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Child of Flame

'Realism' vs. Realism

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Based on the level of immersiveness I can get while playing games with different kinds of graphics, and more, or less fleshed out worlds and characters, I'm coming to the conclusion that this generation of games has reached a sort of Uncanny Valley.

 

While playing games like Beyond Good & Evil, Wind Waker, or even Torment to an extent (though not so much for the same reasons, Torment is more like interacting with a good book than a game), I keep finding myself much more immersed than games with the latest and greatest graphics like Half Life 2 or Doom III.

 

While Half Life 2, and Doom III both have very realistic looking graphics, the things that tend to break immersiveness in those games are the animations. Being conditioned from infancy to spot and recognise other humans, if any part of a human or humanoid's body isn't animated right in these games, it breaks immersiveness. Stutters do the same thing.

 

Games like Wind Waker and Beyond Good & Evil are quite heavy on story, and the developers while choosing a stylized more cartoony look, have fleshed out the world so well that it tends to seem like a living breathing world. Because these games don't try and look real, if the animations are slightly off, then they don't break immersiveness nearly as badly as they do in a game that does try to look real.

 

Sure on the next generation systems we're likely to be able to see fully video-realistic games, but are the development costs, and the investments (that tend to stifle innovation) worth it, when immersiveness can be achieved cheaper, making a failed title not quite as devastating, by using a stylistic art design?

 

I hope this post hasn't rambled too much, and that my point is gotten across well enough.

 

Basically just discuss your opinion on which type of design is better.

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I played Wind Waker for 5 minutes in a kiosk and was really unimpressed with the visual style. I felt like I was playing a cartoon aimed at 5 year olds. Games like XIII were 3D, fluid, animated stylized versions of 2D graphics. It played and looked like a comic book. I don't mind that.

 

I mind the horrid kiddie style of Wind Waker.

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Honestly if you only played the demo in a Kiosk, you didn't even give it a fair shake.

 

The Demo version IIRC, was just a tiny part of the first dungeon, you don't have any of the really fun gear, and there's no characters to get attached to, hell, it's even the most boring part of the entire world. A far better thing for them to have put in the demos would have been the co-op dungeon with Medli, now that was a fun dungeon.

 

I already knew your opinion though Ender, I suggest you pick up Beyond Good & Evil, as it's an even better example of what I'm talking about. Beautiful, stylized game that was. :)

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Guest Fishboot
Honestly if you only played the demon in a Kiosk, you didn't even give it a fair shake.

 

Did you win a golden fiddle, though?

 

In a serious vein, though, yes, I think stylized graphics can work even when set next to games approaching photorealism. I think that stylization may have inherent advantages psychologically, although I wouldn't try to point them out. It's easy to draw a parallel to drawn animation vs. recorded action in film, but that's actually a completely different ballgame since photorealistic games still have the fundamentals of animation and thus don't have to worry about cameras and other physical concerns that make animation and recorded action films different at the core, production-wise.

 

On the other hand, I don't know how well established it is that stylized is necessarily cheaper than photorealistic. You could consider middleware - think of Speedtree, for instance, which as far as I know is only set up to make photorealistic trees. Photorealistic at least has a unified standard - reality, which could mean easier asset sharing.

 

 

 

 

The best example of a photorealistic vs. stylized showdown on the market today might be Everquest 2 versus World of Warcraft; commercially it's pretty obvious that the stylized game pretty well drinks its morning coffee out of the hollowed-out skull of the photorealistic one. Obviously that isn't just about the art style, but at least it shows stylized art is not a dealbreaker.

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I am loser.

 

I do not know how that 'n' got there. :)

 

Also, though I didn't say it before, XIII was probably best shooter of the year, year it came out. The throwing knives in that game were the bestest ever, and all the environmental weapons, especially the broken glass shurikens, were extremely fun to use.

 

It saddens me that it stands less of a chance of getting it's intended sequel than Beyond Good & Evil considering it doesn't have anyone like Michel Ancel backing it. :)

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I understand your point about the Uncanny Valley (thanks for the link, btw) and I think it is a good one. After all, the very real cues that tip us off when we encounter someone who is socially "different", like a psychopath, are the same ones that will make a near-human character look completely not-human.

