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Esteban5XG

Graphics VS Story VS Gameplay

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Just thinking about what are the most common preferences in video games. I prefer gameplay and story. I mean, graphics make everything really cool, but I do prefer a good story with a funny gameplay.

For example, Last of us has an amazing story behind, and graphics are cool too. But, on the other hand, Hotline Miami has an exicting gameplay. I do know these examples are based in very different video games, but maybe it's all about types of game, isn't it?

Wanna know your options and video games.

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It's like asking do you prefer ice cream or dinner and then basing your business around the answer.

Many developers will say they think gameplay is very important (me as well) but what use is that for you? The question is too broad. Many AAA games has fancy graphics for sure, but that drives up development cost immensely, which is why many indie devs try to find a more manageble artstyle.

Story is also extremely broad. Some games almost have no story but the style and setting works well anyway (such as battle brothers). Some have a lot of focus on story but the story is bad, dirivative or doesnt work with the gameplay (and then it might be better to "skip" it).

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The game you are making should be fun.

I personally wouldn't play a game that I don't enjoy, regardless of the combination of those three pillars that you've mentioned.

I think there is a bit of `magic` that goes into many people enjoying a video game. A game could remind them of something that they enjoyed doing when they were young, it could work well with their mental state of mind at this current point in time, it could also just be amusing for no other reason than to kill some time. Regardless, the reason for making a game should be because you enjoy making it, and the process of making it, in my opinion, is the most important part of it, besides the part of watching people enjoy your game.

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1 hour ago, suliman said:

It's like asking do you prefer ice cream or dinner and then basing your business around the answer.

Many developers will say they think gameplay is very important (me as well) but what use is that for you? The question is too broad. Many AAA games has fancy graphics for sure, but that drives up development cost immensely, which is why many indie devs try to find a more manageble artstyle.

Story is also extremely broad. Some games almost have no story but the style and setting works well anyway (such as battle brothers). Some have a lot of focus on story but the story is bad, dirivative or doesnt work with the gameplay (and then it might be better to "skip" it).

I know it's just a general question, but I believe there are some kind of gamers who prefer one thing to another. For me, gameplay and story is a little bit more important than graphics. Regardless, each everyone has to work by itself.

21 minutes ago, Daniel Ricci said:

The game you are making should be fun.

I personally wouldn't play a game that I don't enjoy, regardless of the combination of those three pillars that you've mentioned.

I think there is a bit of `magic` that goes into many people enjoying a video game. A game could remind them of something that they enjoyed doing when they were young, it could work well with their mental state of mind at this current point in time, it could also just be amusing for no other reason than to kill some time. Regardless, the reason for making a game should be because you enjoy making it, and the process of making it, in my opinion, is the most important part of it, besides the part of watching people enjoy your game.

Totally agree with you. I am just pointing the type of players depending on these three keywords. 


What video game do you think could mix these options perfectly?

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So I got Dragon's Dogma because it had very, very good reviews and every single opinion out there I've read said it was great.

Played for a bunch of hours, and I could see it. Yeah, the combat is very nice, the monsters have cool designs and so on. But the story was non-existant. You get your own personal slave through a magic portal while you're just walking around and people are like "Oh yeah, they do that. Now he is your slave. Good luck." and I'm like "This **has** to have some good explanation behind it, right?". Well no, not at all. It's just a gameplay device. I got completely put off from the game. And I can't really understand how it has so many positive reviews.

Now, you read that you'd think all I play is adventure games or visual novels (actual visual novels, not the lightly disguised porn), and I actually do not. I'm not a fan of adventure games, and text based/visual novel kinda games bore me a lot.

But what about graphics? Well I'm still #*@!ing pissed that Bethesda can't #*@!ing pay a good engine team. They make cool RPGs that look dated on release date for some damn reason. It's like "Oh you know all this good work that our employees did? Well lets show that in the most barely passable way we can put out." Like if you valued your dev team at least a little you'd make sure the shit they put out looks the best (and as fast) it can, but they don't. So their games are clunky, visually dated, and unoptimized.

On the other hand, you see craftmanship in the art. You can see the artists are trying to squeeze the most value out of their 1k textures, in one way or the other. And that makes you appreciate things more. You might never get proper shadow mapping out of their games, but you see consistency in there.

What I am trying to say is that what puts me off is laziness. You can see when something was made passable on purpose and you can see when something was made as good as the dev team could make it. And the later is the kind of thing that makes you stop on a game, and think "Hey this is pretty cool". It is the combination of "Hey these shooting mechanics feel nice, the environment is interesting, and the music is just right" and so on.

As an example I picked up CrossCode a while ago and it's pretty damn impressive. You can see that the sprites are made with care, the characters are made with care, and the environments are made with care. You can see in the game that the developers gave a shit, and that is, in my opinion, pretty cool.

I do have in mind that there are games that exceptionally pull through despite lacking a lot in some of the "pillars" you mention. Say, Vampire Bloodlines combat is absolute shit, graphics were okayish even at release date, but damn dude, the world just grabs you by the balls and keeps you there until you finish the damn buggy mess it is.

