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Next-gen graphics may stifle creativity?

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Once again the leap in graphics seemed to steal the spotlight at E3. As I looked at all the next-generation games it seemed that they all were trying to show off a ultra high resolution "realistic" look. The character models all seemed chunky (probably to show off the detailed textures), the draw distances were long, and the lighting affects were very dynamic. Do you guys think this is what we can expect from next-gen games? I personally would lament the death of games that look like Windwaker, Psychonauts, Okami. Creative graphics that aren't just attempts to mimic reality.

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Not to be a nazi, but in the sense you use it, it's 'effects'.

But to the point of the post, enh. I'd agree to a certain extent, but not very far. Notice how all the games you mentioned came from his generation? Because this was the first generation where that was really possible, there was a time when almost every game seemed to be going for the cartoony/Cel-shaded look (Wacked!, XIII,Mad dash, that racing game that game out for the Xbox right away, etc.). But that's just because it was the first generaion that could pull it off, sure there were games that tinkered with it before the current Gen, but none could really do it.

And I think the same is going to be for the uber-realistic graphics, but more so. Most games atleast go for 'realistic'. But now that they can hit 'uber-realistic', lots of them are going to try. Eventually I think it's going to fade out.

To be honest, I'm less worried about originality in graphics, and more about the lessening of originality in gameplay.

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Have you ever played such a game as Warcraft III or WoW? [wink] The graphics there are totally cartoony and there are loads of special FX at the same time.
To my mind, the 'effects' aspect and 'realism' aspect are not the same.
Besides, real-life isn't so full of realistic explosions and mana strikes, right? Games should look smooth.
Quote:
original post by HemoGloben
To be honest, I'm less worried about originality in graphics, and more about the lessening of originality in gameplay.

Absolutely true! Modern games usually don't add anything to the gameplay cliches used everywhere. Some new cliches are "adding RPG-stats to any game of any genre" or "trying to make a game that gives you absolute freedom of action". Sometimes i miss the old days when every game had its distinct look and feel and people actually invented things.

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Disclaimer: I'm always right. With exceptions.

People often tell me: "Don't say the bottle is half empty, but say that it's half full!" The thought behind this is that one should look at things on the bright side. How is this related to the topic? Well, you could imagine how these new features and processing power aren't just being used for realistic graphics. You could even make new effects (effects like in cel-shading) that weren't possible with the current generation of GPUs.
So: greater GPUs != more realism, but, greater GPUs == more everything.

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I'm all for next-gen graphics capabilities if they enable something that should always have been possible in the first place (like dynamic/uniform lighting: it's always been a pet peeve of mine how in "quality" ie. baked lightmap lighted games you can almost never shoot light sources, compared to vertex lighted like Freedom Fighters where it's no problem)

But this doesn't necessarily mean it should be about emulating reality as close as it can get... I don't know, at some point it's got to hit some critical threshold where making graphics/models/maps at that level will just be prohibitively time consuming & costly. Unless it's automated to a large degree or it's only the biggest behemoths making games anymore... (and I guess big behemoths aren't famous for creativity)

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The thing that I am worried about is the cost of creating graphics that will use these new GPUs to the full. As E3 stated, the cost of a next-gen game will run into the 8-figures. These costs are almost as much as the top publishers make as a profit. This means bad new for next-gen games.

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You know, this somehow reminds me of a quote Mr. LaMothe made in one of his older books (Black Art of 3D Game Programming, which taught me almost everything I know [smile]). He says, (referring to the DOS graphics) that graphics couldn't possibly get much better than what they had back then (people would hit a ceiling of progress), and people would start worrying more about gameplay cause everyone would have the same graphics.

Just goes to show 2 things - people have always been worried about gameplay (at least if always = a decade or less), and graphics will never stop progressing, no matter how realistic it already looks.

As for me, I don't care much for stylized graphics, unless it's perfected style where it adds a lot to the atmosphere of the game (I like Soul Calibur's II graphics for some reason, they look a lot better than 'realistic' graphics. It's probably also cause it's so smooth. Which leads me to ask, why do TV screens @ 25 FPS and interlaced look so much smoother than PC screens @ 100 Hz?). What I don't like are cliched graphics effects (lens flare, gradients in 2D games (use sparingly), the stupid glow effect that every single damn game today is using!!!). Gameplay remains an important point to me [smile].

Just my .02, and cheers!

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I think graphics started stifling creativity long ago! And I don't know if it will ever recover, as to do so would require the game-buying population to stop being obsessed with appearance (difficult when screenshots are perhaps the best way to represent the gameplaying experience in reviews and on the box), or for developers to be able to keep up with graphical trends without needing to invest ridiculous amounts on modelling and art.

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