Jimquisition: Emotions, Polygons, and Ellen Page

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people cant deny that the walking dead would of been better and more emotional if it had more than 10 facial expressions. that's david cage's point. He's saying emotional games can be even better if the characters look and act like real people would and not robots. for the record i loved heavy rain and believe its a truly great game and anyone who says its shit i will debate otherwise.

What point is there to be made? David Cage is a hedonistic pain in the backside who's nonsense does for Video Games what DmC did for the medium's self respect.

Oh, Jim, I love it when you're borderline slanderous. I've played Fahrenheit; it begins promisingly and intriguingly, and then it devolves into self-important wank (and a jarring turn from gritty supernatural mystery into silly-cults-and-superpowers that almost gave me a whiplash).

Too bad that David Cage makes impressing demos and not impressing games....

I mean, "Project Kara" still manages to get me everytime.

Looking forward to Valorie Curry's acting career. Would've love a game where you play a robot trying to survive in this cruel cruel world. Themes of "living", "meaning of life" or "birth and death" would've been impressive...

I wish I had emotions, like my video games.

Also, where was Jim? I thought he was the host of his show. You can't just invite a guest and let him do the entire show, can you?

Casual Shinji:
That was quite the emotional burn.

Add to all those emotional pixels Willem Dafoe, and we will finally achieve world peace.

Some examples from Heavy Rain, spoilerish obviously:

The thing is - its not all bad, individual scenes can be well written and executed, but for the few great moments, to me at least, it felt like most of the time he was just trying too hard to make a scene exciting or emotional. And when you try to put the whole story together into a cohesive narrative it just falls apart. The more you think about things the less sense things make - and that's rarely a good sign when you're talking about a murder mystery story.

Legion:
Hmm, I liked the subject matter, and it was a good parody, but I think it'd have worked better if perhaps the David Cage mockery was done for maybe the first minute or so, then the rest as normal.

It was good, I just felt the joke was wearing a little thin by the end.

MrBaskerville:
Itīs always been fun how you could play a game like Yakuza or Catherine, where the characters looks like humans and actually expresses emotions, but when you play one of Cages brilliant games, itīs nothing but a freak show where you are starring into the uncanny valley. He uses so much money to try and recreate reality, though it might be quite impossible, while smarter companies characterises the faces slightly and achieves a lot better results using less effort.

That's actually why anime characters have the faces they do. So emotion can be shown a lot more clearly. They don't look realistic, but to me this:

expresses a hell of a lot more emotion than this:

Anime -is- a good way to show emotion. I'm also rather fond of books, and can get hit pretty hard by them as well.

This was a very amusing parody. POLYGONS IS EMOTION.

Scorpid:
I don't understand all the hate for his games. I thought heavy rain was great, and the niche he fills isn't one being filled by any other triple AAA developer. Would you guys prefer if Quantic dream just made another spunkgargleweewee games? Of course he's passionate about the games he makes and the style he makes them in so by what right do we have to be so cynical as to say that it's wrong. I don't want every game being like Heavy Rain but neither do I want every game being like my personal favorite genre, a RTS.

Its not so much about his games that are the issue, its more of his opinion that we cant have emotional and good stories because of technological limitations, which is horse crap and he paints himself as a gaming messiah and decrys every other genre that isnt trying to redo the wheel.

If I want to get a sterling opnion on emotional characters I'll go listen to Ken Levine, Dacid Cage tends to turn into the adults from Charlie Brown after a while. I went to GDC last year and he was supposed to give a talk on emotional experiences, but for the most part it was a glorified tech demo.

That certainly was an interesting video to watch. Pretty funny, all things considering.

I see what you're saying, and while I may not dislike Quadratic Dream's work, I do support testing the boundaries of graphics, I fully agree with you that you don't need graphics to tell a compelling story.

That about sums up David Cage.

Jim is the Michael Myers of game journalism

I just know that FF6's 16-bit sprites made me feel more emotional than the entire library of David Cage games have combined. AND they were more enjoyable to play too!

