Posts Tagged ‘Graphics’

Better Graphics Is Not Enough

August 7, 2007

Video games need a ‘realism boost’, according to Glenn Entis, chief technical officer at Electronic Arts.

BBC – Video games need ‘realism boost’ (Digg it)

Glenn reckons that games need to be made more realistic, and it’s not just about great graphics:

“When a character’s visual appearance creates the expectation of life and it falls short your brain is going to reject that,” he said. Improvements in graphics would not boost believability, he said. “Just adding polygons makes it worse.”

Although the article reads more or less like a rehash of a press release, I heartily agree with the sentiment that better graphics != better games. It’s also interesting to note that humans are finely tuned to spot unrealistic behaviour and reactions, and that improving the way virtual environments look often makes the inconsistent stuff even more incongruous. The net effect is that the illusion of reality is destroyed, and the game is ultimately less immersive, less memorable, and less fun.

Unfortunately, the article ends on a sour note: apparently, the upshot of this is that everyone wants more Sims clones, like EA’s new Virtual Me project… No thanks: as well as realism, what tomorrow’s games desperately need is innovation.

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Crysis Won’t Run on Next-Gen Consoles — Crytek

August 29, 2006

Team X-box are reporting Bernd Diemer, senior designer at Crytek, as saying that next-gen consoles like the Xbox360 and PS3 aren’t powerful enough to run Crysis “as intended” by the developers:

Full story (from Team X-box)
(via Firingsquad)

Apparently:

only DirectX 10 allows the game to run as it was intended by the developers because the next-generation DirectX API, which will ship along with Windows Vista, allows more effects and more objects to be drawn on the screen with a smaller computational cost for the hardware.

Of course, this could all be nothing more than marketing bluster, designed to increase the game’s cred among the “OMG!! H4rdC0R3!!” graphics-whore crowd. Nevertheless, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling a smug, warm glow somewhere inside with the knowledge that next-gen PC hardware is already leaving behind the so-called “next-gen doesn’t start till we say it does” Sony teraflop-machine.

I’ve already commented that Crysis is looking sweet. But now the question is: will I ever be able to afford a PC good enough to run it? With this announcement, that’s looking increasingly unlikely.

New Crysis Screenshots

July 27, 2006

TechEBlog has posted a link to a bunch of new in-game screenshots and a video for Crysis, the sequel to popular PC FPS, Far Cry:

New Crysis Screenshots (TechEBlog)

Crysis screenshot

Clearly, it looks stunning. The full array of next-gen graphical whizzbangery is on display, as you’ll see in the video: real-time soft shadows, motion blur, advanced pixel shaders, volumetric clouds, and destructible environments. While everyone’s wondering whether it’ll be the Xbox 360 or PS3 which ushers in the next gen, the PC is quietly pushing the boundaries of technology to the limit. As long as you have a bleeding edge graphics card, of course.

Now, I’m just hoping that it’ll make significant gameplay advances to match the obvious graphical ones. Far Cry was a solid shooter, but what made it stand out from the crowd wasn’t the incredible visuals (although they were nice): it was the freedom that comes with having a whole island to explore, with multiple routes to your objective. Unfortunately, it was let down by some dull, linear indoor sections and a dumb (but rock hard) ending.

It seems from the press and the E3 demo that Crysis is staying with the open-ended approach, which is good news. But the question remains: does it offer anything fundamentally new in a market already saturated with high-quality FPS games? Upgrading weaponary is a nice touch, as is being able to destroy the environment; taking out a building with grenades and making it collapse on your enemies would be undeniably sweet.

However, I think Crytek (the developers) need to bring something truly unique to the table to fight the growing sense of FPS fatigue. They also need to make sure the game is consistently entertaining, and this means resisting the temptation to drag out the playing time with ludicrously difficult sections, as they did in Far Cry.

360, PS3 and Wii: screenshot comparison

July 14, 2006

Here’s a recent article which compares screenshots of Call of Duty 3 on the 360, Wii and PS3.

Call Of Duty 3

Surprise, surprise: the graphics all look distinctly “last gen”, with the Wii looking perhaps the worst of the lot (shots of hot young models waving their wii-sticks around notwithstanding). The big shock, though, is that there is no discernable difference between the PS3 and X-box 360 versions. Killzone, where are you now?

Of course, it should be borne in mind that this is just an early build and things may change, but some gamers are already wondering how much of a real difference there’ll be in terms of performance between the 360 and the PS3.

The PS3 clearly has the edge in terms of hardware — for raw teraflop-shifting power, the 360 just can’t match it. But will this difference translate into actual perceivable visual and performance gains for the PS3? It depends whether developers are willing to code separately for the advanced PS3 architecture. For PS3 exclusives, this is not so much of an issue, but many of the big name games (like CoD3) are released across all the platforms simultaneously in order to recoup the massive production costs involved in creating modern videogames.

In these situations it seems likely that there’ll be a “lowest common denominator” approach to developing, with the graphics and game design being tailored for the “worst” platform, performance-wise. With more and more games being released on a multi-platform basis these days, it’s an open question whether the PS3 will have more of anything, besides pounds on its price tag.