Game Development Reference
With isometric tilemaps you can get the best of both worlds—using two-dimensional
graphics to achieve a three-dimensional look. This is why isometric tilemap games are
so widely popular. Isometric tilemap games started to get a strong foothold in the late
1990s but slowly disappeared with the increasing 3D rendering performance of desktop
computers and consoles. They've reemerged with force in recent years in mobile games
and web games, where 3D rendering is very costly or unavailable. Examples range from
classic computer role-playing games like Ultima VII and Diablo to current Facebook-
hype Farmville and many of its official and unofficial companion games.
Isometric games allow you to create believable game worlds that seem to have spatial
depth with relatively simple graphics and tools. In addition, 2D graphics require far less
powerful devices than real 3D computer graphics.
Figure 11-1 shows an example of the isometric tilemap game you'll build in this chapter.
You'll control a ninja character who sneaks around in this world, avoiding collisions
with walls and mountains. The ninja will also be able to hide behind certain objects,
such as trees and cacti.