David Cage's games are... different. What they are not, however, are "good". As games, they are subpar. As stories, they are badly written. As movies, they are badly paced. As emotional experiences, they are hollow, cloying, and shockingly artificial.

Someone best described David Cage like Data from Star Trek, where he THINKS he knows what emotions are and tries to replicate them, but because he has no true understanding of emotion, it never actually works and he gets it utterly wrong.

Ah yes, Jim Sterling brand sarcasm.

As refreshingly subtle as always.

Well, that was weird. But good job on riffing on Cage's creepy obsession.

axlryder:
image
Do you even emotion?

That's the definition of irony right there.

I have 2 thoughts on this.

1) Graphics get a bad rap. Of course, it gets a bad rap amongst the communities that don't translate into the big bucks for major publishers in the short term whilst being exaggerated in importance by the kinds of people who make stock prices go up, but still. Graphics are a tool. Better tools are good to have, and open up opportunities that didn't exist. "Games" arn't better for pushing photo-realism, but SOME games are. Cage's games are probably better with more photo-realism. His problem is not being off his rocker, his problem is that he is thinking far too narrowly.

2) I think that its not uncommon that you get someone who is kind of a douche in just the right way to take things forward. Heavy Rain has it's flaws, and the idea of photo-realism being required for "Emotion" is laughable. But then again, Heavy Rain is the rare example of a mainstream title that focuses on the little character points, choice, and generally plot instead of the power fantasy. And the world of games is probably better now, both for the successes AND failures.So it seems unnecessary to drag him through the mud. Maybe you have to be kind of a pretentious douchbage to get certain things done.

This 2003 source engine demo has more emotion than any David Cage generated charecter. It's also a hell of a better tech demo than the borefest at the ps4 confrence.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHH5L39YtDE

Of course David Cage doesnt play games so he wont be aware of this.

Twinmill5000:
Okay, actually watched the video in question that this was parodying, and I have to say... David Cage is actually right.

I mean, he leaves alot of room for people to make a strawman out of him, but he's right. The advantage of having technology is that you now have the power to, if you so choose, emulate emotion on a character's face without resorting to exaggeration. This is excellent for breaking down another wall in immersion. It wasn't stated, nor implied that better graphigz and moar poligonz equalz moar emotun, just that they give the developers more power to create it. It's well established that if you want to convey emotion, you need to give your audience a reason to have feelings for what you create, usually in that they can relate to it somehow. Cage never said that you can now skip that entire process of creating believable characters and employing drama into your work due to the better super graphics polygons emotion.

The focal point of that presentation, however, WAS the graphical capabilities of the PS4, and the argument was that graphics r gud, which is true, but they're not a necessity. It sounds to me like Cage was just excited that, hey, they got this new tool, and now, suddenly, they can start broadcasting in color versus black and white.

And yeah, developers will pervert it. But do you know what? I have a hunch that, among those list of developers that do so, going straight for moar polygonz (omg) and nothing else, Quantic Dream will not be on that list.

I completely agree and this video, as well as various other sites that are currently bashing Cage for stating something that should be obvious.

Hell, even Jim Sterling agrees... http://www.destructoid.com/review-l-a-noire-201203.phtml

"I cannot express enough how impressed I am with the facial animation, and how it's been used not only as eye candy, but as an invaluable part of the gameplay itself. It's a joy to interview suspects and watch them talk in such a realistic fashion, using their movements to inform your own decisions. Without the animation, the game simply would not work, but I'm thrilled to report that it works beautifully.
"

LA Naire is exactly what Cage is talking about, but Jim and (predictably) the boot lickers sum up a decent demonstration about how improved technology makes it easier to convey emotions into foolishness. So instead of talking about Cliffy B's bullshit stance on micro-transactions from 4 days ago, we're doing a parody of David Cage who's only guilty of trying to move the industry forward.

I sure hope someone else at Dtoid reviews Beyond, because we already know how Jim feels about it.

