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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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  • Human Realism (Score:4, Interesting)

    by patternjuggler ( 738978 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @07:29PM (#13753151) Homepage
    I believe that the more human-seeming the characters in games become, the more accessible and emotionally involving the games may become. Graphics are a significant component of this, though increasingly important is facial and bodily expression- and the interactivity is key, cut-scenes don't count and also canned animations etc. within the game get old once they are seen too many times (remember lame canned death animations before rag-doll physics?). The more nuanced and detailed and subtle a character can be, the more compelling they can be- one side effect is that games may no longer have to hit you over the head with over-the-top violence and skimpy outfits.

    It's going to take increasing amounts of money and artists to handle all that extra detail though, I don't see any way around that, except through simplified scanning-in of real world objects and people.
  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @08:21PM (#13753361) Homepage
    Aural realism is more important. That's the one thing that has made the great games great: the use of audio cues and audio environment to enhance the gaming experience. From Doom through System Shock through Thief, it's always come down to audio, not photorealism.
  • by ockegheim ( 808089 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @10:09PM (#13770549)

    Photorealism is difficult and technically demanding, and doubtless brings out the nerd in many game producers. If they're not careful, other aspects of gameplay will be lost. Titanic was a visually spectacular movie, but could have been taken to a whole new level if James Cameron had thought of spending a couple of hundred thousand dollars on editing the script. I've been in a musical theatre production where the director spent 80% of the time working on the lighting and 0% of the time actually directing the chorus. Maybe something as technically demanding as a photorealistic game requires someone high up who doesn't know (or at least doesn't care) what a polygon is.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley