Should some developers stop caring about graphics.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

I frequently hear about how some games cannot be as good as they should be because so much time goes into graphics but I'm thinking, why don't some developers simply aim for mediocre and focus on good gameplay if they lack the resources to do both?

Graphics rarely, if ever age well but gameplay can still be fresh a decade later. Take Deux Ex for example, this is what the gamespot review said.

Deus Ex's graphics aren't very good, either. Though the game uses Epic Games' Unreal engine, which was once lauded for its exceptional visual quality, Deus Ex is actually a fairly bland-looking game because of its incessantly dark industrial environments.

They focused on making sure the actual game was great and put graphics to the wayside in order to achieve that. If graphics are so demanding on games and take so much time then why don't devs just say "fuck it" and let them be shit and have a great game.

People still look back on games like Deus Ex and Thief for their gameplay and having bad graphics hasn't really effected people's opinion's of it over the years, I don't see how that still isn't relevant today.

What do you think?

Graphics have got to a point now that I don't think they really need to improve.

Like The Witcher 2/Crysis level graphics, are pretty much at the limit. Games should concentrate on gameplay and gameplay mechanics now that this level of graphics have been reached.

I think that the fact that somebody like Notch can make millions off a game in java that is trivial to outshine in graphics using anything but java indicates that there is certainly money to be made with a gameplay > graphics focus.

Well, it would be big news if the big developer stopped caring for graphics once (they never did).

The thing with "good" graphics is, added to that what you wrote, is that "good" can age really, really bad. Especially if they try to be realistic good and this bad aging can just be overshadowed by excellent gameplay which appears rather seldom (like Deus Ex or Thief 2 which look like shit but are probably the best stealth'em'up until today).

Kahunaburger:
I think that the fact that somebody like Notch can make millions off a game in java that is trivial to outshine in graphics using anything but java indicates that there is certainly money to be made with a gameplay > graphics focus.

The rise of the indie scene shows that there is a big market for games with more focus on artstyle instead of the technical aspect of graphics. (Bastion, Binding of Isaac, Terraria)

Minecraft is the best example that you can have success without putting money into any kind of artstyle and making a game that literally looks like shit.

Definetely. Good graphics=/=good game. They're a nice touch, but that's it. Who remembers games from 2000 with good graphics? Now who remembers Deus Ex, Thief 2 and System Shock 2? It's a no-brainer, really.

I have never cared too much about graphics myself. I care more about aesthetic and art style, I think that can hurt a game if it isn't done well. Anyway, I do wish some developers would stop consisting having to outdo every other game graphically as their main selling point.
If developers suddenly went back to making games with sprites, I wouldn't complain.

I just wish game developers would stop trying to make their graphics "realistic", when all that does is waste resources and make your game age terribly in a very short amount of time. A good example of this would be Indigo Prophecy or any Bethesda game.

Less focus on graphics? Yeah, we could do with a bit of that.

Less focus on visual aesthetics? Noooooooo.

endtherapture:
Games should concentrate on gameplay and gameplay mechanics now that this level of graphics have been reached.

People were saying that when Unreal (1) was released.

OT: No. I like good graphics, and most people do too, even if they wont admit it. Should graphics be the main concern of every developer? No. But I have no problem with a developer studio like Crytek or CDProjekt taking the time to make a game that looks absolutely stunning.

trollpwner:
Now who remembers Deus Ex, Thief 2 and System Shock 2?

2 of those games were praised for their visuals when they came out.

Yes, gameplay has an EDGE on graphics quality. Saint Row the 3rd and Captain America on PS3 look like crap compared to Batman Arkham City DX 11 on PC. But one can tell that they are current gen. They have advanced from the very good graphics of the original Xbox to something recognizable as Gen 7.

That written, I am enjoying SRTT more than something like Battlefield 3. Gameplay is important.

But if we didn't care at all about visual quality, we'd all still be playing SNES. 1000s of games came out for that system. It would keep us busy. But we want, and should demand more.

Fact is, while SRTT gets GOTY from me, I'd really love it if they came out with a PC version to push the envelope on top graphics cards.

Friends, don't let GTX 690 go to waste!!!

I agree.

Mostly because making the most realistic graphics possible take huge amounts of time and budget, and they're not absolutely integral the the game. This means less time and money spent on refining the gameplay and narrative, and requires that the game sell even more copies just to break even. That's not good for the industry.

Yes, graphics are important. But a game can have a good aesthetic to make up for lower graphics (I play Borderlands on Low on my Laptop and it STILL looks pretty damn good).

Well it's less to do with graphics and more to do with aesthetics. That's why most people would tell you that Okami on the PS2 looks far better than most current gen games.

Plus there's only so much extra HD shine (or texture quality and the like) you can put into a game until it starts to not be cost effective.

"Congrats you've added 5% better textures! *hands over the bill* hope it was worth it!"

