Jimquisition: Photorealistic Sociopathy

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Photorealistic Sociopathy

Are photorealistic graphics the key to advancement?

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Have no God before rendering, for it is a jealous God.

^THIS Is why the new console generation worries me.

Well, now we know how Jim sounds while having sex. God help us all...

Super-realistic graphics tend to convey the complete opposite to an emotional connection from me. Heavy Rain was as uncanny valley as you can get, and L.A. Noire reached a whole nother level where everyone looked like real people wearing rubber man suits and hats.

Thank God for Jim. Now if only some developer would actually listen.

Gameplay will trump graphics all day long.

I remember back when the entire escapist thought Jim was too full of himself and everyone wanted the show cancelled when he first started making these videos. Now I rarely see anything but praise for the Jimquisition.

Eat it, disbelievers. I love this show. Great episode.

I wouldn't say BioShock Infinite goes for a cartoony art style or something -- it's certainly not as (photo-)realistic as some of the Call of Honourfields but it goes for as realistic as its fantasy setting allows -- but this is an episode were I could've shouted "Amen!" every five seconds nonetheless. Good job!

Honestly, on the subject of going off topic, I was kind of hoping for a crack at the EA v. Zynga debacle...

If someone wants to see realistic graphics, there are these things called "outside" and "life". One is a massive world map to explore, and the other is probably the longest running MMORPG in history. Maybe if certain developers tried them out outside of their jobs, they'd realize that not everything needs to look 'real' to convey emotion or keep the player invested in the world. Video games are a form of escapism, and real life is, well, real life. Let's try keep them separate, eh?

Damn. Jim is looking sexy. Jonathan Holmes is a lucky man :p

OT: Also, completely agree, though I do feel you may on touched on this topic before, just can't remember the episode name :p

People actually thought that... from last week's intro...? Wow.

Thanking God for Jim has never been placed in a better context.

As soon as I read the title I knew how you were going to talk about this. Well done!

If you can't get even a little emotionally connected to any character in a game simply because they don't look completely like a real life person, you may be a sociopath. Also like others have said, the "real" looking games not only tend to have not so great characters, but also can really put you at the bottom of the uncanny valley.

I'm sorry, the camera insisted on lingering, so I didn't realize I was supposed to connect with Elizabeth emotionally, and not stare at her plunging neckline.

solvemedia caption: lunch time

I regularly have this debate with so called 'hardcore' gamers.

"Urgh... you're not hardcore, you're playing that stupid ball rolley sticky thing game, that's for kids."
"Says the man who shelled out £50 for a 6 hour wank fantasy because he's too scared to join the real army..."

I feel like a lot of people mistake wanting good graphics and wanting photo-realistic graphics. I want good graphics. I think most of us do, because gaming is primarily a visual medium. Good and even great graphics are more influenced by art direction and design than having the shiniest new Crytek engine and so many pixels we have to start inventing new numbers. Journey, for example, might not have been as emotional as it was if it wasn't so damn pretty.

Not a lot to say that wasn't already said. Hell, I was even planning to cite books, a medium where skilled hands will use the lack of visual representation as an advantage. No, photo-realism, and the argument that we need it, is just going to make video games worse, and continue it down the path of ruining the potential video games have: to show us worlds that aren't possible, aren't realistic, but make us give a shit anyway, while making us a part of them.

No, that's not the most easily profitable way. No, that won't get all the instant gratification money prolific developers crave like their next drug fix. But the drive for the lowest common denominator does nothing for the industry as a whole, and for the people who stick around more than fifteen seconds in it, and no amount of bullshitting from the developers shooting for it can hide that that's all they're doing; they care nothing about improving video games. They're just after what they see as easy cash.

On a barely related note, Bioshock Infinite could use a lot less fucking cleavage, especially when your perspective is constantly looking downward at the character. Kind of funny how we're using it as an argument against cheap, shallow immersion when such an obvious hook as "LOOK, SHE HAS TITS. THINK YOU'LL STICK AROUND IF YOU GET TO STARE AT THEM THE WHOLE GAME?" is employed.

This whole idea of "needing" photorealism is just stupid. These game companies really are clueless.
2D sprites are just as capable of producing an emotional reaction as any modern title. They just don't want to admit that they're not very good at creating good stories and likable characters.

irmasterlol:
I feel like a lot of people mistake wanting good graphics and wanting photo-realistic graphics. I want good graphics. I think most of us do, because gaming is primarily a visual medium.

I disagree; I think gaming is primarily an interactive medium, and the interaction can make up for flaws absolutely anywhere else, especially on the visual end. Good graphics are probably second-to-last on my list of priorities in a video game.

