Tuesday, September 18, 2012

3D versus 2D revisited, not actually

at 1:28 PM
After reading last week's post about 3D, my buddy Golem said to me "oh no". Or something along equal lines of articulation. I think his concern was that the idea of an entire dimension going to complete waste for so many years was scary, or frightening, or ghastly, or Gastly. We are approaching that spooktacular Halloween season, after all.

For the cretins out there, Homeworld was the fully 3D space RTS that put Relic on the map
First of all let me say that there ARE some games that have actually used 3D. While it's true that most ignore it, I'm certainly not going to sit here and pretend that Homeworld and Tie Fighter (or any other flight game) didn't exist. These games present multiple objects of focus distributed across 3-space in a way that cannot be projected onto a 2D plane in a way that preserves gameplay. That is to say, you could make Rogue Squadron 2D, but the notion of navigation would be lost, as you could make Homeworld 2D only at the cost of positioning. These are experiences that add an entire dimension of location, most obviously because they don't involve gravity. 

Well, that kind of gives away why you can't have a true 3D platformer, doesn't it? Or at least, why we haven't yet seen what it would be. Because we learned back in this post that gravity and other omnipresent forces are what defines platforming. Aside from that, we have action games, which are covered by the transition to flight (Tie Fighter, Ace Combat, etc.), and strategy games, which are represented by Homeworld. So that's your main gameplay styles, huh? And what we have is that 3D maybe isn't irrelevant, and isn't completely trivializing, but is already encapsulated in the common definition of genres. Any given genre is by nature EITHER 2D or 3D.

I guess? I ought to think about that some more, and so should you. Tell me what you think in the form of a dinosaur so that I don't have to come up with my own ideas, because that's tiresome.

Oh hey before you get carried away, I meant to comment on the title that what I'm trying to address here isn't some kind of competition between 2D and 3D games about which is "better" or "more real". Very obviously, 3D presentation has a HUGE deal to offer our brains. It's not a trivial advancement at all, and there are a million reasons for it to exist and continue existing, as there are likewise a million justifying 2D. 

Just wanted to kind of slightly point out that there's nothing inherently more sophisticated or more advanced about 3D, and historically speaking, it actually kind of created a step backward into more primitive forms of gameplay for a long time. Because, believe it or not, every game you ever think existed, existed before 1990. You may have some laughable IGN-style superiority complex about "how far games have come since the '80s", but you might wanna lose that now. Because do even a shred of research and you'll learn that everything you thought you knew is wrong.

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