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Old 19 April 2021, 15:23   #1
Cherno
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Low-poly 3D games

I love the low-poly, textureless style of early 3D game like Hunter. I got the idea to make a list of such games, offering others to chime in, maybe there are some interesting ones I haven't heard about.

Conditions:
1. Models should be almost abstract, with only the minimum amount of polygons required to convey the shape/type (no matter if it's a character, vehicle, building, or terrain feature)
2. No textures! Screenspace checkerboard dithering and similar effects are allowed.
3. Game can be of any platorm, not just on the Amiga.
4. 2D graphics (sprites etc.) are allowed if the game has at least some 3D graphics.

Please provide screenshots
Of course, feel free to share your memories and experiences as well!

Examples from the top of my head:

Hunter (of course!), 1991

One of the earliest 3D open world games, years before Operation Flashpoint and GTA III. Gameplay is slow, but for it's time, I think it's an underrated classic, at least as far as graphics go, especially on the Amiga. Developer Paul Holmes achieved a good blend of grandiose scale and low complexity, so you can do a lot, but actually doing it is fairly simple (I keep crashing that helicopter even with the auto landing function, damnit!)



---------------------------------

Alone in the Dark, 1992

One of the first, if not THE first, survival horror game that was the blueprint for Resident Evil. The character designs are really creative! Gameplay is very slow, character controls are annoying (luckily you only have to fight a handful of monsters over the course of the game) but the atmosphere is suitably creepy.



---------------------------------

Midwinter, 1990

A game with a lot of depth, but quite difficult controls. I might have tried it once of twice but the main character Stark kept falling down slopes on his skiers! I really like the dithered snowy 3D mountainscapes and the fog effect.



---------------------------------

Midwinter II: Flames Of Freedom, 1991

I played this once but never got far, it seemed so overwhelming with all the vehicles, NPCs to talk to, character skills, and of course the ongoing conflict in the background on dozens of islands.



---------------------------------

Twilight: 2000, 1994

I read a lot of the RPG books and like the setting, but couldn't figure out this game. It seems so complex with you having to manage a platoon ful of characters, each with their own career, skills, stats, and weapons. Assembling your team can take an hour or more! The 3D perspective only comes into play during vehicle combat, though, otherwise it's isometric or static screens.



---------------------------------

Carrier Command, 1988

I only played the remake from a few years ago, but from what I've heard the original is a cult classic. It looks even more primitive than Hunter, which is no wonder since it predated the latter by three years!



---------------------------------

Zeewolf, 1994

In my opinion, the best graphics in this particular style, and smooth gameplay. Controls can be difficult to learn at first since they are similar to Virus 2000, but the developers had the great idea to include not only a lock-on / autoaiming system, but also a target camera so you are not too limited by the fixed viewpoint. I guess it can be described as a mix of Choplifter, Desert Strike, and Virus 2000.

The sequel is quite similar so I didn't include it here.



---------------------------------

Last edited by Cherno; 19 April 2021 at 17:48.
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Old 19 April 2021, 15:38   #2
Minuous
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Alone in the Dark does not qualify, according to your criteria.
There is a list here: http://hol.abime.net/hol_search.php?...re_dimension=4
But for some reason certain games, eg. The Sentinel, are missing from it.
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Old 19 April 2021, 15:39   #3
gimbal
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I wonder what you think of Simon the Sorcerer 3D.

I personally can't stomach it, the franchise went from beautifully colored and richly animated 2D graphics to this garish mess because 3D was soooooo cool.


EDIT oh wait, I now notice the "not textured" criteria... I was tricked by Alone in the Dark

Last edited by gimbal; 05 May 2021 at 13:51. Reason: image removed, Simon 3D does not fit the rules of the thread
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Old 19 April 2021, 15:51   #4
robinsonb5
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Archipelagos - https://hol.abime.net/3299 (Ok, disallowed because it has some sprites, too.)

