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What makes FF games look so good?

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Sorry if I posted this in the wrong area.

 

So my question is: What makes FF games so visually astounding?

 

Is it the game engine? Is there some secret animation technique that makes in-game graphics 1000% better?

I've been scouring the internet for so long and I havent found an answer.

Well... I guess what I really wanna know is: What factor determines a games graphic quality?

 

So for example -- hypothetically of course -- if I woke up one morning and decided to make a character or game with graphics like this:

 

 

How would I go about programming a game to look like that?

Please and Thank You.

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Firstly, high quality artwork.  The best engine in the world won't make bad artwork look fantastic, so you need a good model with good textures.

 

You can learn to create high quality artwork through practice, practice, practice!  Create many models, get feedback on what could be improved, and always try to do your best work.  Eventually your assets will be good quality.

 

 

Secondly, the rendering techniques used to display the model do have a very significant impact.  Proper lighting and the appropriate use of techniques like bump mapping can make a big difference to the final appearance of your art assets in game.

 

You can either learn to implement these techniques, or you can use an engine (or libraries) that already provide those features.

 

 

Obviously this is a very high level and non-detailed look at it, but hopefully that gives you the basic idea; I'm sure others can chime in and provide more details! smile.png

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Final Fantasy games don't skimp on art. They seem to have experienced artists to squeeze out every polygon, texture resolution, and lighting possible. Whereas with indies like us, we tend to focus on performance, framerate, and making our game run on a lot of different systems, at the cost of not making our game look like Crysis or Final Fantasy. We also don't have the staff.

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I was going to write longer but JB covered a lot of that ground.

 

Anyway the point is there are people who simply have the eye for visuals. They can process and analyze what they see and how it affects their emotions to extent that is well beyond the normal people that might know what looks good and what bad but couldn't tell why or how to fix it. If you want to make a visually appealing game you will need to have these skills or hire someone who does and listen to him. :)

 

Square Enix has an entire army of artists designing their content, look and feel. They have another armies implementing and striving for that design through textures, shaders, models, animation, sound etc. What makes a game look good? Ridiculous amount of man hours from some of the most skillful people in the field not excluding artists and graphic designers.

 

It could be argued that with latest titles they have shifted their weight too much towards the look and have forgotten about the importance of gameplay. FFXIII was very linear and one-dimensional gameplay-wise with low replay value. The title "Final Fantasy" has lost some of its shine in my eyes because of this trend, but I'll give them another chance with the series eventually.

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Anyway the point is there are people who simply have the eye for visuals. They can process and analyze what they see and how it affects their emotions to extent that is well beyond the normal people that might know what looks good and what bad but couldn't tell why or how to fix it.

It's worth noting that whilst some people do seem to have a natural aptitude for the visual arts -- or sometimes just a specific area such as 3d modelling, sprite art, or whatever -- almost anyone can learn these things as long as they're willing to put in the time and effort to do so.  It has been said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a master at any specific task; you have to be willing to put in the effort, spend time learning, and to produce a lot of bad art along the way to making better quality work.

 

 

It's also worth noting that you can have a very attractive game with much simpler art. smile.png

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Hello. In that specific video, I think what looks so good is the use of state-of-the-art shaders.
Like JBAdams discussed, artwork is half the reason why something looks good, the other half being how you display it.
But still, if you have something that doesn't look good, applying realistic lighting and surface properties to it can make it look better.
 
Evidence of this fact can be seen below, where the same scene (meaning, the same artwork) is displayed with different shader techniques. So in these cases, it's not really the artwork that matters but rather how you interpret and process the information that the artwork is bringing to the scene.
 

radiositycompare.jpg    Manual_Part_XII_RR04.jpg

 

101194_4.jpg    GI_Photometric_Large.jpg

 

cryengine2gihd.jpg

 
This subject is the focus of the Graphics Programming and Theory forum here in GameDev, so it should be useful to you.
It's also worth considering that shaders are art assets themselves; They are separate from the engine.

Edited by Kryzon

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Oh man, you guys have been Immensely helpful. Thank you. As I said, I've been scouring the web for weeks to no avail. Its nice to finally have an answer, and one that I can understand, a bit lol. Now it seems rather impossible for one person to actually make an accurate Final Fantasy-ish character.  Thanks again ^_^

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Oh man, you guys have been Immensely helpful. Thank you. As I said, I've been scouring the web for weeks to no avail. Its nice to finally have an answer, and one that I can understand, a bit lol. Now it seems rather impossible for one person to actually make an accurate Final Fantasy-ish character. Thanks again ^_^

You might be able to come close to Final Fantasy art with several good artists. Although I'm not sure whether you can match the scale of a modern Final Fantasy game. You probably can make a Final Fantasy character with only one person, but don't expect to make it quite as fast as your average art asset.

Still, the software side of making games is improving all the time. I was told that if software never improved, that the number of people needed to make a modern game would be so great, that games would not be a profitable medium. So some day, maybe we will be able to make games like this Final Fantasy game. Something to think about.

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Oh man, you guys have been Immensely helpful. Thank you. As I said, I've been scouring the web for weeks to no avail. Its nice to finally have an answer, and one that I can understand, a bit lol. Now it seems rather impossible for one person to actually make an accurate Final Fantasy-ish character. Thanks again happy.png

You might be able to come close to Final Fantasy art with several good artists. Although I'm not sure whether you can match the scale of a modern Final Fantasy game. You probably can make a Final Fantasy character with only one person, but don't expect to make it quite as fast as your average art asset.

Still, the software side of making games is improving all the time. I was told that if software never improved, that the number of people needed to make a modern game would be so great, that games would not be a profitable medium. So some day, maybe we will be able to make games like this Final Fantasy game. Something to think about.

 

So if a single person were to attempt this how long do you think it would take? Making a FF quality character from scratch? Provided they have years upon years of experience.

Edited by AntiSocialPanda

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I think just a character, normalmaps, animation etc... could be done in a few days.  Of course, this assumes you have years of experience(which you said) and that you are working with software you already know well, and that you work full days, like 8 hours or more each day.  Also, this could be even longer if there are more animations than I'm guessing would be needed for this game.

 

But, this wouldn't include more textures, rather only just the one.

 

Lastly, remember that a single character like this is likely the least of your worries if you were to make a modern Final Fantasy game.  Any good RPG needs tons of environment variety, tons of different enemies, a good story, and most likely many nice videos to go with it.  This is on top of the engine programming, etc...  This is why a single person doesn't do this kind of project easily.  Even if you went with a simple 2d RPG, and even if you used RPGMaker to do it, if you make several hours of gameplay(and you care about quality) it will still likely take months for a single person, simply because even with simple sprited 2d art, there is simply too much of it to finish quickly.

 

EDIT***

 

I forgot to mention, I myself DO NOT have those years of experience, though I know my way around Blender and can handle making any model I need.  Someone else may know better than me just how long art assets like those take to make, but I don't think I'm that far off, though it depends on the software knowledge and experience of the individual.

 

I myself think if someone gave me concept art, I "might" be able to do such a model in a week, animations and all, working 8 hours a day.  I would have to give myself more time because I don't do all that much modeling, and don't have the practice other artists would.

Edited by kburkhart84

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