Independent 2D

I previously said that 3D is the standard in mainstream industry games.

Meanwhile, 2D seems to be the standard of independent games.

More specifically, you can see 2D games proliferate in games that are dominated by independent develops, ranging from Steam to the Nintendo eShop. There are many, many more games out there, the grand majority of them in 2D.

Speaking from my experience, my guess on why 2D is the independent choice is due to the ease of making 2D assets compared to 3D. There is also the fact that some of them want to tribute classic games or make a “neo-classical” game, both calling back to sprite-based games.

I admit that I am of this category, too.

My problem here is that I do not want to be part of a crowd, especially one that also pushes production at the expense of content. I plan on doing large, serious things with my businesss, not only make money with the stuff I want to do. I want to serve others, not just myself.

Even so, why submit to this disgust? My options are either the mainstream 2D and the independent 3D. Even if I were to, say, place 3D assets in a 2D environment, I already listed good reasons why 2D fits me better. While the concern of image is a real one, this is, in the end, another challenge that I have to overcome. Besides, one of the reasons why I made Tinglar is my desire of giving games a better, more inclusive image in general!


Now is the Time for 2D

3D is the standard of games these days. I am not talking about pop-up visual effects, but rather assets based on 3D models. This trend was already present in computer games and arcade games. While console games at times flirted with 3D, the Nintendo 64, the Sega Saturn, and the Sony PlayStation introduced a “3D-first” paradigm that is standard in console games today. This history repeats with handheld games, Nintendo 3DS and the Sony PlayStation Vita having a “3D-first” paradigm themselves in their official games. Mobile games, probably due to the still heavily 2D-centric nature of  non-game mobile applications, are still largely 2D, but mobile games seem to be going to that 3D standard.

The games I want to make are 2D.

If I were to be more specific on why I decided on this direction:

  • I want my games to be different from those of the mainstream game industry. Tinglar is radically different from contemporary game companies right down to the core values; I want others to take a look into Tinglar and notice the fundamental differences.
  • This reason being a specific example of the previous reason, I want to protest the contemporary emphasis on production. Food that looks beautiful but tastes disgusting, does not fill you, and is non-nutritious is not really worth being called “food”. Games that push not only graphics but also music and even story, but at the expense of gameplay and content, fail to be games.
  • 2D is less costly. The hardware required to even run 3D models is orders of magnitude higher than that required of running 2D sprites. (I want others to be able to run my games even in low-end devices.) Then there is the complexity in making the assets; whereas 2D sprites simply require drawing straight pixels, 3D models require far more nuanced and layered editing, including rather complex physics. Making, fixing, and modifying 2D sprites, therefore, also takes less time and general emotional fortitude.
  • A corollary to the above reason, the lower costs of 2D makes modification more inviting. I want to encourage people building upon my works. 2D leads to a lower barrier of entry than 3D.