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Old 2010-02-05, 18:23   Link #1
Xion Valkyrie
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Graphics: How important is it in a game?

Since we have a story vs gameplay topic, I think we should discuss the other big factor in games nowadays.

For me, graphics really need to match the game. If the game is trying to be a game strong in immersion, especially if it's a realistic setting, then graphics need to be very good in order to break the uncanny valley. However, good artstyle can easily make up for graphical limitations. Just look at how amazing RE4 looked on the GC. Also look at Okami or Muramasa.

Also, there's the cost issue. The prettier the graphics, the more money the devs have to spend on it, and the less money and time they can spend on the gameplay aspects. This is why even though Crysis is a 2 year old game, it still looks way better than anything that's come out recently.

Then of course there's the hardware limitations. I'd love for the next WRPG to use the CryEngine 2, with outside areas full of lush jungles and what not, but no matter how much devs try, current gen consoles will not be able to handle that level of processing, and 99% of PC gamers won't have rigs that can run something like that.
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Old 2010-02-05, 18:37   Link #2
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Graphics are quite important, RE4 did revolutionize graphics in a way, later being adapted on the ps2 and Wii with furthering better graphics. (Or so they claim, I've only seen some better instances and extra content. Such as Seperate Ways.)

The cost can be staggering, yes. But it's also about downsizing the graphics as much as upgrading them, a pricey game that is liable to not get many sells is... bad business.

The computer is beginning to slow down on the more demanding technological advances of videogames.

..That is all I can point out right at the moment.
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Old 2010-02-05, 19:26   Link #3
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It might be because I'am a bit older than most and been playing games since the 1980s but graphics don't really matter to me, as long as a games gameplay is good then I don't really care about the graphics past the point where there functionable.
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Old 2010-02-05, 19:32   Link #4
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Graphics are important just as game play. If you take Super Mario Galaxy for example, it have good gameplay and also great graphics. Heck, even old games like Super Mario World and Sonic had great graphics and gameplay. I see them go hand to hand, but in the end of the day, gameplay and controls are more important. If you have difficult gameplay and controls and good graphics, well, the game will become unnecessarily hard, as in Nintendo Hard, which isn't good since people will get frustrated and stop playing the game. Takes game like Battletoads or the infamous "I Wanna Be the Guy," Good graphics, but difficult gameplay.
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Old 2010-02-06, 00:51   Link #5
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Stylistically good games, in my opinion, always triumph over graphically-strong games, since it usually reinforces the general feeling of the game [Persona 3 and 4 come to mind].

I'm very wishy-washy on graphics, though. I criticize some games for it and I forgive others for it. It depends on how good the other parts of the game are.
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Old 2010-02-06, 01:11   Link #6
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I care little about graphics in terms of technology, and more so in terms of artwork and visual style. I find the original Monkey Island much more visually appealing than whatever generic FPS comes out these days, regardless of HDR lighting or AA or whatever.
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Old 2010-02-06, 01:27   Link #7
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You're asking the guy who intentionally dropped down to 420p just to make Last Remnant run smoother on the 360.

So yeah, for me, graphics is a non-issue. It could be ascii text for all I care... I actually played a few MUDs in the past, while I played Rogue/Nethack religiously until I got bored of it.
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Old 2010-02-06, 02:26   Link #8
Xion Valkyrie
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Well, some games do get way more immersive with better graphics though, like Mass Effect 2. Would we be anywhere near as engrossed in the characters and world if they looked like characters from the N64 era?

Anyways, hopefully in 10 years this kind of graphics can be mainstream in realistic games:

Crysis btw:
Spoiler:
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Old 2010-02-06, 03:58   Link #9
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As long as the game is polished and doesn't have serious technical & graphical issues, I don't care. The graphics are the least important element in my opinion and if they are good, that's a bonus. Also, I would rather play a game with nice artwork than a game with powerful graphics. If both are good, that's a double bonus.

I played Crysis and I love its graphics. However, if they game didn't have those stunning graphics, I would still have liked it.

I am happy to see games like Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XIII, Forza Motorsport 3, GT5...etc. I always hope that games have better graphics but I rarely complain if they don't. I still play 8-bit and 16-bit games and enjoy them.
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Old 2010-02-06, 04:32   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xion Valkyrie View Post
Also, there's the cost issue. The prettier the graphics, the more money the devs have to spend on it, and the less money and time they can spend on the gameplay aspects. This is why even though Crysis is a 2 year old game, it still looks way better than anything that's come out recently.

