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GameCube (Games) Entertainment Games

Do Videogames Need More Graphical Grit? 105

Posted by simoniker
from the pixelation-grunge-teakettle dept.
Thanks to GamerDad for its editorial discussing whether some recent videogames, such as Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, look "too sterile and perfect" . The author explains: "The animation is fine but the world Snake runs through is too sharp edged. There's no dirt and grime in the graphics because they're perfect versions of what was seen in the original game. Somehow, these better graphics have detracted somewhat from my opinion of the newer game." He continues: "DOOM 3, for as great as it looks, suffers from a lack of grit in still shots. I'm hoping the final game will not have the plastic look of the current pictures. Even the highly polished Quake III Arena didn't come across as being plastic to me." Do other gamers share this perception of graphical sterility in some recent games?
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Do Videogames Need More Graphical Grit?

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  • by nadadogg (652178) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:44PM (#8614139)
    This is true. Too often games are overpolished, and look sterile to me as well. Hell, once they come up with a "dirt" filter for textures, games will feel a good bit more immersive than they currently do.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I agree.

      Notice how it's usually real-time 3D that looks a little too pristine. Pre-rendered stuff tends to look much more realistic (look at Resident Evil and Resident Evil 0 on the GameCube to see what I mean - the backgrounds are gorgeous and realistically dirty where applicable). I'm not saying that it's only 3D games that do this; it's even rare in 2D games where dirt can be represented as easily as swapping the colors on a sprite. It's a matter of developers not paying attention to the same details
    • by Trillian_1138 (221423) <slashdot@frMENCK ... com minus author> on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:52PM (#8615210)
      I think we're also reaching what's called the "Uncanny Valley" (good explanation: http://www.arclight.net/~pdb/glimpses/valley.html ).
      "Stated simply, the idea is that if one were to plot emotional response against similarity to human appearance and movement, the curve is not a sure, steady upward trend. Instead, there is a peak shortly before one reaches a completely human "look" . . . but then a deep chasm plunges below neutrality into a strongly negative response before rebounding to a second peak where resemblance to humanity is complete."

      The website explains it very well, with helpful graphs. Basically, people are willing to accept unrealistic portrayal of a 'live' thing (teddy bears or straight animation). As you approach actual photo-realism people continue to accept the visual as looking 'good'. Take Toy Story or Finding Nemo for examples. But then there is a sudden dropoff where the object looks real enough to be creepy, but not real enough to be convincing. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within arguably suffered from this.

      Relating it to videogames, Mario was only the vaguest representation of 'reality' and everyone was fine accepting this jumping 2D. figure. No one was saying the graphics in Mario were disturbing or whatever. Leap forward to Mario 64, and it's still cartoon-ish enough that it doesn't look weird. But games are beginning to reach the Uncanny Valley where they are real enough to be disturbingly lifelike, but where the movement animation and graphics aren't actually realistic enough to jump out of the Uncanny Valley.

      This isn't directly related to what the article is talking about, as this is more about movement animation than the environment of the game world, but it's on the same topic. Games are becoming real enough that we're beginning to have problems with the discrepancies between game and reality. No one complained Mario 64 or Sonic or Final Fantasy VII looked 'unrealistic' because they were clearly only attempts to model and emulate specific parts of reality, to give an idea of the world rather than model every single blade of grass. But as graphics attempt to move towards modeling every single blade of grass they suffer the danger of hitting this Uncanny Vally wall.

      -Trillian
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Way to go, convolutiong something simple into a drawn out explanation aklin to rocket science. --Well it's not.

        A game like Mario is cartoony. Even Mario Sunshine with its ultra cool water effects and slick graphics is still designed to be a cartoony game, and therefore no one is going to be bothered by how clean it look.

        The problem is with games that attempt to mimic reality. 3D artists work hard to re-create real-world environments and objects, but the problem is that artists have to conciously remind th
    • Scheck out 'Chronicles of Riddick' - this one looks pretty good, with dirty stuff, rust, etc.

