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Brink looks like **** in terms of character models. That's incredibly poor art direction that looks like it's geared toward the tween demographic.

I think it looks great, like a more gritty version of Team (Tween?) Fortress 2.

Edited by virumor

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

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Look at the game it speaks for itself.

 

Try comparing it to something else with strong art direction, like say Brink, heck even Mass Effect.

 

Brink looks like **** in terms of character models. That's incredibly poor art direction that looks like it's geared toward the tween demographic.

 

That's an interesting thing though, and it actually speaks in favor of Nightshape, from a certain POV : Brink has a strong art direction, so strong actually, that it elicited a <<the characters looks like 'four-letters-word-that-I-am-not-sure-what-it-is-but-I-certainly-have-an-idea' >>.

As for Alpha Protocol's art direction, I don't know, I'll comment when I play it.

New Vegas seems to have a much more coherent art direction and look than Alpha Protocol though.

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Look at the game it speaks for itself.

 

Try comparing it to something else with strong art direction, like say Brink, heck even Mass Effect.

 

Brink looks like **** in terms of character models. That's incredibly poor art direction that looks like it's geared toward the tween demographic.

 

That's an interesting thing though, and it actually speaks in favor of Nightshape, from a certain POV : Brink has a strong art direction, so strong actually, that it elicited a <<the characters looks like 'four-letters-word-that-I-am-not-sure-what-it-is-but-I-certainly-have-an-idea' >>.

As for Alpha Protocol's art direction, I don't know, I'll comment when I play it.

New Vegas seems to have a much more coherent art direction and look than Alpha Protocol though.

 

http://ve3dmedia.ign.com/images/05/20/52004_Brink-02.jpg

 

No, it's piss poor horrible. Fact. And yes, my opinion = irrefutable factoid. :*

 

And I'm excited for Brink since I like Splash Damage. Wolfenstein: ET, yum.

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I like the graphics. They're supposed to bring out the best of real world locations and they do. While they're no visual stunner, they're not supposed to be artistic in any way whatsoever. This isn't Okami. I don't want it to pull a Conviction and shoehorn in black & white filters. Keep the artistic crap out.

He's not asking for artistic filters, he's asking for ART DIRECTION, you know varied environments with different color palettes etc; not some sepia filter.

 

Its a lost cause bro. The people here will defend AP to the grave. This games art direction is generic at best, but try getting that point across here. I mean, just except the game for what it is. Right? :*

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http://ve3dmedia.ign.com/images/05/20/52004_Brink-02.jpg

 

No, it's piss poor horrible. Fact. And yes, my opinion = irrefutable factoid. :)

 

And I'm excited for Brink since I like Splash Damage. Wolfenstein: ET, yum.

 

... You understand what I said.. right?

You think they're horrible because you think the style is horrible.

Point is... the criticism here is that Alpha Protocol lacks a focus, a style when it comes to art.

Just look at another Obsidian's project : New Vegas.

Magically that flaw just isn't there. There is a sense of style. You may or may not like the style, feel like they could have done a better job with assets, etc. but the style is there.

When I look at Alpha Protocol's screenshots, I don't get that sense of style. Part of it may come from the fact that the game world is pretty real-world inspired, but even then, it does feel a bit disjointed.

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I've followed these guys for years, and this really is a step backwards for them as a developer, its sad.

Wait, aren't you the guy who worked on that crappy Operation Flashpoint sequel? So much for taking steps backward.

 

Never touched OFP. I haven't even played it.

Edited by Nightshape

I came up with Crate 3.0 technology. 

Crate 4.0 - we shall just have to wait and see.

Down and out on the Solomani Rim
Now the Spinward Marches don't look so GRIM!


 

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Can anyone tell me what happened with Borderlands and why they made certain changes to the game? Does anyone know the reasoning behind the changes and how it contributed to the success of the game?

 

I believe this answer pertains to the subject. If Borderlands didn't make certain changes, it would be where AP is at current in regards to the visual experience and marketing value. Just my 2 cents.

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Look at the game it speaks for itself.

 

Try comparing it to something else with strong art direction, like say Brink, heck even Mass Effect.

Heh, even Mass Effect? Somewhat ironic given its one size fits all film grain filter application to cover up its visual quirks.

 

Really though, why not at least pick a coherently, consistently and interestingly visual themed game like Bioshock (even Oblivion or Fallout 3 is a better example, art direction wise) for a comparison rather than Mass Effect whose art direction could not be more generic sci-fi if it tried?