So in the end I find hard to say what makes a good game. I've played and enjoyed visually bad games, I've played and enjoyed games with frustrating gameplay, and I've played and enjoyed games where the story is serviceable at best.

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You cannot polish a turd.

Remembering as far back as the mid-1980s...definitely gameplay.  Long loading times, crashes, shit controls, frustrating level design and stupid difficulty levels cannot be sugar coated by award winning graphics from id software,  nor a lovingly woven story by Mills & Boon.

 

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Way back in the 1990's my brother began saying that the better graphics got, the worse the games got.  He grew up playing very early games like the coin-arcade games of the 1980's, the earliest PC like NetHack, Wizardry, and Ultima, and early console games like Atari and Nintendo.  He became more and more convinced that better graphics meant worse games and by the end of the 1990's he quit playing games and hasn't played games since then.  This thread made me think of him.

Certainly, just as with any other aspect of a game that would fall under "production values", the worse the graphics are the better the game has to be for people to still want to play it.  Conversely, the lower the production values the less you can have in the game, the more difficult it is to make a game that people will want to play.

Compared to table top games, computer games have essentially unlimited production constraints.  It should be brain dead simple to make great games with unlimited game elements, pieces, etc.  And yet computer game makers fail most of the time.  Designing computer games is easy due to the effectively unlimited production constraints, but this is lost on "Voodoo Game Designers" who don't actually know what they are doing.

So they really need to rely on the graphics crutch, because they've been doing that for so long now that they've forgotten how to actually design games... or, more accurately, waited too long care about that knowledge until the previous generation that had it was gone and it was already lost.

Edited by Kavik Kang

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There must always be gameplay, otherwise it is not a game.

Graphics and story without gameplay are called a movie, or a graphic novel, or comics.

Games like Mancala and Go have been around for millennia and have neither a compelling story nor graphics. They are two players with dots on the ground competing for stones, marbles, or other tokens.

If gameplay is sufficient, then the importance of story and graphics depend on the game itself. Interesting gameplay is enough for Mancala and Go, not enough for today's action brawlers.  Tetris is a modern example of this, it has no story, can be played on plain text or terrible graphics, and yet has decades of popularity.

There are games with amazing stories and wonderful gameplay that are text-based, no graphics at all. For these games story and gameplay combine in critical ways to make a great game. In that case, graphics are meaningless.

There are visually stunning games with so-so gameplay that have no story, but become best-sellers because they mesh well with the graphics. They can be absolutely beautiful but the gameplay core ranges from "red versus blue", to "match the things" to "find the items".  In that case, story is meaningless.

Then there are components like sound which is critical for many games, there are even audio-only games. 

Further, networking or multiplayer feeling is critical for others, where graphics and story can be so-so as long as the social aspects are wonderful.

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10 hours ago, TheChubu said:

So I got Dragon's Dogma because it had very, very good reviews and every single opinion out there I've read said it was great.

Played for a bunch of hours, and I could see it. Yeah, the combat is very nice, the monsters have cool designs and so on. But the story was non-existant. You get your own personal slave through a magic portal while you're just walking around and people are like "Oh yeah, they do that. Now he is your slave. Good luck." and I'm like "This **has** to have some good explanation behind it, right?". Well no, not at all. It's just a gameplay device. I got completely put off from the game. And I can't really understand how it has so many positive reviews.

Now, you read that you'd think all I play is adventure games or visual novels (actual visual novels, not the lightly disguised porn), and I actually do not. I'm not a fan of adventure games, and text based/visual novel kinda games bore me a lot.

But what about graphics? Well I'm still #*@!ing pissed that Bethesda can't #*@!ing pay a good engine team. They make cool RPGs that look dated on release date for some damn reason. It's like "Oh you know all this good work that our employees did? Well lets show that in the most barely passable way we can put out." Like if you valued your dev team at least a little you'd make sure the shit they put out looks the best (and as fast) it can, but they don't. So their games are clunky, visually dated, and unoptimized.

On the other hand, you see craftmanship in the art. You can see the artists are trying to squeeze the most value out of their 1k textures, in one way or the other. And that makes you appreciate things more. You might never get proper shadow mapping out of their games, but you see consistency in there.

What I am trying to say is that what puts me off is laziness. You can see when something was made passable on purpose and you can see when something was made as good as the dev team could make it. And the later is the kind of thing that makes you stop on a game, and think "Hey this is pretty cool". It is the combination of "Hey these shooting mechanics feel nice, the environment is interesting, and the music is just right" and so on.

As an example I picked up CrossCode a while ago and it's pretty damn impressive. You can see that the sprites are made with care, the characters are made with care, and the environments are made with care. You can see in the game that the developers gave a shit, and that is, in my opinion, pretty cool.

I do have in mind that there are games that exceptionally pull through despite lacking a lot in some of the "pillars" you mention. Say, Vampire Bloodlines combat is absolute shit, graphics were okayish even at release date, but damn dude, the world just grabs you by the balls and keeps you there until you finish the damn buggy mess it is.

