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How can I mimic the level design in the game called Ragnarok Online?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by SFoxx28, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. SFoxx28


    May 4, 2017
    <iframe width="640" height="360" src="
    " frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Skip to 0:55 to see the world map.

    Hello everyone, I'd like to create a level similar to what Ragnarok Online has. The world itself is 3-D and in in a few places it appears to be voxel. At the same time all the characters are 2D including NPCs. For now I want to focus on the level design.

    I don't know the proper terminology to accurately describe Ragnarok's level design so I'm hoping someone here has a few tips.

    Can you direct me to the type of tools or software for Unity I would use to mimic the level of Ragnarok?

    It does not have to be a direct/exact clone of it, just similar.

    Thank you
  2. wyatttt


    Unity Technologies

    May 9, 2018
    There are a lot of assets available on the Asset Store that can help you accomplish this (a lot of them probably free, too). You can get a lot of the models and textures you might need from there.

    ProBuilder, PolyBrush, and Terrain in Unity are also sufficient for this aside from authoring the textures.
  3. hippocoder


    Digital Ape Moderator

    Apr 11, 2010
    I'd find the Unity terrain more than sufficient for most of the game too, for the ground.
  4. Paul-Swanson


    Jan 22, 2014
    Iv worked heavily with the game itself, and even run a private server for it at one point, made custom dungeosn and mobs.
    Its a Hybrid 3d 2D engine.
    Commonly known as 2.5D
    Its from a Isometric POV, but they did not remove depth.
    All you need here is Unity terrain at a -70 degree camera angle and a culling cube just off screen.
    Characters are all just Billboarded NPCs with 8 directional sprites
    I assure you there is zero Voxel at play here or anything geometrically generated at runtime. Its a very simple game graphically tbh.
    Most of the Objects themselves are cleverly tiled texture primitives with vertex lighting to fake illumination. Occasionally you'd see torches cast real time lights...but other than that its all baked.
    Remember this game came out in Korea originally in 2002, SVGA and graphics card were only just then a common thing, and they were really weak, so they needed things that were extremely easy to render...which left them with primitives and a rendering cost slightly above what N64\PS2 could do.

    They just have zone lines after you enter a hole or walk far enough on each map.

    I hope this might have answered some of your questions, if not please ask for more. I'm somewhat...and I mean this loosely, very loosely an expert on how that game works. At the very least more than most...As Iv like I said tweaked it at runtime on my own servers
  5. noirskoll


    Jan 19, 2018
    You would most likely need to use a different engine cause the ragnarok engine runs on a mix of granny, unreal engine 2.5 and the characters are sprites made using bmps compressed into a file container. I run a ragnarok server and make custom maps models and everything for the game and most of the tools cant import into unity as far as I've seen besides it would be a waste since ragnarok is limited by vertical texture amounts. Map wise you could look at browedit to see how mapping and lighting works for reference but it's better just coming up with a new system or maybe using one of the failed RO2s as a basis for it and I think there was a couple tools to port some of the models into unity
  6. CarterG81


    Jul 25, 2013
    As others have stated this is as simple as 2D sprites in a 3D world. Unity is actually one of the best engines for this because it is more than perfect for this, despite what noirskoll is saying (I would honestly ignore that post entirely, no offense. It seems to imply you want to directly rip all the assets/data from RO or something)

    There are many ways to do games like this. Some use 3D terrain as others have stated. Some use 2D for all artwork, like Don't Starve, but the world is in 3D so the ground texture could be 2D, could be repeated in any 3D shape, could be Unity terrain, or it could be all procedural. It just depends how you want it - all the 2D options look relatively the same for the most part but 3D can look a lot different with more depth (which isnt necessarily a good thing) but Unity is a great choice here. RO seems to do everything in 3D except the characters, which IMO is odd but it works I guess. Not sure why they do this though as the sprites have to be drawn at multiple directions and being of a different style than everything else is less natural than everything being 2D or 3D. 3D has 360 angles rather than 1-8, so you make one character rather than every character being drawn at every major angle. There is a reason games like mine or Dont Starve are purely 2D, and there is a reason most 3D games have 3D characters. I assume they either had separately skilled highly talented artists, found it cheaper as a studio to skimp on the characters, or for some reason loved the style of 3D everything but characters.

    The biggest part of this style is the Camera, the 3D worldspace, and the 2D sprites. It is up to you what is 2D and what is 3D when it comes to everything but the Camera.

    My game is tile based and uses 2D sprites for everything, which IMO is more cohesive artistically than 3D objects in a 3D world with 2D characters. Don't Starve and other games also share this style.

    HoneyTreeCampsite with new grass 1080.png

    There are two ways to handle the Camera. Perspective or Orthographic (or both). Perspective will mean the sprites closer to the camera (bottom) will be larger while the sprites further away (top) will be smaller. Orthographic means the top and bottom will be the true Sprite size. You can tell in any game by moving towards/away from objects and seeing if they change size.

    Depending on how you do it, your camera could be at literally any angle. Isometric, Dimetric, or even Third Person. There are tricks for everything. I am on mobile so I cant look up the specific angle of RO, but any isometric or dimetric angle would likely suffice. Remember there is always the option of letting the player decide too.

    There are a lot of inherent problems that automatically come with this rendering style. One of the biggest ones are oversized objects like large towers, walls, or beanstalk. Artistically there are a lot of ways to handle this. Your imagination and personal critique is the limit, really. Look at how other games do it before automatically deciding RO is the best way.

    Another problem is transparency behind objects. Some games dont even solve this problem and the player disappears from view behind other sprites or objects - sometimes in a good way (mario) and sometimes not. I found one asset store asset to be the best and easiest solution for this, See Through System. Unity is fantastic for this problem, especially with that asset. It isnt always easy as making sprites transparent, especially when they have multiple layers.

    For a Multiplayer game or MMORPG or Open World Game there are also tons of problems that need solving.

    Anyway, even a singleplayer game like RO is going to be an enormous task. There are a lot of problems to solve and if you include networking multiplayer it multiplies the number of problems and must be done from the start as non-local multiplayer will change how EVERYTHING is done, especially world streaming and asset loading.

    I included extra info about making these games because when you do there are hundreds of design decisions and automatic problems you have to resolve. It isnt as simple as just implementing the style. The style is simple to implement especially in Unity, but the problems in gameplay are not easily solved unless you are cheap. (Some games will just avoid all the problems rather than solve them, like never having tall objects or never allowing players behind big trees).

    I would have to play RO for a bit to really see what it would take to clone every bit of it. I liked the game alot but I guess I never noticed the 3D objects everywhere besides the buildings.

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019