 

And buy Kaftan a beer sometime, he basically rescued your argument single handed. Until then I haven't seen a more confused critique of art direction for ages.

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http://ve3dmedia.ign.com/images/05/20/52004_Brink-02.jpg

 

No, it's piss poor horrible. Fact. And yes, my opinion = irrefutable factoid. o:)

 

And I'm excited for Brink since I like Splash Damage. Wolfenstein: ET, yum.

 

... You understand what I said.. right?

You think they're horrible because you think the style is horrible.

Point is... the criticism here is that Alpha Protocol lacks a focus, a style when it comes to art.

Just look at another Obsidian's project : New Vegas.

Magically that flaw just isn't there. There is a sense of style. You may or may not like the style, feel like they could have done a better job with assets, etc. but the style is there.

When I look at Alpha Protocol's screenshots, I don't get that sense of style. Part of it may come from the fact that the game world is pretty real-world inspired, but even then, it does feel a bit disjointed.

 

Real life doesn't need style.

 

And I disagree that AP lacks style. Obviously you haven't met many of the characters in AP. A few have a lot of style and their artistic design is interesting. How many games do you see with characters that are scene girls with pink hair and a lip piercing?

 

Brink looks about as stylistic as The Club. I'll take a real world look over a craptastic art direction, thank you very much.

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Real life doesn't need style.

 

And I disagree that AP lacks style. Obviously you haven't met many of the characters in AP. A few have a lot of style and their artistic design is interesting. How many games do you see with characters that are scene girls with pink hair and a lip piercing?

 

Brink looks about as stylistic as The Club. I'll take a real world look over a craptastic art direction, thank you very much.

 

 

Here's the fundamental problem. The "real life" style you talk about has a catch. It dramatically increases the alienation effect. In other words, immersion is easily destroyed. The more "surreal" the art style is, the more the player can cope with the visuals. The game play needs to reflect the "real" of which you speak. Therefore, the fact that you have a RPG with its clearly unnatural mechanics/mode of play and an art style that is "real" as opposed to "surreal", the flow is easily ruined. It is much harder to make an immersive game when the mechanics and art style require much more polish and attention to detail. AP might end up being a risk that didn't pan out as some would have otherwise hoped. It's not unusual in this industry.

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Look at the game it speaks for itself.

 

Try comparing it to something else with strong art direction, like say Brink, heck even Mass Effect.

Heh, even Mass Effect? Somewhat ironic given its one size fits all film grain filter application to cover up its visual quirks.

 

Really though, why not at least pick a coherently, consistently and interestingly visual themed game like Bioshock (even Oblivion or Fallout 3 is a better example, art direction wise) for a comparison rather than Mass Effect whose art direction could not be more generic sci-fi if it tried?

 

And buy Kaftan a beer sometime, he basically rescued your argument single handed. Until then I haven't seen a more confused critique of art direction for ages.

 

Considering how tired I am at the moment, I'm not surprised I appear confused, the fact I can string togeather words is amazing.

 

I was pointing at Mass Effect because it isn't stella in regards to art direction, but its better than AP, more tonal ranges that are sensible coupled with a complimentary pallete where the GUI is considered considered.

 

Bioshock is a good example, I wouldn't disagree with you, and I was looking at Brink on basis that, love it or hate it, it certainly pushes its style into your face.

 

Saudi Arabia is so painfully yellow... It's like the spinal tap of art direction. Turned upto 11, and it clashes so badly with the GUI, and this is the first true area the player encounters, it leaves a bad taste in ones mouth. Any detail that the environment artwork has is just steam rolled. It's so bad that pink become yellow, brown... Yellow... It's just an assualt of yellow. Now I have no issue with the yellows, but the tonal range is so tight, that from a rendering perspective everything is flat despite the existance of some subtle normal mapping on surfaces, its like welcome to box land. Everything is so painfully cheap when it comes to the polycount, the actual rendering lighting, sorry... LACK of lighting, is hidden behind this one blat of colour. Shadows are prebaked into the environments, the character shadows look like they may be stencil based but I haven't examined them in close detail.

 

Now if we look at the core action gameplay and add that to its dull visual appearance we're not going to end up in a nice place.

