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Zboj Lamignat

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He's just a guy who thinks 2002 is "early 3d". Move along calmly and avoid eye contact.
 

Arbiter

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He's just a guy who thinks 2002 is "early 3d". Move along calmly and avoid eye contact.

If you had played anything other than Quake in 90s you would have known that most strategy games released up to 2000 had 2D graphics, some combined 2D terrain with voxel or 3D units. There were 2 reasons for that: strategy games had to render much more units on screen than action games and were typically designed with low hardware requirements in mind, to allow multiplayer matches on office computers or in Internet cafes. Therefore, for strategy games, 2002 was an early era of fully 3D textured graphics.

To make matters worse, Blizzard has always been notorious for long development cycles since it established its reputation in mid 90s, hence outdated graphics on release. Development of WarCraft 3 began in 1998 with a target release date of the end of 2000, so Blizzard was initially aiming for 2000 hardware and screenshots indicate that the fidelity of graphics has not changed significantly since the early alpha: https://wowpedia.fandom.com/wiki/Warcraft_III_evolution_guide.

Edit: WarCraft 3 was also constrained by the fact that it supported software rendering so its graphics had to run with acceptable performance without a 3D card. In contrast, some shooter engines like Quake 3 Arena engine dropped software rendering support in late 90s, hence 3D technology in strategy games was way behind shooters.
 
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Zboj Lamignat

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If you had played anything other than Quake in 90s you would have known that most strategy games released up to 2000 had 2D graphics, some combined 2D terrain with voxel or 3D units.
Lel, dude, you're on track record of writing utter bs time after time. Stop frontloading your posts like that and limpdick-rating, you're just making a bigger dumbass of yourself. 2002 is not early 3d in any way, shape or form. There are plenty of strategy/tactical games released before that that used 3d not only for the looks, but also actual gameplay with features like zoom, rotating, physics influencing gameplay, changing view perspectives etc. that looked and run well.

Other than blizz just being shit with tech, this just followed on theirs standard design sensibilities, ie. p. small squads with retarded simultaneous selection limits. W2 ain't exactly a game where you bumrush with zounds of dudes.
 

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There are plenty of strategy/tactical games released before that that used 3d not only for the looks, but also actual gameplay with features like zoom, rotating, physics influencing gameplay, changing view perspectives etc. that looked and run well.

Name them.
 

Nutmeg

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Total Annihilation and TA: Kingdoms, TA clones like Metal Fatigue and potentially others, Warzone 2100, Thandor, Star Trek Armada 1 and 2, Ground Control, Shadow of the Horned Rat and Dark Omen, Earth 2150, Myth 1 and 2, Emperor Battle for Dune, Homeworld and Homeworld: Cataclysm, Z Steel Soldiers, Empire Earth, Battlezone, Sacrifice, Battle Realms etc.
 
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Zboj Lamignat

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There are plenty of strategy/tactical games released before that that used 3d not only for the looks, but also actual gameplay with features like zoom, rotating, physics influencing gameplay, changing view perspectives etc. that looked and run well.

Name them.
I know you didn't play much games in the nineties and not so sure about naughts, just use wikipedia. Even absolutely second-rate rts titles like DR2 were doing it a couple years earlier. There are games from like '97 that have full 3d, camera rotation, optional fpp view, supported 3d acceleration but run and looked impressive for the time without it etc.

The good news is that you, at least, didn't call Far Cry or HoMMV early 3d, cause I already saw both happening on the codex :lol:
 

Nutmeg

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Getting off-topic, but one should distinguish between early 3D and early home 3D. In 1993 Daytona USA was released in the arcades, and it looks *chef's kiss* even today, IMO, as do many other Sega Model 2 titles.
 

Zboj Lamignat

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Eh, I'm just kinda triggered by people using the "early 3d" catchphrase for random games where it doesn't fit at all, but even more so by constant excuses for blizz, as if they ever were particularly good with tech/presentation other than cinematics. I mean, yeah, they were, it's just that it started and ended with D1 and W2.
 

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Total Annihilation (multiple games + clones),

The game utilized 3D models and terrain rendered with 2D sprites (there was height information attached to terrain for calculating projectile trajectories, but it was not used for rendering).

Shadow of the Horned Rat and Dark Omen,

2D sprites combined with 3D terrain.

Earth 2150,

I have not played it.

Myth (series),

Myth 1&2 - 2D sprites combined with 3D terrain.
Myth 3 - released merely 1 year before WarCraft 3

Emperor Battle for Dune

Released merely 1 year before WarCraft 3.

Homeworld and Cataclysm

Certainly a bigger technical achievement than WarCraft 3, but battles in space are less taxing to render due to absence of terrain and potential for LOD due to camera orientation. This is evident in the fact that X-Wing and Wing Commander series started implementing vector graphics in early 90s and X-Wing vs TIE Fighter had textured polygons in 1997.

Z Steel Soldiers,

Released merely 1 year before WarCraft 3.

Empire Earth

Released merely 1 year before WarCraft 3.

Battlezone etc.

Good point, it was a technical achievement for its time.
 

Arbiter

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some combined 2D terrain with voxel or 3D units
You mean the other way around.

Myth 1-2 and early Warhammer Fantasy games utilized 3D terrain with 2D unit sprites.

Other games adopted an opposite approach.

Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2 utilized 2D terrain sprites with voxel graphics for some units.

Total Annihilation utilized 2D terrain sprites with 3D unit models.
 
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Arbiter

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It's surprising how successful Blizzard was given dated graphics in most of its games.
 

Nutmeg

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I don't think 2002 is early 3D. It's not early 3D in terms of state of the art offline rendering, and it's at least middle in terms of real time rasterization based rendering. I suppose you could argue it was "early 3D" for the RTS genre, but even there 2002-3 is more middle.

Released merely 1 year before WarCraft 3.
1 year was a long time back then. It was rare for a big budget PC game released a year after any other game to not to be more technically impressive than the older game. Age of Mythology was released the same year as Warcraft 3 BTW, another datapoint.
 

Nutmeg

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Ok finished the campaign in Forces of Corruption (2006), the expansion to Empire at War (2006).

All the issues I highlighted with the base game, both technical and in terms of how the campaign plays, were addressed in the expansion. This is not to say there are no issues, rather that the more glaring ones that drew all my attention have been removed, revealing many other, relatively lesser, but still impactful ones.

The game is a lot more stable, though I did have one or two crashes, and there are no disappearing units. I also got anti-aliasing working, but it turns out I could have had it working when playing the base game too.

But now I noticed all the jank w.r.t. unit movement and targeting. An obvious example are the Rancors which handle like boats even though they have legs. A slightly less obvious example is the main character's sidekick Urai Fen hero unit, who will sometimes fail to attack if he's too close to an enemy. In general, melee is very janky with units being very very picky about their footing with the enemy in deciding whether to play their attack animations, and deal damage, or not.

The repetitive battles during the map painting portion of the campaign are (optionally, mostly) no more, as the new faction can instead opt to "corrupt" worlds using a special unit for most of the benefits conquering those worlds would give (mainly money and crippling adversary production capacity). Some corruption choices trigger a hand made mission too, which can actually have some challenge (can, not necessarily does) as you don't have practically infinite reinforcements at your disposal.

While conquest is optional, corruption isn't, at least not practically. For one, in order to tech, you need to have a black market on at least one Rebel and one Empire world. Two, if you spread "racketeering" (or piracy, though I didn't test it), the planet makes almost as much money as when conquered and with the palace (money multiplier building) built, so much so that it's not really worth the investment in lost units, and the palace building costs, to conquer it. Third, it's good to put e.g. an isolated rebel world between yourself and a cluster of empire worlds. Finally, any type of corruption reveals the planets unit and fleet composition, and allows for sabotaging structures prior to an assault, so even if you do end up conquering a planet, you want to corrupt it first if it looks well defended.

That said, corruption doesn't give any way to increase your population cap, so I actually ended up conquering 3 planets as well for the extra unit cap throughout the campaign (though in retrospect, I could have easily completed the campaign without doing so).

The end result is a much less busy worky way to play the campaign, though still very mechanical and not very dynamic. The only time I lost a world was when after completing a mission, the campaign script-spawned two large imperial fleets in Ryloth and the Maw respectively, when it would have been impossible for the empire to reach those worlds (as they would need to conquer a rebel world in between first). I kept those two worlds fortified henceforth which turned out to be a good decision as the campaign repeated the same "trick" a couple more times.

I also watched some multiplayer space battles in between finishing the base game and my playthrough of the expansion, which made me realize that the chaotic "epic" battles in the campaign are situations that just never arise in the skirmish modes, which made me less reluctant to play the game as an RtwP game, which made things a lot more comfortable, though ofc. less challenging. On a related note in both the expansion and the base game campaign missions, I made a lot of use of the fast forward feature, as situations with large empty stretches of map can and do arise.

Now, since map painting no longer interrupted me with a torrent of filler battles, I was able to get a stronger impression of the campaign missions. They were not horrible but not so great or even good, for the most part, either. The campaign starts with a hero-centric prison break mission, and then proceeds to repeat such missions (for the ground missions) many many times. Space missions are more interesting and varied. The final mission, especially, is not bad at all, and is a good exercise in fleet composition if you have a low pop-cap because you avoided conquering planets as I did.

I like the new units for the new faction in terms of their design and how they control and play (except the melee units, which are all (mostly) new, and jank).

All the story chatter was annoying, mainly because, as before, it blocks tooltips while simultaneously advancing game time, and the writing and new characters were quite cheesy.

In the end, both the base game and the expansion aren't really typical RTS games in their campaigns, but something more like Total War. While I try to learn some general RTS lessons from them and compare and contrast them to other RTS games, it doesn't feel right, at least not for the campaigns and I think I can safely assume, the galactic conquest mode as well (though I might do due diligence and confirm). The space and land skirmish modes seem to be very much so RTS games in the typical sense, so I will look to comment on the game as an RTS game, after getting familiar with those.
 
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JarlFrank

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
There are plenty of strategy/tactical games released before that that used 3d not only for the looks, but also actual gameplay with features like zoom, rotating, physics influencing gameplay, changing view perspectives etc. that looked and run well.

Name them.
httpsmedia.rawg_.iomediascreenshots6b66b6e78d2c701dd1e0c8199383b467ac3-800x600.jpg
 

Taka-Haradin puolipeikko

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JarlFrank

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
There are plenty of strategy/tactical games released before that that used 3d not only for the looks, but also actual gameplay with features like zoom, rotating, physics influencing gameplay, changing view perspectives etc. that looked and run well.

Name them.
httpsmedia.rawg_.iomediascreenshots6b66b6e78d2c701dd1e0c8199383b467ac3-800x600.jpg
Weren't units sprites in this one?
Yes, but look at the amount of 3D buildings in that screenshot.
The game had fully 3D spherical maps with dynamic terrain manipulation, full 3D buildings, and some units (boats, balloons) were 3D too. Even though the humans are 2D sprites, that makes for a large amount of 3D objects on the screen at the same time. And these 3D objects weren't just cosmetic, they had simple physics too as they would react to spells being thrown at them (buildings slowly breaking apart in a tornado, for example).

This was released in 1999, 3 years before Warcraft 3, which was a long time back then for computer tech development.
 

Nutmeg

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I am now playing through the first Battle for Middle Earth's "good" campaign. So far, it is much superior to the campaigns in either BFME2 or RotWK. Other initial impressions are that while BFME2 has both a superior basic battle system and controls (BFME1 lacks unit formation and facing controls, planning mode, and stances), BFME1 has the superior macro game (due to the explicit outpost, base, and resource points, giving map designers more tools to create interesting maps, and making things simpler for the AI). These are just initial impressions.
 
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I don't think 2002 is early 3D. It's not early 3D in terms of state of the art offline rendering, and it's at least middle in terms of real time rasterization based rendering. I suppose you could argue it was "early 3D" for the RTS genre, but even there 2002-3 is more middle.

Most strategy games released up to year 2000 (with rare exceptions like Battlezone, which is part action, part strategy game) were either entirely 2D or combined 2D unit sprites with 3D terrain or 2D terrain with 3D or voxel units. 2001 was when fully 3D engines became dominant in strategy games and over a period of 2 years all major players in RTS genre released fully 3D games: Westwood, Blizzard, Ensemble Studios, Bungie/Take-Two Interactive. Hence 2001-2002 is an era of early full-3D graphics in RTS games, lagging half a decade after shooters.

Released merely 1 year before WarCraft 3.
1 year was a long time back then. It was rare for a big budget PC game released a year after any other game to not to be more technically impressive than the older game. Age of Mythology was released the same year as Warcraft 3 BTW, another datapoint.

Action games, yes, but more niche genres were less focused on graphics, for example Alpha Centauri had underwhelming graphics and Arcanum looked worse than Fallout released 4 years earlier. Blizzard in particular was known for long development cycles, so WarCraft 3 was certainly not a bleeding edge in 2002 in terms of graphics. It's not surprising, Diablo 2 was released with 640x480x256 color SVGA graphics in 2000, 5 years after WarCraft 2 that supported the same video mode. One had to pay for the D2 expansion to get the 800x600 mode - an early example of pay to win.
 

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This was released in 1999, 3 years before Warcraft 3, which was a long time back then for computer tech development.

This shows how far behind Blizzard was when it released Diablo 2 with sprite SVGA graphics in 2000. And yet somehow Blizzard became a dominant force in the industry, while most good developers from 90s either went out of business or were cannibalized by bigger companies.
 

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