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In techniques for computer games, fixed 3D is a three-dimensional (3D) representation of the game world where foreground objects (i.e. game characters) are rendered in real time against a fixed background. The principal advantage of this technique is the ability to include greater detail within a scene than could otherwise be afforded within the limits of contemporary technology. The main disadvantage is that the player's frame of reference remains fixed at all times, discluding any chance for the player to examine an environment from different angles.

Backgrounds in fixed 3D games tend to be pre-rendered as two-dimensional images, but are sometimes rendered in real time (i.e. Blade Runner). The developers of SimCity 4 took advantage of fixed perspective by not texturing the reverse sides of objects (and thereby speeding up rendering) which players could not see anyway.[1] Fixed 3D is also sometimes used to "fake" areas that are inaccessible to players. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, for instance, is nearly completely 3D, but uses fixed 3D to represent many of the building interiors and one entire town. (This technique was later dropped in favor of full-3D in its successor, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.) A similar technique, called a skybox, is used in many 3D games to represent distant background objects that are considered not worth rendering in real time.

Used heavily in the survival horror genre, it was first seen in Infogrames' Alone in the Dark series in the early 1990s. It was later revived and brought up to date by Capcom in the Resident Evil series. Gameplay-wise there is little difference between fixed 3D games and their 2D precursors. Players' ability to navigate within a scene tends to be limited, and interaction with the gameworld remains mostly "point-and-click".

Other examples of games that use fixed 3D include:


  1. ^ Pedriana, Paul. "Is SimCity 4 3D?". Maxis. Retrieved 2009-01-14.  

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