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Game Engine Graphics

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Hello,

I have one maybe stupid question, but because I'm beginner in engine programming and never worked with graphics I really need the answer so...

Does the graphic of the game depends so much on engine, or on the model ? so let's say my modeller will create some amazing model, will there be huge difference between how it will looks like on let's say Panda3D and Unreal Engine? I want to create my own engine in DirectX 11 but I'm really afraid that graphic will looks like graphic from '90s, so if it depends so much on engine, how can I improve it? How can I improve rendering, shaders and other things that are working with graphics?

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Many technology fetishists will likely tell you otherwise, but how good something looks is almost entirely determined by art. Fancy runtimes can make some things easier, but ultimately a skilled artist can create something that looks good on even the most mediocre technological base.

EDIT: as a slightly snarky example, look at all the old LOOK SEE WE HAVE BUMP MAPPING AND BLOOM IOTD's right here on the site. Yes, you've figured out the trick(s) du jour, but that doesn't mean the super-noisy super-specular surfaces look in any way appealing.

EDIT 2: Actually Blizzard's a good example of the flip side. Mediocre tech, capital-A Awesome art team.

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Many technology fetishists will likely tell you otherwise, but how good something looks is almost entirely determined by art. Fancy runtimes can make some things easier, but ultimately a skilled artist can create something that looks good on even the most mediocre technological base.

EDIT: as a slightly snarky example, look at all the old LOOK SEE WE HAVE BUMP MAPPING AND BLOOM IOTD's right here on the site. Yes, you've figured out the trick(s) du jour, but that doesn't mean the super-noisy super-specular surfaces look in any way appealing.

EDIT 2: Actually Blizzard's a good example of the flip side. Mediocre tech, capital-A Awesome art team.


well I don't understand like 70% of what you said, what about to keep it simple? biggrin.png so you are saying that how game looks don't depend on game engine but on the model?

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so you are saying that how game looks don't depend on game engine but on the model?


It is a bit of both; you can have the best artist in the world but if the graphics code can't reproduce what they have done then it doesn't matter how good the source art work is. Same deal the other way around; you can have the best graphics code in the world but if your artists are rubbish it'll look rubbish.

That said, good art can cover up a multitude of programming sins but even that has its limits.

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In most cases the technology and the art is very much intertwined. If you have a bunch of tech with no art, then you don't have anything to draw onto the screen. If you have a sweet model created in Maya, then all you have is a bunch of polygons and UV's with no way to draw it. Good tech is all about enabling the artists to make awesome things in the most efficient way, and making sure it can all be rendered within the target framerate. And yes, the look of something can be very much based on the engine it's created for. Different engines have different ways of authoring materials, different BRDF's, different ways of handling lighting/shadowing, different ways of handling ambient/indirect lighting, and different special effects to go on top of all of that.

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"Good" shaders and "Good" art work is what defines the graphics of an engine.

The definition of 'good' depends on many factors however from target frame rate, rendering style and hardware requirements you are targetting; a "good" DX9 pixel shader, for example, might look nothing like a "good" DX11 targetted one.

In short there is no simple 'one step' answer to the question; everything feeds into everything else.

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Hello,

I have one maybe stupid question, but because I'm beginner in engine programming and never worked with graphics I really need the answer so...

Does the graphic of the game depends so much on engine, or on the model ? so let's say my modeller will create some amazing model, will there be huge difference between how it will looks like on let's say Panda3D and Unreal Engine? I want to create my own engine in DirectX 11 but I'm really afraid that graphic will looks like graphic from '90s, so if it depends so much on engine, how can I improve it? How can I improve rendering, shaders and other things that are working with graphics?


As far as the engine goes you want to make sure that you:
1) Support dynamic light and shadows. (There are many ways to do this with various advantages and disadvantages)
2) Support complex materials (you want to be able to assign more than just a diffuse texture to your models, this ties in with the lighting part quite alot)
3) Support interpolation of animations.

Those 3 points will get you pretty far in terms of looks (provided you have good artists), Support for things like lens flares, HDR, etc can further help improve things.

For the artwork itself you should pay some real attention to the textures, as i said in point 2, diffuse textures are not enough and is one of the reasons why alot of hobbyist games look graphically dated (You do atleast want specular and normal maps aswell and while normal maps are fairly easy to generate from higher detail versions of the model itself its fairly difficult to make really good specular maps and alot of otherwise good artists are really bad at it) (You might also want additional maps for things like self illumination or other custom effects).

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EDIT 2: Actually Blizzard's a good example of the flip side. Mediocre tech, capital-A Awesome art team.


Tbh I wouldn't say that blizzard has mediocre tech considering the wide variety of hardware that their games can run on.

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[quote name='InvalidPointer' timestamp='1331392379' post='4920903']
EDIT 2: Actually Blizzard's a good example of the flip side. Mediocre tech, capital-A Awesome art team.


Tbh I wouldn't say that blizzard has mediocre tech considering the wide variety of hardware that their games can run on.
[/quote]

I think a better description would be: not very cutting edge tech, The quality of their engines and tools however seems to be fairly high. (SC2 has a very impressive editor for a RTS game for example (Being able to make brand new games in completely different genres as maps for the game isn't something you can do in just any RTS)), They do however stay away from using the latest fancy GPU features and when they do use them it tends to be for optional eyecandy.

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