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2D and 3D Games

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Video Games
Wordcount: 3726 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Difference Between 2D and 3D Games:


The first concept we should know that what 2D is and what is 3D means. 2D means 2dimension, here everything happens in a 2D plane. Like if we draw any picture on a paper then we can see that only from a single perspective, what kind of perspective we follow to draw that picture. For 2D surface the picture would be flat, without depth. To draw a 2D picture we use matte painting also. Like that in 2D games we can see the whole game from a single perspective whatever we follow to make it. And 3D means 3 dimensions, means here we can add depth in a picture. In 3D games we can see the character from different perspective. Here the pictures have depth and shadow which makes the picture real and it looks like something happens in front of our eye in real life.

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About 2D games:

2D games are also called Platform game. The word platform also describes that something held on a platform. Here the player can run, jump, shoot, collect powers on a platform. It is a video game genre; 2D games are become very old. But some developers still like to play 2D games to get the innovative idea, because we learn everything from past. That’s why they wants to play 2D games to make their game more interesting and get idea to give some new feature in their game. Mostly the characters of 2D games are cartoonish and unrealistic. We can’t give a realistic feel in our 2D character. But in 3D it is possible because of depth. By using depth we can make a character which would look like a real. Mostly platform games are based on some levels, if the player can kill all enemies or cross a certain part which heshe has to cross (like-Mario) then only the player can move to the next level. In next level may be there would be more enemies which the player has to kill.

As per my knowledge the era of platform games started in the early 1980’s and the 3D games started in mid of 1990. There is some confusion that which is the first 2D games.

Frogs is an arcade game which released in 1978, this is the first game where the character can jump on the screen, making the genre’s earliest ancestor. Space Panic, which is also arcade game and released in 1980, is sometimes credited as the first platform game. Donkey Kong is an arcade game created by Nintendo and released in July 1981, was the first game that allowed players to jump over elements which are there and across gaps, making it the first true platformer. There are some versions of Donkey Kong. The next version of Donkey Kong is Donkey Kong Jr. which is also become a famous game. Donkey Kong introduces Mario. The third version of Donkey Kong was not become so famous but it succeeds by Mario Bros, which is a platform game and it has an extra feature of multiplayer, where two players can play simultaneously. By using the same rule in future many gaming companies made multiplayer games. Pitfall is a video game released by Activision in 1982 for Atari 2600.

Then 16 bit computer had introduced and it brought evolution to this genre, this time Saga introduced Mega Drive which is forth generation video game console. This console had introduced in Japan in 1988 and 1990 in Europe. It was released in 1989 in North America under the name of “Genesis”. This was Saga’s most successful console. It competes with TurboGafx-16 which was released one year earlier in Japan under the name of PC Engine.One more console had introduced in this time that was Super Nintendo

Entertainment System

Entertainment System which is also called Super NES. It is also a 16 Bit video game consol which released by Nintendo in 1990. This consol had released in many countries like North America, Europe, Australia, and South America in between 1990 to1993. In Japan and Southeast Asia this system is known as Super Family Computer and in South Korea this system is known as Super Comboy which Distributed by Hyundai Electronics.

Both systems were built for 16-bit computers and offered improved graphics and sound over the 8-bit NES. After Super NES released the Super Mario World released for this consol. To compete with Sonic the Hedgehog Saga released Sonic the Hedgehog which is platform game developed by Sonic Team and published by Saga for Mega Drive system. It was the first game developed by Sonic Team. Sonic Team is originally known as Saga AM8 which is a Japanese computer and video game developer and established in Ota, Tokyo, Japan in1990. Sonic include a feature of large field that scrolled effortlessly in all direction as well as manners of curve hill and a complex physics system that allows player to rush through its level with well placed jumps and rolls. It gives a massive hit, was a successful pack-in new system.

At the end of 16 Bit era some games were released like Yoshi’s Island and Donkey Kong Country. Then new kind of hardware was released and it takes player’s attention, so the attention was totally shifted away from traditional 2D genre.

