3D Graphics Really Necessary? (Full Version)

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Prince of Eckmühl -> 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/12/2008 10:17:21 PM)

I was over at the Battlefront site today, and noticed that they had some new screenshots for the someday-to-be-released Les Grognards:

http://www.battlefront.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=134&Itemid=185

The screenshots are really nice, and all, but viewing them made me really question whether or not all the eye-candy is really necessary in a wargame. There have been but a few games that have successfully translated "counters" into vehicle and troops. The ACW games from MadMinute come to mind, in this regard, along with the CM1/CM2 titles, and Panzer Command from Koios.

While I enjoy the graphics in the games that I cite above, I have to question whether or not the 3D environments which they share provides any more satisfying a gameplay experience than would one played on a much simpler and less expensive overhead, 2D map. I make this comment knowing full well that 3D environments hold great promise from the standpoint of simulation, but those titles are intended to be wargames.

I also have to question whether or not it wouldn't be better to devote the art, map-making and programming resources to shipping more fully featured, 2D games, rather than ones which rely so heavily on 3D aesthetics. And of course, I have an alternative in mind, that being the Airborne Assault series from Panther games. I, for one, am perfectly happy with the 2D approach embodied by those games.

IMHO, unless and until 3D games are produced that are full-featured enough to approach it's subject-matter as a simulation, rather than a straight-forward wargame, albeit in a 3D environment, the eye-candy is largely superfluous. I mean no disrespect to either the developers of the games that I cited, nor to the fans of the games. I simply can't see devoting so much effort to turning a counter into a 3D object. The ratio of investment to reward simply isn't there, at least not for me.

PoE (aka ivanmoe)




Perturabo -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/12/2008 10:38:48 PM)

Frankly, those graphics look pretty ugly. I prefer well made 2D graphics. Also I wonder what are its system requirements.




Prince of Eckmühl -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/12/2008 10:57:50 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Perturabo

Frankly, those graphics look pretty ugly. I prefer well made 2D graphics.


Actually, the graphics appear to be improving with each new set that's made public.

At least part of my criticism of the whole 3D concept lies in the fact that I don't play games zoomed in on the troops. I play zoomed-out, so that I know what's going on. For that matter, if the game includes a 2D map, that's where I'll do my planning and plotting of moves.

On the other hand, if the point of the game is simulation, it's a whole other story. If a developer sticks a player down on the ground and demands that he control the game from 3-meters elevation in RT, it's a whole different ballgame.

That sort of setup REQUIRES a 2D map to plot moves on, BTW. And it'd benefit greatly from FOW such that the player knows no more than what he can see, and/or what's he's been informed of, correct, or otherwise. Regrettably, none of the 3D games that I cited has all those features.

It's worth noting that the feature-list for LG, indicates that they're trying to incorporate all those elements into the game as options. I'll believe it when I see it. [;)]

quote:

Also I wonder what are its system requirements.


They're posted in the forum somewhere, I know. If you're interested, you can have a look-see.


PoE (aka ivanmoe)




Hertston -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/12/2008 11:05:35 PM)

Les Grognards is a 'simulation' in that the whole thing is supposed to be seen from a commander's eye view, which obviously needs a 3D engine.

In general it depends on the game design. I'd rather have a nice, crisp 2D layout as well when either approach would work OK, but I'm struggling to think of that many games where that choice would really exist. CM in 2D? TOAW in 3D?




Perturabo -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/12/2008 11:16:33 PM)

CM in 3D doesn't really work for me[:'(].




JudgeDredd -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/12/2008 11:20:01 PM)

They do NOT look like 3D images. If they are, they are pretty poor images and one can only hope early stage graphics.

I am a self professed graphics whore though...if you can throw in 3D graphics and loads of eye candy, without affecting the game adversely, then the more the better. If it affects the game, either in gameplay, viewing or adversely affecting my processing power, then don't bother.

Liek Hertston, some suit, some don't. I like the current Combat Mission Shock Force. Not only are the graphics done extremely well, I don't see it affecting the game adversely in any way




Mobius -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/12/2008 11:29:24 PM)

In historical recreations what is sometimes missing is the eyes on the ground view. Why some decisions are made was the lay of the land and what the commanders could see and what they could not. The top down view while interesting and organizing is not as realistic.

Looks like every man in a 500 man has the same stance.




