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Todays graphics requirments

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So its come to my attention that virtually every game created in recent years for the console or pc has had graphics as a primary selling point. Not that every game has had beautiful state-of-the-art renderings, but whatever happened to the days of pixle art? Secret of Mana, for example, is arguably one of the best games of all times (even by todays standards) and has to be considerable less expensive to develop compared to something such as God of War, yet, game developers have choosen to abandon this style game. I just don't get it. Another good example would be MapleSea (ie, MapleStory). Its free to play, makes all of its money off merchandise, and is nothing more than a good pixle-art mmo. Anyways, thats all I got. I just find it frustrating...

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well you see, there is evolution in the industry. if you can do better looking things why doing worse looking? today developers try to use the technology given to them up to the maximum of its abilities! plus good looking graphics gets you better in the world of the game. you feel better what's going on and more excited by it! for example a hack and slash game: you can swing your pixelated sword and hit an enemy making him disappear and splash a couple of red pixels or you could swing your 3d sword slashing an ugly looking beast in half! blood spraying everywhere as the beast dramaticaly falls on the ground and your sword becomes all covered in his red blood! drpping slowly on the great looking 3d floor! don't you agree the second kill is waay more saticfying?

but i do agree with you on some things. i played legend of lufia for the GBC and it has to be my favorite rpg ever! everything was absolutly perfect. so i tried the new GBA one...and it sucked...they added a LOT of unneccesery stuff...somekind of a weird rope and other additions which just flawed the perfection of the previous game!

so in conclusion i beliave graphical improvements ARE a good thing but developers should NEVER add stuff only to add stuff

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well you see, there is evolution in the industry. if you can do better looking things why doing worse looking?


2D has a very nice lasting quality and appeal that i really enjoy in alot of ways even more than 3D. But 3D allows for views and perspectives that would be, at best, akward in 2D. It is also true that 3D evolved out of 2D, but that doesn't make 2D inferior in my view, just a different type of style.

I've been wondering though, what would a purely 2D Pixel game look like if it required all the raw processing power todays computers have? Hmmm...

[Edited by - Gyrthok on January 1, 2006 4:09:27 PM]

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To my opinion 2d games can look just as beautiful as 3d games. Look at sonic the hedgehog 3. It's 2D and super low resolution, but i need new pants almost every time i play it!

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I think one of the key decision points for making a new game is marketability. At the moment screenshots and graphics reviews sell games. Also there is the audience aspect, a publisher wants to make a game that's targeted to the largest audience possible, and to do that it's taken that the game has to have great graphics (mostly).

A lot of games don't have brilliant realistic graphics, and I think we will see a leveling out of graphic realisim in the future because of the well known People's Faces are Weird(tm). As faces become more and more realistic, they start to get a haunted look, and look wrong. A cartoon face will look better than a face trying to be ultra realistic because the human eye will pick up all the bits that make the face look wrong, the errors are heightened by the realisim of the rest of the face.

We should also see a leveling out because it's becoming ridiculously expensive and soon there will be no real point making the graphics better because the added realism will be very slight.

If you are looking for games that don't have million dollar graphics, independent game developers have quite a bit to offer, same with flash games.

I completely agree that for certain types and genres of games there is no reason to use pretty graphics.

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Most games have good graphics because that's what the American market demands. Your average high school going American loves blood, gore, good looking race cars and sweat dripping down the face of their basketball player's neck.

I personally have never cared about graphics, but a lot of people do.

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Not every game released has high-quality graphics as a selling point. Nearly every successful indie or alternative styled game does not try to compete in the graphical tech race. I'd recommend to any small development house that they don't try to go overboard on the graphical side of things, as there's better ways to spend your time and resources than on trying to out-do the multi-million dollar budget games.

In my opinion pixel art is still viable. Firstly there's the hand-held and cell phone market, which is extremely large and mostly 2D. There's also those web based games (although vector based art is big there as well). You've also got the advantage that good pixel art has very low system requirements, so you can sell to those with lower spec computers or lacking a dedicated gaming video card, which is a huge market. I'm actually surprised that The Sims 2 and the latest Rollercoaster Tycooon games are quite high on the required specifications, as I thought the original's low requirements were a big factor in their success.

Not sure what else to add, other than I do agree with you. Some of my favourite games used hand-drawn 2D graphics, and I think that done well it competes with the 3D of today (hard to say what's better, as they have different strengths and weaknesses). Also, for any aspiring indie developers, I'd be wary of trying to invest too much on graphical bells and whistles in your game, because frankly it's just not feasible to compete with the big guys in this area. I'm also skeptical of the need for the latest and greatest graphics; sure, they do impress the magazine reviewers, but the majority of the market does not have the super high powered machines you need to run the latest games at high resolution. There's a reason why lower tech games such as The Sims, Rollercoaster Typcoon and Diablo sold so many copies.