About 3D games:

The term 3D platformer referred that featured gameplay in three dimension area and polygonal 3D graphics. Games which have 3D gameplay but 2D graphics is comes under in Isomertic Games. On the other hand those games that have 2D gameplay in 3D graphics are called 2.5D that means these games are between 2D and 3D. In 3D we can implement depth to an object which gives it a real look. In 3D games the characters are look like real character which exists in real world, we can see the facial expression in character’s face. In 3D games there are some missions, where the players completes one mission then heshe go to the next level and next mission would be more tougher than the previous mission. In 3D games multiplayer is mostly played by the players because they want to play together to beat one another or they make a group to beat other group and communicate with one another.

After the era of 2D games, gaming companies first tried to make a platform game with 3D game and 2D graphics and isometric perspective. These games are also very old as the genre itself. The first game which have 3D perspective and moving camera came around in the mid 80’s. Trailblazer was released for various computer in 1986, used a simple linescroll effect to create a forward scrolling 2.5D (also called pseudo-3D games) play field where players manipulated a bouncing ball to leap over obstacles and pitfalls.

In 1987, Squaresoft released 3D World Runner, which is a forward scrolling action game, here in this game the player has to leap over obstacles and chasms. In 1990, an Estonian developer called Bluemoon released Kosmonaut which is a forward-scrolling driving/action game similar to Trailblazer, which consisted almost entirely of difficult platform-jumping obstacle courses. While the gameplay took place in three dimensions, and the graphics were polygonal it is considered pseudo-3D because it used a fixed viewpoint. Alpha waves which is a French computer game is to be found as the earliest example of a true 3D platformer, which is created by Christophe de Dinechin and published by Inforgrames in 1990 for the Atari ST, Amiga and PC. 3D games give the character a smooth movement, the camera angles would be from different point of view.

A small developer called Exact released a game for the X68000 computer called Geograph Seal in 1994. This game was fully 3D polygonal first person shooter hybrid with platform jumping component. Players piloted a frog that could jump, then double jump, and triple jump high into the air, as the camera is also moved to show players jump and landing. In addition to shooting, jumping on enemies was a primary feature of attack. This was the first 3D platform game that released in Japan, but it never ported to another platform and not released outside of Japan. The following year, Exact released their follow-up to Geograph Seal for Sony’s new PlayStation console. Jumping Flash!, released in April 1995, this game is generally regarded as a direct continuation of the gameplay concepts in Geograph Seal, which was likewise a mix of first-person shooting and platforming, with similar controls and camera-work. Here the frog was more cartoonish than the previous one it’s like a rabbit which is called “Robbit”. In this game the level design had an even greater focus on platform gaming, it was released in Europe and North America. It was titled as first 3D consol game. A Saga Saturn game Bug! Was released in 1995, it offered a more conservative approach to true 3D platforming. In this game players could move in all directions, but it did not allow movement along more than one axis at once — the player could move left to right, or forward and backward, but not diagonally left and backward at the same time. This game was very similar to 2D games but considered as true 3D games. This game had an extra feature that the player could climb on wall and ceiling, which was a great success.

2D platformer game

In 1995 Fade to Black was released by Delphine Software which was a sequel of their popular 2D platformer game Flashback, it was the first attempt to bring a popular 2D platform game series into 3D. It had puzzle-oriented level design style and step-based control. It dose not follow the criteria of platform game and it came under action adventure game. It used true 3D characters and other objects. But it’s environment were created using rigid engine which was similar to Wolffenstein 3D in that it could only render square flat corridors. Sony, Saga and Nintendo were under great deal of pressure to release mascot platformer before 1996 holiday season. Sony choose an existing project by developers Naughty Dog, which was a small developer at the time who released the Way of the Warrior recently. Then Crash Bandicoot beat Nintendo’s new console to market in North America and it was released in the time for the holiday in Japan. Before switching to multiplatform releases in the following console generation crash would remain Sony’s unofficial mascot for the next several years. Then Saga had tasked their American studio, STI, with bringing Sonic the Hedgehog into 3D. The project was titled as Sonic Xtream, it was to feature a radically different approach for the series with Fisheye camera and multidirectional gameplay like Bug!

3D games give the player a great area of play field than 2D platform games. Final Fantasy VII was a major breakthrough in RPG first person shooter which is still so popular game. Tomb Rider was one of the best selling game on the PlayStation in gaming industry. Sixteen generation era was the best system selling era. By the time Saga had produced 3D Sonic games Sonic Adventure on its new Dreamcast console. It used to play smoothly the games like Mario 64 with some extra feature, mostly it emphasis on speed. Then Nintendo launched GameCube console without releasing any platform game for it, but in 2002 Nintendo released Super Mario Sunshine that was the second 3D Mario game. Because of low numbers of level, and its level design was not so good so it was failed to make a good marketing. Platform game is a vital genre but it was failure to capture the popularity and market that they held once in 1998. In 1998 platform games had 15% of share of market but within four year it comes down in 2% while the RPG and first person shooter have continued the grow and popularity.

Similarity In 2D and 3D games:


There are some similarities in 2D and 3D games like both the game have some goal that player has to finish that then only heshe can move to the next level or mission or win the game.


In both the games the character has the ability to move forward, backward, jump, shoot to kill their enemies. It depends on the game, which game we are playing. If it is an intelligent based game then the controls would be different.


Both the games are made for some console for 3D there are some extra consoles are there. Playstation 2, playstation 3 are the consoles for 3D games.

Replay Ability:

In both kind of game another main similarities is replay ability. We can play several times. Like if we loose one level then we can play it again to win that level and move to the next level.

Difference between 2D and 3D games:


The major difference between 2D and 3D games are their characters. In 2D games the characters are like cartoonish, they don’t look like a real one. But in 3D characters sometimes they also look like cartoonish but due to depth the characters look like real. In 3D characters we can show the emotion in character’s face. The characters take position when heshe shoot hisher enemy.


We can see the 2D character from only one perspective view may it be from side view, top view or player’s eye view (here the camera is placed behind the character). We can’t implement all of these in a 2D game. But in 3D games we can see the player from different point of view in a game. We can move the camera in 3d games in three directions-sideway, up and down. Some of the games like Warcraft 2, Fifa here we use isometric point of view. This angle is not comes under 2D nor 3D. In isometric view the camera angle would be some fixed angel from where the characters look like 3D character. But these are not 3D games.


And another major difference is graphics, in 2D computer graphics are digital images.

There are two types of graphics one is Raster graphics and another one is Vector graphics. Raster graphics or bitmap are composing by array of pixel, here each pixel has different color or shade. They are editing by changing color array by array. These are used to make mobile phone games, very old computer games. Vector graphics are composed with path, here path are use to establishing mathematical relationship between points within the image. In photographic images vector graphics are mainly used. 3D computer graphics are use to represent the 3D geometrical data. Then these data’s are manipulated by the computer via 3D computer graphics software to customize their display, movement, and other appearance. Sometimes we use some 3D model which is a mathematical representation of geometric data that is contained in a data file.

In 3D character we can implement light, shadows by using some software like-3ds Max,

Autodesk Maya etc. by using these software’s we can make some character and then we can implement those characters in our games.


In 2D games we use a simple picture or some matte painting image for background, but in 3D games we use skybox that is the surrounding world. Skybox is a box which covered by some image which we can make by collage work in Adobe Photoshop. But there is a condition that in that image both edges should be similar. I mean it should be snapped together edge-to-edge. Then only we can feel the real world, if any difference is shown in that image then we can’t see the proper output which we want. Then we have to import that image in Autodesk Maya or any 3D modeling software. So we should be very careful when we work on skybox.