Then of course there's the hardware limitations. I'd love for the next WRPG to use the CryEngine 2, with outside areas full of lush jungles and what not, but no matter how much devs try, current gen consoles will not be able to handle that level of processing, and 99% of PC gamers won't have rigs that can run something like that.
Graphics are one of the big reasons why modern big name titles cost like 10X what they did to develop as they did a decade ago. That said, Crysis actually is not one of the highest budget games this generation: it cost around $22 million compared to $40-$50 for Modern Warfare 2.

As for hardware limitations and Crysis... it's part truth and part hyperbole. You can make the game look pretty at 1680X1050 using a $100 8800GT or HD4770 and only experience slowdowns at a few points - my friends and I played through Crysis and Crysis Warhead on those sorts of GPUs. It's also true that not many people had that kind of gear when the game first came out and that most gamers were looking at spending $200 on a new GPU to run the game well.

Personally, I like games that both look pretty and play well - that's why I'm a Crytek fanboy. Although as others have pointed out, a game can look pretty due to art direction as well.
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Old 2010-02-06, 06:53   Link #11
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Graphics are becoming less and less important, since it's development is limited. Not too far in the future, we'll reach the point were photorealistic graphics won't be special anymore. Then it'll be all about artistical graphic-styles. Many mainstream game series will try to look more like Okami and such, that's what I belive.
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Old 2010-02-06, 07:15   Link #12
Xion Valkyrie
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Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
As for hardware limitations and Crysis... it's part truth and part hyperbole. You can make the game look pretty at 1680X1050 using a $100 8800GT or HD4770 and only experience slowdowns at a few points - my friends and I played through Crysis and Crysis Warhead on those sorts of GPUs. It's also true that not many people had that kind of gear when the game first came out and that most gamers were looking at spending $200 on a new GPU to run the game well.
It's runable at that resolution, but nowhere near the quality it could be though. Even the newest HD5 series card from ATI can only get a good 40fps at 1920x1200 on the Very high settings with 2x AA. The screenshots I posted require a tweaked Ultra High setting (pretty big jump from very high) and are at max AA + AF. I don't think anybody has a rig that can play it with all those things active yet. Anyways, not saying it looks bad at lower resolutions and with lower settings, as it's still a pretty good looking game, but it's full potential is nowhere near realized yet because of mainstream hardware limitations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZGoten View Post
Graphics are becoming less and less important, since it's development is limited. Not too far in the future, we'll reach the point were photorealistic graphics won't be special anymore. Then it'll be all about artistical graphic-styles. Many mainstream game series will try to look more like Okami and such, that's what I belive.
Some games work well with artstyle, like Okami, all anime styled games, etc, but realism works a lot better for a lot of games too. WWII shooters wouldn't work anywhere near as well if they were all cel shaded or somesuch.
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Old 2010-02-06, 07:27   Link #13
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Depends entirely on the genre for me. If it's a hack-slash or shooting game I expect the graphics to be top-notch, it can get really painful to replay old games with dated graphics in such a case. But as I prefer playing strategy and point and click adventure games, newer technologies can actually get very annoying. I prefer playing and replaying older and more plot original games in that genre.
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Old 2010-02-06, 07:29   Link #14
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Instead of graphics vs gameplay, I'm going to look at graphics and accessibility.

In short: Companies need to slow down.

Having a game with photo-realistic graphics is nice, but if you can't program your games to allow even the less-then-top-specced PC's to play it, it's practically worthless. And gaming companies have come to realize this. Crysis and Supreme Commander were both graphically impressive games, but because they were created before the required computer specs were mainstream, they didn't do as well as they could have. If less time is spend on making things look pretty and more time is spend on coding these pretty things to actually work on lower systems, it's a win/win.

