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How Attractive Visuals Correlate to Player Satisfaction

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by RJ-MacReady, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    I believe there is a missing link between graphics and player satisfaction.

    There are two primary schools of thought surrounding this discussion, between graphics and gameplay as being more important than the other. This is a Spartan/Athenian sort of divisive issue, with headstrong purists on both sides.

    I've played a lot of games, a lot with good graphics and some with bad graphics. I've played a lot of games with good graphics that didn't have all that great of gameplay. A lot of the best games I've ever played have had decent but mediocre graphics. But almost every horrible game I've ever played also had horrible graphics.

    They're tied together and they are not mutually exclusive. In fact they come together as one whole that we like to call a game.

    Individually they stand on their own.

    But neither one of them can carry a game by themselves.

    I thought about this problem for a long time and today I think I understand.

    Games are a visual medium.

    Gameplay design, scripting, artwork... It is ultimately presented to the user in a visual fashion. The goal of every game element is to enhance the visual effect, to achieve conveyance, to allow for a state of suspension of disbelief and flow.

    Color patterns, artwork design, scale, proportion, cleanliness and consistency of the artwork... If any of these are absent it breaks the state of flow it's like a brick wall in their face.

    It's like filming a movie and you have the camera boom in the shot, or one of the actors isn't pulling off their character... It doesn't matter how good the script is if it isn't delivered to the viewer in the proper fashion.

    This is my conclusion after many years of deep thought, take it and benefit or ignore it.
     
  2. the_motionblur

    the_motionblur

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    I'd say this depends on the definition of "good graphics". Some people deem only things that fall under the "AAA" buzzword category of the latest tech as "good graphics". I think this is sad but if they feel that way there's not much to do about it. Then theres art with the hard to describe "kind of soul" that makes it good. I would categorize this as art that is created upon a realy solid understanding of basics. Artists who can make this kind of art genereally can maintain expression in what they do - models and art have really distinct and strong sihlouettes, animations are smooth and expressive and make good use of abticipation, breakdowns and secondary motions. Camera angles are, whenever possible, chosen not just randomly set and at least follw the rule of thirds or fibonacci. Color schemes are used to underline the things presented.

    These are all important things to know and follow when one is creating art. The rules can be broken but in order to break rules they must be known. If these things are present - in my opinion - the technology on which the graphic runs and how cutting edge the shaders are is secondary.

    In that way good art can be made with only a fullbright diffuse texture. Just like a really good gameplay can go a long way and really good music can be produced in a home studio if needed.
    The basics are what make and break the really good products. Not the latest tech and the newest tools. Those are important to know as well but actually come later down the road. That's not something people like to hear when they see a tool that promises to magically create anything with the push of a button. ;)
     
  3. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Attractive artwork, or "good graphics" would be defined as is attractive artwork outside of a game. So, I don't quite understand the confusion. There's no magic pass that game creators get to make bizarre, inconsistent graphics and call it "good, but misunderstood". It's bad. One look, and you'll know if it's bad. If that poses to great a challenge, ask anyone standing near you at a bus stop "does this look good" and they'll say yes or no, and their opinion will likely reflect most people's opinion.

    It's not personal, it's not rocket science.
     
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  4. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I lean toward the game play and execution side heavily. But given the choice of the exact same game presented with Atari VCS graphics or say PSP graphics I would choose the PSP version. If the game with Atari VCS graphics was executed very well with excellent game play and the PSP game had cutting edge best of breed graphics yet was basically empty kind of like the shell of a game I'd choose the VCS graphics game.

    EDIT: well most likely. It all depends on if the PSP game had so many graphical embellishments (eg so much crap going on say particles flooding the screen non-stop, etc) it distracted from being able to easily "read" what the game was trying to communicate. Then I'd take the plain vanilla VCS version.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  5. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Spurious correlations are spurious dude. But seriously, grab a terrible game and look at its budget, its development life, and its release date if you really want to see the correlation to why the game was S***.

    Also erroneous. They are a systemic medium. The visuals are there to represent the underlying database/spreadsheet of information in a simple and easily absorbable context. So long as it has four suits of thirteen, it won't matter that you are playing solitaire with a deck of ceramic tiles because the rules are the same.
     
