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Erondial

OpenGL Commerical vs Homemade Graphics?

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Well, I've always wondered, and now that I've started learning opengl, I think I better ask. For almost every single homemade project I've seen, the graphics are very much substandard when compared to most commercial games. What I'm asking, is there any reason other than the actual quality of the artwork and models that contributes to this? Or is there some other reason which makes writing high polygon models and high quality textures into the game more difficult/too slow?

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It's hard for a programmer to find a talented artist who will do quality work, especially for free, and vice versa. Everyone wants to make their dream game so everyone tries to start their own team, and usually it's hard to keep a group interested in someone elses game concept unless it is exceptionally well managed and such. In many cases the art you see might be 'programmer art' simply put in as a placeholder until there is enough functionality available in the game to attract an artist who can see that the project is serious and the programmer knows what he's doing. Nobody wants to waste time on a failed project, which many projects turn out being, especially about 99.9% of the MMO projects advertised on these very forums.

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A few things, I'd guess.

* Lack of a polished GUI. I understand that it's boring to make a main menu. It's boring and complicated to make a save-game feature. It's boring to make an installer. It's boring to integrate controls help into the game rather than sticking it three pages down in README.TXT. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do these things. If you don't, the rest of the game seems cheap.

* Lighting. I have no idea why this is the case, but 75% of the indie projects out there were apparently programmed by people who think that ambient or ambient+directional light and no shadows are perfectly fine. Combine that with the badly scaled, conspicuously tiled "grass" ground textures, and you've got the makings.

* Sloooooow animation. I tell all my students specifically not to do this. Many, many indie games would be improved if the guy could run about 50% faster.

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So tehre's no real performance reason behind it then? It's just the lack of proper models/textures/shadows?

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There mght be some performance issues but they are usually from lack of skill/knowlegde. home made projects are probably less efficient and badly designed compared to commercial games. This makes displaying the same number of polygons slower for homemade games so designers are forced to lower polygon counts, etc to compensate.

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I think there's also the fact that a lot of indie projcets are done with free textures and models, because they're done by programmers. Projects that have artists show.

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There's a lot of problems with working on an indie project, the biggest, I would think, is scale. I've worked with and for several projects, so far none, but my own small tools project, has succeeded.

Why do you think this is? I wrote several papers for school on how groups work together, and why they fail. It's a very complex topic that I would wager many teams and team leaders fail to take in to consideration.

The fact is that people need to feel vested in a project, and they need to clearly see that it is going somewhere. This is easier for people who've seen this done before and can visualize a finished product, these people, however, tend to be professionals, and they tend to already have a job. Group members can have a different vision of the finished product, and get frustrated when it doesn't turn out their way. It's fine to have input on the project, but it's not fine when people throw tantrums and threaten to walk out over small details. This causes people to lose interest and walk away in frustration.

It's hard to maintain realism when there's creativity involved, because creativity is a double-edged sword - it can make your project, and it can break your project.

This alone, is why I think MMORPG's is no place for beginners and hobbyists to start. I think that the maturity and technical abilities it takes to make such a huge project are far beyond what many hobby and indie studios are capable of, let alone many professional studios. This doesn't mean it's impossible.

With the right people, any project can be finished.

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Quote:
Original post by baldurk
I think there's also the fact that a lot of indie projcets are done with free textures and models, because they're done by programmers. Projects that have artists show.


Yeah, they're usually the ones with stunning renders of untextured weapons and other inert objects and nothing playable. (I'm only half joking here).

The sad fact is that it's very hard to find a good artist willing to work on a project. They either:
- Don't understand games, and end up creating million poly objects.
- Can only do one specific thing (like model objects, but can't texture or animate)
- Can only produce work in one style, or produce work with no coherant style.
- Will create a couple of things, then dissapear when the realise how much actual work is involved.
Those that can do all of the above have probably already got a job making games, or are trying to charge an arm and a leg...

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Simple, money talks.

Most artwork for professional games comes from full time employees. Without a job, the artist would have no food on the table, no money for rent and bills. If he does not product quality work on time, he's fired. He could lose his car, house/apartment and even his wife/girlfriend.

But on an indie project, an artist is not dependent on the pay (if any). He can come and go as he pleases and it won't have any effect on his life or well being.

It's as simple as that.

Bob

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