SS Hauptsturmfuhrer -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/12/2008 11:35:42 PM)

I don't about the game mentioned above but I prefer 2D graphics in war games.   Simple to see and goes easy on the hardware.




Perturabo -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/12/2008 11:37:20 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mobius

In historical recreations what is sometimes missing is the eyes on the ground view. Why some decisions are made was the lay of the land and what the commanders could see and what they could not. The top down view while interesting and organizing is not as realistic.

IMO most of communication/FoV problems can be recreated in top down view but aren't because of limitations of the AI.
One can make a "realistic" topdown game where the player sees only what commander sees with the rest being shown schematically based on what information the commander gets. The problem is that the orders will be carried out by stupid bots.




Prince of Eckmühl -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/12/2008 11:45:23 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Hertston

Les Grognards is a 'simulation' in that the whole thing is supposed to be seen from a commander's eye view, which obviously needs a 3D engine.


From my reading of comments made at the BF forum, it can be played both ways. Who knows, though, in terms of what'll eventually ship.

quote:

In general it depends on the game design.


I agree, but on the tactical/grand-tactical level, 3D makes more and more sense for a simulation in terms of the ever elusive "immersion-factor," something that I'm suggesting is less critical to wargaming.

quote:

I'd rather have a nice, crisp 2D layout as well when either approach would work OK, but I'm struggling to think of that many games where that choice would really exist. CM in 2D? TOAW in 3D?


Of the 3D games that I cited, I think that CM makes the most sense for 2D. The "simulation" deal is largely off the table because of the unlimited camera-throw and WEGO. You'd just play the game on a 2D map, rather than CM's alternate, 3D rendering.

TOAW? Man, would that be the boss-hog of CPU/graphics-card ball-busters (of all time). It'd also be insanely expensive to produce. Given that costs are a central issue undermining this little, contracting universe of ours, let's save that concept for the post-Moe world, if you please. [;)]

PoE (aka ivanmoe)




Prince of Eckmühl -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/12/2008 11:55:17 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mobius

In historical recreations what is sometimes missing is the eyes on the ground view. Why some decisions are made was the lay of the land and what the commanders could see and what they could not. The top down view while interesting and organizing is not as realistic.



All the 3D games that I cite as successful in converting "counters" into graphical representations of military this-and-that allow players to see the battlefield, top-down. I don't think that undermines them as wargames. For that matter, a lot of wargamers wouldn't touch the games without that view. In fact, given the opportunity, many players will play the entire game from up there. Does that suggest that wargamers aren't interested in realism?

I dunno.

PoE






EUBanana -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/12/2008 11:57:49 PM)

Well...  what about the Total War games?  I thought they were pretty cool.  Rome : Total War and all that.

They were pretty light wargames by the standards of this board I imagine - but on the other hand, a more grognard-detail level WW2 game with Rome Total War graphics would rock, no?




Perturabo -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/13/2008 12:03:38 AM)

Personally, I see no point in 3D wargames unless they are FPP. And judging by my experience with Operation Flashpoint, commanding bots in FPP games is even less realistic than in games with isometric view.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Prince of Eckmühl

I agree, but on the tactical/grand-tactical level, 3D makes more and more sense for a simulation in terms of the ever elusive "immersion-factor," something that I'm suggesting is less critical to wargaming.

It depends. I find 2D Close Combat a lot more immersive than 3D Dawn of War or CM.




Prince of Eckmühl -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/13/2008 12:13:45 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd

I am a self professed graphics whore though...if you can throw in 3D graphics and loads of eye candy, without affecting the game adversely, then the more the better. If it affects the game, either in gameplay, viewing or adversely affecting my processing power, then don't bother.


I'm more the closeted variety. Still, I must confess to the purchase of FarCry 2 recently, to play on "the beast," my tech-testament to Pentium-envy. I also play a mod for CFS3 called Over Flanders Fields, which truly is beautiful when run on a good gaming-rig.

quote:

Liek Hertston, some suit, some don't. I like the current Combat Mission Shock Force. Not only are the graphics done extremely well, I don't see it affecting the game adversely in any way


I played the Marines module for a couple of hours this morning. CM2 really is a much better game than's commented on, at times. That said, it's really expensive, relative to what's included, content-wise. It would appear that scenarios and OOB got traded for art. I see no reason for this to change, as that would be at odds with the new design and marketing model adopted by the erstwhile developer/publisher. The success or failure of the whole enterprise is dependent on exactly how much the market will bear, and I'm unsure as to whether or not anyone really knows at this point. Time will tell.

