Isometric Tilemaps use either dimetric projectionA form of parallel projection where the dimensions of a 3D object are projected onto a 2D plane, and only two of the three angles between the axes are equal to each other. This form of projection is commonly used in isometric video games to simulate three-dimensional depth. More infoSee in Glossary or true isometric projectionA form of parallel projection where the dimensions of a 3D object are projected onto a 2D plane, and the angles between all three axes are equal to each other. This form of projection is commonly used in isometric video games to simulate three-dimensional depth. More infoSee in Glossary parallel projection angles. For more information about the two forms of projection, please refer to this article for further details.
Basically, the game should not have to know that a rotation on X axis is happening. If an object has the ProjectOnGround behavior attached, it should just draw properly without additional effort. So we do the math just before rendering, and restore the rotation to its normal value right after. This hides the rotation around the X axis from the rest of the code.
There is a great article that caters around the Isometric game development which shows how to convert 2D view (screen co-ordinates) to 2.5D something along the line of what you want: Creating Isometric Worlds: A Primer for Game Developers
That is the effect of leaving the edges of the territory in the fog for $$anonymous$$ding borders of the map. And also little question - if I will make a camera zoom-in, zoom-out effects with small changes in the angle of the camera (like warcraft 3) will t$$anonymous$$s regularly or not for the sprite game?
I have to introduce ambient audio to our isometric game, whose orthograp$$anonymous$$c camera moves at X and Y with fixed Z. (Camera's orthograp$$anonymous$$c size is used for zoom in/out.) Various terrain elements like buildings are placed in different Z in the world to handle Z order/overlap scenarios. Now the problem is, since we can have a single audio listener per scene, suppose it is added as a camera's c$$anonymous$$ld, it will have a fixed z value and the audio sources attached to the terrain objects will have varying z values. So even if the listener is directly aligned over the terrain object in X and Y, it cannot listen to the source since they are too far in Z axis. Bringing the listener closer to object A in Z axis will cause the same problem for another different Z-Valued object B.
Grap$$anonymous$$cally the game will have a 2D static background (carefully drawn to match the camera angle), a number of 2D static objects (trees, columns, etc) and 3D dynamic objects moving around between the static objects.
I'm trying to create a grid system for a 2D game. Not completely sure if I'll go with a hexagon-grid or isometric, but which shouldn't matter too much here. Basically, I'm trying to create a tower defense game where you deploy units instead of towers, and can move those as if you were playing a tactical game. The problem is that the tiles themselves are gonna be complex - there will be different types of terrain. Some units can only be deployed in X, and can't go through Y, that kind of thing. I also need the ability to add some logic to these tiles at will - who knows, maybe I want a special tile to give extra attack range to units above it, that kind of thing. The game must also "feel" like a grid - making things snap to the center of the tiles, as well as highlighting the tiles on hover and when moving/attacking.
Okay, this leads me to a pretty obvious route: I can create prefabs for the different types of tiles I need, add all the proprieties and logic as script components and create a grid class that instantiates each tile in the world. This works great, cause this way I have full control over everything - I can do whatever I want with the tiles, and I can also create a 2d matrix for their positions as I instantiate them. This way I can call tile[3, 6] for example, which sounds like a huge deal for pathing, highlighting and such. I can also link whatever gameobject is on top of it to the tile itself, so I could call something like tile[6, 2].ObjectOnTop.~WhateverInfoINeedFromIt, which also sounds super handy for overall logic.
But the shortcomings are also terrible - how do I even design and deploy different levels designs? The only way I can think of it is to figure out a way to do it all by hand, export that info somehow to a json file, and have the grid class that instantiates everything select which tile will be instantiated where based on the json info. I not only have no idea how to actually implement that, but I also think it would be an absurd amount of work for something that is supposed to be natural. I'm also not sure if a gameobject for each tile is a good idea in terms of performance. The biggest problem? It's easy to create such a grid if it's a simple squared tiles grid - but when we start talking about hexagons and isometric grids... it's not nearly as easy, honestly. The complex shapes make it so difficult to work with this kind of thing. For example, how do I even convert the mouse position into the equivalent tile? It's super easy for squares... not so much for the rest. It also kind of sucks that the grid is only really deployed when the game runs (is this generally considered a bad thing that I should avoid, btw?).
It's so weird, a generic grid system like this was supposed to be so simple and common. But I can barely find any information at all. It's like I'm missing this pretty obvious tool that no one seems to mention cause it's that obvious. So here I am, struggling to start a project cause I can't even figure out how to implement the basic structure of the game. Everything I see online leads me to tilemaps - but they only work for very basic stuff, from what I understood. I won't work for this kind of game, I think. I have no idea what to do at this point - there must be an optimal way to solve everything, the one that is likely used for all the devs that work on this kind of game. And honestly, there are a ton of them.
I was talking to one of my students during office hours last week, and we ended up touching the topic of isometric projection. Even though the discussion was about modern 3D computer graphics, most of the games that she mentioned were retro isometric games like Ultima VIII, SimCity 2000, and RollerCoaster Tycoon.
Since many of the titles we know and love carry this isometric "look", I've decided to write a short article explaining how isometric projection really works. Once we are done with the basics, we can even go ahead and try to code something simple together. And if you have seen my content before, you know that I'll definitely try to add some super cool retro nerd history along the way!
When we are programming 3D games, we have to choose how our game will display 3D objects in our 2D screen. This is what we call projection, and there are different types of projection that we can choose from.
In the ortographic projection, it does not matter how far or close the object's vertices are in 3D, we'll project them directly onto the 2D screen ignoring their depth. And you might think that this image looks similar to what an isometric tile looks like, but we are still missing some important details for an orthographic projection to be also isometric. But we'll get there!
Another very popular type of projection is called perspective projection. Many 3D games use perspective projection because it's similar to how humans perceive the real world. In this type of projection, vertices that are close to us appear bigger and things that are far away appear smaller.
All this discussion about different projections is interesting, but what we really want is to discuss isometric projection. Isometric projection is, again, a method for visualizing 3D objects in two dimensions, but when we use proper isometric projection we make the angles between the x-axis, y-axis, and z-axis equal 120 degrees.
As you probably noticed, isometric projection is just a special configuration of the orthographic projection (the one where depth is ignored). This style became super popular in video games, allowing pixel artists to create elaborate environments by placing simple isometric tiles in the scene.
I want to take a moment to mention something super important before we continue. Since are speaking about different 3D projections, most students naturally think of games with 3D polygons and 3D meshes. In reality, most of the retro isometric games that we played were not really "true" 3D games.
Pixel artists would usually create a bunch of 2D tiles that look 3D, but contain no polygons or triangles. Our tiles are just a bunch of 2D textures positioned in a way to make our game look 3D, but there is no real-time polygons being processed and no 3D projection math needs to be done via code.
This simplification was super important in a time where most machines did not have the horsepower to process real-time 3D polygons and perform fast 3D math. And this was also true for non-isometric games as well. For example, the game Donkey Kong Country might have a 3D "feel" to it, but the developers simply pre-rendered the 3D models and baked them into a 2D sprite.
And the lies don't stop here. What if I tell you that most games that we call isometric are not "true" isometric either!? These games are programmed using an angle between the axes that does not equal 120 degrees. Instead, they use 116.57 and 126.87 degrees.
This might seem funny at first, but this weird angle configuration gives us tiles with a perfect 2:1 pixel ratio. This makes some trig calculations easier, and also makes things easier for the artist drawing the tiles. All we have to do is ask the artist to create 2:1 tiles. Depending on the game, the tiles can be 100x50, 600x300, 64x32, etc. 2b1af7f3a8