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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:51 pm 
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But, due to the low-end hardware we have we end up having to represent the world with blocks, but a more realistic world nonetheless.


I for one enjoy older games due to their blocky world. To me it's not a limitation in recreating the "real" world, it is the basic structure of that world. The same goes for pixel art being seen as an approximation of how the characters really look; to me it is how the characters look. The somewhat abstract nature of the worlds is one of their appeals. I'll take Mario over a 3D game any day.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 2:15 am 
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tokumaru wrote:
But, due to the low-end hardware we have we end up having to represent the world with blocks, but a more realistic world nonetheless.

Anyway, the goal of a game isn't to be realistic, else you wouldn't be able to use magic, the ennemy would not make his stages in a way you can get trough, etc, etc... People talking about relistic games are just contradicting themselves.
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You do it at compile time. Go buy Starcraft and play with its map editor.

You can do it at compile time, but the real 3D map should also be here for collision and sprite positionning. So you can either code both 2D map and 3D map in ROM, hoping that you won't create bugs so both won't correspond, or do a programm that mazes a 3D map in 2D.

For now I think I just have to play with tile layer and try to have isometric graphics, and think if this is doable in a NES game or not. Maybe I should wait to code on the SNES to think about isometric games, because SNES have tiles precision palettes and layering effects. I can have up to 4 BG layers if using mode 0, but then the BGs have only 4 colors per tile.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:45 am 
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blargg wrote:
The same goes for pixel art being seen as an approximation of how the characters really look; to me it is how the characters look.

In the player's viewpoint, I agree, because you'll always keep how the characters looks in games in mind, and no matter how is the real artwork. But in the designer's viewpoint, he will design their character on paper before doing them in pixels, and so the character will never look just as he wanted it to be, so it's approximation.

I found a wonderfull isometric game, "Energy Breaker" for the SNES. The game looks just awesome !! Unfortunatly, it is in japaneese and I undestand nothing to battle system.
The games use the SNES' multi-BG feature for layering system, so yeah, having an isometric game on the NES would definitely be very tough.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:41 am 
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Wow... everyone missunderstood what I said... =)

blargg: I wasn't taking away the merit of older games at all. I'd also take them over 3D stuff any day. I takes a lot of creativity for a 3D game to captivate me (I liked Shadow of the Colossus recently!). Maybe I used the wrong word, "realistic", when I meant "recognizable" (wich also responds Bregalad).

When was the last time you have been to a blue and yellow "mountain", with marbles rolling from the top of it? Never, I'd guess. But what about an open field, with GRASS, TREES, BRIDGES and other stuff that actually exist? That was my point.

Bregalad: I'm sure the SNES is much better equiped to run a game like this. But isn't the challenge half the fun in doing a game? At least I think so... If it gets all too easy, what is the point? You'll just make a game like tons of others. You wouldn't be pushing anything "to the limit", as the thread title says. =)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:58 am 
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tokumaru wrote:
Bregalad: I'm sure the SNES is much better equiped to run a game like this. But isn't the challenge half the fun in doing a game? At least I think so... If it gets all too easy, what is the point? You'll just make a game like tons of others. You wouldn't be pushing anything "to the limit", as the thread title says. =)

Yeah, sure. But doing it on the SNES wouldn't cut the challenge at all. Actually, doing an isometric game on the SNES instead of the PSX is already a challange. So doing an isomertic game on the NES is even more challenging. Push the system to its limit is good, but if it is the limits of the system that push your ideas down, that's bad. I now tried to make isometric graphics with tile layer, and it looks pretty easy to do. Scince the map will be 3D, that will impressive the player, so the graphics themselves doesn't have to be outstanding (at least not on the NES). I'll have only a few different metatiles, including grass, water, etc... The hard part will be to handle all possible combinations. About palettes, I've almost fixed the problem, using an MMC5 isn't even needed. I got 4 main metatiles : grass, water, stone and earth (variant of them could exist). So I have 4 combinations of palettes that works with every combination of metatiles exept grass&water, which I'll exclude. I think I just have to design the game without having adjacent tiles of grass and water. That will also simplyfy the tileset, which should include combinations of every metatiles together with every "cliff" possible.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:08 am 
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One last thing !
I'm almost sure that convert a map from 3D to 2D in software could cause sloweowns and graphical glitches, because 256 tiles really isn't enough to store all combination of an isometric gane (if supposing I'm not using any MMC5). However, having a map direcly stored in 2D can fix all theese problems, and it would also be stored in 3D for collision and gameplay calculations. So the limits of the NES wouldn't show too much, scince tile combination can be deleted and avoided when design map without risking glitches, and the game wouldn't look weird. However... both maps have to mach !
About block behind, I think that you were right, tokumaru. It is lazy to want avoid that, especially if storing maps in both 2D and 3D. What do you think ?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:45 am 
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Bregalad wrote:
However, having a map direcly stored in 2D can fix all theese problems, and it would also be stored in 3D for collision and gameplay calculations. So the limits of the NES wouldn't show too much, scince tile combination can be deleted and avoided when design map without risking glitches, and the game wouldn't look weird.