      Screenshots [ign.com]
  • Realism (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oO Peeping Tom Oo (750505) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:48PM (#8614218)
    I belive that as the technology to have "perfect" animations continues, we will be hitting a celing soon. Through adding "grime" to those animations in proper areas, we will be able to further add to that realism by bringing "real world" effects into the games with realism. Even with more advanced engines we will be able to see this. Splashing muddy water on a character, anyone?
    • Re:Realism (Score:2, Informative)

      by nadadogg (652178)
      Oooh, I didn't even think of that. Having your character get all dirty after going prone in the dirt or mud would definitely be nice. Maybe occasional water drips from your hair/hat if it's raining. Actually, the new Metroid on the gamecube actually had some nice water effects, with droplets on the visor, and a reflection of your eyes due to glare.
    • Blame Direct X (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NickFusion (456530) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:46PM (#8615139) Homepage
      The ability to cheaply do reflection mapping means anything glossy now gets a perfectly focused reflection mapped on it, which looks cool for about 5 minutes, then starts to grate.

      Reflections are rarely perfect. What a lot of these new games need to take the edge off is a blurred reflection.

      Here's a test render I did a while back comparing hard & soft reflections: Chrome_Soft_test.jpg [chromecow.com]

      Much like chrome was a craze back in the early days of pre-rendered CGI, these hard reflections in real-time graphics are about to jump the shark.
      • That's exactly the kind of little detail that makes the difference between convincing and totally fake. Microsoft! nVidia! Listen up.... Check out this guy's image and make it easier for game developers to use that effect!
        • That was an awesome image- photo-realistic, in that everything was as you would expect it to be. Big props to the artist- maybe he can work on some game where the ball rolls around and smashes people. Then the blood and gore attaches to the ball (in some places) and the blood starts to dry, while still being tracked off by the floor.
          • I do make games. Unfortunately, it's tricky to do raytraced soft-reflections on the Gameboy advance.

            But I'll file "Bloody Gore-Ball" away for another day.
      • I was wondering why your comment sounded so good to me, and then I found this comment [slashdot.org] from 4 years ago.

        Sigh. I should have gotten into hardware and graphics instead of operating systems and storage. Any game companies out there want to hire an expert C programmer with a solid math background that has only a tiny bit of graphics programming experience? I adapt quickly!
  • by Tickenest (544722) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:49PM (#8614234) Homepage Journal
    I'm one of the few people who didn't like the game, and it was largely because of the sterility of the levels. It felt like work.
  • by CarrionBird (589738) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:49PM (#8614238) Journal
    But I really don't find myself noticing that much. Possibly I've become used to seeing the same texture repeated n times. I guess you could have every entity have a dirtiness attribute that determind how it was rendered.
  • True (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KBV (732207)
    It's true, I think enviroments and characters do look a bit to "perfect". They should learn from Silent Hill, Manhunt and other games like that. They all look dirty and grity using various filters that make up a kind of "dated" look. Which I find extremly nice. The dirtyer the better. ;)
  • It's not just dirt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by superpulpsicle (533373) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:54PM (#8614336)
    If you play a sports game for example, dirt isn't the only thing that makes it feel "real".

    1.) Inconsistent lighting
    2.) Fog in the air
    3.) Dirt everywhere
    4.) Fans that look different in the seats

    Damn I can go on forever
  • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:54PM (#8614344) Homepage Journal
    SS2 was an awesome game with an incredible spooky atmosphere, but there was the glaring problem of everything being pristine and clean... even broken stuff. Worse, there were no no bodies, debris and very little damage in the environment. And of course, killed enemies would disappear shortly after being dispatched. I realize this was a technological limitation (the game came out 5 years ago), but I think it's one of the biggest barriers to real immersion in an environment. If I'm walking in a derelict spaceship overrun with zombies and cyborgs, there should be bodies everywhere and lots and lots of busted stuff. Also, if I'm struting around with a plasma rifle, I want to be able to blow stuff up. Descent 3 provided black scorch marks on the walls if you shot at them, but I want to see chunks of metal or masonry flying around and if I spent enough time and ammo, I want to be able to blow my way through walls or doors or really abuse the environment in other ways. When this happens, it will seem like VR compared to today's games.

    • Well ConceptJunkie, the future's been here for a while. Both of the Red Faction titles use a system called "geo-mod" which does just what you specify.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      SS2 was an awesome game with an incredible spooky atmosphere, but there was the glaring problem of everything being pristine and clean... even broken stuff. Worse, there were no no bodies, debris and very little damage in the environment.

      Your memory differs from mine. I remember a ship littered with bodies, with bloodstains on the walls, steam hissing from broken pipes, parts of certain areas flooded, doors hanging from their hinges...
  • I agree (Score:5, Funny)

    by Torgo's Pizza (547926) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:55PM (#8614353) Homepage Journal
    Doom 3 definitely needs more smeared blood on the walls and floors.

    BTW, if I'm responsible for getting the most GRIT [grit.com] into Doom 3, do I get some cool prizes?

    • Doom 3 definitely needs more smeared blood on the walls and floors.
      Wait till the game is out and you wil see what I mean, theres a lot of "redecoration" you can do.
    • BTW, if I'm responsible for getting the most GRIT into Doom 3, do I get some cool prizes?

      That's only if it's hot grits, preferably down natalie portman's pants.

  • Boxes (Score:5, Funny)

    by J_DarkElf (602111) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:57PM (#8614388) Journal
    Videogame worlds are staffed by really efficient janitors, who store all the dust and grime in boxes. Which is why you see those everywhere.
    • Re:Boxes (Score:3, Funny)

      by Scrameustache (459504)
      Videogame worlds are staffed by really efficient janitors, who store all the dust and grime in boxes. Which is why you see those everywhere.

      Reminds of when I was playing Resident Evil...it wasn't the zombies, the green leapers or the Tyrant that were creeping me out the most, it was the Janitor, who would silently go in rooms as soon as I exited them and remove all the corpses.

      Fast like a freak, with am insatiable apetite for zombie flesh...can't get much more creepy than that! ;-)
    • Well, that explains what Roger Wilco has been up to for the last few years. He must be too busy cleaning up other games to star in another one of his own.
  • Rogue Squadron games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by edwdig (47888) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:59PM (#8614414)
    The Rogue Squadron games delt with this nicely. The Rebel ships all look beat up. If you walk around the hanger while selecting your ship, you'll see paint chips and other signs of wear with the ships. The Naboo Starfighter looks like it got pulled out of a junkyard.
    • The Naboo Starfighter looks like it got pulled out of a junkyard.

      It really does, and it also looks like at one point it was one of the most beautiful things you ever did see. They really nailed it with those games, I think. Much more so with the GameCube versions than the N64 one, of course, but I still think the original looks pretty damn good.

      Though IIRC, the Naboo fighter in the original was pretty pristine...bah, practically nobody ever knew it was in there anyway.
  • double edged sword (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArmenTanzarian (210418) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:01PM (#8614428) Homepage Journal
    Grit in a real image and fog in a game can become confused if you don't handle it just the right way. You have to worry about which zealots you're offending. Crisp graphics, smoothly rendered edges, and the use of fog/grit for style (not lazy rendering) are all a very delicate balance.

    IANAGD (game developer), but I say lay the groundwork, focus on gameplay and come back to throw these details in with some market testing. Time and processor speed permitting.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Eh...that's the problem with game development.

      Time and processor speed NEVER permit...
  • Half-life 2 (Score:2, Insightful)

    Isn't half-life 2 supposed to fix all this?? Real environment.. real 'water', 'dirt'.. etc?
    • Re:Half-life 2 (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Hamled (742266)
      Yes, I have noticed the lack of grit and dirt a lot in games recently. Sometimes it's OK and works for the environment, but most times it's just a bit off. From what I've seen of Half-Life 2, however, a lot of the game has a bit of a gritty feel to it where it should.
    • Not real water, we won't see physically simulated water anytime soon, today's processors just can't cope. But yes, HL2 has a good emotional 'engine'. It determines the look on someone's face at any given moment in time, depending on what's happening in the surroundings: firefights, a strange noise, getting trapped, seeing someone get killed, etc etc. Just look at the G-man movie, you can download it at fileplanet and the likes. Also the physics engine will provide some very good realism, there's good movie
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (Score:3, Informative)

    by k-hell (458178) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:14PM (#8614611)
    Yeah, I agree with the poster. Take Battlefield 1942 for instance. Great multiplayer game, but too sterile with all those sharp edges, imho.

    I have hope that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. [stalker-game.com] might introduce some much needed dirt and grit! Check out this picture [stalker-game.com] for instance, or the gallery in general.

    • Re:S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ivan256 (17499) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @06:01PM (#8615325)
      That looks terrible. Sure I can't give you an example of something that is signifigantly better, but dirty textures don't fix that plastic feeling. What brick wall have you ever seen with a perfectly straight edge like that? What wall has ever gotten all pixelated when you get close in real life?

      I think we have the technology nescicary to handle the data that would be required at the speeds that would be required, but nobody is focusing on things like smoothly increasing the resolution of a texture as it gets closer to the camera, or making it so that the edge of an object isn't a perfectly straight line, or simple curve. We could probably even work it such that an object changes from a large flat texture mapped surface to a complex object when you get close enough to know the difference with todays hardware. That's the kind of stuff that I want to see. Any engine writers out there listening?

      Something else that bothers me is intersections of objects. They're all too perfect. Look at those railings in the screenshot you linked? The connections aren't mechanically believable. Sure, it would take the guy creating the scene way longer to have complex intersections, but it would add so much more realism. What I've seen of Doom 3 looks like the people there care about this kind of thing, so there's some hope, but I don't think that many developers have the same patience when it comes to setting release dates.
      • Re:S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by idiot900 (166952) on Friday March 19, 2004 @06:31PM (#8615778)
        That looks terrible.

        Actually, I think it looks pretty good compared to the current crop of games.

        - The people throw shadows.
        - There's a leaf floating in one of the barrels (look carefully).
        - There's random crap lying around down below. (I think this is really important to have).

        On the other hand, there are some problems:

        - Shadows may be too crisp. Is everything under a spotlight? Either soften the shadows or (preferably) throw multiple shadows. There can't just be one bright light in that scene.
        - The people should throw shadows onto themselves.
        - The railings, among other things, appear as if they are held together by superglue. How about rivets? Screws?
        - The flying debris resulting from the gunshot doesn't appear to have broken off anything. It just magically spawned there. Also the flash of light from that doesn't seem to throw a shadow.
        - The pattern of rust on the platform the soldier is kneeling on is duplicated in the platform directly below.
        - Do doorframes exist in videogames? Electrical outlets?
        - Mortar lines in brick walls are not carried all the way around.
        - The background should be just slightly out of focus.
        - Et cetera ad nauseum.

        I realize it's easy to say these things from the comfort of my non-game-developer chair. But I'd be surprised if I didn't see these things happen as technology catches up. It's the little things (and there are a lot of them) that will make all the difference.

        My guess is that this sort of thing will move into the procedural realm. Developers will license libraries that do nothing but generate nice-looking world geometry procedurally, as well as textures, physics, etc., and plug into the rest of the game engine. When you upgrade to the Geforce42, you'll be able to display 2x the screws in metal structures and 3x the litter on the street.
        • The people throw shadows, but much darker ones than the objects around them.. why?

          The real issue I have with that screenshot is that everything is perfectly straight. I don't care about the textures, no fire escape is that straight in real life!
        • Re:S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (Score:3, Informative)

          by nautical9 (469723)
          I agree with most of your critque, except for "The background should be just slightly out of focus".

          The problem here is that you can't know at which part of the screen the player's eyes are focused. In real life, if you were staring at the railing, then everything behind it would be out of focus. But if you were staring at the ground behind the railing, the railing would be out of focus.

          Just a standard problem when trying to render a 3D scene to a 2D surface.

          If you just assumed everything out a cert

          • The problem here is that you can't know at which part of the screen the player's eyes are focused.

            Good point! I didn't think of that.
          • Why not just have it focus on whatever object the crosshairs are aimed at?

            Not a perfect solution, as usually in 3d FPS games I don't always move the crosshairs to exactly where I want to look, instead I move it to generally where I want to look and then use my eyes to actually look at the screen. This could however add an extra element to gameplay that could make it more exciting.

            How suitable is hardware these days for doing real time depth of field?
      • I think we have the technology nescicary to handle the data that would be required at the speeds that would be required, but nobody is focusing on things like smoothly increasing the resolution of a texture as it gets closer to the camera, or making it so that the edge of an object isn't a perfectly straight line, or simple curve. [...] Any engine writers out there listening?