PoE (aka ivanmoe)




Prince of Eckmühl -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/13/2008 12:29:42 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Perturabo

Personally, I see no point in 3D wargames unless they are FPP. And judging by my experience with Operation Flashpoint, commanding bots in FPP games is even less realistic than in games with isometric view.


A fella named John Duquette (aka Wrangler) did a really interesting mod for TC2M called Headquarters in the Saddle, or H.I.T.S. In-game, you were on the back of a horse commanding a brigade's-worth of regiments, or whatever. It was really kind of fascinating, in that the game gave players a glimpse of the confusion that would confront a commander in rolling, wooded terrain during maneuver and combat. It was also insanely frustrating in that it was very difficult to issue effective movement orders to your regiments without a 2D map to do it on. This was no fault of Duquette's. He simply didn't have the requisite tools to bring the concept to fruition. That said, H.I.T.S. had a lot of fans who swore by the design, in spite of this critical flaw.

PoE (aka ivanmoe)





Mobius -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/13/2008 1:30:47 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Prince of Eckmühl
quote:

ORIGINAL: Mobius
In historical recreations what is sometimes missing is the eyes on the ground view. Why some decisions are made was the lay of the land and what the commanders could see and what they could not. The top down view while interesting and organizing is not as realistic.

All the 3D games that I cite as successful in converting "counters" into graphical representations of military this-and-that allow players to see the battlefield, top-down. I don't think that undermines them as wargames. For that matter, a lot of wargamers wouldn't touch the games without that view. In fact, given the opportunity, many players will play the entire game from up there. Does that suggest that wargamers aren't interested in realism?
All realism no. Some realism yes.




rogueusmc -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/13/2008 4:49:22 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Mobius

...Looks like every man in a 500 man has the same stance.

And the same mustache...[:D]




Hertston -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/13/2008 9:07:31 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Prince of Eckmühl

The success or failure of the whole enterprise is dependent on exactly how much the market will bear, and I'm unsure as to whether or not anyone really knows at this point. Time will tell.


Indeed. Although it's worth noting that BF themselves were very surprised at the demand for Marines; I think they said somewhere they had sold more on the first day (presumably including pre-orders) than they expected over the entire life of the product. Which means that we'll get the Brits module at least.. which I never really expected to see.

I really hope that approach succeeds, if only because other devs & publishers might embrace it. I still think HPS in particular would have earned far more making each series modular rather than hoping people fork out $50 each time.




undercovergeek -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/13/2008 12:24:07 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Hertston

quote:

ORIGINAL: Prince of Eckmühl

The success or failure of the whole enterprise is dependent on exactly how much the market will bear, and I'm unsure as to whether or not anyone really knows at this point. Time will tell.


Indeed. Although it's worth noting that BF themselves were very surprised at the demand for Marines; I think they said somewhere they had sold more on the first day (presumably including pre-orders) than they expected over the entire life of the product. Which means that we'll get the Brits module at least.. which I never really expected to see.

I really hope that approach succeeds, if only because other devs & publishers might embrace it. I still think HPS in particular would have earned far more making each series modular rather than hoping people fork out $50 each time.



and then the bunting and balloons can come out for CMSF:Normandy!!!

Quite possibly the only other game im ever going to buy, apart from WITP AE

ooo and Empires:Total War
and Bob/BTR
and WiF

but thats it after those [&:]




Feltan -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/13/2008 1:07:22 PM)

In one grognard's opinon: 3D graphics are more appropriate at tactical levels, and less necessary as you get to the operational level, and totally unneeded at the strategic level.

For example, 3D sprites in strategic game (say, Hearts of Iron) is a complete waste of resouces. Useless eye candy in my opinion. Thank God WITP is 2D.

The aforementioned Total War series; 3D graphics add to the gameplay at this operational level, but you could get by with 2D. 2nd Manasas (MadMinute Games) does a very nice job of integrating 3D into an operational setting -- the game wouldn't be as enjoyabe in 2D.

Tactical games, like CMSF do indeed benefit from 3D perspectives. A 2D rendering would work, but not offer as rich of a gameplay experience. This tactical grouping would include air combat and first person shooters -- the stock in trade for 3D graphics.

Once the 3D graphics start representing groups of people using generic sprites or other notional symbols, they become mere trinkets intended to sell games to children, and make mind-numb reviewers happy. A mistake some games have made (Supreme Ruler 2020 comes to mind) is to substitute 3D graphics for a well thought out game that could easily be rendered in 2D. Little tank and troopie sprites are no substitute for a good AI, comprehensive features, and solid coding.

Regards,
Feltan




Perturabo -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/13/2008 1:17:24 PM)

quote:



A fella named John Duquette (aka Wrangler) did a really interesting mod for TC2M called Headquarters in the Saddle, or H.I.T.S. In-game, you were on the back of a horse commanding a brigade's-worth of regiments, or whatever. It was really kind of fascinating, in that the game gave players a glimpse of the confusion that would confront a commander in rolling, wooded terrain during maneuver and combat. It was also insanely frustrating in that it was very difficult to issue effective movement orders to your regiments without a 2D map to do it on. This was no fault of Duquette's. He simply didn't have the requisite tools to bring the concept to fruition. That said, H.I.T.S. had a lot of fans who swore by the design, in spite of this critical flaw.

PoE (aka ivanmoe)

IMO the main problem is still the AI. It's still possible represent all the confusion and difficulties in 2D, but as I said before, the units have to do something in meantime.

In FPP there are problems with both the AI and the interface.




anarchyintheuk -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/13/2008 3:49:05 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: undercovergeek


quote:

ORIGINAL: Hertston

quote:

ORIGINAL: Prince of Eckmühl

The success or failure of the whole enterprise is dependent on exactly how much the market will bear, and I'm unsure as to whether or not anyone really knows at this point. Time will tell.


Indeed. Although it's worth noting that BF themselves were very surprised at the demand for Marines; I think they said somewhere they had sold more on the first day (presumably including pre-orders) than they expected over the entire life of the product. Which means that we'll get the Brits module at least.. which I never really expected to see.

I really hope that approach succeeds, if only because other devs & publishers might embrace it. I still think HPS in particular would have earned far more making each series modular rather than hoping people fork out $50 each time.



and then the bunting and balloons can come out for CMSF:Normandy!!!

Quite possibly the only other game im ever going to buy, apart from WITP AE

ooo and Empires:Total War
and Bob/BTR
and WiF

but thats it after those [&:]


I remember making those kinda statements after Civ2 and Panzer General. Somehow it never seems to stick. [;)]




Kuokkanen -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/13/2008 5:26:20 PM)

quote:

The top down view while interesting and organizing is not as realistic.

With exception of tactical level RTS games (including Close Combat, Combat Mission, and Total War series), overview maps are supposedly present maps you'd expect commander read in his command post, and everything else on the map are counters showing own assets and known enemy assets. Isn't this the whole point?

Overview maps in tactical level games... let's say it's information computed and processed by computer systems. I have read something about holographic maps, which... I'll quote you Technical Readout 3039:

quote:

Dominating the center of the floor is a TriHolo table, capable of showing the surrounding terrain and individual troop members, including known enemy positions. The sophisticated battle computer can also display various projections of the battle's future and possible avenues to follow based on whatever variables the commander entered into the system.

I'd say that tactical level computer wargames comes pretty close of that description.

Of course that won't do if we want wargames, that simulates command & control with WW2 era instruments. But what would you expect that to be? FPS game, where player can boss around his assets based on what he sees? It's been done: Operation Flashpoint and Brothers in Arms serie comes to mind.




Mobius -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/16/2008 6:58:23 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Matti Kuokkanen
quote:

The top down view while interesting and organizing is not as realistic.

With exception of tactical level RTS games (including Close Combat, Combat Mission, and Total War series), overview maps are supposedly present maps you'd expect commander read in his command post, and everything else on the map are counters showing own assets and known enemy assets. Isn't this the whole point?
With a top down map the Prince of Orange would have seen the French cavalry.
alas...




Kuokkanen -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/16/2008 6:44:09 PM)

Prince of WHAT!??




V22 Osprey -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/16/2008 7:57:20 PM)

Me: Prince of Awesomeness. [8D]




Perturabo -> RE: 3D Graphics Really Necessary? (11/16/2008 8:47:29 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mobius

With a top down map the Prince of Orange would have seen the French cavalry.
alas...

If he would see it and he shouldn't, then something is wrong with fog of war.




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