I'd just like to note that I find many "modern" games unappealing due to the excessive amounts of normal mapping they use without sufficient artistic control or physically-based accuracy.
If you can "bake in" physically-based effects into a diffuse map and make them look better than real-time approximations for the most part, then do it! There's a quality threshold between when an effect needs to be baked -- despite having many dynamic properties -- and when technology permits to achieve the same amount of static quality, but also properly capturing the dynamics.
I often find myself appreciating the 3D graphics and artwork of older 1998-2007 games more than many modern games for reasons like this.
Edit, other bludgeoned 'modern' effects:
- Low-res "Megatexturing"
- Terrible yellow-ish color graded fog which oddly seems to have transmission disproportionate to absorption. For instance: "Given the amount of over saturation the fog has caused, wouldn't the camera would be blind after only about 5 meters of depth? ... Yet it can see far beyond that."
- Over-exaggerated depth of field with a ridiculously horrid blur kernel
- And yet we still see INSANE amounts of bloom, though slightly (yes, I said slightly) more accurate than it was several years ago. Your increase in familiarity with color theory justifies little.
Edited by Reflexus, 05 October 2013 - 11:43 PM.