Graphical Design 2D/3D

Game development is quite a complex field however one of the most important areas that any development team must address for the project is deciding what style game will be developed. Currently on the market there are two major styles they are 2D and 3D. However within each there are several different sub categories. Deciding the type and style for the game does have barring on the genre and playability. It also can be the other way around if the developer has previously determined the platform, genre, and play style then a graphical format can be selected to match the preselected concepts.

In order to choose the graphical style it is important to understand what each is and what types of games use them. First the 2D graphical style should be addressed. This is because the development concepts are easier to understand but they also can be used with in the 3D environment. Within the 2D style there are a few particular layouts that are common they are a grid based puzzle, platform, overhead map, and virtual world. The following graphics display an example of each type.

Grid based puzzle


Overhead Map

Virtual World

The above images are the property of their respective owners.


Each 2D game style is unique and the for images above do not encompass all of the possibilities for the 2D environment. However the Virtual World either in the 2.5D view or pseudo 3D environment were very popular in the last view years. But lately the trend is back to story driven puzzle and platform games. The 2D environment provides a unique one as it can be as simplistic or complicated as the developer chooses to take the project and each project has its own algorithms to implement the different strategies for them.

The other style is a full 3D environment. 3D games have a large range of complexity and realism. They can be a 2D graphical game presented within a 3D environment which was the early way of producing the world. However as computers have become more advanced the sprite based graphics of the limited graphical 3D world has been left behind for the more complex polygon based systems. The polygon system takes hundreds to thousands of triangles and joins them in a framework to create an object. It then wraps the framework with a graphical image which is visible to the user. The following table displays some different 3D game views.

Driving Game

3D Overhead Map

Full motion world (FPS style)

In game cinematic

The above images are the property of their respective owners.


The graphical style selected does not have anything to do with the genre, gameplay, story, era, or other game defining features. The graphical stile is just how the game will look. This is the longest process whether the developer chooses a 2D or a 3D environment, like the ones displayed above. The more complex the game graphics the better the artist and modeler will need to be. There are games that use a 3D model but only display 2D graphics. This is done by taking a picture of the model and presenting that to the screen in the correct position and location. However, the details of creating and presenting graphics are not covered in this article. The idea is to present different visual concepts and allow the designer to choose based on the game that is being developed.

1 comment so far

  1. Robert Magallanez on

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