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GoatLord

What non-FPS games were also 2.5D?

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'Cuz most of the early 3D games I've played were more or less fully 3D, without much reliance on sprites. And even if they DID rely on sprites a bit, these games were still situated in three dimensional environments. I'm talking about games that were definitely not 3D, but provided a compelling illusion. I can't think of any examples right now.

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Dave The Daring said:

Well just about any racing game released in the eighties, Pole Position being the earliest one I can remember.


Great answer. Rad Racer.

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GhostlyDeath said:

Marble Madness!


Was it? I thought it was all 2D designed to look 3D.

Usually I think of 2.5D as a 2D side scroller made in full 3D.

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To me a 2.5D is a game that works in 3D but where one dimension isn't as full as the others.

E.g.: Doom is 2.5D because the vertical dimension is reduced to being merely an elevation. Once you start patching up the engine to support direct room-over-room then it gets closer to 3D, perhaps 2.75D.

It doesn't depend on whether the game uses sprites or not. Lots of recent 3D game released in the last three years have sprites (usually for some special effects, like smoke, explosions, rays of light, etc.).

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Aren't isometric games like Baulder's Gate and Fallout technically 2.5D?

Mechazawa said:

Raganrok Online


If I recall, RO was a fully 3d game it just had sprites for actors/objects. (Speaking of, Tree of Savior looks like it might be fun!)

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Space Harrier. From Wikipedia:

Running on the Sega Space Harrier arcade system board previously used by Hang-On, the pseudo-3D sprite/tile scaling in the game was handled in a similar manner to textures in later texture-mapped polygonal 3D games of the 1990s.[11] Designed by Sega AM2's Yu Suzuki, he stated that his "designs were always 3D from the beginning. All the calculations in the system were 3D, even from Hang-On. I calculated the position, scale, and zoom rate in 3D and converted it backwards to 2D. So I was always thinking in 3D."

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I define 2.5D as a game that has the appearance of 3D but is still 2D "under the hood". In which case, I enjoy the classic shooters like Battlezone and Arctic Fox.

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BombChel said:

Aren't isometric games like Baulder's Gate and Fallout technically 2.5D?

If I recall, RO was a fully 3d game it just had sprites for actors/objects. (Speaking of, Tree of Savior looks like it might be fun!)


I was thinking of 3D environment ('real' or not) with 2D sprites used for everything else.

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Bucket said:

I define 2.5D as a game that has the appearance of 3D but is still 2D "under the hood".


I think this is probably the most succinct definition we can get for 2.5D. Sim City is used as one of the examples on the wikipedia page, which makes sense. There's nothing actually 3D about it (or, say, Sim City 2000) but it creates the illusion of depth the way it overlaps flat objects with the isometric angle. I'm relatively certain that, as I said earlier, games like Fallout, Balder's Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment are all also examples of 2.5D.

Would Roller Coaster Tycoon 1 and 2 be considered 2.5D? The attractions and the tracks are not actually 3D, I don't believe. I think the landscape is voxels? Idk, it's been a while since I played.

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Does Resident Evil count seeing as the only actually 3D part of the game is the character model and the zombies?

Awaiting BaronofStuff to rant telling me how I'm wrong in every single way

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Even if the game world is a pre-rendered picture, all the characters in RE are still moving around in a 3D space.

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Bucket said:

Even if the game world is a pre-rendered picture, all the characters in RE are still moving around in a 3D space.


In Doom you're moving on a 3D plane but the actual image is 2D. You aren't glued to the ground. Vanilla Hexen even adds a jump button in the same engine so there is a Z axis of some description. But then again I have no idea how the RE engine works so it's probably completely different.

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Hmm... Interesting question from a technical view, as to be 2.5D you pretty much need to have one axis be crippled. So Doom with it's inability to have rooms over eachother and it's infinitely tall characters (not projectile though, right?) is a good starting point.

I'd consider RollerCoaster Tycoon and RCT2 to actually work in 3D, as paths, tracks and other things can go under and over eachother. The only thing you can't really do is blocks of land having open space below them. This makes sense, as free-floating dirt is impossible and it'd make the land tools much harder and more complicated to use, plus it'd be very difficult to work with due to the isometric perspective.

What I wonder is if games like Theme Hospital or pretty much every RTS ever count as 2.5D. Aside from flying units in stuff like Warcraft 3 and Dawn of War Soulstorm, everything is only built and operated on one level. Now, Dawn of War clearly works with a 3D engine, as units can be knocked into the air or jump distances, but the actual game play is two-dimensional. The maps may have different elevations, but again you're never using multiple stories in buildings or different depths of cave. Likewise Warcraft 3 has different elevations and flying units (as pointed out by one of them, all hovering about 15 feet in the air), but you don't have 3D game play.

Saying all of the above, aside from stacking buildings or having in-game landscapes with land bridges or multiple storey buildings that you can get units to traverse or navigate without making the game needlessly complicated, I can't imagine how you'd make a game like that actually play in three dimensions.

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Esoteria: Techno-Assassin of the Future (1998) http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/esoteria-techno-assassin-of-the-future

It's a third-person shooter in 2.5 D. I played a bit of it years ago and remember that the level design was pretty cool with large, open areas.

Edit: or maybe it's not 2.5 D, because of the angled floors and ceilings? I assumed it was 2.5 D because the player character is a 2D sprite, but maybe I'm wrong...

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Phobus said:

I'd consider RollerCoaster Tycoon and RCT2 to actually work in 3D, as paths, tracks and other things can go under and over eachother. The only thing you can't really do is blocks of land having open space below them. This makes sense, as free-floating dirt is impossible and it'd make the land tools much harder and more complicated to use, plus it'd be very difficult to work with due to the isometric perspective.


I get what you're saying, but I'm still inclined to say it's 2.5D because despite the existence of a z-axis, you're still looking at 2D assets. I don't just mean that they're sprites but that much like Sim City it's a 2D image with the illusion of being 3D thanks to the fixed perspective. The only part about RCT/2 that makes me a little iffy on if it should be considered 2.5D or 3D is the voxel terrain. Technically voxels have height, width, and depth so they are 3D. Shrug.

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BombChel said:

That just makes me think of Ultima Underworld, which was amazing.

I fooled with a few Ultima games but no RPG will ever top Phantasy Star. Still got my cartridge and Sega Master System. The damn game was ten dollars more than the system back in the day. The first four-meg cartridge ever.

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Trine and Trine 2 were both side-scrollers where the objects and characters are designed in 3D or made to look like they were 3D while still making the environment seem more 2D.

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Back to the OP's question, here's some titles that use engines comparable to those of Wolfenstein 3-D or Doom while not being "pure" FPS games:

I guess The Elder Scrolls: Arena should be the most well known example among first-person RPGs. It's confined to 90 degree walls only, but can have floor/wall/ceiling variations within a single level, allowing for pits and waterways in the dungeons. Its sequel, Daggerfall, while using sprites for monsters and many other things, employs a true 3D engine (the XnGine).

Legends of Valour is an earlier medieval/fantasy RPG that actually inspired Bethesda to create Arena, which is similar in many aspects.

Thor's Hammer is a shareware action/RPG (with emphasis on action), again using a Wolfenstein 3-D like engine with orthogonal walls.

Amulets & Armor runs on a Doom-like engine and is also a medieval fantasy action RPG.

Hexx: Heresy of the Wizard is another fantasy RPG example, unlike the above titles the player controls a party of four characters in this.

Note that all these games have free movement like in a typical 2.5D FPS, as opposed to RPG games with grid-based movement.

Also, some sections of Birthright: The Gorgon's Alliance are rendered in a 2.5D perspective.

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If the definition of 2.5D is "one axis is crippled", then wouldn't basically any modern game that contains gravity be considered 2.5D?

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A guy has been doing a LP of this old weird game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZdaz0dj7GI and the engine appears to be capable of floor-over-floor (it looks like there are actual tables with legs and undersides being rendered) but the renderer also appears to be doing Doom/Duke style Y-shearing, so I don't know what the hell it really is.

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