Some developers already do that, only they happen to make non-fps games for anime fans and turn-based combat enthusiasts so they don't get much publicity so people here don't seem to be that aware of them.

It's called 2D sprites, they're present in tons of fighting games and rpgs like cross edge, disgaea and so on, also on the DS games such as the Etrian Odyssey series.

Graphics aren't everything. I personally find the Source engine the best graphical experience games could strive for - while it was one of the top when it came out (along with DooM 3) it's now 7 years old but I don't need anything better for myself.

Still, as I said, graphics aren't everything. One of my favourite games is Might & Magic 7 and that

even when I first picked it up back in 2001. In some regards it's not a huge leap above Doom 2 - the people are still not 3D but 2D cardboard cutouts. It only outdoes Minecraft barely if at all. And I assure you M&M 6 and 8 aren't hugely different. Still, it's a very fun game to play regardless of graphics.

The last game I played was Blood 2

For comparison, that's from a year before M&M7. So you can see just how bad M&M looks like. And Blood 2 is still good despite being more than a dozen years old.

The game I played before that was Battle of Wesnoth

Which still manages to deliver despite looking like Warcraft 1.

And before that there was Endgame: Singularity.

And it still worth playing.

Don't get me wrong, graphics are nice to have but don't put too much emphasis on them if the game is going to suck anyway. And conversely, if the game is good, then the graphics don't matter as much.

My stance has always been that I'll praise a game for having great visuals, but I will never criticize it for having bad visuals unless they are actually broken enough to be a serious detriment to gameplay/atmosphere.

Pouring too much time and resources into graphics at the expense of other parts of the project is a bad thing, but a game that excels in visuals as well as its other components should be celebrated for that accomplishment.

Dreiko:
Some developers already do that, only they happen to make non-fps games for anime fans and turn-based combat enthusiasts so they don't get much publicity so people here don't seem to be that aware of them.

It's called 2D sprites, they're present in tons of fighting games and rpgs like cross edge, disgaea and so on, also on the DS games such as the Etrian Odyssey series.

I love Disgaea, they manage to cram a lot of repeatable gameplay into a small game that still looks amazing. (Ok most of that is grind, but some of us do enjoy that) I'd also like to add Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey to that list as well.

The thing all these games have in common beyond 2-d is that they to put style over realism. We're already nearing a point where graphics look realistic, but what really will grab and audience and make a game memorable is a unique and eye pleasing visual style, one that supports a games tone and themes like Okami.

I think that developers should have stopped focusing on Graphics years ago. However to clarify that statement I'd like to draw everyone's attention the the Extra Credits episode dealing with graphics and art design.

Kahunaburger:
I think that the fact that somebody like Notch can make millions off a game in java that is trivial to outshine in graphics using anything but java indicates that there is certainly money to be made with a gameplay > graphics focus.

I doubt we're going to see anything on the level of Minecraft any time soon, though.

And there's always been a bit of a market for retro gaming, so while that might be raised as an indicator, it's not really one either.

Anyway, for the most part, I think they should. However, pretty graphics are a big chunk of what sells big games, so I doubt we'll see an end to the graphics arms race any time soon.

Because we gamers are among the worst fucking hypocrites ever. We can discuss all we want that we don't care about graphics as long as the game is otherwise solid, but when a trailer of an upcoming game features bad graphics that is the first complaint the game gets!
I remember one of the early Saints Row trailers where the first reaction was about the graphics looking ugly.

So putting effort into making a big and good game doesn't really matter if the graphics look like shit. Sure I do play games without the best graphics and there are several others of you who do too. However a game looks a lot less appealing to some if the graphics look grainy. I'd also like to mentio that it isn't as much the graphics that matter, but how you use it.

Xenoblade looks pretty good despite the Wii's lack of hardware.

I thought graphics were great on the Gamecube, at the time. Today, I think Gamecube graphics look ok but not great, especaially seeing them on an HDTV with component cables hooked up to the Wii or via an emulator. I also thought that the NES had good graphics at the time, SNES proved that wrong, today I can't stand NES graphics. In a few generations, Gamecube graphics will be intolerable too. Liekwise, in time todays graphics will look ugly.

Oddly enough though, I still find SNES graphics to be nice but that's 2D.

I don't find anything to like in these games with so called artistic graphics. Using ugly or just plain strange graphics to cover up a small budget isn't really necessary. I recently learned that Chrono Cross was a budget title, yet it has some of the best graphics on the PS1. It's because of those graphics that I never suspected that it was a budget title. Indie titles with so called artistic graphics show their small budget.

Minecraft is an exception to the rule, it isn't the rule.

Sorry but no, maybe they should not care as much but graphics are as important as anything else so they should still be worked on and improved.

josemlopes:
Sorry but no, maybe they should not care as much but graphics are as important as anything else so they should still be worked on and improved.

Graphics aren't unimportant, there's just no need for them to be hyper-realistic or technologically advanced. They can be "good" in ways beyond that.

