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  2D vs 3D World Immersion  (Read 92764 times)
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Offline Rayexar
« Posted 2013-10-05 02:54:46 »

I recently came up with an idea for a game in terms of the story and game world, but I'm trying to decide between making it 2D or 3D. I would like the game to be more story based, and it it seems like the most engaging, immersive game stories and worlds are in 3D. I was thinking it was because games where players can move around and explore in 3 dimensions helps them feel more part of the game. What do you guys think? Can 2D worlds be as immersive as 3D?
Offline wessles
« Reply #1 - Posted 2013-10-05 04:00:23 »

I would go with 2d. I wouldn't ever let the number of dimensions affect your story. Look at thomas was alone! It is SOOO minimalistic, and yet was so good and rich in story!
Offline Troncoso

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« Reply #2 - Posted 2013-10-05 05:37:31 »

He's asking about immersion, not the story. That happens when you make the player feel like part of the game.  This is easier to do with a first person (3D) perspective, but not impossible in 2D. You just have to use methods outside of realism to capture the player.
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Offline Longarmx
« Reply #3 - Posted 2013-10-05 13:38:32 »

A lot of the immersion doesn't have to do with the number of dimensions. I think that stuff like ambient noises and good lighting are the most immersive things for me.

Offline Riven

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« Reply #4 - Posted 2013-10-05 14:16:25 »

It still have to find a game more immersive than Tetris. Immersion depends on an acceptable, believable & consistent set of game rules and logic.

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Offline Rayexar
« Reply #5 - Posted 2013-10-06 01:30:21 »

Lol Tetris is a great example!
Offline Redocdam

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« Reply #6 - Posted 2013-10-07 20:41:29 »

After spending a great deal of time working in 3D, I would argue it's easier to create an immersive environment in 2D. With 2D, you can create backdrops to set the mood for the level/scene. 3D often offers players the freedom to run all around the place and inspect the things you wish they wouldn't notice.
Think of it like the Statue of Liberty; from a distance it looks amazing, up close you'll find she's a dirty girl in need of some serious cleaning.

This is a neat little web site showing off some 8 bit backdrops.

Of course it's still possible to create great 3D environments, it's just going to require a lot more finesse.

Immersive opinions aside, I would weigh the 'ol 3D vs 2D design based on which format fits your game play and how much work do you want to dump into this.
Offline kingroka123
« Reply #7 - Posted 2013-10-07 23:12:49 »

I think this completely depends on Art Style and the medium through which the story is told. Games like Bastion or Cave Story are perfect in 2D while games like Portal wouldn't be the same unless they were in 3d
Offline Grimmov

Senior Newbie

« Reply #8 - Posted 2013-10-21 14:21:57 »

Have you considered using an isometric perspective? It's a nice compromise between 2d and 3d since it allows for depth and immersion, but doesn't require an unreasonable amount of artwork and engine work.
Offline Jeremy
« Reply #9 - Posted 2013-10-21 14:52:43 »

Have you considered using an isometric perspective? It's a nice compromise between 2d and 3d since it allows for depth and immersion, but doesn't require an unreasonable amount of artwork and engine work.


One of the main reasons I target isometric is because it looks great and it doesn't take an insane amount of work to make it look great.

Full 3D games take _A LOT_ of work to make look even decent.

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Offline Grunnt

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Complex != complicated

« Reply #10 - Posted 2013-10-22 09:58:02 »

Yeah you may want to reformulate the question as: "Considering the time and knowledge I have, can I make a 3D world as immersive as a 2D world?"

To me there is also a subtle difference between immersion and engagement. Immersion means (to me) really feeling part of the world, like being "inside" the world, which is IMHO ultimately better achievable in 3D, although it would require a huge artist & coding investment. "Engagement" means (again, to me) the state of being engaged, being drawn into a game, which has more to do with deep and interesting game mechanics. Tetris, to me, is not very immersing, but immensely engaging.

Anyway, that's how I see things.

Offline lcass
« Reply #11 - Posted 2013-11-14 22:36:25 »

Personally if the 2d or 3d world is built and has elements in it that make it sustainably enjoyable I dont think it matters if its 2d as you tend not to notice great examples of this are mario and terraria. However if you are building something that you think would be better in 3d ( such as an FPS or RPG) then I would attempt to go for 3d as yes 2d is extremely adaptable however it does limit the effects and is easier to lose interest in if the game is not as inviting.
Offline ctomni231

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« Reply #12 - Posted 2013-11-15 02:57:24 »

Well, to put it bluntly, engagement and immersion means the same thing.

im·merse: To engage wholly or deeply; absorb
en·gage: To attract and hold the attention of; engross/To involve oneself or become occupied; participate

In the aspect of 2D or 3D, the aspect that creates immersion in these medium is a lot more than just the surface. There was a video on that very topic... uhhh... here.

<a href=";hl=en_US&amp;start=" target="_blank">;hl=en_US&amp;start=</a>

The key is to not mistake graphical capability for immersion.