Scorpid:
I don't understand all the hate for his games. I thought heavy rain was great, and the niche he fills isn't one being filled by any other triple AAA developer. Would you guys prefer if Quantic Dream just made another spunkgargleweewee games? Of course he's passionate about the games he makes and the style he makes them in so by what right do we have to be so cynical as to say that it's wrong. I don't want every game being like Heavy Rain but neither do I want every game being like my personal favorite genre, a RTS.

No one said that we want him making RTS or spunkgargleweewee, Jim is saying that he doesn't understand what he's talking about, has a huge ego and needs to improve his writing.
Parody and criticism is how you change things without taking radical action, if we just leave artists be to make whatever they want they'll lose sight of the point, that if you sell people mass-produced versions of your art and get rich off it, you should be making a quality work of art and that it should be focused on the audience's enjoyment, not your ambitions. If we don't criticize then things won't improve, David Cage isn't crying into his pillows at night about the hate he gets, so why are you?

Personally I think David Cage comes across as outright insulting to other people in the field. His Playstation 4 analogy with film was just plain stupid and seemed belittling and pretty condescending. Piss off and get over yourself. I'm surprised no developers called him out.

I'm not a part of the Publishers Club so I saw a distinct lack of emotion in the whole video. Even that fragment from this supposed "Most Emotional" film, The Hobbit, looked devoid of any emotion since from my perspective it lacked emotion enhancers like HD and 48fps.

I've always wondered how actors can keep a straight face doing that mo-cap stuff. I mean stunt work and what not, okay, but for capturing subtle facial motions and what not like you see in this video - can't be easy trying to be serious with a face studded with dots and wearing a skintight one-piece, and looking at someone whose dressed in likewise has to be hard.

Implying that visuals don't help convey emotion. One look at LA Noire shows what new technology can do. There is a difference between "The woman smiled" and seeing the happiness in somebody's face.

Finally, a Jimquisition that doesn't leave me horribly depressed about the video game industry.

Legion:
Hmm, I liked the subject matter, and it was a good parody, but I think it'd have worked better if perhaps the David Cage mockery was done for maybe the first minute or so, then the rest as normal.

It was good, I just felt the joke was wearing a little thin by the end.

I guess I'm just easily amused, because as I stared into David Cage's eyes, everything just continously fell apart for me. Top that with the lip motions that clearly don't work and you have something quite funny on your hands. I loved it.

The David Cage stuff is fine by me. I loved Indigo Prophecy Fahrenheit because of how different it was, the graphics did little for me. If anything, the music, the tense moments and whatnot, on top of an original IP was actually kind of fun.

And I sort of had fun with Heavy Rain. The graphics were a pretty high point, but once you got past that, it really isn't a great game, and it sort of does fall apart, but the mystery was great while it lasted, and the action parts are quite cool.

I'm holding out for Beyond: Two Souls to be a good game, first and foremost, and the graphics to be very good as well. The parody was a great laugh, and I enjoyed it.

nathan-dts:
Implying that visuals don't help convey emotion. One look at LA Noire shows what new technology can do.

Extremely offputting uncannyvally? It reminded me of young Jeff Bridges weird rubber mouth as Clu.

I laughed so hard during this! I love David Cage's games; however, I feel like whenever he speaks, he'd rather be making movies than games. It's a love/hate relationship with him.

You over did it Jim, and repeating emotion over and over started to become jarring. However, the point was made and it was a bit amusing. I've been saying it for too long now that games shouldn't spend so bloody much on graphics and focus more on writing it well. Hell, I haven't seen an original design style for ages, and most of the writing in films and games are lackluster.

I loved the beginning where you applied his stupid logic to books and movies. Those goddamn SD movies and their lack of emotion!

MPerce:
David Cage, what's wrong with your face in this video? It's all rigid, as if it's just a mask someone else is wearing.

.....

Clearly, this video needs higher definition so I can see all of your emotions!
NEED. MORE. EMOTIONS!!!

This video is clearly a trick to get you to sign up for that stupid pub club thing so you can get a proper sized video player that contains more emotions! CURSE YOU DAVID CAGE!!!

