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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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    That's true... it's not 1995. Computer games are an established form of entertainment, with rigid audience expectations. I mean, the produce section at wally world even is arranged to make cucumbers and tomatoes look more appealing. It's just the way things are. If it looks like crap, you seem tone deaf, oblivious, it looks like an oversight. So, the question becomes, what else did you get wrong? You're giving your audience an expectation of crap from the first impression, and people are quite easy to influence. You could create an irreversible impression that your game sucks. I'm more visual than most, I'll play games that are gorgeous just to bask in their glow for a while. But I've never seen a game like that reach any huge success... as in, I'll never meet another person who had played one like that except through that games web forums.

    It's about framing expectations, as well.
     
  2. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    We really need examples in here:

    What do you think about these games?

    Diamond Deeps

    Red Goblin

    As you can see both are rated quite high. One is nearly an 8 and the other is over a 9. Those are player ratings.
     
  3. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Both look sweet. Retro, good color schemes. One looks like Megaman, the other is Indie style simplicity.
     
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  4. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Ha ha. I am surprised you like them. Because these are perfect examples thst look 1995 or actually 1985. And when people post games on these forums that look about like this usually there are a few people talking about the need to update the graphics.

    I need to see what you all are saying is bad graphics. Find a game out there on Desura or Steam that has what you call bad graphics. Or find one on Kongregate. Etc. I have seen many games that have graphics worse than I make that are very popular. But maybe that is not what you all are talking about.

    So show some games. Any of you that are talking about "bad graphics" so we (I am sure I am not the only person) can understand what you mean.
     
  5. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    To continue that metaphor, you're suggesting that once you've cleared a level in a game then nobody else should be allowed to play it.
     
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  6. Deleted User

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    @GarBenjamin

    Even from my own gamers perspective, I don't expect OMG graphics. Just something that looks like they've actually tried. In this day of pre-made engines there is no excuse. Bad graphics is generally a sign the developer couldn't be bothered or lacked the skill to pull it off.

    As Misterselmo says, it doesn't need to be bleeding edge but neither should it look a decade out of date.

    I still like my SNES games like Seiken Densetsu (Secret of mana), I can't play Final Fantasy 7 anymore that game DID not age well but at the time I were in love with it. FF8+ is still looking good and I don't think Dragon age origins looks bad either. I rarely see indie's in 3D match DAO, which is a 5 year old game now.

    P.S you can't like gameplay mechanics that much, you have a Diablo 3 shirt on :D..
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2014
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  7. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I am not sure if anyone else finds this confusing but I find it confusing. I think even among the artists there are different opinions about what is bad and what is good. You are saying "bad graphics" are graphics that look like games from more than 5 years ago? Like maybe 7 years ago?

    I guess what I don't get about that kind of thing is that out of all of the games released 7 years ago some had awesome graphics, many had very good graphics, most had good graphics and some had poor graphics.

    And when you say "Bad graphics is generally a sign the developer couldn't be bothered or lacked the skill to pull it off"... that could very well be true!

    Certainly, any games I make will fit that description. Unless I rely on clip art, other open source assets or hire artists to produce everything then my games will look like I either didn't try or lacked the skill to pull it off. And I am fine with that because I lacked the skill to pull it off. I am not an artist. I am much better now than I was decades ago but still I am never going to create some art masterpiece. I like making graphics and trying to improve but the bottom line is my own graphics are never going to look like this:


    or this:


    Not even close. And those games are over 10 years old.


    But I think I can achieve something like this:




    LOL! Blizzard makes some of, if not THE, best games of modern times. They play-test the hell out of their games and balance and balance and balance some more. D3 has awesome game play! My cousin and I waited 10 years for D3's release. The original Diablo was a great hack n slash. D2 took that game and tried to max it out. Was loads of fun. D3 made the same kind of jump over D2 except for the lame can only play online. I think that part was stupid but they did to help combat the idiots who try to cheat with hacking programs and bots and such. Anyway, D3 is truly an awesome game. If you are into Hack n Slash. Awesome progression. Very well programmed and graphically it is superb.
     
  8. Deleted User

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    You can't correlate 2D and 3D games, they are worlds apart. 3D games tend not to age well, they are constantly upgrading not only in things like lighting / post / shader tech but also the hardware to allow this tech to run efficiently.

    They are, apples n' oranges, cat's n' dragons, poop and a tender aged fine steak. So when we compare DAO to modern AAA games, it does by all means look dated. Not necessarily bad, but dated definitely..

    Even if you compare Crysis 1 to Crysis 3, the older game looks dated. Being honest, how many Indies have you seen come on par with Crysis 1 which was made back in 2007?

     
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  9. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    That is probably too advanced for most people. The Crysis games blew nearly every AAA titles of the same time away for raw graphics quality.

    Most 3D Indy games seem to push for PS2 graphics such as:


    And:


    I think either of these are fine. For me 3D games don't even need to look like this. But both of these are examples of older 3D games. From the PS2.

    If I can see trees, grass, make out what an enemy is, identify health and other collectibles the graphics are fine. Sure I LIKE awesome stunning looking games if they are good. But all I WANT and NEED is for the graphics to be easily identifiable so I can play the game. Of course the game itself should be fun!
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
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  10. Deleted User

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    @GarBenjamin

    Oh my I wish all my customers were like you, my life would be bliss I tell ya!..
     