        All of that stuff is already done, more or less. It's all variation of the basic level of detail concept, with LOD increasing as you
      • That was also one of the worst screenshots from that game he could have posted. Check out a few more shots of that game, which is still an alpha.
    • Contrary to the other responses, I agree- that picture is pretty nice.

      And how can that other guy say the brick wall is too straight? Those are some nice damn bricks.

      I especially like the peeling paint in the building.
  • by beegle (9689) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:18PM (#8614669) Homepage
    How long before nVidia and ATI fanboys get into wars about which company's "dirt and grit engine" is better?

    I predict that nVidia's next driver release actually adds back in some of artifacts that their old drivers used to leave all over the screen. They will claim that this is their new Enhanced Reality Engine and sic lawyers on any site that bitches about the artifacts.
  • I stopped playing Quake 3 for the reason that everything looked so incredibly fake! They took reflection and threw it on everything! I couldn't stand looking at the game after a week, so I quit and played other games like Tribes 2, which had Matte look, but still had some gloss when needed, for effect.

  • by xyu (556711)
    Where did all the blood go? Characters need to explode with blood like water balloons! They need to bleed whenever I'm looking at them! And the blood should stay there.
  • by AzraelKans (697974) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:27PM (#8614851) Homepage
    Im trying to recover from the awe here...
    You didnt saw the trailer or the quakecon videos have you? Well just picture this? Zombie, shotgun, "clean background" behind, press trigger BAM, zombie with a large hole, red splattered wall and ceiling with little pieces of meat, get the idea? seriously some scenes from Doom 3 are more than enough to make certain people sick. The bathroom cut where "pinky" is eating a zombie is.. well disgusting, the scene is as gruel as can be I felt physically ill the first time I saw that.

    However if grit is what you want, go and play any silent hill game, it has more than you bargained for and it also features a grain filter.

    By the way a lot of people prefer to see quality in their images than "grit" not just as a visual preference, is also easier to spot a hidden area or an item that way, thats the reason why almost everyone turns the grainy filter from silent hill 2/3 off.
  • Call of Duty came pretty close to a dirty, gritty feel. The characters have facial stubble, the environment looks like it has suffered the abuse of a war.

    Contrast with Halo or Half-Life, which were very sterile, esp. Halo.

    Bullet marks and blood splatters are one thing, but the rest is harder to achieve. Lets hope Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 work on that, but I doubt they'll get the full effect to work.
    • by op51n (544058)
      Indeed, things like the amount or rubble and broken wood lying around in Call of Duty, and the dead animals and shit everywhere.

      Runing through shelled buildings, there was phenomenal amount of stuff strewn around, and touches like the glowing embers on the wooden structuring post shell hit were nice touches.
      I think Call of Duty was one game that really started to raise the bar for realism in gaming, on all fronts really.
      Stalker looks like it could do the same again.
  • my .02 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rabbot (740825)
    I think way too much emphasis is put on graphics: Both by the developers and consumers. I buy games for the fun factor and the gameplay. I could care less what a game looks like. Maybe it's because I grew up in the early years of video games, and can remember when games were just games. If I want reality i'll go outside.
  • If anything, Doom3's bathroom scene showed more grit than anything I've seen in ages. Personally, though, I'm hoping they won't resort to Silent Hill's grainy filtering for such effects-- that just gives me a headache.

    I didn't find Twin Snakes to be all that bad graphically; there's not a whole lot of dirt to get around because the ground is most likely all hardpack. If anything, Twin Snakes is a huge improvement because of the vast resolution upgrade it got over the original. There were times you weren't
  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:47PM (#8615158)
    ...something I said almost 4 years ago [slashdot.org]. In fact, that comment was about 3dfx technology that began to address this exact problem right before nVidia bought them and killed it. All most people care about is framerates, polygons per second, and fill rates. When is the blood going to run down the wall when you shoot somebody? when are we going to have soft edges? Texture and bump maps don't help when you get to the intersection of two surfaces, and it's the biggest thing standing in the way of a believable scene in a 3d engine.
    • : When is the blood going to run down
      : the wall when you shoot somebody?


