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Back in the 90s, I used to be blown away every other month by some new game with better, more realistic graphics. Photorealism seemed like the ultimate ideal for computer games. But at some point in the last decade (probably around the time graphics got good enough that anyone attempting photorealism found themselves dipping into the Uncanny Valley) I decided that I much prefer stylised art.

 

A good recent example would probably be the two Dragon Age games. Dragon Age: Origins was a great game, but it looked horrible, because they'd gone for a realistic-as-possible look with an engine that just wasn't up to the task (although I personally think that even on an engine that is up to the task, photorealism doesn't look very good). Dragon Age 2, a considerably inferior sequel, looked much better because they'd gone for a far more stylised - almost cartoony - look. Especially for the character models. In fact, I personally think they should have taken it a few steps further down the stylisation road.

 

Ultimately, I'd love a fantasy game that looked like a hand-painted cover from a fantasy book. An RPG that looked like a Michael Whelan, or John Howe, or Frank Frazetta painting. One of the only things I liked about Diablo 3 was that the environments did kinda look like you were running around in a painting (too bad the rest of the game was so uninspiring).

 

Just wanted to float my opinion, see if it lined up with anyone else's.

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A good recent example would probably be the two Dragon Age games. Dragon Age: Origins was a great game, but it looked horrible, because they'd gone for a realistic-as-possible look with an engine that just wasn't up to the task (although I personally think that even on an engine that is up to the task, photorealism doesn't look very good). Dragon Age 2, a considerably inferior sequel, looked much better because they'd gone for a far more stylised - almost cartoony - look. Especially for the character models. In fact, I personally think they should have taken it a few steps further down the stylisation road.

 

I'd HEAVILY argue that point. DA2 didn't look better artistically. Nor do you see to remember DA:O correct if you call that one photorealistic.

Edited by C2B
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A good recent example would probably be the two Dragon Age games. Dragon Age: Origins was a great game, but it looked horrible, because they'd gone for a realistic-as-possible look with an engine that just wasn't up to the task (although I personally think that even on an engine that is up to the task, photorealism doesn't look very good). Dragon Age 2, a considerably inferior sequel, looked much better because they'd gone for a far more stylised - almost cartoony - look. Especially for the character models. In fact, I personally think they should have taken it a few steps further down the stylisation road.

 

I'd HEAVILY argue that point. DA2 didn't look better artistically. Nor do you see to remember DA:O correct if you call that one photorealistic.

 

I wasn't saying DA:O was actually photorealistic, I was saying it wasn't stylised at all. The characters in DA:O were as close to realistic as they could get with the engine they had - which was not very realistic looking. Or: the character models looked pretty terrible.

 

I would argue with you that DA2 looked better than DA:O. It wasn't the pinacle or stylistic graphics by any stretch, but they definitely improved their character models by painting them with broader strokes.

 

For a more concrete example of stylised graphics that look gorgeous (and I can't believe I didn't think of this game when I was typing up my original post):

Edited by slopesandsam
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3174865480_92167d62aa.jpg

Elves with hats.

 

You're right though, 3D is still in the "uncanny valley" where it's good but not near realistic enough to trick us, so the human reaction is revulsion, ie it's a bad imitation of what reality looks like.

 

Which is why 2D games which used "flattened" painted art and portraits based on real photographs or drawings age really well, while it only takes a year or two these days for the latest 3D graphics to get outdone by the next big game.

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Not photorealistic, but if it's stylized something in the vein of this

 

 

 

frankfrazetta-conan-the-destroyer-1971.jpg

 

 

 

I'd feel happy happy joy joy =D

 

Seriously, haven't we suffered enough from the so called "stylized" cartoon graphics already? I'd gladly take as photorealistic as possible as well, just as long as it doesn't look like yet-another-cartoon-game :/ I actually like e.g. Baldur's Gate's art style a lot, since it seems to fall to the stylized realism category the above represents as well.

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A good recent example would probably be the two Dragon Age games. Dragon Age: Origins was a great game, but it looked horrible, because they'd gone for a realistic-as-possible look with an engine that just wasn't up to the task (although I personally think that even on an engine that is up to the task, photorealism doesn't look very good). Dragon Age 2, a considerably inferior sequel, looked much better because they'd gone for a far more stylised - almost cartoony - look. Especially for the character models. In fact, I personally think they should have taken it a few steps further down the stylisation road.

 

I'd HEAVILY argue that point. DA2 didn't look better artistically. Nor do you see to remember DA:O correct if you call that one photorealistic.

Then I'd argue your point, although what's the point of arguing aesthetics? Still, DA2 has style. Like, everything has these triangular lines and angles and patterns. The shadows are sharper, the faces are more memorable. You may not like the style, bit it looks... complete. Whole. It creates the feel, the atmosphere.

 

DA:O, on the other hand, was absolutely generic and boring.

you can watch my triumphant procession to Rome

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I think DA2 with its "style" looks utterly ridiculous and all the characters have a plastic feel to them.

 

A cartoony feel does not go well with a serious RPG with mature themes. I sincerely hope they will anchor the style to realism in PE, and then just add some great designs and a stylised color palette to make it visually attractive.

 

You can definitely do stylized without going cartoony. The Disciples series do this very well and the art in Disciples 3, both 2D and 3D, is simply awesome.

 

I'm also hoping they will have a lot of 2D art in Project Eternity. Since you can't zoom in, it would be great to be able to inspect characters and monsters and see a hand drawn portrait, preferably in black and white, like illustration of an old book.

