2.5D Might Be The Dumbest Term Going

Thinking about deleting the "2.5D" concept page. Honestly, I'm a bit surprised it exists at all. Considering nearly all games are polygonal these days, it's enough to say that the game takes place on a 2D plane. A term for "this has polygonal graphics but has flat gameplay" is almost totally unnecessary. Graphical style and gameplay style are two things that, in this case, don't really need to be combined into one term.

Stupid term. It's up there with the incorrect use of "AAA."

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Posted by Jeff

Thinking about deleting the "2.5D" concept page. Honestly, I'm a bit surprised it exists at all. Considering nearly all games are polygonal these days, it's enough to say that the game takes place on a 2D plane. A term for "this has polygonal graphics but has flat gameplay" is almost totally unnecessary. Graphical style and gameplay style are two things that, in this case, don't really need to be combined into one term.

Stupid term. It's up there with the incorrect use of "AAA."

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Posted by Video_Game_King

I'd say that it's a decent concept. What about games like Klonoa, where gameplay takes place on a 2D plane, but in a way that can't be done with pure sprites alone?

Edited by Sweep

Is it just the term '2.5D' you don't like? Would you prefer a concept page called "3D games on a 2D plane"? That sounds pretty convoluted.

I love it.

Also where do you put games like MK vs DC which are like... 2D planes on a 360 degree axis? There has to be some way of differentiating between free 3D movement though, right?

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Posted by Hailinel
@Video_Game_King said:
I'd say that it's a decent concept. What about games like Klonoa, where gameplay takes place on a 2D plane, but in a way that can't be done with pure sprites alone?
That has more to do with the camera following the character to maintain the illusion of a 2D plane and doesn't require the use of polygonal models to achieve.
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Posted by Video_Game_King
@Hailinel:

Then how would you achieve something like perpendicular 2D planes without any polygons, like here? That would be pretty insane.
Posted by eroticfishcake

I thought 2.5D referred to games with psuedo-three dimensional environments a la Doom and Duke Nukem 3D? On the other hand, Wikipedia (so sue me damn it) seems to cover both terms. Personally, I think it's a valid term, just maybe a little...subjective? You're staff though so It's your call.

Posted by roc_553

Nothing but agreement over here. Delete away.

Posted by JJWeatherman

Worse than AAA. Let it be gone!

Posted by Jeff

@Sweep said:

Is it just the term '2.5D' you don't like? Would you prefer a concept page called "3D games on a 2D plane"? That sounds pretty convoluted.

Well, the problem with that is that you're using the term "3D" when you really mean "polygonal graphics." Now that there are games that are actually in 3D, using any form of "D" to talk about graphical style is confusing and should be slowly eliminated from the database. 2.5D is stupid because it combines graphics and gameplay in a way that makes it a meaningless catch-all term. To me, the term more appropriately fits into, like, SNK fighting games that let you shift between two or more planes. It's not a completely open space, but the Z-axis is at least partially addressed.

Street Fighter IV is a 2D game. Tekken 6 is a 3D game. Mortal Kombat is a 2D game. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is a 3D game. Sprites vs. polys is an entirely separate distinction.

The real issue is that there isn't a great term to use when talking about a three-dimensional playspace to separate it from full-on eye-ruining 3D. But I maintain that we should probably get all of our "D's" in check.

Staff
Posted by Duffyside

Hm, but what if a person hears the term "2.5D" from somewhere else and wants to use Giant Bomb as his or her resource to find out what the hell it means? Shouldn't the wiki be more of an encyclopedia describing the industry rather than prescribing preferences?

Edited by ckeats

To me, "2.5D" sounds like a 2D game with those parts like in Kirby's Epic Yarn where you go behind something and the background sticks up like a blanket with something under it. If that makes sense. 

And AAA is a type of battery. 

I vote delete.
Posted by LordAndrew
@eroticfishcake said:
I thought 2.5D referred to games with psuedo-three dimensional environments a la Doom and Duke Nukem 3D? On the other hand, Wikipedia (so sue me damn it) seems to cover both terms. Personally, I think it's a valid term, just maybe a little...subjective? You're staff though so It's your call.
The moment you acknowledge that it has multiple completely different meanings, you acknowledge that it sucks.
Posted by Masonvd
@Jeff: Something like Shadow Complex? 

@Duffyside: You could set up 2.5D as an alias for another page. 
Posted by Psycosis

I think the concept should exist for games like Klonoa, Kirby 64, Viewtiful Joe and Tombi 2. Games that are controlled in 2D, but the perspective changes depending on what's happening or where you're going.

Games like Super Paper Mario or Crush, games that switch between 2D and 3D, shouldn't be in this category.

Posted by ThePickle

No reason to delete it. 

Posted by EpicBenjamin

2.5AAAD.
Posted by ZombiePie

I side with delete. Concepts should be for graphics or gameplay, but not both. The term 2.5D implies that there's something more to the gameplay and something less to the graphics than what's really there in execution. At most it can be an alias to a better named concept page.

Moderator
Posted by Kyreo

I think I agree.  I would consider a game like Shadow Complex to be 3D, but styled with the Metroid-vania characteristics.  Delete it if you must, I won't mind.

Posted by RiotBananas
@Jeff: I've thought this for a while. Fucking do it.

Do it.
Posted by ESREVER

I only use 2.5D to describe brawler games that have you moving in 2D across multiple planes. So typically old-school brawlers.

I use "2.5D" to describe Dragonica as well. A f2p mmo that uses the side scrolling movement between planes, but has polygonal graphics.

What is the appropriate way to refer to these "2.5D" games?
Posted by Jethuty

keep it. I think its reasonable to keep it, considering most people understand 2.5 D as 3D games on a 2D plane, ala SF4 and Shadow complex. 


But yeah its stupid.


Just like AAA, but people keep using it. 
Posted by eroticfishcake
@LordAndrew said:
@eroticfishcake said:
I thought 2.5D referred to games with psuedo-three dimensional environments a la Doom and Duke Nukem 3D? On the other hand, Wikipedia (so sue me damn it) seems to cover both terms. Personally, I think it's a valid term, just maybe a little...subjective? You're staff though so It's your call.
The moment you acknowledge that it has multiple completely different meanings, you acknowledge that it sucks.
I was afraid of that. While we could break each term separately into individual pages it'll just come off as a little unnecessary and more towards cluster-fuck. It's a pretty popular term that gets thrown around a lot though so I think it's worth mentioning it in the WikiFAQ just in case people start adding it.
Edited by shenstra
@Jeff said:

Well, the problem with that is that you're using the term "3D" when you really mean "polygonal graphics." Now that there are games that are actually in 3D, using any form of "D" to talk about graphical style is confusing and should be slowly eliminated from the database. 2.5D is stupid because it combines graphics and gameplay in a way that makes it a meaningless catch-all term. To me, the term more appropriately fits into, like, SNK fighting games that let you shift between two or more planes. It's not a completely open space, but the Z-axis is at least partially addressed.

Street Fighter IV is a 2D game. Tekken 6 is a 3D game. Mortal Kombat is a 2D game. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is a 3D game. Sprites vs. polys is an entirely separate distinction.

The real issue is that there isn't a great term to use when talking about a three-dimensional playspace to separate it from full-on eye-ruining 3D. But I maintain that we should probably get all of our "D's" in check. 


I've never really liked the term "2.5D" in and of itself, so I'd be happy to see it go. However, it's not really in conflict with "aaah it's coming at me"-3D. The term 2.5D just means "2D gameplay, 3D graphics", plain and simple.

As you said, the real problem is that "3D graphics" has two different meanings now. Personally, I use 3D for 'polygonal graphics' (which is in itself a misleading name as 2D graphics can also be rendered with polygons) and "stereoscopic 3D" or "stereoscopic graphics" for the "OMG my eyes!!!" kind of 3D. I'd be happy to see the rest of the world adopting my nomenclature, but I somehow doubt that'll happen. :-(

Having said that, 2.5D is kinda dumb. Same goes for AAA, even when it's used correctly.
Posted by RecSpec

I always thought 2.5D was referring to the gameplay, not the actual graphics.






Posted by Dixperiken

Totally agree. Always thought it was a bit of a weird term.

Posted by Claude

All this "D" talk is messing with my head. Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda game in 3D, but now it's going to be a 3D game in 3D on the 3DS. That's like 6D or something. Is there a 6D concept page?

I never thought of something being 2.5D as being an official term. I understand what people are saying, but I always considered it slang. There should be other concepts that cover this area of video games and how to categorize them.

Posted by Brad

I'll get behind this. The term made sense when 3D graphics were new and nearly every game was designed around 3D space, but there's way too much overlap these days to bother making the distinction.

Staff
Posted by slowbird

I think there's a place for a concept about games that only partially use the third axis for gameplay.  Perhaps this isn't it, but I think "sliding" or "dodging" isn't really the same as a full three-dimensional movement experience.