  6. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    All eroneous AND spurious.

    In the time it takes to choose ugly colors rather than well coordinated colors, you could have made nice looking graphics, etc. It's already being done, and doing it right doesn't have to take any longer/cost any more than doing it wrong. So what's your point?

    Play a game blindfolded, chief. Then, tell me how games aren't a visual medium.

    I should put a disclaimer... "doesn't apply to games that can be played blindfolded".
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  7. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    This is how I view graphics in a video game context. They represent the board (playfield, level whatever) and the current state of the game and tokens. This is why there have been a number of popular games even in the past year or two that have very simple (many would say crap) graphics. The overall artistic quality of the presentation does not necessarily enhance the communication (feedback) from game to player. However, I do agree with the title of the thread as far as attractive presentation does correlate with increased player satisfaction for players who care more about "looks" than anything else. Or maybe better put as players who are more artistic / visually-oriented gain as much satisfaction from looking at a "beautifully" presented game as I get from playing a superbly executed game.
     
  8. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Have you tried one of those games "for the blind" yet?
    I'm not going to lie, that is quite possibly the douchiest 'foot in mouth' comment I've seen you make. What I heard from you: "Ugh, I swear. Why did you spend all of this time choosing those god awful colors, when you could have spent the same amount of time, chosen much better colors, and then you wouldn't have completely thrown the entire color balance out of whack. All it would have taken was 11% more grey in the rock texture and this room wouldn't have become the apocalyptic nightmare that you made it."
     
  9. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    That's not all that I'm saying, and it's not just for certain people who appreciate good graphics. It's also a misconception that there are popular games with terrible graphics out there. There has to be some aesthetically pleasing quality to the game and some consistency between the gameplay and the visual style or people will not play.

    I'm saying that graphics are part of gameplay, and that people who realize this go on to make good games.
     
  10. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    I have never ignored somebody just for being ignorant and annoying before but I am going to ignore you because you are ignorant and annoying. It would be one thing if you were always correct but you're not. But you think that you are. It would be one thing if you actually presented anything that was worth reading or tried to make a point but constantly just condescending and criticizing everything that everybody says I used to think it was funny but now its just irritating and honestly I don't have the time.
     
  11. GarBenjamin

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    It's feedback. Communication from the game to the player. A game could have stick figures but those sticks move naturally, interact with the world and so forth. Due to the way the stick figures behave reacting to player input, other sticks and the playfield objects the communication is strong. Another game could look like a beautiful painting but it does not communicate anything or very little. So in this way it has little meaning other than purely from an artistic perspective. That's just my view on it.
     
  12. Steve-Tack

    Steve-Tack

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    The importance of appealing visuals is going to vary from player to player and from one game type to another. And of course what's appealing to one person isn't necessarily going to be to the next. Some players want gobs of detail on the screen, while others appreciate what a clean and sparse look can bring to an experience.

    If you played a computerized chess game with programmer art, but that played brilliantly, would you care that much? What about those terrible looking hex strategy war games that a particular niche loves? What about Zork? And yeah, there actually are games that can be played with zero visuals.

    You could say that the worse a game looks, the more it triggers one's imagination. I mean, take the original Silent Hill on PS1. By modern standards, it's a terrible looking game, with its muddy/dithered/low res look. But I think it can spark one's imagination in a way that "more attractive" visuals can't.

    For most games though, I agree that appealing visuals can be part of the overall emotional experience. Certainly most games are more than just a set of systems. I love modern action adventure games, which can benefit from visuals that reference things we already know. If you climb up a mountain in an open world just in time to catch a sunrise, that can resonate, since it maps to something we emotionally connect with. Those kind of elements don't necessarily make it more or less compelling than more of a pure gameplay experience - it's just a different sort of experience.
     
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  13. RJ-MacReady

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    Yeah stick figures make for great graphics if stick figures are capable of communicating everything you need to communicate to the player about your game. Stick figures don't do so well once you introduce depth or third dimension because they are two-dimensional.

    It's hard to tell the player that one stick figure is heavily armored while the other stick figure is lightly armored because they're stick figures.