There's no excuse not to have good art direction and aesthetics regardless of the quality of your graphics, though, and I think that's much more important as a result; low quality graphics can still be very pleasant to look at as long as they're presented well.

Anyone that says you need photorealistic graphics for empotional investment, I have two words for you:

Aerith Gainsbourough

Final Fantasy VII was a game that drove a lot of emotion despite a graphics level making characters look like Lego a lot of the time. Hell, FFVI got me in a few places with fucking pixels. Just admit you'd rather be making movies and move on.

I've been saying this for a while, but on a different tangent: graphics take up a lot of data and system resources. It's something I've been on about since 3D: yes, it's nice to see the back wall, but if there's nothing there it's wasted programming. MGS4 has a lot of quality graphics, but less gameplay than all but the NES instalments. Looks aren't everything, and I'd rather have a few extra dungeons, characters, or mini games than a trip through uncanny valley.

There is not a single game that have a mandatory rule about graphics in order to work, but nothing worked so well in gaming history as a FPS with "realistic graphics of manly man doing manly things" with MW in the cover. But in order to that happen, we needed Doom guy, Wolfenstein guy, Blood guy, Outlaw guy, Duke guy, Unreal guys and girls, 007 guys and girls, XIII guy and girl, Quake and Timesplitters guys, girls, robots, fish tanks, monsters, carcasses and the list can go on. Realistic graphics are the new tool at disposal of the developers, but if to get here so much have happened before. That 2K guy had forget about all the other games that happened before, that created and shaped the genre. I just can't understand how someone who make games can just ignore all the history and legacy that is behind the modern shooters.

Hilarious ending.

I totally agree with most things said, but I'm just wondering whether we've recently had a bunch of devs say things like they have in order to try and push the likes of Microsoft and Sony to push out their new consoles?

Not the best way to go about it, no doubt I just wonder if that was maybe their ulterior motive.

ReinWeisserRitter:

I disagree; I think gaming is primarily an interactive medium, and the interaction can make up for flaws absolutely anywhere else, especially on the visual end. Good graphics are probably second-to-last on my list of priorities in a video game.

There's no excuse not to have good art direction and aesthetics regardless of the quality of your graphics, though, and I think that's much more important as a result; low quality graphics can still be very pleasant to look at as long as they're presented well.

Ok, I'll grant you that it's largely interactive, but the game still tells its story visually. Musical cues can adjust the tone of some actions, but we still predominantly see the actions of the characters and how they impact the world and characters around them.

The Power of Flight featured article on the main page may have made me a bit biased towards visual storytelling today.

"Religious statements have no place in something that isn't religious.

... Thank God for me."

image

OT: I think everyone agrees. That guy dun fucked up when he said that. You just need to say one word to completely destroy his argument... Pixar.

irmasterlol:
Ok, I'll grant you that it's largely interactive, but the game still tells its story visually. Musical cues can adjust the tone of some actions, but we still predominantly see the actions of the characters and how they impact the world and characters around them.

It doesn't have to, though; a game can be based entirely on, say, sound, with no visuals whatsoever and as long as it's done correctly, it could still be a riveting, if extremely difficult to pull off, experience.

Visuals are only a vehicle for the gameplay, as everything else is, to give shape to it and attempt to make you feel apart of the action. Graphics are merely the only method thusfar successfully employed to show us what the action is.

Of course, because so many game developers would have rather been movie directors, or just aren't very creative - usually both - that's usually what we get: interactive movies, sometimes barely interactive ones. But their lack of creativity isn't a flaw of the medium itself, nor does it represent what video games as a whole are capable of.

"I think no religious statement has any place in something that isn't a church or a religious topic." - Jim Sterling

Golly gee Jim. Maybe you should go and try to do some more of that actual Journalism you were talking about earlier. Do you even know where Dan Cathy made his statement concerning his personal opinion on gay marriage? Of course not. You're too busy stroking your outrage in defense of your liberal opinions. Here, I've done it for you since you were too busy to bother:

http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=38271

Here, I'll even reference some of your fellow liberals:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/17/dan-cathy-chick-fil-a-president-anti-gay_n_1680984.html

He said it in an interview with "The Baptist Press: News With A Christian Perspective". A relevant place for one to speak his mind on religious opinion? Have some crow to go with that side fat you'll be scooping out and eating. Maybe you can open an episode with you stuffing some Chick Fil A into your maw.

Playing a game just for it's graphics is like watching porn for it's plot.

It's really weird for Crytek to be spouting this bullcrap especially since I thought Crysis 2 shined more through its art direction and scene composition. Yeah, I know they're tech-savvies and they wanna push the latest hardware to its limits but I honestly thought they learned a lesson on with Crysis 2 with it focusing more on art direction in contrary to its predecessor.