Level Design:

Level design is based on games that which type of game it is. Before implementing we should be very clear that how many players are in the game, how many levels we are going to create. First we have to know that what we are going to make a 2D game or a 3D game. Because here realism do some matters. In 2D games it doesn’t matters too much but in 3D games it gives a biggest difference. In 3D games we have to give a close attention on Texturing, lighting, and all the other things would be in three dimension.

System Requirement:

To run a 2D game the system requirement is not a big factor. It takes hardly 512 Mb RAM, without graphics card we can play 2D games in our system. It does not make difference too much in gameplay. We can play some 3D games also in this configuration. But some games are made with high graphics for that we need at least 1 GB RAM and if we use graphics card also with this configuration then the game would be more smooth and we can see the texture and the other things which used in the game would be visible clearly.

Game Engine:

Game engine is a kind of library, in library we can read books, if forget about the topic which studied then we can read it again. That means we can reuse the source. Like that game engine is a library of core function which we use in game. Game engines are as usually related to graphic, networking, input and other system. This is not a part of gameplay but it is a non specific part of game. By using this engine we can make several games. In most of the game engine we can play 2D and 3D games both.

Key Control:

In 2D games we use around 5-7 keys to control the whole game, hardly we take 10keys. This many key controls are enough for a 2D game. Sometimes we use mouse and some keys to control a game, and sometimes we use only mouse to control a 2D game (e.g.-Duck Hunt). But to control 3D game it takes around 15-20 keys and mouse to control the whole game. In a mission based fighting game like Delta Force we choose primary weapon, secondary weapon, bombs, grenades, binocular, map and many other options are there.

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2D games do not give a real feel. We play 2D game just for fun. Mostly children love to play 2D games, because these kinds of games are easier for them and they enjoy it. 3D games are looks real which I already discussed, it feels like the player itself in the battle ground. The surrounding world gives that feel. There are some simulation games which are so original. Mostly this kind of games made for soldiers to give them training by playing games. In Simulation games the controls are exactly same which exist in the real thing. Like if a player drive an aero plane then the controls and the activities are be exactly there which exist in real aero plane. The enemies would come they also try to crash player’s plane. If the plane crash then the player would feel vibration, which gives the reality of that game.

Market of 2D games:

The market of 2D game becomes very low because nobody wants to play this kind of game. When 2D games first released it was so popular, gaming companies got million dollars as profit by selling 2D games. Because 2D games were new things for people, so they tried this to accept the challenge. But now these kinds of games are become very old. This is the era of 3D games; most of the gaming companies who made 2D games are now making 3D games because of market demand. Now people become fading up by playing 2D games, they want something more. 3D games give them a different feel to the players. So people love 3D games and it has a great market. Companies do not want to make any 2D games because of its down market, but also we make 2D games.

To learn about making 2D games gaming colleges first learn about 2D games, that’s why 2D games are still producing in the market.

Online play option:

We play online games which are called MMO that is Massive Multiplayer Online games. When we play online games nobody wants to play 2d games, they want to play 3D games. Online playing game is a genre of role playing computer games with a large number of players interact with one another in a virtual gaming world. Like when we play Counter Strike in online then we make two teams and fight with opposite team. First we choose one character, called Avatar then we start playing. In game we can commend to my mates to cover me, plant bomb and more other commends.

Future Development:

All gaming companies do not want to make 2D games, they are concentrating on producing 3D games. Whatever games they released they wants to improve them and make a new version of that game. People do not like to play 2D games but still 2D games are producing because in gaming institute first they teach us how we can make a 2D game. It is the basic idea of making game; they start with 2D games and then learn about 3D games. In future gaming companies try to make 3D games by adding some extra feature. May be they introduce some new console for playing game.


Whatever difference between 2D and 3D games, players do not care on it. Whatever game we play, we play just for entertainment. We just want some relaxation after doing lot of work, so we play game. We play games sometimes to learn something. By playing 2D games children learn so many things. Like color, shape, fruit name, flower name etc. by playing that kind of game which give them knowledge about these things.





















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