    I guess you have to go back and play games like Super Mario Brothers 3 or Kirby's Adventure to understand how many things can be communicated through visuals, things like are certain things indestructible are they bouncy, are they an enemy or are they just part of the environment... The visuals are constantly communicating with the player as part of a feedback loop and therefore the visuals are part of gameplay.

    I'm not talking about games for the blind because I'm not blind obviously and I'm pretty sure none of you are either, there's nothing wrong with developing in for blind people but I'm pretty sure that is not exactly what I have focused my abilities on and if you actually read the thread title hey I use the word visual so probably this has nothing to do with blind people.

    Too long can't read it?
    The visuals are one part of the feedback loop so the visuals are part of gameplay it has nothing to do with whether they're pretty or ugly it has everything to do with how well they communicate information to the player and if they're inconsistent or just abysmal they're giving the player mixed messages, I don't know how else to explain this. They're detracting from gameplay by virtue of being horrible and whether this is something you can agree with or not is entirely up to you and it's ignored entirely at your peril.
     
  14. RockoDyne

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    And yet everyone is complaining that Beyond Earth is just Civ V with a new coat of paint. Last I checked solitaire doesn't magically become a different game because you aren't playing with a standard Bicycle deck.

    Can you even name one game in which the gameplay specifically would be damaged if the models and textures were swapped? I can think of a few where it would hurt the overall experience, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus without their vistas or Silent Hill without it's fog, but it wouldn't do anything to the gameplay itself.

    Graphics are completely hot-swap-able. You could replace hearts in zelda with swords or shield icons and it would work just the same, maybe not providing the immediate context, but it would work no differently. Link could be swinging chainsaws and it wouldn't matter because it would function no differently than a sword. Graphics are just a front-end to the actual game below it.
     
  15. Teila

    Teila

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    It really does depend on the player. Some people are naturally more visual then others. Ask a few people if when they think of a word and how to spell it whether they see the letters in their head while they try to spell it. Some people really don't, which is amazing to me. I am a visual person. I see pictures in my head when playing text games, spelling a word, or even taking an exam. I can play games without visuals or with simple graphics as long as those graphics are not so jarringly opposed to the style/type of game that I can still see my own pictures. I have logged into a few games and even if the characters and props looked nice, the UI was amateurish and boring, I logged out again. I logged out faster if the UI was hard to use or the game play was bad or missing crucial elements like decent animations for important movements.

    I love games with beautiful visuals. But I can play a game without if the game play makes the game worthwhile. I have to admit, if there are mods to change textures, I will use them. :)

    Some folks are more into audio, and if they hate the music they will not play. Others are more kinesthetic and can't stand a game with clumsy bad controls. I am not sure it is a comparison between game mechanics and art. Most people are not going to be happy with a game that has glaringly bad mechanics, regardless of whether they are a visual person or not.
     
  16. GarBenjamin

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    That is an excellent point @Teila. I read an article once titled do you read in images, video or words? Something along those lines. And it explained the main differences in how people think. It asked if the reader could hear a voice when reading. Hearing the words. I thought well of course moron everyone does. But the research said no they do not. So i started asking family and friends and was amazed that a few people did not hear an inner voice except for the first sentence or two. After that point their mind basically produced a movie. No inner voice instead their brain automatically converted the information coming in through their eyes into basically a movie with video and sound and even music.

    I am more into how the game feels than how it looks. Music I usually drop to a low volume or even turn off but sound FX I set on Max volume. I feel sounds are as, if not more, important than graphics. But again it all comes back to communication. Sounds provide feedback. We may not notice everything with our eyes but a sound can tell us ah I just got the last coin or what the heck something just hurt me.

    A well executed game to me has good control (responsive hmm that is feedback), graphics that show me the current state of my character and the immediate environment absolutely including some indication of danger if nearby (feedback) and sounds that tell me about the current situation I find myself in (feedback).

    The graphics and sounds do not need to be AAA or anywhere close to it. They just need to be able to communicate effectively. And I do think sometimes graphics can be too complex and the message gets lost as a result.
     
  17. Teila

    Teila

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    Yeah, I see movies. :) I have one kid who is audio as well and music/sounds are very important to her.

    I agree with the communication. Very important as well as easy to figure out controls. I hate it when there are so many buttons and panels and none are intuitive. One reason I went to Maya from Blender is that I could not, no matter how hard I tried, remember how Blender worked if I didn't use it for a few days. I have no problem with Maya.

    The perfect game would appeal to visual, audio, and kinesthetic learners. Of course, it is tough to make a perfect game. :)
     
  18. RockoDyne

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    Does depend what the game is. I've been on a stealth bender, so it's easy to put sound louder than music there. On the other side are RPG's where I would rather hear the music than the sound effects which are mostly just annoying. I suppose it does play into whether the sound is there to aid the kinaesthetics or not (that and how much I want to listen to the music).

    Is that still a thing these days? Fifteen to twenty years ago I would have understood when it was mostly midi tunes on loop for eons, but these days I rarely ever notice music because it's in the background. I do fall into the camp who will give up on a game with terrible controls though.
     
  19. angrypenguin

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    Ok then, explain why people play each of the following: Chess? Tic-tac-toe? Pen-and-paper RPGs? Text adventures? Card games? Remove the art from most board games and the game will still stand perfectly fine on its own.

    To be honest this says more about your personal tastes, preferences and style of thinking than it does about games at all.

    Graphics do absolutely need to be appropriate to your gameplay to keep players around. That doesn't mean the same thing for all games, though.
     
  20. Teila

    Teila

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    I absolutely agree with this. We can design games that are fun to play but we can't design them to appeal to every single player out there. Even the most popular games of all, like Minecraft, are not beloved by everyone. I can't stand playing with little lego people. Bothers me. :)
     
  21. DryTear

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    If the player likes the game and the player thinks that the game is fun, and they like it that way. They wont really notice the stunning dx11 shaders used, they will realize that the game is fun though. The graphics are a bonus. But its kind of controversial as well because someone eventually though of "mario", and then though of "battlefield". The thing is, back in the days mario graphics were considered fine and ok to see, but the game itself was really fun to play. And theres the higher quality games with higher stunning visuals. Now you start comparing in two different categories, the graphics of the game(battlefield), or the game with graphics(mario).
     
  22. DryTear

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    The audio part is also like graphics, if the game is fun, you ditch the music and you increase volume of everything else :p.
     
  23. Teila

    Teila

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    Many players are like this but some won't even look at the game if the graphics are not acceptable. Not sure they have to be stunning though. Unfortunately today, graphics are more important at getting noticed but probably less important in retaining customers.
     
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  24. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    That's sad. But yep everyone is different.

    Personally, I feel no excitement at all when I see certain games. For example, a game that looks like this I have absolutely no interest in. Mainly because to me this does not even look like a game:



    However, I get thrilled every time I see a game that actually looks like a game. Like this one. I played this many times. A lot of fun and graphics are excellent:


    And even this would make me check it out and give it a play:
    :

    This style is also very acceptable:
     
  25. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    If there's one thing we all know, no chess player would ever care about the visual attractiveness of a chess set.

    poseidon_brass_chess_set.jpg

    People are very simple, 1-dimensional creatures and they only care about what we think they care about... and that just so often happens to be what we are good at, which--when you think about it--isn't thinking at all it's really just bloviating about your own personal views and likes and dislikes and phobias and ignoring the massive use-case of real life. Here's real life, for you. A brief tour, if you will.

    This game looks like crap:
    Friday-the-13th-NES-Game-Adaptation-Fail-Tie-In-Movie-Film.png

    This game looks fantastic:

    th.jpg

    So yeah, hyper realism can take a hike. That's not what anybody is talking about. I'm talking about pure design. Does it look good or not. Some people think their game can look bad and still have appeal... to which I say, okay... fine. There's literally zero evidence that that is the case, but indie game developers are extremely hard headed so it's not surprising.

    This: gfs_58677_2_8.jpg
    Looks better than this:

    perfect_dark_zero_234122.jpg

    It's not the poly count, it's just did you achieve what you were aiming for... did you style things correctly, is your vision clear. You make the rules for the design of your own game and then you have to abide by them. Nobody is forcing all these FPS games to have hyper realistic graphics, they're aiming for that and then rightly so, they're judged by how far they fall short of hyper realism. If you're aiming for cartoon, then you'll be judged by how well you achieve a cartoon look. If you're aiming for very simple, tiny graphics with charm... then do that.

