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Discussion Best workflow for creating 2D environnements with Parallax ?

Discussion in '2D' started by PaulMDev, Dec 27, 2022.

  1. PaulMDev


    Feb 19, 2019
    So I've been doing a Hollow Knight ripoff recently as a learning exercise, and I want to create a parallax effect to give my environments volume.
    I was planning of doing it by having a script on each layer that move them according to the camera position and also scale them down, so that I could still have a rough idea of were objects will be positioned when the camera will be close to them.
    But recently I learned that when making Hollow Knight the devs actually use the Z-axis and a perspective camera to create depth. And now I'm completely reconsidering my current architecture for environments.

    I looked at how Unity did it in the Dragon Crachers demo, and they have all layers on the same depth and use a script for parallax, but they don't scale the layers so it's impossible to know in advance where an object will be without pressing play.

    So, what do you think ?
    Is it better to move objects with a script or to rely on perspective?
    And should I use the Z-axis for occlusion or only the Sorting Layer system ?
    Even then Sorting Layers can always be used for 2D Lights, but is it good practice to have layers on a different depth even if we don't use it ?

    Since the answer will probably be different depending on the requirements, know that I'm not using a lot of tilemaps but mostly sprites placed everywhere and overlapping each-other. My goal is not to have the simplest or fastest workflow but the most flexible one while still having good performance.
  2. Lo-renzo


    Apr 8, 2018
    Perspective is probably easier for workflow. While it is possible to emulate parallax with scripts and some games take this approach, perspective with z-spaced objects makes it all happen automatically and intuitively.

    Script-based parallax may be useful if you want an orthographic camera and/or can't use a perspective for some reason.

    There's not going to be a significant performance difference between the two approaches.

    Sorting Layers: you may still want to use these in addition to z-spacing your objects purely so you can apply lights differently between your foreground and background layers. I would probably simply decide to have something like 7 layers, spaced in z, but also - for lights - give each one a different Sorting Layer.