This is why I prefer console games over PC games. With a console, I can be sure that my console is the 'required spec' to play a game, whereas with a PC it is always tossing a coin to see whether the game is going to run smoothly or not.
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Old 2010-02-06, 07:35   Link #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xion Valkyrie View Post
Some games work well with artstyle, like Okami, all anime styled games, etc, but realism works a lot better for a lot of games too. WWII shooters wouldn't work anywhere near as well if they were all cel shaded or somesuch.
It doesn't matter. The time will come, where stylish graphics get mainstream, may it fit or not.
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Old 2010-02-06, 08:30   Link #16
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Originally Posted by Newhope View Post
It might be because I'am a bit older than most and been playing games since the 1980s but graphics don't really matter to me, as long as a games gameplay is good then I don't really care about the graphics past the point where there functionable.
I agree. It's subjective to a point anyway. Do we really need HD-sprites for a fighting game, for example? Do we need awesome rendered models in HD for an RPG if the story and battle engine blows? It won't do anything for the actual enjoyment of the game. Nice graphics are just an added bonus, actually. I find music to be of much more importance to create immersion within the game. A good soundtrack is capable of influencing the emotional response of the player, good graphics can only make him go "woah, that looks cool".
So it's more like (leaving story-based genres aside):
Gameplay -> Music -> Graphics.
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Old 2010-02-06, 12:47   Link #17
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Style and atmosphere are much more important than bleeding-edge graphics that make a Radeon 5870 1GB GDDR5 video card cry tears of blood.

Already this thread has practically invalidated itself, since many posters have mentioned old games as having "good graphics." They did, for their time, but they don't anymore. So obviously graphics aren't an issue, because style, atmosphere, story and gameplay overcome the fifteen-year-old graphics engine.

Note I'm currently playing Fallout 2 for the umpteenth time, and it has pretty dated graphics even for its time of release. It's still one of my favorite CRPGs of all time.
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Old 2010-02-06, 14:25   Link #18
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Im pretty open-minded when it comes to graphics. I started playing Skies of Arcadia on DC-emu and I love it. Even if its just poly models with almost no textures, it makes up for it with its charm and story.

Since we are on this topic, I wanna ask how you guys who said that graphics matters alot, feel about pixel games? (Street fighter, BlazBlue, platform games and so on)
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Old 2010-02-06, 14:33   Link #19
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Graphics is only as important as what the game is supposed to present.

What the improvement of graphics over the years has done allows game developers to create games with more realism or express the games better. But you do not need to use the best graphics on everything to create a good game.
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Old 2010-02-06, 15:26   Link #20
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Originally Posted by Xion Valkyrie View Post
It's runable at that resolution, but nowhere near the quality it could be though. Even the newest HD5 series card from ATI can only get a good 40fps at 1920x1200 on the Very high settings with 2x AA. The screenshots I posted require a tweaked Ultra High setting (pretty big jump from very high) and are at max AA + AF. I don't think anybody has a rig that can play it with all those things active yet. Anyways, not saying it looks bad at lower resolutions and with lower settings, as it's still a pretty good looking game, but it's full potential is nowhere near realized yet because of mainstream hardware limitations.
The techniques used to make those screenshots probably go way beyond "ultra high settings plus AA". Some Crysis screenshotters run the game at like 6400X4000 (the game will downsample the output to the correct res for your monitor) and then resize the shot before posting it. A video card with 2GB RAM is basically a necessity for the technique, and from what I've heard even with SLI GTX 285s (you can't get 2GB HD5800s yet) you're looking at single digit framerates.

BTW, this technique is not unique to Crysis. You know how magazine previews of games often look better than the real thing? There's a good chance that the screenshots used in the magazine where made using the downsampling technique. I've seen screenshots of Modern Warfare 2, Mass Effect 2, and GTAIV taken using the same technique and they all look extremely impressive.

Anyway yeah, I agree that the Cryengine's potential is limited by modern hardware, I'm just pointing out that you can have a really good looking jungle environment in a game and still have it run fine on a $100 GPU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yumii-chan View Post
Im pretty open-minded when it comes to graphics. I started playing Skies of Arcadia on DC-emu and I love it. Even if its just poly models with almost no textures, it makes up for it with its charm and story.

Since we are on this topic, I wanna ask how you guys who said that graphics matters alot, feel about pixel games? (Street fighter, BlazBlue, platform games and so on)
The 640X480 graphics in the Windows 95 versions of Command and Conquer look a lot better than the 320X240 graphics of the original DOS version.

All kidding aside, I still boot up 90s games from time to time, so one can hardly accuse me of thinking games need to have good graphics. However, I'm also not about to deny that the graphics in Far Cry, Oblivion and Crysis - all of which I thought also had great gameplay - were so advanced for the time they came out that playing them bordered on being the geek equivalent to a religious experience (at least for me).
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