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Recently I came across a game concept (New Game Plus @ Superflatgames) that used a very interesting "2.5D" art style where the world is in 3D and the characters & objects are in 2D (see image below).

I've experimented on and off for about a week now but I can't for the life of me replicate this camera angle/perspective and look. At first, I thought that this was as simple as doing a 3D world and having the characters in 2D but the 3d part looks really off. I then tried "tweaking" the 3D world in different ways such as tilting the 3D tiles away from the camera, because if you look at the top-left structure in the image it looks slightly tilted in the direction the camera is looking. But none of my experimentation thus far has yielded any results.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to replicate this? I know this art style exists in other games so maybe someone has implemented this before.

(Note that I am not asking about the pixel art look; that is simply 2D pixel art textures on 3D objects).

art style

Here is a picture of my latest attempt with the tilted tiles compared side-by-side with this image. As you can see, my tiles almost seem to tilt at a different angle. Unfortunately, I can't show all of my attempts as I haven't saved any screenshots of those.

comparison

If I put the camera higher and tilt it down a bit more, it's closer to the "PoV" of the original image, but as you can see on the very bottom grass tiles they are super thin, compared to the original image where the sides of the tiles are almost completely visible (almost as if they are tilted towards the camera).

tilted

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you share pictures of your 3D attempts? I also think this is a 3D world with 2D characters \$\endgroup\$
    – user253751
    May 5, 2022 at 17:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Added a comparison image. Not a very good one unfortunately, since my attempts haven't been very successful :P @user253751 \$\endgroup\$
    – Charanor
    May 5, 2022 at 17:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ And yes it's a 3d world with 2d characters, I'm aware :) I'm having issues replicating the perspective of the camera, my attempts look very off. I've tried adjusting FoV and such but to not much success. \$\endgroup\$
    – Charanor
    May 5, 2022 at 17:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Put your camera higher up and tilt it down more? \$\endgroup\$
    – user253751
    May 5, 2022 at 17:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Take a look at how the 2.5d legend of Zelda games work. The camera is above and tilted down, but the geometry itself is skewed to increase the appearance of depth. The characters themselves are also skewed so they appear more flat relative to the camera \$\endgroup\$ May 6, 2022 at 4:25

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I tried to replicate the scene in Unity, so I'm using its reference system but this solution can be adapted for any other development environment as well.

This is the camera setup I used:

  • Position: (0, 13, -20), offset relative to the object the camera is following.
  • Rotation: (30, 0, 0), looking slightly downwards over the scene.
  • FoV: 30 degrees.

Rotation is in degrees. The position values are based on the assumption that the level consists of blocks of 1 world unit in size:

enter image description here

While world blocks are placed normally around the scene, 2D objects such as characters, foliage and trees must take camera orientation into account. They must behave like billboards and align with the camera plane.

If the camera only moves and never rotates, this can be simply done by tilting 2D objects the same amount as the camera in the same direction, so that they will align to the view plane. They won't be affected by perspective distortions, apart from the apparent size due to distance from the camera:

enter image description here

This is the final result I got, I think it's very close to the original style you posted (assets by Buch):

enter image description here

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