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Games Entertainment

The Onslaught of Photorealism 72

Ant writes "Shacknews mentioned an article entitled 'Videogame Aesthetics: We're All Going to Die!'. In it, the author considers the pros and cons of the neverending push toward absolute reality in video game graphics (or at least the weird plastic look that people get confused with reality), and comes to the conclusion that all in all it's probably worthwhile. In the process, the author takes a look at several games that employ unique visual styles that are extremely successful without attempting any sort of photorealism." From the article: "The photo-real push is obviously important to many people within and surrounding the game industry, as demonstrated not only by the persistent trend in commercial development, but also by work such as the System Shock 2 mod Rebirth, which replaced some of the models with curvier versions, designed for more powerful machines than the original game."
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The Onslaught of Photorealism

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  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday October 10, 2005 @02:22AM (#13754679) Journal
    "I have noticed that the more realistic games look, the more the same as other crap games they tend to become. Game programmers must think we're really really stupid. They're repackaging the same old shit week after week and adding "better" graphics (where better is subjective)."

    I think you're severely mistaken if you think anyone asked a programmer at all at most companies. (Well, other than at ID, but then their games are just tech demos anyway to sell their graphics engines.)

    The days when one or two programmers could make a game just as good as anyone else's in their spare time, and proclaim it a big success if they sold 1000 copies and made $20,000 out of it are long gone. Nowadays, partially _because_ of the photorealism, game budgets are in the millions range, so you need a publisher.

    And the publisher isn't evil or anything either, but they're risking millions on each game. And it's pretty much like a lottery there: most games actually don't make a profit. In fact, most games actually make a loss, and the publisher covers their losses from the profits from those that did sell well. (E.g., EA pretty much uses their sports games cash-cow to subsidize most of the other stuff they make.) And then some don't just make a loss, but are complete duds and sell 800 copies total, and noone is sure exactly why. And then some don't even get finished. (E.g., Jowood paid 5.5 million Euro to develop a game, and after many delays had to just scrap the project because the result was crap.)

    Publishers go bankrupt, or get bought for pennies just for the brand name, all the time.

    So the short story is that the publisher tries to minimize their risks. That tends to mean making more of whatever sold well last year.
  • by 6ame633k ( 921453 ) on Monday October 10, 2005 @02:37AM (#13754718) Homepage Journal
    I heard Pixar was going to do a 2D movie to show it's not about the technology - it's about the story. I think this mode of thinking applies to games as well - graphics should be tailored to the gameplay - form follows function.
  • Uncanny Valley (Score:5, Informative)

    by vistic ( 556838 ) on Monday October 10, 2005 @06:40AM (#13755316)
    No one mentioned the Uncanny Valley [] yet?

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian