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Graphics Games Technology

Game Developers' Quest To Cross the Uncanny Valley 134

Nerval's Lobster writes "Nearly 30 years after Super Mario Bros., video game graphics have advanced to heights that once seemed impossible. Modern sports games are fueled by motion capture of actual athletes, and narrative-driven adventures can seem more like interactive movies than games. But gaming's increasing realism brings a side effect — a game can now fall into the 'uncanny valley,' a term coined by robotics professor Masahiro Mori of the Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1970. Jon Brodkin talked to game developers, engineers, motion scientists and a variety of other folks about the 'uncanny valley problem,' in which (some) people feel revolted when confronted by a robot or digital character that doesn't quite look real. In games where human-like characters are necessary, the uncanny valley can be an even bigger problem than in animated movies; gamers control characters rather than just watching them, creating more opportunities for the illusion of realism to falter. New and better tools can help developers and animators deal with some of these issues, but crossing the 'valley' successfully still remains a challenge. Or is crossing it even possible at all?"
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Game Developers' Quest To Cross the Uncanny Valley

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 14, 2014 @12:30PM (#46246799)

    I'm not a big pc gamer myself, but when I do play on my computers, usually I play 4X strategy games. My biggest complaint about the genre is by far the difficulty. Civ5, for example is either too easy(anything bellow immortal) or just artificially difficulty(immortal and deity difficulties). When I play at those difficulties, I don't really play a game, I just follow an algorithm(build order, research focus, etc), and if I don't do that I will lose. And it's not only me. Let's Play videos on youtube are pretty much all the same as well. For me it's simply not fun anymore. Better AI is simply mandatory. I don't need photorealism, I don't need 3D, I don't need 4K, I don't need VR. Immersion comes from the gameplay. If the gameplay is flawed, no amount of eyecandy is gonna fix it.

  • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @01:08PM (#46247297)

    pac man was a hit without all the fancy graphics

    So is flappy bird. But to compare it to, say, The Last of Us would be bordering on the ridiculous; they are completely different types of games.

    we forget that all those perfect pixels doesnt improve the story nor the gameplay

    While they might not improve story or gameplay, they may improve the experience. Take any reasonably modern game with 'perfect pixels', and force it to be completely lighting and texture-less - I doubt it would be quite as good. That isn't to say that those 'perfect pixels' are the game's only saving grace - or that there aren't titles produced that are complete turds despite all the graphical polish they receive - but the fact that those 'perfect pixels' can be used does allow game designers to make these games in ways they otherwise could not. They would have to make 'the next pac man' instead.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford