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I'm of the view that graphics matter more (overall) than gameplay...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by splattenburgers, May 23, 2020 at 12:14 AM.

  1. splattenburgers

    splattenburgers

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    I know saying that will get me flak but I think it's simply the harsh truth. Nobody wants to play a game if the graphics are very bad. No matter how deep the gameplay is. Most people would rather play a basic game with good graphics than a deep game with MS paint graphics.

    I'm not saying that good graphics and deep gameplay are mutually exclusive. I'm just saying that I feel people and especially devs are in denial about the importance of graphics. It seems to me like it's considered almost dirty to admit the massively important role that graphics play in getting people interested. In a way one could compare it to physical attraction: Sure personally is what makes a person stick with you, but your looks is what got you through the door in the first place. If your looks are bad, then your personality will not be given a chance to shine.

    Some will attempt to argue that good graphics don't matter if the gameplay is bad. This is missing the point. Yes, if the gameplay is bad then people will give up on the game. But here is the vital difference: Even bad games still do in fact get a chance before they are dismissed, as long as the graphics create a good initial impression. This isn't the case with games that have bad graphics. First impressions are NOT determined by game mechanics. They are determined by the graphics. A bad game with good graphics will typically get a chance at least. Games with bad graphics will not get a chance.

    For the purposes of convincing people to try out your game: Graphics > Deep gameplay
     
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  2. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    look at all the terrible looking games sell great though

    here's my view:

    easier to fall in love with a beauty

    but more uggos than not

    AAA has the market on beauties, don't bother competing there

    but! if you are indie and can make the time investment for prettier graphics work out, it helps

    but! it's a massive time investment and takes careful consideration

    synty studios shows a good example of how understanding of art fundamentals can make even a very pragmatic style look attractive.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020 at 12:32 AM
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  3. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    I can point to so, SO many popular games that don't have some massive graphical (or even appealing art design) advantage that are sold entirely on their gameplay. Roblox, Minecraft, Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, lots of classic games like Asteroids and Pong that still hold up to this day, I can go on and on and on, especially if we get further into the indie space.

    Graphics have supremely diminishing returns. This post? Kinda ridiculous and fundamentally ahistorical.
     
  4. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Play Dwarf Fortress! Or ADOM. or DoomRL. Or Minecraft.

    On a more serious note, though, there is a large slew of genres that do not have high fidelity visuals, but are popular. For example, Undertale. Unturned, Plenty of Visual Novels would fall into that category. There's interactive fiction, which is being sold on steam, and has no visuals at all. Then we had Nidhogg, games by Spiderweb studio, and so on. And Minecraft. And Factorio.

    What you say is not a "harsh truth", but your belief, which, you, for some reason, want to restate. Hopefully you are not seeking approval and agreement here.

    The way I see it, beautiful game with shallow gameplay will result in application of steam refund policy.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020 at 12:54 AM
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  5. Ryiah

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    But that's the best showcase of raytracing we have right now. :p
     
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  6. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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  7. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    There's also Quake 2, and Minecraft didn't have any raytracing at a release date.
     
  8. N1warhead

    N1warhead

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    Honestly, graphics in certain genres are a must, but for most not really so much. Like I still prefer Duke Nukem 3D graphics to most games today, just because I love DN3D - but this could be nostalgia talking here.

    BUT, a game like Alien Isolation, if the graphics and atmosphere weren't the way they were, I wouldn't have enjoyed the game at all. The atmosphere is what had me hooked, not the Alien, not the story - just the atmosphere. The lighting, the shadows, the GI, the particle systems, etc - all led to a perfect horror atmosphere (in my opinion).

    So to me there's a time and place where graphics really need to shine, but most cases it doesn't unless it's very prudent to elaborating the game itself, E.G. - Alien Isolation.

    But this is my opinion of course.
     
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  9. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    The clue is in title... VIDEO GAMES. Taking a stand or making argument on which is more important is about as useful as saying peanut butter is the most important for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or track is the most important for track & field or Fry is the most important part of Fry & Laurie. Video games without visuals is D&D, without the game, they are cartoons. The visuals and the game equally important, and their relative value to a specific game is based on that game.