      Blood running down a wall? Hey, I know a first-person shooter that had this effect - back in 1994! It is Technopop's Zero Tolerance for the Sega Genesis.

      Shoot an enemy close to the wall: blood stain. Shoot the wall: damage texture. Animated wall textures. An animated, interactive landscape. Tons of weapons and various items like motion scanners, fire extinguishers, and bulletproof vests. Immense, multi-floor levels. That game - along
      • I can second your appreciation for Zero Tolerance. It's an absolutely fantastic game, especially when you consider the time it was released. The fact that they pulled it off on a system like the Genesis is simply jaw-dropping.

        Sadly my Mega Drive (UK version of the Genesis) died a little while back and I'm left with just the ROM, which doesn't quite *feel* right for some reason.

        It's a shame Technopop are no longer with us. An update of this on modern hardware would have been wonderful.
    • Well, the features of the current generation (DX9 shaders) card are approaching the programability required to handle this kind of stuff fairly well. You could design a crisp, sharp-edged model and procedurally, with your shaders, dirty up the textures and put dents in the edges.

      A really great demo of DX9 procedural textures I once saw was a fractal zoomer, where the fractal was rendered in real-time by the graphics card. With my Radeon 9600, there was no percievable lag and almost no CPU usage to be abl
  • by laxcat (600727) on Friday March 19, 2004 @06:10PM (#8615496) Homepage
    It's all about the artistic style you are going after. Too often gamers assume that the ultimate goal is perfect realism, which would be amazing but limited. The real future of games is in applying artistic styles and sensibility to games. I loved Viewtiful Joe because of its extreame style. The Wind Waker too. These games have styles that were neither grity nor realistic, but thier unique feels did an excellent job creating worlds that was easy to get lost in.

    I'm not saying every game should be cell shaded, but developers should more often utilize the limitless possiblities of style in modern games.
  • by gothrus (706341) on Friday March 19, 2004 @06:33PM (#8615796)
    Grit is what made the Star Wars universe unique in its day. It seemed more realistic because the sets reflected some of the seedier elements that populated them. Personally, sterility or grit doesn't make too much difference for me. I've never seen a game that looked like the real world because 2d/3d graphics haven't replicated the way the human eye works. In a game, everything is always in clear focus no matter how far away or how far into your peripheral vision. In newer games, such as HL2, distant items appear with less detail, but still are in focus. I would be curious to see a graphics engine that can replicate the way a human eye views the world.
    • Unfortunately, it's not really doable. What if you want to look at something else? The game doesn't know where YOUR eyes are. and so it can't put the right objects in focus.
      • Take a look at Splinter Cell XBOX. Object focus is implemented very well here: whatever your targeting reticle is on is what your character is looking at, and depth of field is realistically implemented so that objects behind it are a bit blurry. When you move the targeting reticle from object to object this becomes really obvious and cool.

        For today's breed of 3d games, the answer is not in analyzing the player's eye to determine the object of focus, but rather the character's "eye" (usually will be the
    • The only problem with that is you have to track what the player is looking at. It's all fine and good to blur the background, but what if I'm actually trying to look at what's in the distance?

      And if you add eye-tracking...well, you might as well use 3D glasses or implants : )
  • I'm surprised that more people have made jokes about grits especially hot grits placed in various people's pants. It's a story about grit for god's sake. This is like having a story about computer clusters and not seeing any jokes about beowulf clusters.

  • You want gritty, realistic graphics? Take a peek at Steel Battalion [pippin.us]. The presentation of the game is very gritty [pippin.us] and realistic [pippin.us]. The game's developers really worked hard on the presentation of the game, and it shows [pippin.us]. The game uses filters to great effect [pippin.us], and the results of their labor are amazing [pippin.us]. You can also check out some of the videos [pippin.us] of the first and second games in action; you'll be amazed by the use of shaders and filters to create a realistic, true to life scene of futuristic combat (wow, that's an
  • ..how complicated the Universe is, until you start trying to simulate it.

    Morrowind I felt, was actually the first 3D game, that didn't feel 'bare' to me.

    So many FPS have environments that are SO stark. Part of what gives a house so much charm, is all the junk that is in it !