    But no, nobody is going around searching for games with unattractive visuals. It's always a hindrance. Something you just, sort of look the other way on if you like a game well enough. But if that same game is made with better, more appealing visuals then people will choose the better visuals. Chances are that whatever game you design will have competition, and so... as Jeff Goldblum would say, there you have it. Life will find uh uh a... way.

    Seriously, just make it look pretty and everybody will be happy.
     
  26. GoGoGadget

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    One thing that's important to keep in mind, is the marketability of a game. Sure, there's plenty of 2D super low-res pixel art games that have great gameplay - but try selling that to every person who watches a 1-minute trailer of your game.

    I find that when a game has very nice looking 3D visuals, you can kind of 'forgive' other minor issues. Although, if the visuals come at a huge cost to performance (eg. Assasin's Creed Unity), then it's not worth it. I'd still rather play a 'decent' looking game at 50+fps than a gorgeous game at 30.
     
  27. the_motionblur

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    Sorry, @Misterselmo but your argumentation is all over the place.

    Just because there are elaborate chess sets does not mean that everybody wants them. Just because you find PacMan more appealing than Friday 13th (which is a game that had by far bigger problems than just artwork) does not mean that everybody thinks so. Or even that it actually is that way and all the others just don't see it. Comparing Pokemon to Perfect Dark is more than a stretch, really. Two completely different styles and two completely different games.

    Actually when I see what you compare as graphics it seems to me you are actually more comparing the gameplay, subconciously. PacMan is a very basic game but the gameplay still holds up. Friday 13th from the NES is from a completely different technological era and is supposed to have a completely different style. YET also the gameplay and sounddesign in the game fail. Hard.
    Same with Pokemon. From the screenshots alone I ould not say that the pokemon screenshot looks better than Perfect Dark Zero. In fact I'd say the complete opposite. Which one would I rather play? Probably Pokemon because I've heared that PD:Z wasn't a very good game. Which one would I buy if I did not know anything about either game? Perfect Dark.

    But did both of these games achieve (graphically) what they were aiming for? I would think so.

    In the end I am not really sure what you are arguing about, though. Do you say games need good graphics?
    Well - yes they do. Absolutely.
    Do you say games don't need elaborate graphics in order to ahve a good style?
    Sure - they need fitting graphics.

    Yes - I agree on both accounts but for everything beyond that your argumentation seems to be skewed towards your own preferences rather than the general justification you seem to be aiming for.

    If you want to compare graphics then please do it for:
    a) games from the same era
    b) games from the same genre
    c) also compare how well each game did and
    d) maybe even how good the graphics were rated - even though I dislike graphics rating because as this topic shows it's more personal preference than a science.

    In the end I think my first post (which actually agrees which much you said even though I am not sure you see this) still stands: Graphics are important but the solid foundation of the art creation is more important than the latest shiny technology. The latest shaders can still only polish a turd so far.
    Also graphics without gameplay are nothing.
    Also Gameplay and graphics with bad sound design are nothing.

    This is my subjective and condensed view on the whole subject:
    All these things have to come together from a production standpoint in a good way but not necessarily have to be high end. All of these have to show a solid understanding of the core production knowledge. And all factors combined can make or break a game. Yet nothing is really set in stone here and occasionally some single exceptions will break out of the rule and still shine despite one or two core factors being sub-par.
     
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  28. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I think this discussion is showing more and more how much difference there is in people's views.

    I have actually purchased many retro games after watching their 1 minute or perhaps even 2 minute videos. I like retro style games. I like what I call "pure game play" a simple presentation with the focus on core play mechanics. In the past few months I purchased at least half a dozen Indy games. None are FPS. In fact all look like something that would have fit in the 90s. I watched videos to the end. Even rewound and watched again. Why wouldn't I? I have a passion for retro gaming. Can't get enough of it. So unless the game looked like it was just lame to play I want to see more.

    However, that doesn't mean I don't like games with modern graphics. Or that I don't like 3D games. Of course not. I just don't like most modern games because so much emphasis is placed on presentation it makes the game itself feel shallow. It is a balancing act I think.