So in the end I find hard to say what makes a good game. I've played and enjoyed visually bad games, I've played and enjoyed games with frustrating gameplay, and I've played and enjoyed games where the story is serviceable at best.

I have to say I really enjoyed your comment, dude. So far interesting than what I was looking for. 

I understand you when you say that there are some games where story is not covered as well as the game devs wish to. Maybe at indie games is because of budget, due to the fact they have no money to pay for a good scriptwriter. Personally, story is something so much important to me to sacrifice it for other options. And I am not really interested in visual novels, just like you said. A good combination of gameplay, graphics and story for me is Ruiner, for example. Well, yeah, last of us is awesome, but I did enjoy playing Ruiner, and I think I spent like a bunch of hours playing it.

Moreover, last game with a grat combination of gameplay, graphics and story is We happy few. This game is blowing my mind. I strongly recommend you this game, too.

Talking about CrossCode, I have to say I never played it, but it reminds me of the old times when I was just a kid playing games like Illusion of Gaia or Zelda A link to the past, with my Snes. Those kind of games were the ones which I started to love consoles. Are those games the best ones? Probably not, but it all depends on the taste of each every gamer. Someone who loves Gran Turismo is the one who needs realistic graphics and funny driving style. But, on the other hand, there are some gamer like me who want to spend their time with Mario Kart 8, and that's pretty cool, too.

 

4 hours ago, Kavik Kang said:

Way back in the 1990's my brother began saying that the better graphics got, the worse the games got.  He grew up playing very early games like the coin-arcade games of the 1980's, the earliest PC like NetHack, Wizardry, and Ultima, and early console games like Atari and Nintendo.  He became more and more convinced that better graphics meant worse games and by the end of the 1990's he quit playing games and hasn't played games since then.  This thread made me think of him.

Certainly, just as with any other aspect of a game that would fall under "production values", the worse the graphics are the better the game has to be for people to still want to play it.  Conversely, the lower the production values the less you can have in the game, the more difficult it is to make a game that people will want to play.

Compared to table top games, computer games have essentially unlimited production constraints.  It should be brain dead simple to make great games with unlimited game elements, pieces, etc.  And yet computer game makers fail most of the time.  Designing computer games is easy due to the effectively unlimited production constraints, but this is lost on "Voodoo Game Designers" who don't actually know what they are doing.

So they really need to rely on the graphics crutch, because they've been doing that for so long now that they've forgotten how to actually design games... or, more accurately, waited too long care about that knowledge until the previous generation that had it was gone and it was already lost.

I have to say I am not agree with you. I believe there are some games which graphics, gameplay and story are perfectly combined. Last of us, for example. This game just freaked me out. And that's one example. There are lots of games, and graphics depends of the genre. An strategy tower defense video game maybe won't need realistic graphics, but gameplay is a priority. A 2D metroidvania does not wanna have the best graphics either, but it has an special retro style that I really enjoy so badly. 

I don't like visual novel games. I think I've only enjoyed playing Monkey Island, and I'm talking the first one, in the last 80's, when I was 4 years old. 

So, in the end, every game needs to be fed by its genre in order to mix gameplay, story and graphics.

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2 hours ago, frob said:

There must always be gameplay, otherwise it is not a game.

Graphics and story without gameplay are called a movie, or a graphic novel, or comics.

Games like Mancala and Go have been around for millennia and have neither a compelling story nor graphics. They are two players with dots on the ground competing for stones, marbles, or other tokens.

If gameplay is sufficient, then the importance of story and graphics depend on the game itself. Interesting gameplay is enough for Mancala and Go, not enough for today's action brawlers.  Tetris is a modern example of this, it has no story, can be played on plain text or terrible graphics, and yet has decades of popularity.

There are games with amazing stories and wonderful gameplay that are text-based, no graphics at all. For these games story and gameplay combine in critical ways to make a great game. In that case, graphics are meaningless.

There are visually stunning games with so-so gameplay that have no story, but become best-sellers because they mesh well with the graphics. They can be absolutely beautiful but the gameplay core ranges from "red versus blue", to "match the things" to "find the items".  In that case, story is meaningless.

Then there are components like sound which is critical for many games, there are even audio-only games. 

Further, networking or multiplayer feeling is critical for others, where graphics and story can be so-so as long as the social aspects are wonderful.

In my opinion, gameplay is a priority, but not the only one. I mean, there must be a combination of gameplay, story and graphics. And this combination depends on the game genre. I am agree with you about games which story is meaningless, for example. But there some games which the combination is absolutely brilliant. We happy few, for example, blows my mind. They are billions is another good example. And there are much more games. But talking about priorities, I believe my own priority is gameplay > story > graphics and sound.

Sound would be the 3rd/4th. Games like Sillent Hill are what they are because music collaborates in the cause. Last game I've played and music was really good is Valiant Hearts. I'm getting used to playing the soundtrack in spotify like million times.

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