Posted by Hailinel
@eroticfishcake said:
I thought 2.5D referred to games with psuedo-three dimensional environments a la Doom and Duke Nukem 3D? On the other hand, Wikipedia (so sue me damn it) seems to cover both terms. Personally, I think it's a valid term, just maybe a little...subjective? You're staff though so It's your call.
It is, once again, just a graphic effect.  Klonoa is still a 2D game.
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Posted by Ali_D

I think use of the term 3D to mean "occurring in a 3 dimensional world and state" is too ingrained in gamers' minds to change. I do wonder how we're going to differentiate a "3D platformer" like Super Mario Galaxy with a game that's actually in 3D.

Posted by Danteveli

@ Jeff I think the term is way to old to just delete it. Maybe add your opinion on concept page. Since so many people think it is standard term it should stay. People can be educated its not correct. For me Crash Bandicoot games on psx will always be 2.5d even if it is not correct term.

Posted by Catarrhal

Like Brad said, the term may have had relevance in 1996, when Pandemonium! was first released, but not now. Go ahead and delete.

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Posted by ZombiePie

And already we have multiple users with their own personal idea of what 2.5D is proving the point that it is subjective and a lot of users don't understand what should go onto the page if we keep it.

This further indicates that deleting the 2.5D concept page is the best solution.

Moderator
Edited by Musou

I see why it could be deleted, but I think deleting it will only make stuff more complicated. You would need a 2D graphics AND gameplay page, and the same thing for 3D, so you could tell the difference between "2.5D", 3D and 2D games.

Posted by Mento

It is a very grating term, like "Jump the Shark" and "Welp", but like others have said there isn't really a less stupid way of saying a game takes place on a 2D plane but uses features from a 3D game that isn't a longer, unwieldy sentence.

I'd say with games like Bionic Commando Rearmed, where it's entirely a 2D game but with polygons, there's no point in highlighting the 3D aspect. But with Shadow Complex, where you often interact with the background, or something like Klonoa where the world bends around, the 3D is a legitimate stylistic feature. It just needs a better name.

Moderator
Posted by Danteveli

@ZombiePie If its being used wrong then maybe deleting it is best solution but then where will the games labeled by some as 2.5D land? Won't it make problems further along the road when people will label games wrong or create other strange names for them?

Posted by RedRocketWestie

We really need to rework the "D" system from the ground up. Now that there's a distinction to be made for games actually presented in 3D, as well as polygonal games (which, while accurate, never seems to really flow off the tongue), as well as the distinction between 2D and 2.5D, it seems like the problem originates from an overloading of the existing terms. 


The question is, are there other terms we already know that can be used to differentiate in an intuitive way? For example, you could call a "2.5D" game like Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project a "3D sidescrolling platformer." Everyone would know what you meant and you can avoid the weird/dumb ambiguity of "2.5D." 

On the subject of polygonal 3D versus stereoscopic 3D, I'd be fine with the default being polygonal (since it's more common), but it's unfortunately the marketing of games presented in stereoscopic 3D really drives that discussion.
Posted by Hailinel

If it helps, I've cleaned up the 2D concept page a bit and added a section as a note on 2.5D.

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Edited by jakob187
@Jeff said:

@Sweep said:

Is it just the term '2.5D' you don't like? Would you prefer a concept page called "3D games on a 2D plane"? That sounds pretty convoluted.

Well, the problem with that is that you're using the term "3D" when you really mean "polygonal graphics."

Before the wall of text, I'll say this:   if 2.5D is a dumb idea, then why don't we delete the page for active reload?  I mean, essentially, it's still reloading...but it has a context-sensitive element to it.  Alan Wake had the same thing, but it's not considered "active reloading".  It's just considered "mash the button to reload faster".  There is no clear definition of what makes something active reloading other than "something you contextually do in order to reload faster".  Well, I contextually put Rapid Fire on my loadout in Call of Duty in order to reload faster.  Does that count?  In Gears of War, you have to hit a moving bar on a very specific area in order to active reload, but in Alan Wake, I mash the button over and over in order to reload faster.  Neither are the same way of active reloading, yet they are both reloading.  DESPITE THAT, why can't "active reloading" simply be a header on a page called "Reloading"?  Why does it get its own page?  All in all, how many games even USE active reloading?  The Gears of War franchise annnnnnnd...I can't think of any others off the top of my head.  Whether you press a button to reload faster or not, it's still just reloading a gun.  What's the point of having that page?  If anything, it's because "active reload" is a term that is used by publishers, developers, audiences, and the press to describe what exactly that specific action is.

I always thought the "3D" portion meant "3D environments", not "polygonal graphics".  That's always been the point, as showcased by something like Klonoa and the likes.  It was about being forced onto a linear plane that was akin to something like "2D", but you had camera movements that showed you were in a "3D" environment.  I've never personally related the "3D" portion of the 2.5D descriptor as "yo, this has polygonal graphics, so it's 3D".
In turn, that definition on its own creates a problem. Games like Street Fighter IV, Shadow Complex, and many others are finding ways to showcase a game on pretty much a complete 2D plane, but they break that plane every once in a while.  In Shadow Complex, people can fly into the foreground and background, and you can also shoot into those directions.  There's even a couple of turret shooting sequences (I believe) where the perspective shifts from 2D to something akin to 3D, showcasing that the world is in fact three-dimensional and not a straight two-dimensional world of sprites.  With Street Fighter IV, the environments and character models, even the moves you use...they are all modeled with 3D polygons, sure, but they are all also something that exists in a fully 3D world.  However, the game is played on a 2D plane...until you bust out an Ultra or a Super.  However, those things rarely move people into the foreground and background itself and instead rely on camera shifts to show that there is a 3D environment with things happening (for the most part) on a 2D plane.

Even then, something like Super Paper Mario was able to take two-dimensional sprites and turn them into a three-dimensional perspective, giving it a 2.5D concept.  If anything, I think the very existence of Super Paper Mario breaks the definition that you are trying to give the term, Jeff, as it doesn't rely solely on polygonal graphics, but rather it relies on flat two-dimensional "sprites" interacting with a 3D environment.  Since there are little to no polygonal characters in the game yet you can shift between a 2D and 3D plane of perspective for gameplay, which category does it fall under?  2D or 3D?  Is it a 3D game with 2D portions or a 2D game with 3D portions?  It's neither.  It exists in an in-between on its own.

Klonoa is much the same way:  3D environments but constrained to a "2D" plane of play.  Now, we all really know that this "2D" simply means "linear path which you cannot deviate from in order to explore beyond the world of its constraints".  However, you know what's easier to say than "a 3D game with a linear path which you cannot deviate from in order to explore beyond the world of its constraints"?  The answer is "it's a 2.5D game".  If someone needs an explanation beyond that, then by all means, you can unload the above sentence and they will still be confused probably.

The point of 2.5D is that it IS a concept.  Hell, the press and media use the term in order to describe the games.  The publishers and developers use the term.  It's just that:  a term and a concept that helps label a feature of the game. 

You always talked about making sure that Giant Bomb was the most detailed wiki possible for video games and video game history.  Wikipedia doesn't even have a page for 2.5D.  That means that when someone wants to find a list of games in a 2.5D setup, guess where they are going to go?  Sure, it's probably a pretty niche type of thing, but it's still a thing.

Besides, I'm sure there is an entire wiki community that can easily find at least five pages a piece that deserve to go bye-bye before something like 2.5D.

Hopefully, this whole wall of text can help in swaying your decision to keep the page.

@ZombiePie

said:

And already we have multiple users with their own personal idea of what 2.5D is proving the point that it is subjective and a lot of users don't understand what should go onto the page if we keep it.

This further indicates that deleting the 2.5D concept page is the best solution.

There are people that don't understand what "clip +1" means.  Should we delete that as well (if a page actually exists for it)?  Just because someone doesn't understand it and someone thinks it is "subjective", that doesn't mean it should automatically go bye-bye.

It just means we as a website, a community, and a staff should look at clarifying the term itself for the rest of the industry to go by rather than say "this idea is stupid, so let's kill it off".  If we all can't come up with a clarified term that can be widely accepted, THAT is when I'd agree with deleting the concept page.  I'm obviously not the end-all-be-all on the subject, but everyone gets their two cents, right?
Posted by TheHT
@Danteveli said:

@ Jeff I think the term is way to old to just delete it. Maybe add your opinion on concept page. Since so many people think it is standard term it should stay. People can be educated its not correct. For me Crash Bandicoot games on psx will always be 2.5d even if it is not correct term.

  @Duffyside said:

Hm, but what if a person hears the term "2.5D" from somewhere else and wants to use Giant Bomb as his or her resource to find out what the hell it means? Shouldn't the wiki be more of an encyclopedia describing the industry rather than prescribing preferences?


Points not to be ignored. Even if it's added to the page that it's considered an out of date term given the advent of actual 3D, that still means the term, at a time, was relevant to games. This is a database after all.

As far as the 'subjectivity' of it is concerned, discussions like this are for concensus to be reached, not to say 'everyone has their own idea so DELETE'. The perceptions of 2.5D seem to be:

A. Polygonal assets in a 2D plane. ( Ultimate Ghosts N' Goblins)
B. 2D plane that moves, contextually, three-dimensionally. ( Pandemonium, Klonoa)
C. 2D perspective that includes movement 'up' and 'down' the z-axis. ( Streets of Rage)

I haven't seen anything else referred to as being 2.5D that doesn't have one of more of those features. [A.] is where the term's age shows. Sure it used to be acceptable to refer to polygonal assets as 3D, but now that actual 3D is a thing, this just sounds silly and muddling. Besides that, I think [B.] and [C.] hold up alright.

I think we should keep it, though it needs work.
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Posted by ShaggE

Nearly all of gaming terminology needs an enema. We've had to make it up as we go for so long that the entire vernacular is nearly nonsensical. 

Edited by Sweep

@Jeff: OK so we need to acknowledge the difference between aesthetic 3 dimensional design (Sprites vs polys) and 3 dimensional gameplay, which allows characters physical depth within a game. As an aside, real 3D (stuff that comes out the screen if you wear goofy glasses) should just be called stereoscopy.

  • 2D Aesthetic
  • 3D Aesthetic
  • 2D Gameplay
  • 3D Gameplay
  • Stereoscopy

There's probably a more articulate way of expressing each of those, but it allows for 2D aesthetic to cross with 3D gameplay like an old Streets Of Rage brawler (I guess) and 3D aesthetic with 2D gameplay, Mortal Kombat style. Stereoscopy could be applied to either, though why anyone would make Streets Of Rage using stereoscopy I have no idea...

You could even have wiki pages for the crossovers, like a concept page for "2D aesthetic with 3D gameplay" and "3D aesthetic with 2D gameplay" - that would essentially just be replacing the "2.5D" page, though it would allow people to differentiate at least. If you were to do that then you could probably scrap the 3D and 2D gameplay concepts altogether.

Moderator
Posted by Hailinel
@ShaggE said:
Nearly all of gaming terminology needs an enema. We've had to make it up as we go for so long that the entire vernacular is nearly nonsensical. 
Are you secretly the Joker?
/Potentially obscure reference
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Posted by Daveyo520

Get rid of it.

Posted by ShaggE
@Hailinel said:
@ShaggE said:
Nearly all of gaming terminology needs an enema. We've had to make it up as we go for so long that the entire vernacular is nearly nonsensical. 
Are you secretly the Joker?/Potentially obscure reference
That's what I was thinking of when I said it. :P
Posted by MajesticOverlord
Who is a man to decide whether or not we should delete our heritage, who is a man to decide that we should wipe away a term that stands in our dictionary, the gamers dictionary! I say it's for the community to decide! Have a poll! Run a campaign! Design a game! Anything! Power the the GAMERS! 


Edited by ajamafalous

When I think 2.5D I think of games like Super Smash Bros. or Street Fighter 4. Polygonal graphics on a 2D plane. I agree that the name is stupid because it combines different facets of the game, but I don't necessarily think it should be deleted because of that.


EDIT: I totally agree with everything Jakob said, and I think the page should stay.

Posted by craigbo180

Personally I like the concept. I am not opposed to re-naming it, though I think 2.5D fits.

Edited by Brackynews
@jakob187 said:

Just because someone doesn't understand it and someone thinks it is "subjective", that doesn't mean it should automatically go bye-bye. It just means we as a website, a community, and a staff should look at clarifying the term itself for the rest of the industry to go by rather than say "this idea is stupid, so let's kill it off".  If we all can't come up with a clarified term that can be widely accepted, THAT is when I'd agree with deleting the concept page.

Quoted For Truth. The discussion is not about the various cultural context definitions of a word like "boot" or "geek". This is a matter of industry specific vocabulary that should not be subjective, it should be defined and supported by examples used by the industry, not just forum threads.  If 20 people out of 30 think hamburgers must contain ham, that doesn't make the ingredients subjective, that means those 20 people are uneducated about towns named Hamburg.
Posted by MattyFTM

I've never really thought about it before, but it is a pretty silly term. I think the concept is valid, though. Having polyganal graphics with the gameplay taking place in a single plane is something that has only really become popular in recent years, and it's rise to popularity should be documented.

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