 

The general shooting mechanics are some of the worst I have experienced, they cripple the player, it ends up making more sense to run upto enemies and mash B, its more effective. While there has been an attempt to balance the this gameplay via typical and expected RPG mechanics, it fails to work, it hinders fun and makes combat a chore. That shouldn't be the case at all, if the intent is to effect accuracy so dramatically, then make the shots count for more, what I'm expecting as my experience progress's is that the core gunplay will actually end up being alot tighter as the character becomes more able. The problem is that the range between, playable, and where we start is so out of whack that it results in a broken game when you start out. Couple that with a poorly configured right thumb stick, which hasn't seen a curve, and you're even more borked. Fundementally the shooting is broken at its core by this. Movement should be based off gradual and sensible curves, the result in AP is so digital it's all or nothing.

 

So far I would say:

 

  • Art Direction - Fail
    Core Shooting Mechanics - Fail

 

I'm most of the way through Rome at the moment.

 

I'll expand as I continue.

Edited by Nightshape

I came up with Crate 3.0 technology. 

Crate 4.0 - we shall just have to wait and see.

Down and out on the Solomani Rim
Now the Spinward Marches don't look so GRIM!


 

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Real life doesn't need style.

 

And I disagree that AP lacks style. Obviously you haven't met many of the characters in AP. A few have a lot of style and their artistic design is interesting. How many games do you see with characters that are scene girls with pink hair and a lip piercing?

 

Brink looks about as stylistic as The Club. I'll take a real world look over a craptastic art direction, thank you very much.

 

 

Here's the fundamental problem. The "real life" style you talk about has a catch. It dramatically increases the alienation effect. In other words, immersion is easily destroyed. The more "surreal" the art style is, the more the player can cope with the visuals. The game play needs to reflect the "real" of which you speak. Therefore, the fact that you have a RPG with its clearly unnatural mechanics/mode of play and an art style that is "real" as opposed to "surreal", the flow is easily ruined. It is much harder to make an immersive game when the mechanics and art style require much more polish and attention to detail. AP might end up being a risk that didn't pan out as some would have otherwise hoped. It's not unusual in this industry.

 

In trying to attain some kind of "real life", "uncanny valley" look, Heavy Rain is perhaps the best example that springs to mind, AP doesn't even come close to nailing "real life", its leaning more towards cartoon real life if anything.

I came up with Crate 3.0 technology. 

Crate 4.0 - we shall just have to wait and see.

Down and out on the Solomani Rim
Now the Spinward Marches don't look so GRIM!


 

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Real life doesn't need style.

 

And I disagree that AP lacks style. Obviously you haven't met many of the characters in AP. A few have a lot of style and their artistic design is interesting. How many games do you see with characters that are scene girls with pink hair and a lip piercing?

 

Brink looks about as stylistic as The Club. I'll take a real world look over a craptastic art direction, thank you very much.

 

 

Here's the fundamental problem. The "real life" style you talk about has a catch. It dramatically increases the alienation effect. In other words, immersion is easily destroyed. The more "surreal" the art style is, the more the player can cope with the visuals. The game play needs to reflect the "real" of which you speak. Therefore, the fact that you have a RPG with its clearly unnatural mechanics/mode of play and an art style that is "real" as opposed to "surreal", the flow is easily ruined. It is much harder to make an immersive game when the mechanics and art style require much more polish and attention to detail. AP might end up being a risk that didn't pan out as some would have otherwise hoped. It's not unusual in this industry.

 

In trying to attain some kind of "real life", "uncanny valley" look, Heavy Rain is perhaps the best example that springs to mind, AP doesn't even come close to nailing "real life", its leaning more towards cartoon real life if anything.

 

That's exactly the point, if the style is supposed to be somewhat surreal, the visuals need to maintain the consistency with that. If it is going for a "real" look, then certain rules need to be followed. Actually it is generally a rule of thumb, regardless of real or surreal, to follow basic rules when dealing with lighting over all visual flow. Not to bash Obsidian, but they really missed on that aspect of Alpha Protocol. I haven't played the game, this is just going off the video footage and screen shots seen.

 

For the Unreal 3 engine, there is no logical reason why AP looks the way it does. The engine can handle much more than what is seen and much of the work can be done for the developer, yet for some reason many of these built in features are missing completely. It feels as though the art assets used in the game were due to outsourcing, most likely from some Asian country (could be wrong, but that's the impression I get from the art assets). Not sure where the lighting expert was, but proper lighting is all but missing from what I see.