Simulcra - https://hol.abime.net/1944

Interphase - https://hol.abime.net/2658

(You've already mentioned Zeewolf, but Zeewolf 2 is worth mentioning separately because it can take advantage of fast RAM for a nice speed boost.)
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Old 19 April 2021, 15:57   #5
CodyJarrett
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Damocles (Mercenary II) has a great atmosphere, plot and freedom to roam:



Mercenary III is similar to Damocles but expands some of its systems, including taxis and interplanetary shuttles:



Infestation has a big underground base to explore:

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Old 19 April 2021, 16:02   #6
Cherno
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minuous View Post
Alone in the Dark does not qualify, according to your criteria.
But why Granted, it uses textures for the gradients and noise surfaces (at least I think so, the gradients could be achieved by vertex coloring), but I think the general style is not too far removed from flat-colored polygons

To clarify: Sprites and other 2D graphic styles are allowed if it has at least some 3D graphics.

The HOL list is a great source but I was hoping to read other people's experiences and also similar games on other platforms

Last edited by Cherno; 19 April 2021 at 16:07.
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Old 19 April 2021, 17:07   #7
Steril707
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Starglider 2

and

Zarch/Virus

Love this graphics style as well, and wish we would get some more games like this.
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Old 19 April 2021, 17:20   #8
gimbal
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I always thought that the 4th level of Beverly Hills Cop was quite alright in that "If I lie really hard to myself I can pretend this is somewhat like Wolfenstein3D" kind of way

It's more like a maze game than an actual shooter though.



For the usual movie-to-game conversion trash this game isn't actually that bad.
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Old 19 April 2021, 17:33   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CodyJarrett View Post
Damocles (Mercenary II) has a great atmosphere, plot and freedom to roam:
Cody got the answer right, no need for any more posts. This is the best

If we can go wireframe, then Mercenary edges it...
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Old 19 April 2021, 17:37   #10
Cherno
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That reminds me of

Robocop 3, 1993

The human enemies almost look like cardboard cutouts, but it was still one of the only FPS games at the times that had some resemblance to the upcoming games on the PC.


---------------------------------

Another very early (and overly ambitious) example is

The Terminator, 1991

Another open world game set in a fairly accurate representation of Los Angeles, where you could steal and drive vehicles, buy goods, break into stores, and get into shootouts with police offers. Kinda sounds like GTA! Also shares space on the "games with overly large statusbars" list.




---------------------------------

I don't care much about racing games and flight simulators, which are probably the genres that saw the most use of graphics like this, but of course feel free to share.

Last edited by Cherno; 20 April 2021 at 12:56.
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Old 19 April 2021, 19:40   #11
Etze
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherno View Post
I don't care much about racing games and flight simulators, which are probably the genres that saw the most use of graphics like this, but of course feel free to share.

So all(?) flight simulators qualify, but I'd like to mention a certain one: "Coala":


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Old 20 April 2021, 03:36   #12
Rotareneg
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M1 Tank Platoon:

[ Show youtube player ]

Starglider 2:

[ Show youtube player ]

The Colony
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Old 20 April 2021, 05:21   #13
NovaCoder
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DID the masters of old school 3D

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Old 20 April 2021, 07:25   #14
skan
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Frontier
Warhead
Cybercon 3
Corporation
Resolution 101
Battle Command
Armour Geddon
...
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Old 20 April 2021, 08:22   #15
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Powerdrome.
No Second Prize.

Star Strike II on Speccy.
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Old 20 April 2021, 09:15   #16
Steril707
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skan View Post
Frontier
Warhead
Cybercon 3
Corporation
Resolution 101
Battle Command
Armour Geddon
...
Warhead was amazing.
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Old 20 April 2021, 13:02   #17
Cherno
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Of course, let's not forget

Castle Master, 1990

Quite impressive graphics for the time.



---------------------------------

SEAL Team, 1993

Uses sprites for characters but vehicles, buildings and terrain are mostly in 3D. Has an interesting gradient effect for the ground to give a sense of distance.

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Old 20 April 2021, 13:29   #18
skan
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Oh, and Driller too!
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Old 21 April 2021, 08:14   #19
skan
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Warhead was amazing.
Indeed, tons of atmosphere, not to mention one of the best soundtracks EVER... And the Berzerker. I still have nightmares to this day!
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Old 21 April 2021, 10:06   #20
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The Killing Cloud! Lots of atmosphere.
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