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Original post by umbrae
I think one of the key decision points for making a new game is marketability. At the moment screenshots and graphics reviews sell games. Also there is the audience aspect, a publisher wants to make a game that's targeted to the largest audience possible, and to do that it's taken that the game has to have great graphics (mostly).

A lot of games don't have brilliant realistic graphics, and I think we will see a leveling out of graphic realisim in the future because of the well known People's Faces are Weird(tm). As faces become more and more realistic, they start to get a haunted look, and look wrong. A cartoon face will look better than a face trying to be ultra realistic because the human eye will pick up all the bits that make the face look wrong, the errors are heightened by the realisim of the rest of the face.

We should also see a leveling out because it's becoming ridiculously expensive and soon there will be no real point making the graphics better because the added realism will be very slight.

If you are looking for games that don't have million dollar graphics, independent game developers have quite a bit to offer, same with flash games.

I completely agree that for certain types and genres of games there is no reason to use pretty graphics.


it makes it HARDER to make realistic looking faces, but not impossible! plus...good graphics is not always aimed for realism! look at "Dead Or Alive 4"! those girls CANNOT be realistic!!!(DAMN HOT!) hehe...also you are saying that at a certain point it'll get so realistic that you won't be able to add-wrong! look at rts games, they have lower graphics-why? because they have a lot of things on the screen at the same time. so you'll start improving quantity. plus you can always imrove the effects! i mean try to get a game look like a movie (war of the worlds for example). obviously at some point 3d will not be able to improve anymore (we are far from that) and then we'll have holograms...or thingys that you put on your head and they telephaticly put the info in your head...i don't know...something we'll definatly have

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They all ready have that type of system were a ban on your head picks out your brainwaves controlling the computer using your mind which is cool but i think that will lead to lazyness and long term problems in the long run might even drive you insane.

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Original post by GameMasterXL
They all ready have that type of system were a ban on your head picks out your brainwaves controlling the computer using your mind which is cool but i think that will lead to lazyness and long term problems in the long run might even drive you insane.


you mean like world of warcraft. [lol]

seriously, imo, i don't mind if there is an absence of pixel shaders in a video game as long is there is good artwork. just look at metal gear solid 3. if that game looked like goldeneye, it wouldn't have the immersive value that it has now. also, monkey island 1 - 3 wouldn't be the same if the graphics in those games looked like a couple of scribbles in ms paint.

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Just wear a tinfoil hat under it, and you'll be fine.

If we ever manage to get the neural interface, we'll need a whole new graphics technology. We'll have to deal in geons instead of polygons. I don't think it would work as well as Far Cry.

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"If we ever manage to get the neural interface, we'll need a whole new graphics technology. We'll have to deal in geons instead of polygons. I don't think it would work as well as Far Cry."

If it's just control the computer with your mind, I don't think we'd need new graphics, just a new control input system which would totally change gaming forever I think. It may not be that far off, but I didn't think there was anything like that yet.

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Original post by umbrae
At the moment screenshots and graphics reviews sell games.

That's it in a nutshell.

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Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
Just wear a tinfoil hat under it, and you'll be fine.


Please read this!


To the original poster, I completely agree on your comments (except that Secret of Mana is potentially the all-time best game; being a longtime Ultima fan, I could argue for weeks on this one).

Nowadays, eye-candy in games holds the #1 market-share position. Things that look pretty, are flashy, and do things that their competitors can't/don't do, sell. Since we're pretty much limited to 3 senses when it comes to gaming (visual, aural, and tactile), the game console which stands out against its competitors will have great sound (e.g. SurroundSound), graphics (e.g. high polygon counts, pixel/vertex shading, visual realism), and 'touch' (e.g. Nintendo rumble-pak) capabilities. On top of this, games have to be outstanding as well!

Therein lies the problem. "Good gameplay" can't be shown on magazine pages or screenshots. Neither can "intriguing story", "emotion-gripping dialog", or "though-provoking philosophy". The games that we knew and loved in days past, had little graphics capabilities, tinny synth sound, and gods forfend if the controller/keyboard didn't do anything but sit there! Game developers had to come up with decent means of gripping the target audience, hence why those games seem more in-depth than new games today.

Lately I've been playing through Fable. While it's fun and all, and while it claims to offer depth of play, it really sometimes feels like "RPG on Rails".

Personally I miss pixel art. I suspect there might be a retro uprising in the near future, where some great games will gain some public eye, comparable to late-90's graphical feel, but tell wonderful stories and make us think. Or maybe I'm pipe-dreaming.

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I like Ultima as well. And I agree with your comment about Fable... As promising as it looked, it really really disappointed me.


At any rate, I see no reason why a well done 2D game couldn't be marketable on todays modern consoles. I just got into playing maple story this week, and while I find it quite repetative, its pretty damn cool... especially for being 2D and free. I just wish the gaming industry would wake and realize what they're missing out on.

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