    When I see a retro game with what some people call crap graphics I expect a simple enjoyable play experience. When I see a game that looks like a movie I expect to be able to interact with everything in the game. If they worked so hard to make it look like real life I expect it to play like real life. Why bother showing me leaves falling off a tree if they really do not exist after reaching the ground? Why show tall grass blowing in the wind and yet when I walk through it I do not trample it down. I cannot pick it up. It is not real but because they have put so much work into making it appear real I expect it to behave more realistically more interactive than when I see a clump of grass in a NES game. So I kinda see what Misterselmo is saying about the presentation setting expectations by which the game itself is judged.

    It kind of goes along with what @JoeStrout was posting about. RPGs feeling so empty and the NPCs being so weak. If the game worlds did not look the way they do I believe Joe (and whoever) would not expect them to be so populated. If the NPCs did not look the way they do I believe Joe (and whoever) would not expect them to behave more realistically.

    Ironically, if the games did not look the way they do now I believe they would feel and behave more realistically. If instead of spending so much time and money on producing AAA graphics and FX the developers instead focused on the important things. But that is another story so I will stop here.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
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  29. Teila

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    Again, there are many kinds of players. I am always amazed when people try to make definitive statements about what games will sell, what aspects of games are important, etc. To be honest, none of the pictures above interest me. None of them would make me click on a link to the game. Now, I probably am part of a small niche of gamers so you certainly should not market to me. :) The point is, every picture up there will interest a small portion of the gaming population. We come in all shapes and sizes, all interests, all intellectual levels, all ages, genders and psychological profiles.

    FPS is popular among hardcore gamers at the moment but there is a subset that wants more artistic 3d games or retro 2d games. Some of us what beautiful environmental renders while others are more interested in achievement oriented game play. Many people are casual gamers, some are hardcore.
     
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  30. GarBenjamin

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    Very true. My ideal for the future is games that have simplistic presentations on a per object basis and use all of the graphics power of modern gpus to literally fill the screen with real objects. No time wasted on dense geometry or complex shaders. Just rendering simple objects but thousands of them. So if the game was in 3D it might look like the cutting edge 3D from 10 years ago yet everything visible is real. If some of my basic actions are to pick things up and to throw. I could pick up a stick and throw it. Maybe that sound would divert the enemy's attention allowing me to sneak away. But the point it it I could just as easily throw anything else in my immediate area. A stone. The frog sitting by the pond. I could throw the rock at the pond and happily sometimes it would skip across the water. That is a world designed to support maximum play not maximizing graphics quality for no reason other than to have glossy graphics. I am not against awesome graphics I am just saying DO SOMETHING with them in the game world.
     
  31. GoGoGadget

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    Funny you should say that, that's exactly the philosophy that I'm currently developing with. If you can see a rock on the ground, you can pick it up and throw it. Almost every prop on the entire map can be picked up, even if it serves no purpose but to hold it up as a kind of shield. If you shoot at some birds, you can kill them, if you miss, they'll get scared and fly away from your shot. See a door/ladder/etc? You can interact with it.
    On top of object interactions, everything's full-body as well, and anything that would involve physics in real life, does. Getting hit makes your character flinch proportionally to the momentum of the projectile that hit you, the same with recoil.

    Relating it back to graphics, again, I think most people agree that gameplay is more important than graphics on the whole, but again, it depends on platform/target audience/etc. A 2D, cartoony game on mobile platforms will not have the same reception as one released on Steam, for example.
     
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  32. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    @GoGoGadget your game sounds awesome. I have always focused on interaction in my game projects too. To me interaction is the very heart of a game This is why I'd rather play a highly interactive game with very simple graphics over a much less interactive game with the greatest graphics ever. For me it is the interaction that pulls me into the game. Interaction is closely related to feedback. If I try to pick up a rock or stick or whatever and nothing happens my character either does not even attempt to get it or grabs and gets nothing that is poor feedback. Of course it tells players "that item is not important despite the fact that we spent 4 days modeling and texturing it". Lol ;)

    Anyway I think everyone likes interacting with game worlds whether they realize it or not. And besides canned physics making it so developers can be lazy and have objects bump into each other moving around this is an area that has hardly advanced in the past 20 years in games. The games I make I hope players will feel the interactiveness. Even if they cannot put their finger on why the game feels fun I hope they at least notice "something is different about this game... it doesn't look all that great but just feels good."
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  33. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    The problem with something like skipping a stone is that it just isn't possible to do organically without contrivances. For one, fluid simulation is still infantile at best. Fluid motion is hard enough when it's just about water, but now you want to throw a physics based rock at it and think it would bounce properly?