Choose a style, make it consistent, and make it believable. I've gotten just as immersed within a 2D world as a 3D world. I think one of the secrets to great immersion is all elements of a world work together to create a cohesive experience. To put it another way, it is feeling like each part (the story, setting, characters, mechanics, and graphics) of the game belongs in it. The more all of these aspects work in unison, the more engaging and believable the game world would be, festering deep immersion within the game.

Offline Rayexar
« Reply #13 - Posted 2013-11-18 22:35:28 »

That's a great video, I learned some things from it that will definitely help with my projects. Thanks!
Offline Varkas
« Reply #14 - Posted 2013-11-28 13:53:21 »

For me, 2D worlds can be very immersive. With a number of 3D displays I have problems, I can't really nail it, but they just don't feel right to me, and seem to cause mental uneasiness for me.

I prefer 2D games for that reason, including fake 3d ones, using isometric projections and the like.

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Offline Oskuro

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« Reply #15 - Posted 2013-11-28 15:48:48 »

To me, one of the most immersive games I can remember was Super Metroid, on the Super NES.

The factors that contributed to said immersion, in my opinion, where many, including sound and graphic design, but I think the major elements where, on one hand, the open-world nature of the game, and, on the other, the lack of "interruptions".

Regarding the former, I guess that exploration of any kind is an easy way to make someone immersed in something. Think of, for example, when you're reading a Wikipedia article, and then through clicking on links, you end up exploring all sorts of tangential topics until you realize a couple hours have gone by and you're browsing information on Zimbawe's GDP.

Regarding the later, by "interruptions" I mean out-of-game elements that break the illusion. The usual suspect on that regard is the UI, when intrusive elements take too much attention from the game world. A good example, I think, would be the Health/Mana globes in Diablo, so prominent, that a lot of time is spent watching them, instead of getting lost in the actual action.
Another easy example are all the "dings!" many games have, like damage scores, power up names, achievement announcements, etc... Things that remind you that you are playing a game.

I think 3d games have it a bit easier because it's easier to identify 3d movement with how we move in the real world, but that is also a weakness, because we can also more efficiently notice when something does not match our real world experience, so 3d games have a head-start, but can come crashing down even harder. Again, in my opinion.

To me there is also a subtle difference between immersion and engagement.

Hmmm, it's mostly semantics, but I'd agree that there's a distinction, if only because we do need a way to differentiate between a player losing herself in the game world, and a player losing herself in the interaction with the game.

Games like Tetris or Bejeweled are very engaging, and you can lose yourself in them until you realize the thing vibrating incessantly is not your phone but your hungry stomach, but at no point do you stop thinking of them as games. You never stop to wonder about where the line blocks come from, or if there is a way to harness the energy released by lightning gems.

Immersive games, on the other hand, make you think in terms of their setting. For example, you might look out a window and wonder about what is out there, even when you logically know that there's only a skybox and nothing else. Or you might interact with an NPC and start seeing them as people, wondering about their lives, rather than as automated quest generators.

This is really a complex subject that I love to think about.

My advice (and opinion) would be that, if you're looking to make an immersive game, focus on making an apparently complex world (it doesn't need to be actually complex, just feel like it is) and make sure to not obstruct the player's view with out-of-world information.

A simple example of how to avoid obstructions would be to avoid having name tags or health bars floating over every creature in the game, and maybe only show those when relevant.

A simple example of how to add apparent complexity (or depth) is to try and design environments as if someone actually lived there. Add doors that make sense, for example, rather than purely gameplay oriented designs, even if they are just decorations.

Offline Rayexar
« Reply #16 - Posted 2013-12-02 11:54:53 »

Wow Oskuro, that's a lot of really useful information! Now that I think about it, I can totally relate to what you said - games that immersed me the most, like the old runescape, tetris, and the elder scrolls have all those elements you described.

Great advice for anyone aiming to make an immersive and engaging game.

I'm actually saving that post so I can refer to it later Tongue

And, Oskuro, I would like to hear your opinion on how graphics play a role in immersion?
Offline Oskuro

JGO Ninja

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« Reply #17 - Posted 2013-12-18 03:14:16 »

Hey... yeah, I had a big rant in me back there.

As for graphics and immersion, I think I kind of explained my opinion on that. As long as the graphics help the player feel immersed, it's ok. When the graphics are obnoxiously pulling the player out of the experience, it doesn't work.

One example I can think of is Fallout 3. The start of the game is very immersive, every graphic, sound and interactive element contributing to the building of the game universe, and then, when you are about to leave the Vault, a pop-up window shows up asking if there is any element of your character you want to adjust before exiting into the big wasteland.

That right there is an immersion breaker, something that reminds you that you're just playing a game.

Talking specifically about graphics... I'd say that the graphic style needs to fit the feeling of the game. For example, a bright colorful style will make it harder for a player to feel immersed in a spooky moody game (in general, there are always awesome exceptions).

So it's not really about 2d, 3d, resolution or effects, but about theme and style working together.

A very simple (and somewhat stupid in retrospect) example is the Silent Hill fog, and how much it helped the feel of the game (stupid because it was a necessity due to hardware limitations).

In the end, like with any artistic composition, it is about trying out what works and what does not work, I guess. So, good luck with that Smiley

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