 

I also concur that it is a little premature to say there is any evidence of it yet, as we are nowhere near close enough with robotics or animation yet.

 

I haven't played XIII but it got good reviews (apart from David Duchovny's VO).

 

I think you make a good point, though, that it seems to be easier to make an immersive game without trying for photo-realism: after all, the Infocom games managed it without graphics at all. :D

 

The mind is trained to pick up differences and make gneralisations. Any shortcomings of a model will be noted (even if only subconsciously).

 

For example, I am able to tell if a person is Chinese, Japanese, Fillipino, Corean, etc; yet I cannot tell you how I can!

 

I can see the next step in the evolution of graphics, too. It will be supra-realistic. Just like the Ancient Greeks took the superior sculting skills of the Egyptians and, over a couple of centuries (c. 500BCE), created first total absolute reality with their superior materials (bronze instead of sandstone), next they produced works that looked more real than if they had cast a statue from a human mold. (Without going into too much detail, basically they used various optical techniques: they disected the human figure into quadrants, the left was in motion and the right standstill, and they added over-emphasis along the vinculum, so that the chest had an almost clever-made depth, and there was no coccyx to spoil the bifircation of the back plane.)

 

I think it is a cul-de-sac to chase ever-better graphical models. After all, the human eye doesn't even capture everything in the main field of vision. The reason there are such things as optical illusions is because someone has worked out some of the eye's wetware algorithms for short-circuiting the too-time consuning task of rendering the entire field of vision; after all, the attention span restricts what the brain is looking at, and most of the vision is lost within two seconds of the viewing (unlike aural memory, which is more like ten seconds).

 

Maybe if modern polygon sculters took a lead from the Ancient Greeks


OBSCVRVM PER OBSCVRIVS ET IGNOTVM PER IGNOTIVS

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OPVS ARTIFICEM PROBAT

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One example I have is Suikoden III and IV. Suikoden 3 had bright rich heavily stylized graphics with keyframed animations, while Suikoden IV had more realistic graphics with motion capture. The result was that Suikoden III had a far superior visual style, and the animation was great, while Suikoden IV was bland and the motion captured animations just didn't fit with the in game characters.

 

suikodenIV%2013.jpg

Suikoden IV

 

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Suikoden III


The area between the balls and the butt is a hotbed of terrorist activity.

Devastatorsig.jpg

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I disagree. Suikoden III has a Chibi look to it, and I likely wouldn't take the game seriously.

 

Given the two screenshots, I'd argue IV is a better looking game.

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Yeah, but the jury's still out. You can't judge a game by a screen-capture still.


OBSCVRVM PER OBSCVRIVS ET IGNOTVM PER IGNOTIVS

ingsoc.gif

OPVS ARTIFICEM PROBAT

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I think Suikoden 4 sucked.

 

Not because I've played it, but because it went from the 50$ range to the 20 dollar range in record time.

 

Proving "looks" aren't everything when it comes to games.

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I haven't played any of them.

 

Though I defend consoles, I haven't played a whole lot of console RPGs.

 

When I borrowed a friend's PS1 once (mine had died at the time) I started many of his JRPGs that I never finished that I really dug, like Xenogears, Legacy of Legalia, etc.

 

The only JRPG series I've played extensively however is the Final Fantasy series.

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I'm kinda bored with all RPGs of late, console and PC.

 

Seems neither format is putting out any really good RPGs.

 

I find myself playing far more action/adventure (i.e. horror and survival horror) games of late.

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I don't have time to play much of anything lately, so I've taken to beating games that have been sitting around. Doom 3 is boring me. Guantlet: Dark Legacy is boring me. Hunter: The Reckoning is really boring me.

 

I think I'll go back to GTA:SA which was frustrating me, or perhaps I'll fire up the emulators.

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Is that the Resident Evil 1 remake on the Cube?

 

I have it, and I played it for 5 minutes. I played the original on the PS1 quite a bit, though I never beat it. I always ran out of ammo, and kept getting frustrated that I have finite saves.

 

When I saw the exact same akward controls made it to the Cube, I didn't really decide to replay it, but I would like to beat the game someday.

 

I'm just neurotic about saving all the time. Not allowing me to save puts me off.

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