    So fluid simulation is out, and skipping a stone is now mostly just in context with a defined property of the rock, so how do we chose a rock? Can I walk along the gravel bed and find a suitable rock, but does that mean the rock was an object the whole time as a settled physics object? Does this mean picking a rock up from the bottom of a pile leads to more fluid simulation? So now is finding a skippable stone just a matter of standing on a gravel texture, hitting the "collect rock" button, and randomly getting a rock with the skippable property?

    But wait, there is still input to deal with. Mechanically, throwing a stone is a completely different motion to skipping a stone. Are we going to wrangle in a specific button just to enable that motion, or are we at the point where there is a 1 in 10 chance a rock skips when it hits water? At this point it's just "press X for particle effect roulette."

    I don't mean to sound harsh, but this is one of those things that sounds cooler before you try to implement it. I could totally see doing it for a set piece moment as a kind of mini-game in the background, but I wouldn't worry much about the player's spontaneity.
     
  34. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Ha ha. You don't sound harsh and I rarely take offense to stuff. I see your views. I think we're coming from two very different places / perspectives.

    The gravel bed you describe... yes that is what I meant by thousands of real objects. If there are thousands of stones visible then there should be thousands of actual objects present. They could have 5 to 6 faces each as far as geometry goes and use a tiny texture.

    And yeah I don't mean get caught up in mapping controls for hundreds of different actions. I said throw rocks at the pond and be happily surprised when occasionally one skips instead of gaplunk! Splash! Glub glub. Sink.

    I don't care about fluid simulation. That is another example of game devs focusing on the wrong things. Well in my opinion. Just make a damn water animation FX and spawn it at the spot the rock hits. Scale and fade as ripple goes out. It is just feedback. And much better than a world where everything is shiny sparkling AAA graphics but an object lands in water and simply disappears.

    The game does not need to model reality as far as trying to do actual real world physics for water simulation and behavior or any other objects for that matter. For some reason people are so hung up on that stuff anymore. They focus on making leaves fall from trees then focus on making the leaves move realistically when they fall to the ground. Then they hit the ground and are not really there. They make trees bend and leaves rustle in the wind. Maybe even make a branch fall to the ground and when the player bumps the downed branch it moves around yet you cannot pick it up. The same for an old dead branch on the ground already. Dry. It may move from the canned physics but that is it. You cannot get it. You cannot use your torch to set it on fire. You cannot interact with it in anyway except the canned physics movement. I am talking about just very basic stuff here.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  35. Kinos141

    Kinos141

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    I've played so many games with so many visuals, it doesn't woo me anymore. I care about the gameplay, character interaction (if any), and how the visuals fix in with each other.
    Some games have cartoon graphics and they are great, while realistic graphics can be boring, especially if they're drab all the time(BF3, BF4).

    Also, I use to hear how CryEngine's graphics were great, but it look like crap to me. They were never clean, and looked muddy all the time.
     
  36. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    The problem as I see it is that it's detail that serves little purpose, like getting a spray effect when you shoot water. They both serve as visual reinforcement to interactivity, but they don't improve that interactivity in any meaningful way. Worry too much about little details and you end up becoming the kind of monster you were trying to distance yourself from in the first place. If you don't consider what the point is and whether it has a real purpose, you end up putting time into something that is there just to be pretty.
     
  37. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    That is true and a valid concern. Still there is a difference between working to makes leaves fall to the ground and disappear and working to make the game world more interactive such as the player throwing a stone in a pond and usually it sinks with a splash but once in a while it skips. Sure it is still fluff but it is interactive. It provides another valid activity the player can engage in. And some players would spend maybe 30 minutes just trying to see if they could make it skip. This kind of thing engages players in play.
     
  38. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    You're funny, Misterselmo. Nobody claimed that fancy looking chess sets aren't desirable, just that they aren't a requirement for the game to be enjoyable.

    How 'bout the other stuff on my list?