    I agree, something as simple as even a "noise" texture overlaid on top of evertyhing helps.
    • Get ready for the revolution, then. FarCry [farcry-thegame.com] is coming, and you won't believe the sense of immersion CryTek's engine is capable of generating. This is their first game, folks, and IMHO these guys have just placed themselves in the upper echelon of game developers along with the likes of id, Valve, and Blizzard.
  • Games such as the Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Fatal Frame series take a good pan on creating a much more realistic--if ultra-realistic--tilt at the world they take place in. Everything is dirty, grimy, and smeared with a sense of being in the real world.

    Perhaps it is because these games take a closer stab (pun intended) at getting into the gamer's sense of reality and trying to really get into their mind, versus the seperation between player and story in other games, in a visual sense anyway.
  • Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NanoGator (522640) on Friday March 19, 2004 @08:24PM (#8616876) Homepage Journal
    Well this is an interesting topic for 3D rendering in general. The world is 'imperfect'. The moment something is exposed to human interaction, it gets nicks, cuts, scratches, dents, fatigue, etc. The common way to communicate the 'used look' is to make things look beat up and dirty.

    Yes, it does look better. Yes, it does look more lived in. Yes, it does take away from the 'perfection' that computers achieve and look more like we expect. Is it the right thing to do? Well, interestingly enough, I'm running into this problem right now. I'm working on a 3D rendering of a futuristic particle cannon. Right now, I'm building a room around the machine. While texturing this bad boy, I realized something. You see, when I originally built the machine, I used Lightwave's more advanced rendering features. This means more time to render, but it looks more realistic. There is radiosity rendering, and subtle blurred reflections (you'd be surprised how much rendering time that eats up..) area lighting, the works. And you know, by the time I've got all these on, it is startlingly good looking. However, it was taking FAR too long to render an animation of, so I had to find ways of dirtying it up. Well, that's what I've started doing. Instead of using reflective chrome like you'd see in the CERN laboratory for its machines, I grittied it up. No more expensive reflection blurring there. Some of the photos I'm using for textures have some of the effects of 'realistic light' baked into them anyway, so I can stop using area lights and go back down to spotlights. Radiosity? Well the dirt on the machine gets so dark that radiosity wouldn't make a huge difference, so bye bye lengthy render times.

    Maybe the dirt etc helps reduce the need for fancier renderings? Maybe, though it helps sell the idea that something is used, it's really covering up something that'd be more expensive to render? I say maybe because this may not be true in every artist's experience. I just found it interesting that when it came down to getting the rendering done in time to get an animation done, the grit texturing has saved my rump.
  • Yes! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KurdtX (207196) on Friday March 19, 2004 @08:33PM (#8616957)
    I've been saying this for years to my friends, it's really hard to imagine you're in a real world if you keep seeing the same panel in the wall, or (worse) the same panel representing a wall (think Doom). It does make it easier to spot that one panel that is slightly off, indicating you need to blast it with a rocket or, or find a switch somewhere, but in real life every panel would be slightly different than the next. Even look at your cube walls, there are subtle differences between each one that let you sort of find "cloud pictures" (or try your ceiling tile).

    I don't really have a solution, as the advances in lighting and level design, not to mention the increased amount of art that can be packed into a CD nowadays have taken care of all my ideas, apart from having an artist draw every single wall uniquely to start out with (ridiculously time consuming). Well, maybe have something like Diablo's random level generator, where a key is stored that is used to generate consistent (within the game) dungeons, but basically uses the same elements. Use it to modify certain parts of the panel, like maybe a few pixel wide micro-scratches or discolorations that you really only notice on a subconcious level.

    Oh, and I'm sure someone's mentioned this already, but stop making everything look like plastic! Even plastic doesn't gleam like that, as there's dirt that settles on it (and settles in an uneven way). Materials might actually have whatever index of refraction your physics engine is set to, but if there's 50% dust, or 25% wear, that part isn't going to gleam like it was just polished yesterday. And I don't think sewers get polished very often.