    Additionally the subjective terms "good" and "bad" aren't really of any value. The visual fidelity and realism in Colonial Marines is vastly superior to Minecraft. But that statement doesn't provide anything meaningful or useful. Minecraft's visuals perfectly fit the type of game and what the various elements are conveying to the user. If they were replaced with visually more high fidelity / realistic graphics, the game would never have been what it was. Angry birds was fundamentally similar to several other games, but the higher quality (and consistent) visuals told a better story and made the game appealing.

    Asking the question, "which is more important..." is basically a complete waste of time. You need to be asking how do the graphics in my game support game play and engage the player. Or how is my game play instructed or influenced by the visual direction / concept. (depending a bit on where the design started from)
     
  10. Murgilod

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    You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.
     
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  11. Shizola

    Shizola

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  12. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Code (csharp):
    1.  
    2. > lick door.
    3. That's not a verb I recognise.
    4.  
    .... disappointment.
     
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  13. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    This image sucks ass because accessibility should not be in second last.
     
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  14. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    About that...



    The animation is missing, obviously, but it gets at least to the level of turn-based isometrics like Avadon/Avernum (spiderweb). Except it costs much more.
     
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  15. Shizola

    Shizola

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    Haha I actually debated posting this as I knew people here would take it too seriously.
     
  16. splattenburgers

    splattenburgers

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    Too many people here don't understand the difference between graphic style and actually objectively bad graphics. And yes, there IS such a thing as objectively bad graphics. Bad graphics is basically bad design, which is not the same as just not having photorealism in your game. I saw somebody above use Quake 2 as an example, despite the fact that it had what were at the time state of the art graphics. This is a good example of not understanding that different style/older style != bad design.
     
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  17. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

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    Actually for me personally a big part of my interest in VNs is the art, it's in the name after all.

    Overall though I agree with this sentiment.
     
  18. Murgilod

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    Spiderweb Software has numerous successful titles that have graphics that are in many cases difficult to read at all. Plenty of roguelikes that make use of tilesets have awful tiles and the ones that don't use tiles do have what can easily be called bad graphics. You are trying to frame your opinion as truth but the fact is that there are numerous examples to the contrary that you are ignoring.
     
  19. Ryiah

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    Just seeing isn't enough to understand why it was brought up. Go back and read this time.
     
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  20. Antony-Blackett

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    Given that most development cost of most games is eaten up by graphics I’d say most developers are aware of its importance.
     
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  21. neginfinity

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    It is true that art playes role, but.... here are some more unusual examples.

    Umineko no Naku Koro ni, and Tsukihime.

    Umineko is considered to be a "sound novel", art is not great.
    Tsukihime is also not that great in art department, just servicable.
    Both use photos processed by photoshop filters in background.

    ^^^ Tsukihime.


    Umineko.
    Here's why it is Sound Novel, by the way.

    High quality music.

    Neither is voice acted by the way.

    Both are very high quality products despite that, due to story, both received anime adaptation, and creators of Tsukihime went on to produce Fate/Stay franchise which is being milked to this day.

    Now, take a look at visuals...
     
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  22. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    You're employing "people that disagree with me must be idiots/incompetent" type of argument. I'd advise to reconsider the argument type. The reason why people arne't agreeing with you is because there are a LOT of counter-examples.

    The reason why Quake 2 was brought up because it is pretty much the second game after minecraft which uses raytracing. And only because of that. It looks very dated even with RTX mode illumination, although gameplay should be still solid. (Doom I is still a blast to lay to this day).

    Basically, there are tons of title which are out there and being sold and bought because other aspects outweigh their visuals. I also had multiple recent refunds along the lines of "it looks amazing, but incredibly dull to play".

    The first impression might give you a sale, yes. However, lack of the rest of the game will give you a refund.
     
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  23. EternalAmbiguity

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    Some stuff is definitely an acquired taste, like anything Key. And yeah, Umineko feels like the exception that proves the rule.

    For me it's more OELVN stuff, a lot of them have art I struggle to ignore, along with mediocre stories.
     
  24. Murgilod

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    A lot of OELVN stuff has pretty awful stories because many of them try to recreate the stylistic choices of translated VNs, but a lot of that inspiration is being drawn on stuff from pre-2010 when translation and localization work was in a bit of a state. They also try and draw cultural inspiration without really understanding the culture being drawn from outside of the media output of Japan, which causes a whole bunch of issues. It's really kind of a nightmare.

    I realize this has little to do with the topic, but this is something I've beaten on about in OELVN dev communities for ages because it's such a long running problem.
     
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  25. zombiegorilla

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    I should have been more clear... I meant REAL D&D. ;).
     
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  26. Billy4184

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    Couldn't agree more. Most of the usual crusade about graphics seems to think that it is simply about a linear path from minecraft to photorealism.

    The goal of graphics is to create a world that you actually want to interact with. Bad graphics creates a world you simply want to exit from as fast as possible, preferably followed by removing it from your hard drive as well.

    Whether those graphics are simple or complex, they still need to achieve the goals of:
    - Being visually engaging, creating beauty.
    - Creating immersion and building atmosphere.
    - Aiding level design and drawing the focus of the player in specific directions.
    - Creating points of interest that are actually attractive.
    - etc

    Some of this can be done with story as well, but pitching story and visuals against each other will not achieve anything useful, as they are for different senses.
     
  27. zombiegorilla

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    People use the term good and bad typically without qualification. For the most part you can't really isolate/separate the "graphics" from the game when talking about the success of the game. Minecraft is often held up as an example of game that has bad graphics but a good game. But it has great "graphics", they perfectly fit the objectives of the game, and the overall feel.

    Moreover, "graphics" is such an incredibly broad topic that it narrowing it down to good/bad is not really of value. ESPECIALLY in the context of game development. Sure on steam threads or subreddits for game it shorthand for saying someone didn't like the game. Saying a game has "bad" graphics is unhelpful. Poor animation, animation that doesn't match, inconsistency in visual direction, muddy texturing, visual design that poorly communicates what it supposed to, mixed elements, etc. Visuals in a game, just like code and design, need to inform and communicate to the player something about the game play. Whether it is as simple as what any enemy is to where the player should go next, to much more complex story / UX points. A game can be visually interesting, but visually incompetent at communication. It can also be not super visually high fidelity and complex but still communicate very clearly, but be super clear and engaging to the player. And many variations along that spectrum.

    Basically planting a stake in the ground and says "I say graphics are not important!" is the kind of thing gamers like to talk about, because gamers like to talk about their opinions on everything. It's not really a game developer thing. If everything was a simple as "good" and "bad", there would never be any bad games, because no one would make "bad" graphics. Its a Dunning–Kruger thing. No one actually making games sits down and says "we are not going to make bad graphics and we are going to make game play more important than graphics!" There is almost never a point where you have to choose between the two. Occasionally there are points where one influences the other or reality imposes it's will on one (often visuals), but really, it's an meaningless opinion to hold, as there are about 235,921,248 choices that that have a greater impact on game than putting thought into that. Commit to making a good game with good graphics (or great game with great graphics). Move on to the next step.
     
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  28. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    I love to immersive myself in the world, so for me gfx are very important plus I tend to favor realistic titles over stylish ones. That said, gfx and gameplay must live in harmony and Symbiosis. A game without great gameplay is nothing and a game with bad gfx and great gameplay gets pretty bland quick.

    Good gfx is hard to pin pint though. Just slapping HDRP on a scene does not make it good :p Its such a broad topic, you need art direction, you need great detailed assets, lighting, performance to fill the world with enough details, etc, etc
     
  29. Billy4184

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    The worst example of great graphics and poor gameplay I've seen is RDR2. I watched a couple of videos of that game on ultra and was blown away, until I realized the gameplay (at least what I saw) was nothing more than wandering around shooting up everything in sight, doing silly takedowns, and just generally acting like a bullet sponge while massacring random people. Way to waste the atmosphere of such a beautiful game.
     
  30. MDADigital

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    Console games generelly have poor gameplay. I just played A plague tale on PC and while the story was fantastic the game mechanics was really bland. It's not uncommon these days, same with last of us, great story and art direction but the gameplay is none existing.
     
  31. Billy4184

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    Depending on the game, I don't mind if the gameplay is not complex. But the world has to be highly interactive. Even if the only choice you get is to walk somewhere, that should be a choice that has meaning/consequences.
     
  32. MDADigital

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    Isolation would have been even better on PC atleast if they made the controls more free, I really hated when the console control setup shined through.
     
