 3D isn't also good. Any style of animation can be amazing when done properly, and the fact that animation always takes a long time to do just has to be taken into account when designing a game.

    Like I said, I think it'd be great to see more 2D adventure games these days, and I'm not talking about 3D animation with outlines and cel shading to make it look like 2D animation, nor do I mean tweening. I mean the real deal, frame-by-frame 2D animation made out of millions of individual drawings. The main thing you'd need to know is that the more detailed you want the graphics, the longer 2D animation will take.

  • There are other posts I'd like to reply to but I've been called away. This guy mentioned me by name so I'll address him while I have the time :) @Linque said: Marduk, with 3D once you create a 3D model of an object or character, you let the computer draw the animation frames for you.

    With 2D, you have to draw everything by hand. There is no way for a computer to understand how to draw character animation without a 3D model. This is what Werpu said on that matter; @Linque said: Things become however really expensive if you go the route of the last Sierra adventures or the last 2d Lucasarts adventure games. What has to be done is, to hand draw every animation there is, and this is as expensive as making a 2d animation feature film. Too much for a genre where selling 100.000 copies of a game is considered a success!

    Somebody else pointed out that you can have hand drawn back grounds with CGI 2D animations. I see nothing wrong with this, and wouldn't expect anybody to go through the process of hand animation when it's expensive, slow and unnecessary (unless it was a 'labour of love' thing).

    I know I mentioned hand drawn 2D games a lot in my original post I had meant to question the relevance of CG 2D games as part of the same thing.

    (Again, I'd like to point out I'm a fan of both 2D and 3D).

    Can a hand-drawn (through graphic tablet or whatever) image be computer animated?

  • I'm more concerned with the story, content, jokes or plausibility, puzzles, general beauty than the actual dimensions the game has. Controls have to be godawful to be unplayable.

  • @Marduk said: Would Super Mario Galaxies work in 2D? Probably not. I don't know, I haven't played it.

    Maybe you don't like 3D because you haven't played any 3D games outside of telltale.

  • Lol, I've played plenty and I do like 3D games. I've said so on more than once along the thread :P

  • The thing for me is I don't see many 2D games around lately. As a matter of fact I can only think of Machinarium and The Whispered World, anyone anticipating other gorgeous-looking interesting games?

  • @LuigiHann said: I think that 2D adventure games have a real future on handheld game systems, especially those of the touch-screen variety.

    This is what I HOPE for, definitely. However, as the technology for handhelds increases, we might see less of even those 2D games merely because they CAN do them.
    Though, to date, I am genuinely curious to hear if any (once flourishing) game genres have ACTUALLY become extinct? Even MUDs are still around, if you look hard enough, though they might not be "new." I think nostalgia alone keeps a lot of genres alive, but that also gives a lot of indie game companies a greater possibility to thrive. Big companies may not touch certain games/genres/play styles, so that means there is a waiting fanbase out there directly for YOU and your indie game... if, you find a way to tap into them.

    With games like Braid, Plants Vs Zombies and Castle Crashers getting so much acclaim, I think that a game doesn't have to have a stunning 3D environment like Halo or Fallout 3 to garner attention. That's where innovation comes in. Fun is fun, across the board. Technology is only half of what makes a game good.

    .../soapbox.

  • I quite like both. I have a fondness for the old 2D adventure games and wouldn't want to see them remade in 3D but I'm more than happy for new ones to be in 3D providing they are actually good.

  • Well, simple answer - Mainstream no like old. Mainstream think 2D game old. Mainstream no buy, only die hard fan buy (Also mainstream no like think, mainstream like shoot).
    Sorry, but "realistic" is in. Video game companies are going down the same line Hollywood and record labels have gone... Can't say that for telltale though - Going 2D wouldn't be impossible, but rather hard. They're working their butts off already!
    Artistic freedom - out, what's pop - in.

  • Graphics is there to sell game. A person is more compelled to buy a beautiful product, 2D or 3D, than one that is deem ugly. It is subjective, but that's true for almost everything in life too.

    For gamers, what moves them are the gameplay ultimately and not the graphics, for even the most gorgeous graphic gets old after long playtime. For instance, I don't think Halo3 players stick to the game long after they completed the game because of "great graphics". They will probably forgot about it quickly, if not for the options to play with other players to enhance the gaming experience. Similarly, most of the paid MMORPG have to keep on adding in content (often with the same graphical infrastructure already in place) in hope of making the game more enjoyable. It doesn't matter if the new boss is probably just a repeated model of an older boss with perhaps some cosmetic changes, it's the idea that there is something new, more things to explore, that makes people get stuck to it.

    Graphics is important. But ultimately game experience and gameplay is much more important to gamers.

    Now, bring back 8bit music!

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