 

shot_0015.jpg3disciples3_144365.jpgdisciples3-healer-001b-1600.jpg

Edited by 1varangian
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Not photorealistic, but if it's stylized something in the vein of this

 

 

 

frankfrazetta-conan-the-destroyer-1971.jpg

 

 

 

I'd feel happy happy joy joy =D

 

Seriously, haven't we suffered enough from the so called "stylized" cartoon graphics already? I'd gladly take as photorealistic as possible as well, just as long as it doesn't look like yet-another-cartoon-game :/ I actually like e.g. Baldur's Gate's art style a lot, since it seems to fall to the stylized realism category the above represents as well.

 

Well, when I say "cartoony" I don't mean Saturday Morning Cartoons style. I don't think the artistic style of say, Sam & Max Hit the Road would suit a fantasy RPG. However, if the graphics of a game were designed to match the picture you linked, I would probably describe that as "cartoony", even if most other people wouldn't. It's going to be a style that looks more like a painting than a photo.

 

But if you try to make your graphics photorealistic, then the best possible result you're going to achieve is whatever the limitations of your technology are (and given that even AAA games haven't achieved true photorealism yet, then games with lower budgets are going to have pretty big limitations in that area). However, if you turn away from photorealism, then you have the option of working within your limitations, and producing something that looks really cool.

 

Another good example would be WoW. The graphics on WoW look really dated now (and they were behind the curve already when they first released WoW back in 2004), but the last few expansions have still managed to make the new zones and character models (relatively) pretty to look at, because they started going for a more stylistic approach, rather than trying to wrap degraded photos around blocky models.

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1varangian, that first screenshot you posted is pretty much the epitome of what I don't really want to see. Bland, boring, uninspired.

 

I think I may have thrown people off by using the word "cartoony". To clarify, what I'd really love to see is a living, breathing, moving, fantasy painting.

 

Something like this, come to life.

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if it would look like the recently released inquisitor i would be very happy

 

like so:

http://inquisitor-rp...quisitor_33.jpg

 

Sign.

 

Please don't make another comic-style game. I want a mature, dark and greedy world. Handcrafted and fine-grained backgrounds with dark age flair like Inquisitor, Diablo or BG are perfect for a game like this because they build a certain sense of atmosphere. And they don't look so artificial like recent 3D games (Dragon Age, Diablo 3, WoW, Amalur, even Skyrim)...

35167v4.jpg

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Not photorealistic, but if it's stylized something in the vein of this

 

 

 

frankfrazetta-conan-the-destroyer-1971.jpg

 

 

 

I'd feel happy happy joy joy =D

 

Seriously, haven't we suffered enough from the so called "stylized" cartoon graphics already? I'd gladly take as photorealistic as possible as well, just as long as it doesn't look like yet-another-cartoon-game :/ I actually like e.g. Baldur's Gate's art style a lot, since it seems to fall to the stylized realism category the above represents as well.

 

This is what I would call incredible stylized graphics. Yes please! Very good example. I also liked the graphics of Age of Conan in line with the theme of the photo.

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if it would look like the recently released inquisitor i would be very happy

 

like so:

http://inquisitor-rp...quisitor_33.jpg

 

Sign.

 

Please don't make another comic-style game. I want a mature, dark and greedy world. Handcrafted and fine-grained backgrounds with dark age flair like Inquisitor, Diablo or BG are perfect for a game like this because they build a certain sense of atmosphere. And they don't look so artificial like recent 3D games (Dragon Age, Diablo 3, WoW, Amalur, even Skyrim)...

 

Exactly. There's a sense of texture and depth to the world that often gets lost with an attempt at photorealism, but really shine forth with a darker stylized approach.

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It's true that Bastion is visually gorgeous, and I could see P:E getting closer to that than to Skyrim or something, but I'm sure that the devs have in mind something something more realistic than Bastion. This is the sort of game aspect where I really trust the devs to find their own way without too much community input.

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Not photorealistic, but if it's stylized something in the vein of this

 

 

 

frankfrazetta-conan-the-destroyer-1971.jpg

 

 

 

I'd feel happy happy joy joy =D

 

Seriously, haven't we suffered enough from the so called "stylized" cartoon graphics already? I'd gladly take as photorealistic as possible as well, just as long as it doesn't look like yet-another-cartoon-game :/ I actually like e.g. Baldur's Gate's art style a lot, since it seems to fall to the stylized realism category the above represents as well.

 

Personal opinion as always, but I am really, really not a fan of that Frank Frazetta style. Something about it is incredibly off-putting to me.

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Well I'm hoping for something that looks like this:

 

(It's a bit dark because I just took a screenshot from in-game, so everything's covered in fog of war.)

Kuldahar.jpg

 

 

Seriously, I think Icewind Dale is actually the best looking game I've ever played. It doesn't really look photorealistic exactly, but it's headed in that direction. I would love to see more games following this kind of artistic style.

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I'd love to see the general style of Temple of Elemental Evil, the 2D backdrops were probably already as good as it's going to get (it's basically drawing, and you can't draw much better no matter how many cores you have in the workstation). Even the 3D characters are pretty neat even by todays standards, and there the added horsepower can really come out to play.

 

312376-the-temple-of-elemental-evil-a-classic-greyhawk-adventure.jpg

Edited by Jarmo
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