I've always thought that the characters in Minecraft actually do a pretty good job of conveying emotion. There's hardly any detail to them, but if you watch an LP of the game and see people convey in-game body language along with their voice, a surprising amount comes across.

Nicolaus99:
"I think no religious statement has any place in something that isn't a church or a religious topic." - Jim Sterling

Golly gee Jim. Maybe you should go and try to do some more of that actual Journalism you were talking about earlier. Do you even know where Dan Cathy made his statement concerning his personal opinion on gay marriage? Of course not. You're too busy stroking your outrage in defense of your liberal opinions. Here, I've done it for you since you were too busy to bother:

http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=38271

Here, I'll even reference some of your fellow liberals:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/17/dan-cathy-chick-fil-a-president-anti-gay_n_1680984.html

He said it in an interview with "The Baptist Press: News With A Christian Perspective". A relevant place for one to speak his mind on religious opinion? Have some crow to go with that side fat you'll be scooping out and eating. Maybe you can open an episode with you stuffing some Chick Fil A into your maw.

I don't think the outrage about Chick Fil A is about the fact that their CEO (or whatever) is against gay marriage. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

The problem is that he stated that he is using the money WE give him to support anti-gay marriage groups. Which pisses people who do support gay marriage and eat at Chick Fil A off, because they don't want their money going to something they don't support.

If you want to give money to those groups, use your own money, not the company money.

I'll just leave this there from the previous topic on that issue:

Alterego-X:
I think the quote was misconstructed as "we" won't care about games until they are photorealistic, while it was intended to talk about expanding the market. "We" might love abstract games until our face is blue, but that won't magically make them more accepted.

All the counterexamples about non-photorealistic emotional things are either tiny niches, or seen as childish.

There is western animation for children, and anime for otaku.
Garfield Comic strips in newspapers, and Superhero comics for nerds.
Cartoonish party games for casuals, and arthouse indie games for hardcore gamers.

Paintings themselves are made by and for conisseours, while the rest of us couldn't tell a Van Gogh from a Hitler. As soon as we invented photography, ordinary people started to use that everywhere from portraits to landscapes, simply becase photorealistic is seen as superior.

So yes, I could actually agree with him, that if gaming wants to be recognized in the mainstream as an art form, it needs photorealistic dramas, romances, epics, and mysteries, not even more 2D platformers that look like expressionist paintings.

I'm not saying that pursuing photrealism is a GOOD THING for gaming as an art form, or that any of these things that the people above me are wrong.

Yes, minimalistic games can be expressive, animated films can make us cry, it's all about technique, etc.

But does the public see it that way, too? The people who sneer at the omnopoteia of comic books, and at the "bug-eyed" anime characters? Because that's what a studio cares about. 2K couldn't give a shit about the artistic merit of Braid and Bioshock, if CoD sells more, and that is what will make more people to be more invested in gaming.

And for the normal people that we call "casual gamers", this might very well be the way to connect them to gaming beyond flashy childish party games.

Given how they prefer live action entertainment over books, animation, and every other medium, it very well might be true that more identifiable facial expressions are a part of the Lowest Common Denominator for them.

ReinWeisserRitter:

It doesn't have to, though; a game can be based entirely on, say, sound, with no visuals whatsoever and as long as it's done correctly, it could still be a riveting, if extremely difficult to pull off, experience.

Visuals are only a vehicle for the gameplay, as everything else is, to give shape to it and attempt to make you feel apart of the action. Graphics are merely the only method thusfar successfully employed to show us what the action is.

Of course, because so many game developers would have rather been movie directors, or just aren't very creative - usually both - that's usually what we get: interactive movies, sometimes barely interactive ones. But their lack of creativity isn't a flaw of the medium itself, nor does it represent what video games as a whole are capable of.

That seems like something that would have to fail miserably several times before anyone managed to pull it off. I'm certainly not here to sing the praises of the interactive movie crowd, the best stories merge seamlessly with the gameplay etc. etc.

I concede your point, but only in theory. I'm struggling to imagine a context in which it would actually be possible, but I guess that's why I'm not an innovative game designer pushing the limits of the medium.

Chrono Trigger - one of the best games of all time, full of emotion, with graphics that still holds up.

Final Fantasy 6 - More moving than FF12 FF13 combined... Final Fantasy 4 was more moving too.

...You know, I look at that guy and think he's talking out of his arse. Something I'm surprised Jim didn't pick up on is that the man has double standards - Borderlands 2 comes out very soon, and both that and it's predecessor use a Cel-Shaded look. It may not be as bright and cartoony as Zelda (If anyone remembers XIII, that may work as a better comparison), but Cell Shaded is Cell Shaded and Hypocrisy is Hypocrisy.

Graphics Shmaphics, current gen consoles are starved for RAM, bring on the next gen.

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