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I'm trying to learn how to develop games in Unity and my base is tiled games, I would like to know if a simple tile is an image (sprite in 2D) or a game object in 3D.

Since I'm trying to do some kind of 3D tiles with interaction with the user like press to do something + an animation, I would like to know how it works.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A tile is whatever it needs to be for your game. I've made games that used 2D images for tiles, and games that used 3D objects, and games that used a mix (say, multiple images on planes stacked in 3D). So, what tile-based problem are you trying to solve right now? \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Dec 11 '15 at 0:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm heading to make something like a map of tiles in 3d with random powers , those tiles need to be pressed to play the animation and the attack , but i didnt know that everything could be made to do it ^^ \$\endgroup\$ – Miguel Bastos Dec 11 '15 at 0:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sounds like you might want to start with some simple tutorials in GameMaker, Unity, or Unreal, and come back once you have a grasp of the basics if you find there are still details you don't know how to solve. Broad "how to get started" questions are considered off-topic on this site. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Dec 11 '15 at 0:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I used to do a course with XNA(nothing special to be honest) but it is a lot different than unity , i'm still very very new in this , but still , i'm discoverying that i don't know how this things work or maybe i try to make them work on my head but in since i don't have the practice that is needed to do it i still can't figure for me if my conclusions are correct so i came here ^^ anyways thank you for you help , it was usefull ^^ \$\endgroup\$ – Miguel Bastos Dec 11 '15 at 0:21
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Per your question, I understand you are not asking for detailed implementation code, since that would be asking for too much more than one single question can offer. So, I understand you are actually asking in conceptual terms.

That being the case, the first thing to tell you is that you can actually do both: you can have tile-based games both in 2D and in 3D. You can even have tile-based games that are programmed as 3D while looking as 2D (e.g. with a top-down camera over the 3D objects). And you can also have games programmed in a 2D logic but which appear to be 3D because of the angles of the objects that are displayed in the 2D sprites (sometimes these are called 2.5D tile-based games).

That being said, you can both use sprites in 2D and/or 3D meshes for a 3D tile-based game. Or you can even mix them. However, let me just give one further clarification. The sprites and/or 3D meshes are usually used for the 2D or 3D objects, respectively. Objects that occupy the tiles in the game-world.

But I always find it is easier if you think about the tiles in themselves as being the specific space that characters and objects can occupy and trough which they can move. These spaces can be of the shape of squares or hexagons, etc. These spaces can be filled with sprites or with 3D entities. Therefore, such spaces are previously defined in the code (this means to say the tiles can be merely given by the coordinates the objects can occupy/move trough. For Unity, see this tutorial on creating a square grid for future character movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhiFx28e7JY).

I recommend you start by reading the following wiki entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tile-based_video_game

Later, search for tile-based games in the gamedev.net forums. There are tons of threads there with good conceptual debates (and even tutorials). And for the implementation of grids for character movement. Those can be of help to get you started, even if they are not tile-based specific.

Also, past questions in this very site can be of help to you. One is: Implementing a 3d tile engine

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you , really useful text ^^ i will work next weeks in this , thank you again \$\endgroup\$ – Miguel Bastos Dec 11 '15 at 0:45
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Even though its pretty straight forward to make tile based game in Unity , there are lot of small stuff which can be pain in the neck later on. As unity till now didn't had tools specifically for tile based game and hence little optimization for such genre. Some of the usual problems faced are tiling of texture on scaled block , gap between adjacent tiles , collision detection , optimization etc.

But recently they have been developing lot of useful tools which can be very helpful for making a tile based game. Here is the link to the video where these tools are demonstrated in detail :- Unite 2015 - Building 2D Worlds with new 2D features in Unity

The tools will be rolled out in future updates but you can get it early to test in this link.

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