    Exactly! As I said...
    A board game can have nothing more than colored paper and still work. A text adventure's graphics are nothing more than vivid descriptions in text. A pen-and-paper RPG's imagery is some art in guide books (maybe) and verbal descriptions. So on and so forth.
     
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  39. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    People would stop interpreting everything I say is an angry rant will be a much happier place.

    Hey man if you're correct I probably agree with you, cuz I'm correct.
     
  40. Teila

    Teila

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    Ha ha ha!! Can't help it, your post made me laugh. I really needed that today! :)
     
  41. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    One can be smug with out being angry.
     
  42. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Maybe, but probably not. For one even if the player's modus operandi is throwing stones, chances are that they still won't notice the effect. Give the player a ton more tools than just rocks to play with, and the percentage of people that find out about this is even less. But lets face it if the player can get sidetracked for that long, chances are they aren't that engaged in the rest of the game.
     
  43. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Who's interpreting what as angry? :/
     
  44. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Whenever I proofread my posts, I'm like "why do I sound like I'm always pissed?" A lot of times when I post, I get compulsory flak. I just think people read what I write and they're just like "who the eff does this guy think he is?". So some feel it's their civic duty to disagree with whatever I say, out of principle.

    Or I've completely imagined this all. Also likely.
     
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  45. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Again this comes back to different players having different preferences and different playstyles. My boys are very opposite on gaming for example. One focuses only on the missions and such and the other explores the world has fun just doing his own thing. On Oblivion and Skyrim one pushed on gaming hard and reached the end quickly. The other brother was exploring and trying all kinds of different things. He showed us glitches how to enter buildings by approaching on the corners at just the right angle. Solid ground that wasn't really solid.

    He continually finds these things because he spends all of his just playing around in the game worlds seeing what he can and cannot do. I tell him he should get a job as a video game tester because he has found glitches in every game he has played for fhe last 9 years. He once spent 3 hours testing the gates in Borderlands. His brother and I told him there is no way he was going to get through because he could not go to that area yet. He said yes I can I just need to hit it at the right speed at the right angle.... and after 3 hours of trying and his brother saying "come on give up do something else. You're insane doing tthat over and over again"... he did it. His car hit the side of the gate at just the right angle just the right speed and he passed through and was on the other side driving around.

    I do not have that much patience but I do like to explore and interact with the game worlds. I am probably about in the middle between their two extremes of mission-focused and exploration-focused. But I am just saying there are players out there who want to interact with the world and want to do everything they can. Just as there are players who only want to get from point A to point B as fast as they can.

    I wouldn't say the explorers are bored with the game. We just get more out of the games maybe. Doing the missions and also doing everything else we can. Trying to solve problems in ways the designers did not intend. Or just testing the boundaries of the game world.

    Btw - the explorer brother loves Little Big Planet and Minecraft. His brother hates both games and says they are pointless there is no purpose to them at all. Lol
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
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  46. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Haha, I know the feeling. Every so often I wonder if someone has interpreted something I wrote as being angry based on the fact that I am, by name, "angrypenguin". It is in fact the primary reason for my finding a thoughtful looking penguin to use as an avatar.
     
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  47. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    So why did you choose the name angrypenguin instead of say friendlypenguin, politepenguine or happypenguin?
     
  48. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Because I've been AngryPenguin since I was a teenager, and it's a fitting name for games of Unreal Tournament and such.

    I considered changing it to HappyPenguin, but it's taken in too many places I frequent.
     
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  49. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    I've always assumed that your posts are written with much beard tugging, limb flailing, and grimoire thumping. Is that not the case?

    As for the topic of this thread, I think it's about functional graphics? If that's true, then yeah, a game's visuals should convey whatever information is necessary to play the game, but I think you can draw a line between functionality and appeal. For example, programmer art is often functional but not appealing.

    I do find a certain beauty in very abstract and minimalist presentation, such as Space Invaders and games of the same era. I know people though who won't even touch a 2D game. Perhaps it has to do with what games you grew up with.

    No idea if that's what this thread is about though.
     
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  50. Jaqal

    Jaqal

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    They are called "video" games for a reason. We are not here creating audiogames or smellgames we are making videogames. Therefore the visual aspect is and always will be important no matter the subjective style or quality as the user will always be using their eyes to process this information.
     
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