I had never thought of storing 2 maps for an isometric game before this discussion started. I seems a very good idea. But I can't avoid thinking it will eat a lot of ROM to define the 2D representations of the 3D view, and the level may end up beeing too short because of it. I think the levels in Snake Rattle n Roll are ridiculously short, for example.

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However... both maps have to mach !

That is easy to guarantee if you have your level editor handle this. Since a PC has virtually no limits when it comes to processing stuff (and the fact that an editor doesn't need fluid scrolling, for example), the level could be designed the optimal way, with the 2D height map. Then, when saving the level, it would render a 2D map of the 3D view of it, for use with the game engine in 6502 asm code.

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About block behind, I think that you were right, tokumaru. It is lazy to want avoid that, especially if storing maps in both 2D and 3D. What do you think ?

Yeas, sure! Having a 2D map really helps in this case. Since the worls is already rendered, you only have the player's (and other objects?) coordinates to translate to 3D, wich is not very CPU intensive. But how would you know the player is behind anything? Using the 2D map? Maybe looking at it diagonally will tell if there is anything in front of the player.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:49 am 
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Yeas, sure! Having a 2D map really helps in this case. Since the worls is already rendered, you only have the player's (and other objects?) coordinates to translate to 3D, wich is not very CPU intensive. But how would you know the player is behind anything? Using the 2D map? Maybe looking at it diagonally will tell if there is anything in front of the player.

Yeah, I don't think it would be hard doing so. Scince tilesets can be customizable and the map can be 3D, this fixes all problems. Thanks everyone.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 8:28 pm 
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tokumaru wrote:
...(and the fact that an editor doesn't need fluid scrolling, for example)..

Do you really need fluid scrolling? It'd be nice to have, but there also exists the option of having transistions when you hit an edge of the screen, ala Zelda or whatever. That could make things easier for you. You can also refer to Deadly Towers (NES)... It's got scrolling within each scene, but the scenes are pretty small and always soon have a transition when you walk through a door or past the edge. Actually, they use some isometric pseudo 3D stuff too.. though theirs is simple and there are a lot of other examples of that kind of thing.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 9:02 pm 
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augnober wrote:
Do you really need fluid scrolling? It'd be nice to have, but there also exists the option of having transistions when you hit an edge of the screen, ala Zelda or whatever.


I think scrolling adds a lot to a game. I guess it helps to keep the "action" mood going. Since it's Bregalad's project, it's his call, but for me scrolling is almost always mandatory.

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That could make things easier for you. You can also refer to Deadly Towers (NES)... It's got scrolling within each scene, but the scenes are pretty small and always soon have a transition when you walk through a door or past the edge.


Yeah, unless you use some clever encoding (not necessarily compression) of the 3D maps they can get really big, wich will not allow fluid scrolling for much long.

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Actually, they use some isometric pseudo 3D stuff too.. though theirs is simple and there are a lot of other examples of that kind of thing.


I don't know if this game can be called isometric, though. I believe the word "isometric" refers to a view that's been rotated 45 degrees and lacks perspective, having the lines of the blocks measure the same. That's something I read, I don't know how accurate that is.

The game definately uses some sort of pseudo 3D, but only part of the view is angled. Doing it that way is easier than the real isometric way.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:14 pm 
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tokumaru wrote:
The game definately uses some sort of pseudo 3D, but only part of the view is angled. Doing it that way is easier than the real isometric way.

Yeah, you're right. It's kind of different than isometric.. There's mostly just some perspective illusion. Anyway, it has some things in common. You can see what they do on the perspective edges. They just have a divided tile and limited colours. You can see the colour schemes in the levels are pretty limited.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:29 am 
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augnober wrote:
Anyway, it has some things in common. You can see what they do on the perspective edges. They just have a divided tile and limited colours. You can see the colour schemes in the levels are pretty limited.

Yes, from the technical side, this kind of view also presents a lot of the issues related to isometric views, but a little less since one of the walls is still aligned with the screen, and with isometric stuff nothing is aligned with the screen, everything is rotated, X, Y and Z.

Also, this kind of view is not as good looking as isometric ones, in my opinion. Isometric is more believable, this one looks a bit distorted, don't you think?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:47 pm 
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Deadly Towers, Earthbound Prototype, and Earthbound are in what is called oblique projection.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:11 am 
tepples wrote:
Deadly Towers, Earthbound Prototype, and Earthbound are in what is called oblique projection.

I've never seen the Earthbound examples and I didn't read into the oblique projection links beyond looking at some little diagrams, but I think Deadly Towers doesn't qualify as oblique projection since the depths lines can converge rather than just being parallel. They happen to all be 45 degrees, but because they use both angles instead of just one, they would converge.. so it's a perspective projection rather than orthogonal. (ah, I don't even care -- just trying to correct it for the sake of it)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:29 pm 
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Anonymous wrote:
I've never seen the Earthbound examples and I didn't read into the oblique projection links beyond looking at some little diagrams, but I think Deadly Towers doesn't qualify as oblique projection since the depths lines can converge rather than just being parallel.

Both games have both modes:

Image Image
Figure 1: EB and DT areas using faked perspective projection.

Image Image
Figure 2: EB and DT areas using oblique projection.


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