 

One of the most common, and unfortunate mistakes, seen in the industry is the "shadow mistake". What this means is that art lead often forgets or does not know about the rule regarding shadows. All shadows must take on the color opposite of which they come from on the color wheel, darkened and desaturated. For example, if you have a red light, the shadow must be green. Now in order to make it realistic, you would desaturate the green so its not as prominent as the light source itself and therefore barely visible in color. Some of the textures I see in the game are way to big for what they are on and often the color tones as well as variety do not match the environment.

 

I have a feeling this type of game is new for Obsidian, the design from what I hear is actually very good and ambitious, however the resources might not have been there to make the design a solid reality. They may not have been familiar with the Unreal Engine as well, which can set development studio's back in quality if they have to learn as they go.

Edited by DataDay
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Real life doesn't need style.

 

And I disagree that AP lacks style. Obviously you haven't met many of the characters in AP. A few have a lot of style and their artistic design is interesting. How many games do you see with characters that are scene girls with pink hair and a lip piercing?

 

Brink looks about as stylistic as The Club. I'll take a real world look over a craptastic art direction, thank you very much.

 

 

Here's the fundamental problem. The "real life" style you talk about has a catch. It dramatically increases the alienation effect. In other words, immersion is easily destroyed. The more "surreal" the art style is, the more the player can cope with the visuals. The game play needs to reflect the "real" of which you speak. Therefore, the fact that you have a RPG with its clearly unnatural mechanics/mode of play and an art style that is "real" as opposed to "surreal", the flow is easily ruined. It is much harder to make an immersive game when the mechanics and art style require much more polish and attention to detail. AP might end up being a risk that didn't pan out as some would have otherwise hoped. It's not unusual in this industry.

 

In trying to attain some kind of "real life", "uncanny valley" look, Heavy Rain is perhaps the best example that springs to mind, AP doesn't even come close to nailing "real life", its leaning more towards cartoon real life if anything.

 

Could go into spoiler territory regarding Heavy Rain. This is your warning.

 

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Completely disagree. Many of the animations in Heavy Rain pushed the impressive character models in Heavy Rain into the "uncanny valley".

 

If you received this section in the end, where Norman Jayden is on a television program, and his hands/arms are spazzing out like he's trying to spin a record. And don't forget Ms. Lauren Winters: member of the "uncanny valley".

 

Oh, and we shall not forget the love scene, especially when kissing is involved. And let's also not forget when Ethan Mars put his shirt back on after the love scene. The shirt moved like a solid brick and had no fabric/material light weight to it.

 

Heavy Rain was real life without the style (save for some scenes like the club scene). And while the character models had a lot of detail, they often animated in absolutely awful ways.

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You know it is funny, I came to this game as this is the last chance Obsidian had to make a good game. I mean Torment was AWESOME, but that was not made by the company Obsidian, just people in it.

 

Kotor 2 was great for about 2/3 of the game then fell apart. Fans blamed Lucas Arts.

 

NWN2 was great for about 2/3 of the game then fall apart. Fans made more excuses. But me, I was thinking what do those 2 have in common? Obsidian.

 

MOTB was good (not great to me) and SOZ was fun. But neither made up for Kotor2 and NWN2 to me.

 

Alpha Protocol has done HUGE strides to make up for them to me. It had great writing, a fun ending (YES! It actually had a full and complete Ending!) and the game mechanics were fun. I could snipe, head shot, kung fu, stealth, assault, etc. and they all were fun. I used mines/grenades to soften up areas, used EMPs when I got tired of hacking, etc.

 

The art direction seems fine to me. Each area has a feel that fits I think.

 

Saudi is desert and so yellow because it is a freaking desert. Hot, harsh sandy and no beach. No bikini girls running around playing vollyball, just sand, heat and terrorists.

 

Rome was very nice. The Safe house was pimping, the ruins were nice and the villa and Museum was very lavish.

 

Moscow being portrayed as cold, snowy and dreary brought to mind movie scenes such as the opening of Hunt for Red October and Germany in the Bourne Identity.

 

Taipei was a welcome mixture of slums and lavish gardens. I felt it was a good blend of the two and had a nice feel to it.

 

So while I am not a developer, I am a very happy consumer (on my 3rd playthrough now).

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Real life doesn't need style.