  33. Lurking-Ninja

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    The best game(s) lost on console controls are the Alan Wake games. :( Cool mechanics, great story (unless you hate the Twin Peeks-like dark, convoluted, lingering stories), abysmal controls. They aren't playable.
     
  34. MDADigital

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    Games like that are made for mouse and keyboard. I just replayed Alan wake actually still a great game, I wish remedy will complete the story though.

    Alan wake would btw be a perfect port to VR.
     
  35. EternalAmbiguity

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    So I take it you're not a fan of walking sims?
     
  36. jjejj87

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    In my opinion, it is just straight out old fashioned to separate gameplay and graphics.

    Gameplay is always king, but graphics is part of gameplay.

    It wasn't the case 10 years ago, but it is now.

    Every little bit of presentation, whether it be graphics or audio is all now part of the whole gameplay experience.
     
  37. kdgalla

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    How was it not? I think it was- just as much as it is now. In fact, I once wrote a rant that games these days (with all their fancy rendering effects) tend to lack the readability that is so important in action game-play, as compared to older games, like on the NES.
     
  38. Billy4184

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    Tbh I've never played one, though I do mean to take a look at Dear Esther. I don't think I'd enjoy a game that doesn't react to my presence though, because that's what I think games add to books and movies.
     
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  39. AcidArrow

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    I think that the notion that all these aspects of a video game are so separate and in different ranks is kinda... silly. They're interconnected and each one affects the other so much, I don't think it's very useful to talk about each one in a vacuum.
     
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  40. EternalAmbiguity

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    A while back I saw a video by Joseph Anderson about how Edith Finch was perfect as a video game. Pretty good video.

    That said, I didn't find Dear Esther all that interesting myself, nor the little bit I've played of Everybody Goes to the Rapture. Firewatch and Virginia were okay.

    Sometimes when reading I'll get sidetracked and stop reading while thinking about what I've read. In a book or movie one has to explicitly take themselves out of the experience to do this; in a game this can be done while still engaged. Even if the extent of one's agency is stopping and looking at the "environmental storytelling" in a location it's a difference from the other mediums.
     
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  41. Billy4184

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    True, I was going to say in the previous comment that something like a detective setting might be an exception to interaction being important. But when you think about it, the game world is still designed for your presence, in terms of the clues and imprints of previous activity on the environment. It's still saying "I know you're there, and this is made for you". The interaction still happens, it's just that the visible activity is entirely on your side.
     
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  42. MDADigital

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    Walking sims in VR are much cooler out of the box because of the medium, its really nice just walking around and just enjoy the views.

    I have always treated games as walking simulators to be honest, atleast the last 15 years or so when gfx has evolved. I remembered for example first Metro game, just walking around the living breathing metro stations full of life and commotion. Nice pauses between the fights.

    Sometimes I can get irritated that the games narrative and mechanics forces me to rush through a area, "but, but, I wanna stay and look!!!!"
     
  43. sxa

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    Babya is You says otherwise.
     
  44. SparrowsNest

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    I dunno man, first of all you can do pixel art in that so you can get good graphics with ms paint.

    And on the flip side, would you play the most photorealistic game ever is it just had basic mechanics like small talk with your relatives and walking down the street to get eggs?

    the key is finding a balance, and it all depends on the game your making.

    just what bothered me too, but it gets the point across the thread.
     
  45. newjerseyrunner

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    Good graphics is relative and valid only for a short time period before the nextgen technology comes and makes it obsolete. Gameplay is eternal. There is a reason that the original Doom still has a massive player base thirty years later and it’s not the graphics.
     
  46. MDADigital

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    I dont agree, good graphics are eternal too. Take Half life 2 as an example. Looks gorgeous even today thanks to the detailed levels.
     
  47. Billy4184

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    Just because something gets better with technology doesn't make it invalid. Gameplay is not eternal either - only as long as we're still using the keyboard.
     
  48. MDADigital

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    Keyboard is already obsolete with VR and motion controllers ;)
     
  49. Billy4184

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    I wouldn't say that just yet, but it might be getting there.
     
  50. newjerseyrunner

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    I can’t foresee what technology could possibly replace it. Business has been using keyboards since the late 1860s. Touchscreens cause fatigue very quickly, as does speech synthesis. The only technological leap I could imagine replacing it is something that reads our minds directly, and that is a looong way off. As long as businesses use computers, people will still want to put games on them.
     
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