SonOfMethuselah:
I enjoyed the joke. Little bit jarring, at first, but I got into it. It's funny that Cage puts so much hard work into making faces look as realistic as possible, but the audience isn't going to be able to relate to them unless the writing behind the emotions they're conveying is half-as-good, which, unfortunately, it never is. I enjoyed Heavy Rain, don't get me wrong, but it never made me emotional. And both kids looked creepy as hell. I'm glad one of them didn't make it past the opening chapter.

Better voice acting would help a bit too. There were many parts of Heavy Rain where I was too busy laughing at a poorly delivered line to feel the emotion they had wanted to convey.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=So2s9BUcIG0#t=122s

What's the point of diminishing returns that makes further advances in the number facial polygons more or less pointless?
Also did this guy seriously say we can't make compelling video games because they don't look good enough and that the ps4 was going to be the device that allowed people to do this as opposed to the pc three years ago?
But that's wrong you idiot

mjc0961:
Better voice acting would help a bit too. There were many parts of Heavy Rain where I was too busy laughing at a poorly delivered line to feel the emotion they had wanted to convey.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=So2s9BUcIG0#t=122s

Hahaha! Oh, awkward delivery, how silly you must feel. I now have a burning desire to go back and replay this game, just to experience all the wonderful awfulness of the dialogue again. I'll have to steal my little brother's copy.

I don't know whether to thank you, or sigh in exasperation, my good man. I'll settle for sighing a half-sarcastic thank you. Take it as you will.

joeman098:
image

I was inspired by the ... emotions to craft this

I was thinking something among those lines, yeah...

image

Was funny for the first minute but got old quick. Too much parody, no discussion. Also, the criticism's being laid on a bit thick by Jim and the cohorts on this thread. Cage didn't say you need graphics to convey emotions, it's a freaking tech demo, he's introducing another tool that developers have at their disposal to utilize if they so wish. So now you can use dialogue, storytelling, gameplay, actions, AND graphics to help you.

He didn't say you can't tell an emotional story without it, he just said we were more limited before. If any developer uses it as a crutch for bad storytelling, that's a separate issue entirely, and people will notice it regardless (judging by the criticism of Heavy Rain). AND if a developer manages to do it with less polygons, well that just shows their creativity! They deserve all the laud and praise they get.

He compared film of yesteryear, but you can even look at photography and painting. People created, used, and copied millions of techniques with lighting, timing, color palette, brush stroke, etc. in order to convey emotion in their captured scenes. No single one of them is claimed to be the be all end all of conveying emotion. Yet a clever combination to get it just right, that's the true key in creativity. Classics like the Mona Lisa, the photo of the Afghan girl, and the millions of impressions of Jesus on the cross have become such powerful icons of their era due to this.

Legion:

That's actually why anime characters have the faces they do. So emotion can be shown a lot more clearly. They don't look realistic, but to me this:

expresses a hell of a lot more emotion than this:

That was Matt Groening's logic when designing the Simpsons also. Just changing a few lines can convey huge changes in emotion. It's also why the supporting cast tends to have more complex designs than the main characters, it wasn't as important for them to have as much range.

Only problem I have with this episode is the joke went on way too long. Probably twice as long of a video as it needed to be.

Another thing that comes to mind, the Extra Credits episode a while back about game soundtracks. Why are they so much more 'memorable' and amazing from the 8 and 16-bit days? Because of the limited sounds and instruments that could be programmed into each game, they had to rely on making the melodies really catchy and stick in your mind, and also to not get annoying. This took a lot of work and ingenuity of course.

But does that mean that nowadays, we shouldn't have the beautifully composed, layered orchestras that accompany games like Final Fantasy and Mass Effect, or Jesper Kyd's atmospheric sounds? That option is to us, and does it not succeed in creating emotion when used effectively? Do you want to go back to 16-bit sounds? Ok, I myself remember soundtracks from games I played in those days, very guilty of it in fact (hardly remember themes of these days longer than a few months after putting a game down, except for Skyrim), but I'm glad we have the technology and continue to push it. There's nothing wrong with pushing these boundaries, people!

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