How do I create a 3D game that looks like 2D graphics?

Such as

Which they stated their using 3D models.

also another example is Neptunia series.

I’m new to game creation. However I’ve worked in and out of 3D since 2001, also have tried learning to code various times. I think I know the basics, I just need to learn how this is done.

In UE4, would this be more dependent on the 3D program used to achieve this artstyle? Or would it be more of picking the right settings in UE4? I’m thinking since I don’t think their using any shaders and such that it’s all done in the 3D program, and then you just import the 3D stuff?

I’m using blender, and I found a very helpful “make 3D look 2D” community here:

but I’m particualy interested in creating that “ragnarok look” in the first video. What goes into creating that? Is it really hard? If anyone knows I’d super apperciate it if you can share some tips with me!

Well can look to the top down game setup for something like that, but something that probably would be a really good example is the tower defense game, it does an amazing job at taking that 3d object and smushing it into a more 2d perspective.

But really those games are 3d games they just set the camera in a locked position above the players head, and then have it follow it around, this is very much like the top down starter project. From there it’s just adding in your 3d meshes. If you have a small bit of pocket change there is an asset package or two that is top down items, overall though you just build 3d models like you would for a 3d game, just a matter of the art style where you know a building only needs to be viewable from 2 or 3 sides, so you change up the perspective when you make the model to say.

For art style you might need to pick a different shader depending on exactly what you are going for, but there are some example projects in UE for that well around the more cartoon aspect shader.


Thanks for the info. So it’s basically pretty normal to do these things? I thought it might be hard, I will have to learn more about making 3D and test importing things in the project examples you mentioned, to try to replicate the art style in that video. One thing I kind of noticed is it seems they limited the frame animation on the characters, i.e. instead of straight walk animation, it looks like they used start and stop keyframes and moved the character further then usualy to make it look a little jaggy like 2D animation.

Interesting, I didn’t think of the art style if it only needs to be viewable from one side, I’m guessing you could paint it to looks alot more 2D if it’s only going to be viewed on certain sides, that way you could customize the art just like 2D is I think.

Disclaimer: I’m new to Unreal and only have a small amount of experience programming 3D (previously I used Ogre3D and have messed around with some DirectX examples in C++)

From the video you posted, it looks like all they’re doing is locking the camera rotation angles, and allowing the user to pan, and using an orthogonal projection (as opposed to perspective) … this should not be that hard to do although I don’t think there is a Blueprint/template for it.

yeah, you sort of focus on the sides that need to be viewed then flat design / lightly model the others just so you have some flexibilty if a piece of terrain or such doesn’t line up exactly its ok that the side wall is exposed a bit, just doesn’t get detail. Also when modeling some people set their model tool, perspective to be at the same angle as the camera in game is going to be, that gives you the ability to make some tweaks to how a roof is shifted, or how something lines up in the building aspect to give it that slightly more 2d aspect. So you focus on how it looks from the one perspective instead of a 360 degree setup and that lets you angle a roof off to the side or such. would look weird in 3d ground level perspective but in 85% overhead it looks perfect for the effect you want.