 

And I disagree that AP lacks style. Obviously you haven't met many of the characters in AP. A few have a lot of style and their artistic design is interesting. How many games do you see with characters that are scene girls with pink hair and a lip piercing?

 

Brink looks about as stylistic as The Club. I'll take a real world look over a craptastic art direction, thank you very much.

 

 

Here's the fundamental problem. The "real life" style you talk about has a catch. It dramatically increases the alienation effect. In other words, immersion is easily destroyed. The more "surreal" the art style is, the more the player can cope with the visuals. The game play needs to reflect the "real" of which you speak. Therefore, the fact that you have a RPG with its clearly unnatural mechanics/mode of play and an art style that is "real" as opposed to "surreal", the flow is easily ruined. It is much harder to make an immersive game when the mechanics and art style require much more polish and attention to detail. AP might end up being a risk that didn't pan out as some would have otherwise hoped. It's not unusual in this industry.

 

In trying to attain some kind of "real life", "uncanny valley" look, Heavy Rain is perhaps the best example that springs to mind, AP doesn't even come close to nailing "real life", its leaning more towards cartoon real life if anything.

 

Could go into spoiler territory regarding Heavy Rain. This is your warning.

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Completely disagree. Many of the animations in Heavy Rain pushed the impressive character models in Heavy Rain into the "uncanny valley".

 

If you received this section in the end, where Norman Jayden is on a television program, and his hands/arms are spazzing out like he's trying to spin a record. And don't forget Ms. Lauren Winters: member of the "uncanny valley".

 

Oh, and we shall not forget the love scene, especially when kissing is involved. And let's also not forget when Ethan Mars put his shirt back on after the love scene. The shirt moved like a solid brick and had no fabric/material light weight to it.

 

Heavy Rain was real life without the style (save for some scenes like the club scene). And while the character models had a lot of detail, they often animated in absolutely awful ways.

 

I haven't even mentioned animation in Alpha Protocol or Heavy Rain... I was merely speaking about art.

 

Just because Heavy Rain is the best example I can bring to mind, doesn't mean it hasn't got it's own bag of issues, but compared with AP, I believe it has a consistant and more professional art direction, considering that both games are supposed to be emulating "Real Life".

 

From a story perspective, I am finding Alpha Protocol to be extremely entertaining, and the fact that most of Rome isn't exploiting the poorly implemented shooting mechancis this means I am happier.

 

It's still visually trapped in the previous generation though... I've taken the time to take a closer look at the texture work, high frequency and noisey textures always compress badly, and the texture in AP compress badly for those reasons. Also lots and lots of low resolution textures, I'd hazard to say that there are some 64x64 and 128x128's and some of the larger props, but there is noise everywhere, throughout the game, and the result is so spangley that I wouldn't be surprised if it was the bad art, not playing well with the DXT compression which has resulted in the single and two tone art direction in a hope that nobody would notice.

 

So where were we...

 

Ah yes...

 


  1. Art Direction - Fail
    Gun Mechanics - Fail
    Texturing - Fail
    Story - Win

 

I'm sure I'll have more comments as the weeks pass, and I haul my butt through this game.

I came up with Crate 3.0 technology. 

Crate 4.0 - we shall just have to wait and see.

Down and out on the Solomani Rim
Now the Spinward Marches don't look so GRIM!


 

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It's still visually trapped in the previous generation though... I've taken the time to take a closer look at the texture work, high frequency and noisey textures always compress badly, and the texture in AP compress badly for those reasons. Also lots and lots of low resolution textures, I'd hazard to say that there are some 64x64 and 128x128's and some of the larger props, but there is noise everywhere, throughout the game, and the result is so spangley that I wouldn't be surprised if it was the bad art, not playing well with the DXT compression which has resulted in the single and two tone art direction in a hope that nobody would notice.

An honest question: What would be your defining line between "previous generation" and "next generation" games? Is it some innovations in newer game engines? A set of new technical capabilities that if a game doesn't support, it is filed under "Previous Gen"?

 

I'm not trying to counter your arguments, i haven't even played Alpha Protocol yet, it's just that i'm tired of this "Next Gen" vs. "Last Gen" handwaving. For example, people were all "OMG Next Gen" about Fallout 3, and it didn't look that impressive (apart from the long drawing distances maybe) compared to 3 or 4 years older games, at least not enough to warrant a "generation" shift.

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