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  11. Teila

    Teila

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    If a friend told me he was making a game that was strong on role play and had many of the elements I liked in a game, I would play it even if the visuals were not stunning. Cartoony art kind of turns me off and I don't like blocky stuff like Minecraft but 3d graphics that are more on the realistic style but older, like Morrowind or a game from around that time would not chase me away IF the game play was something that interested me.

    I love the pretty stuff but I would sacrifice it a little at least for something I like to play. There have been lovely sequels I have passed up because the game play has been simplified or features removed that I liked.
     
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  12. illinar

    illinar

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    Like Morrowind? The game with graphics made by a professional team with some great artists and amazing visual design and setting? :) But seriously, for a long time I was thinking the same thing. The graphics on the level of first McGee's Alice, or Blade of Darkness, or Morrowind, or old Neverwinter Nights. All those games are from 2001 - 2002. That's totally enough for me. But we are speaking technology. Artistically, those games are gorgeous. So I only can't stand really bad graphical design, or talentless, or tasteless graphics.
     
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  13. Teila

    Teila

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    LOL But the graphics are older and to some folks, not worthy of today's games. I agree with your assessment of Morrowind, btw. I would prefer to play that than the later Elder Scrolls games. The game play was so much better.

    And that makes a point....I am a visual person who loves pretty graphics but I played Morrowind for months and months. I played Oblivion for a month before getting bored and have no desire to try Skyrim based on my son's reviews. He likes it but it does not intrigue me enough.
     
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  14. illinar

    illinar

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    I think that "visual" has a deeper and broader meaning. I honestly believe that those game that I've listed have more powerful visuals that many today's high fidelity AAA games. It is about something more than your polygon count and texture resolution. The vibe of the game is often translated better through blurry textures where your brain kinda have to guess and complete the picture on it's own. It is hard to describe.

    It is ENTIRELY POSSIBLE that I'm talking purely from nostalgia, but I really believe that the vibe (the feel) of the game can be created better using less.. May be because artists don't get lost in the details and technology like their normal mapping. I think that is really interesting subject to explore.
     
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  15. illinar

    illinar

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    I've just tested myself. Looked at screenshots of old games that I've never even seen, and still I love the looks. Very low poly and a lot of hand painted stuff. Brighter and well used colors. Style. No one really could replicate reality so everything looks more interesting. And hand painted portraits in games like first Neverwinter Nights, they add so much.
     
  16. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    Very often less is more. I think that even if you're the worst artist in the world, you can still make "graphics that don't suck" (tm) by using the principals and elements of design, selecting a graphic style that is less technically demanding, and having a basic understanding of color theory.

    Bonus reading: Here's a blog post by Derek Yu (Spelunky) that talks about how letting the artists design Earthworm Jim was a bad thing. Not really relevant, but I thought it was interesting.
     
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  17. Teila

    Teila

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    You see...we are all different. I don't like the graphics in Neverwinter Nights. :) Not sure I ever did. That doesn't mean it isn't a good game though and if I were in the market for a game that only NWN can do, I would put up with the graphics. However, if a competitor made the graphics a bit better, I would chose that even if I have to sacrifice something. Sad..I know.
     
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  18. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Now there's a topic for another thread, but yeah, too many artists in the kitchen spoils the play. I'll totally throw twilight princess under the bus as an example.
     
  19. Deleted User

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    I think Morrowind is a poor looking game to the point I won't play it, even though the graphics in Fallout 3 weren't exactly great I still immensely enjoyed it.

    If you look at Metro 2033 and Last light, not only do the graphics look amazing even by today's standards the atmosphere is second to none. I'd say Metro is the epitome of what graphics and atmosphere can do for a game, not only is the gameplay fluid and the story strong it is truly immersive.

    But if I were to sacrifice, I'd lower the graphics well before I dragged the gameplay and story into mediocrity.
     
  20. Centigrade

    Centigrade

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    I personally think it comes down to whether the information the graphics are trying to convey is communicated effectively enough to immerse the player. You can do a lot with a little. Stuff can be close to abstract but still get the message across, and I personally think that that's what counts.

    Generally speaking the better the graphics the more easily immersed a player can get and the less they have to think they're controlling a thing on a screen rather than actually just relying on natural instinct.

    Of course having smooth, effective controls is also key, maybe even more so in some instances. For instance if you have a driving game where the car really really feels and behaves like a real car you could probably drop the graphical fidelity quite dramatically and still get enough information across to the player to make it an immersive experience.
     
  21. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    I think the quality of the art assets has some impact but more important that then that is having some kind of art style that will set it apart from the other games in the genre. If you look at roguelikes on steam (and only look at the FPS roguelikes), and then sort by topsellers youll see ziggarut, heavy bullets, tower of guns, fancy skulls. If you look at tower of guns it has better looking art but less of an interesting art style then the simple heavy bullets.
    http://store.steampowered.com/tag/en/Rogue-like/#os[]=mac&p=2&tab=TopSellers
     

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