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NEXUSKill

Is Photorealism a bad aproach?

16 posts in this topic

Ok, I'm no artist, but I started to get this weird feeling so I started asking around and almost every gamedev and gamer I know agrees...

That this image:


http://www.niubie.com/up/2008/01/imp.gif

Is far more memorable than this one:


http://i308.photobucket.com/albums/kk353/kratos-niko/Doom3_imp.jpg

Are we as an industry making a terrible mistake putting so much emphasis in Photorealistic graphics?

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More memorable perhaps, is memorable what your after though? Photorealism help with immersion, I guess it really depends on the game - both have their place.
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you simply dont get it. at the time doom was in the making they couldnt do anything more photorealistic of that.. it is not that they had a choice between the two and they decided: "oh, lets go for the big pixel guy because it will be more memorable" [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif[/img] That was simply as photorealistic as possible at the time... nothing has really changed, only hardware.
Try to come up with a game with pixel billboard instead of normalmapped enemies and we'll see how many people will remember your game.
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Sorry, I'm not aiming at anything in particular at this moment, I was asking more in philosophic sense rather than concrete recommendations for a particular project, as for immersion, when the giant polygonal worm of Alone in the Dark 1 chased me down the tunnels of the mansion I was far more scared and immersed than when for instance, I was battling the high def normal mapped Cyberdemon at the end of Doom 3, which was rather... non-transcendent.

Even when the aesthetic composition is well crafted, like on Doom 3, Infamous, Call of Duty, I get the impression that photorealism makes things just as easy to forget as it makes them easy to accept, so is that a good thing? shouldn't we aim in the other way?

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I understand Doom 1 didn't really had a choice, my point is, now that we DO have a choice, are we choosing right?
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The reason the first image is so memorable is it's simplicity, it's got very little variation to it, so it's easier for the brain to associate with it.

For gaming, I feel it completely depends on the game. If I had to play a photo realistic Kingdom Hearts I don't think I'd throw it away. I recently picked up "Revenge of the Titans" which has very simple cartoon y graphics, but it's great for a tower defense game. Then again I wouldn't mind playing a photo realistic version, I think it would get over complicated, and not feel right. imagine playing any COD game as cartoon characters but the same story. Would you believe it more... or would you play it off as a comedy?
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Wouldn't Wolfenstein 3d qualify as a comedy / cartoon Call of Duty? isn't it a classic?
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[quote name='kunos' timestamp='1311274548' post='4838576']
you simply dont get it. at the time doom was in the making they couldnt do anything more photorealistic of that.. it is not that they had a choice between the two and they decided: "oh, lets go for the big pixel guy because it will be more memorable" [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif[/img] That was simply as photorealistic as possible at the time... nothing has really changed, only hardware.
Try to come up with a game with pixel billboard instead of normalmapped enemies and we'll see how many people will remember your game.
[/quote]

It's not just the limitations of technology.

The characters of Team Fortress 2 are far more recognizable than anyone in Modern Combat.
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To be honest, that's one of the more forgettable Doom enemies. I certainly only remember it because... it's Doom.
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To me, thinking about Xmen the animated series gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. To my dad, thinking about Howdy Doody or whatever the hell they watched back then might. To my future son, thinking about playing his Xbox 1080 might.

That image is memorable to you because it has a place in your history. There's nothing more special about it than that.

Whether putting an emphasis on photorealism is a mistake, that would depend on your goals. Photorealism sells, so to a business it might not be a mistake. Other people look to create more novel types of art, so that works for them, and sometimes it ends up selling like hotcakes too. It's cool that anyone can do whatever he wants to do.
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I personally prefer anime or cartoon 2d art to 3d art. I think if both are good it's just personal taste what art style you like best. But I'm not fond of low-res pixel art, I like high-res 2d art.
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I'd like to say more photorealism makes you more immersed, but Minecraft seems to prove that wrong...

I like photorealistic games as long as they don't lag, but I agree with the others. It mostly depends on the style of the game. I wouldn't want to play Zelda Windwaker with my enemies' heads falling away and blood spurting out...it just wouldn't match the playstyle.

I'd be more afraid in a situation where I saw a ghoul pop out of a wall in Fallout 3 than in Minecraft, however. In my opinion, it simply depends on the game design and playstyle, and how serious it's taking its story and characters and such. Like I said before, some things just don't feel right in certain situations, like a cartoony Doom 3 (or whatever the latest is, I've only played the super-pixellated one for DOS) would just not feel right on the eyes, would it? Especially since they were probably aiming for a bit of fear.

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I've seen some extremely frightening horror animes. So there's a situation where a cartoony style can be very effective at creating a serious immersive atmosphere.
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I think it all depends on what who your target audience is and what kind of game you're trying to make.

There is definitely a push in western gaming to make things "more realistic" and in eastern gaming it's not as huge as a deal.

If you're making a horror game, the trend is go towards more realism. If it's something more tongue-in-cheek, you could go more cartoon-y.

Whichever style you go for, I believe games need to follow their own internal logic and consistency of style. Graphics alone don't always need to carry a theme--you could potentially have cartoonish graphics but still convey an adult game or horror plot by the actions of the actors and how seriously the plot is and is dealt with (though the tone of the art may wash some of the impact of the story if the art and tone/plot class too much; which may not be a bad thing). Eg: a plot where everybody dies with much realistic blood and gore may leave the player feeling grossed out or freaked out vs. cartoonish violence may actually make the player laugh out loud.

I think it's impossible to say "photorealism good, cartoons bad". It ALL depends on what kind of impact you want the medium to have. That will always be subjective too so not everyone will agree.
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Good responses in general here. It's all in your preference.

Personally, I am tired of realistic-looking games because the palette tends to be very bland.

IMHO realism is very limiting. I'd like to see the industry produce some style that goes beyond MW2 or WoW.
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[quote name='third_ronin' timestamp='1312491880' post='4844705']
IMHO realism is very limiting. I'd like to see the industry produce some style that goes beyond MW2 or WoW.
[/quote]

I don't get it. WoW isn't exactly realistic looking, is it? MW2 and WoW are apples and oranges, too. But I do agree, I'd like more stylized games rather than realistic ones.
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[quote name='SymLinked' timestamp='1312492561' post='4844712']
[quote name='third_ronin' timestamp='1312491880' post='4844705']
IMHO realism is very limiting. I'd like to see the industry produce some style that goes beyond MW2 or WoW.
[/quote]

I don't get it. WoW isn't exactly realistic looking, is it? MW2 and WoW are apples and oranges, too. But I do agree, I'd like more stylized games rather than realistic ones.
[/quote]

Nothing to get, I was a hair off-topic ;) Apologies to the OP.

I am just tired of reviewing art candidates online portfolios that are largely WoW -inspired. My inevitable response is "O.K., so what is [i]your[/i] style?" to which I get the "uhhhhhhh...."
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