    Now that I'm rolling, do game publishers only work in brand-new office buildings? For those of you who are in a building a few years old, look down at the ground next time you walk around (no, not just to avoid eye contact, but actually pay attention to the ground). Notice how the carpet/tile is more worn in high-traffic areas? How next to the water cooler it's a little bit darker, due to splatter over the years? How the edges of wide hallways look like they were installed yesterday? How there are always marks on the walls in stairwells? And how even door handles start to show wear after a few years? It's the little things that we see but don't process that really make things look real - the wrinkles in people's faces. We just need "wrinkles" in our textures.
    • the game designer and artists can't possibly be expected to design every model and room down to the last exposed nail and fingerprint. There's a lot of potential detail to notice that must be added but has _no bearing_ on gameplay at all (which is the point, right?)

      So somebody needs to come up with a way to automate the randomization of object models, textures, etc. in such a fashion that all that data doesn't have to be stored, but can be generated at run time to within defined limits. The key is making s
  • One should check you the newly released photographs of Resident Evil 4 for GameCube over on IGN. Now that is grit big time! And it looks amazing.
  • ...And focus is a big problem.

    When you're looking at a scene in reality, your eye naturally focuses on the object you are observing, and that object will appear nice and sharp. Objects in the background will appear blurred and darker as hilights are flattened.

    When a scene is rendered in a game there's no way the computer can predict what object someone is paying attention to so it must render everything in focus. As a result, the scene seems unnaturally sharp and bright, especially when the scene isn't
  • MGS: TTS Goals (Score:2, Interesting)

    MGS Twin Snakes goals were basically 1.) the remake of the game with all the high res graphics and higher-poly count models, 2.) the MGS 2 game play and 3.) a complete and honest reproduction of the Metal Gear Solid (PSX) story line.

    So yeah, it does look a bit sterile in the sense that things did look perfect. After the first Ninja fight, the room gets messed up bad. It looks fine when you walk in and during your fight, though some glass panes can be shattered. Snake now looks more alive than he did in

  • by sien (35268)
    Games don't need more grit, they just need hot grits, goddamnit.
  • Dirt, grime, and other "real world effects" would be really nice, and I think that it would add orders of magnitude to the overall percived graphical quality of a game, but do we really have the hardware to support it yet?
    I've seen a few games that feaures some of these effects, for example in Metroid Prime rain drops will hit your visor when it's raining, or your visor will steam up and collect condensation if you walk through steam, or in Resident Evil the dust that comes up when you walk and the light
  • For a long time I resisted the first person shooter genre onthe PC. In fact I much prefered playing on the Playstation because of the look and feel of the games. I may be talking out of my arse, but I felt edges on first person shooters to be too well defined. I didn't have any problem with any other 3D game or 2D games on the PC or console because objects were smaller and less well defined. I liked that slightly blurred/soft focus on the images. I guess I could also put it down to frame and refresh rat
  • GamePlay First, graphics second
  • I think it's due mostly to the shiny or reflective shaders that seem so popular. Also when something is low resolution you actually imagine a lot more detail than they they usually end up drawing in a high resolution version of that same texture. At least I do...
  • Games need better gameplay.

    You want ultra realistic pictures go look out your window whilst your eyes are still good. Go to an art gallery.

    Or go download some demos or machinima.

    What's with all the 3d shooters - you can hardly tell the difference between them all.

    Then again perhaps there really are millions of people who would spend money to buy a new game which has the gameplay of the older version, more realistic graphics that require them to spend yet more money on hardware.

    At least pacman was diffe
  • During the presentation of nVidia FX cards, a demo of a truck was shown. The point, made by the president of nVidia, was that it's easy to make shiny things (a stab at ATi and their racing car demo), but difficult to make realistic ones. Thanks to the shaders, the truck was able to age quite realistically, including paint peeling off, metal parts rusting, chrome dimming, etc.

    I would certainly say that the lack of grit is not a huge problem that gaming industry faces today. It's just one of the things a pro
  • BTW, have you heard about the sequel to KOTOR [slashdot.org]? According to the Blue's News editorial [bluesnews.com] it will be based in the Episode II timeframe. There is a chance we will see Natalie Portman (petrified, if you have an old video card), covered in hot graphical grits!!!!
  • by mpinpoint (764730)
    ye si do think that it should have grit. I would like to see the flors get scuffed up and the walls have discoloration from sun light. There should be wind too. if your out side of a building, then dirt should blow with the wind. I mean the shiny is nice, but it not like that in life. Really it should be used in some games, like doom, or Command and Conquer.

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