Take the game I consider the best looking game ever made for instance, Okami, it's a PS2 game. PS2 level graphics are good enough to produce something as good as Okami so there's no need to push them further.

If you wanna improve graphics, demand more talented art teams and more innovative game ideas, not more expensive possessors. That's what's killing the industry, that's what the Wii took advantage of to become the best selling console this gen.

How good it looks =/= how powerful the engine is, that's all I have to say on this matter. The developers should focus on the former, not the latter. Actually, they should focus on keeping the ratio of looks/power requires as high as possible - more looks for less power.

Dreiko:

josemlopes:
Sorry but no, maybe they should not care as much but graphics are as important as anything else so they should still be worked on and improved.

Graphics aren't unimportant, there's just no need for them to be hyper-realistic or technologically advanced. They can be "good" in ways beyond that.

Take the game I consider the best looking game ever made for instance, Okami, it's a PS2 game. PS2 level graphics are good enough to produce something as good as Okami so there's no need to push them further.

As long as television technology continues to increase so then will graphics. PS2 graphics look horrible at 1080p and they will look worse as HDTV's continue to increase in native resolution. Hell, Okami on the Wii even looks crappy on an HDTV. Perhaps you would prefer that we were still using SDTV's but we're never going back to that.

Sure, Wind Waker looked great without being realistic but do you want every game to be cell shaded or use some artistic gimmick?

I think graphical style should be more important. No amount of fidelity can beat a game where the style fits the games themes. We're close to the limit as far as graphical quality can take us, developers now need to concentrate on using that quality correctly. Someone brought up Borderlands, which is a great example of using style with a modest amount of graphical quality. It looks damn nice, as does the trailer for Borderlands 2.

Crono1973:

As long as television technology continues to increase so then will graphics. PS2 graphics look horrible at 1080p and they will look worse as HDTV's continue to increase in native resolution. Hell, Okami on the Wii even looks crappy on the Wii and an HDTV. Perhaps you would prefer that we were still using SDTV's but we're never going back to that.

Sure, Wind Waker looked great without being realistic but do you want every game to be cell shaded or use some artistic gimmick?

Wii isn't even an HD system so who cares, anyways the game sucked on the wii cause the wiimote painting was horrid.

Unless you threw out your old TVs or something I'm sure you still can use them, nothing prevents you from using them and if a game is worth playing the hassle should be minimal. If something can look as amazing as okami does, who cares if the specs of it or w/e are vastly inferior...the specs only supposedly reflect an estimation of how it looks and the fact that we established that it looks beyond awesome is proof enough of their meaninglessness.

Pretty much every game I play is either cell-shaded or made with 2D sprites or just plain anime-stylized, so yes, I'd love that. It's not really a gimmick mind you, it's an equally valid alternative to "realistic 3D graphics".

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

endtherapture:
Games should concentrate on gameplay and gameplay mechanics now that this level of graphics have been reached.

People were saying that when Unreal (1) was released.

OT: No. I like good graphics, and most people do too, even if they wont admit it. Should graphics be the main concern of every developer? No. But I have no problem with a developer studio like Crytek or CDProjekt taking the time to make a game that looks absolutely stunning.

trollpwner:
Now who remembers Deus Ex, Thief 2 and System Shock 2?

2 of those games were praised for their visuals when they came out.

yeah this.

i don't see why the whole industry has to do one or the other frankly. I can't really point to one game and say "there is the minimum in which i can get immersed with" because that depends art style to art style.

so yeah, i don't want gaming companies to stop pushing the limits, but it isn't the end all be all scenario.

Wii isn't even an HD system so who cares, anyways the game sucked on the wii cause the wiimote painting was horrid.

The PS2 isn't an HD console either but it didn't stop you from bringing it up. Move the goal post much? The Wiimote has nothing to do with the graphics of Okami.

Unless you threw out your old TVs or something I'm sure you still can use them, nothing prevents you from using them and if a game is worth playing the hassle should be minimal.

As a matter of fact I no longer own an SDTV and I thought I was behind having just thrown the last two out last month and replacing them with HDTV's. Why would anyone still be making games that look the best on SDTV's? That's the real point. They can't keep making games with PS2 graphics for use on modern TV's.

No, if developers stop caring about graphics (not aesthetics) I'd imagine many development studios would go out of business after the game releases and falls flat on It's face. It's the people buying the games who need to bring about the change, stop hyping up games for their "graphics" and the industry will move accordingly.

Graphics as in rendering power: not really a problem,Unreal 3 is used most by the AAA industry.But graphics as in aesthetics,that's a whole other discussion entirely.I believe publishers are pressuring developers to use their time to make something render intensive and visually impressive,to show off the hardware.
How many times your average next-gen gamer will say to PS2 games: OMG,HAO CAN U LIEK DIS,GRAFIX SUX BALLS!

Now,both graphically intensive and vivid art direction examples: Witcher 2 and Crysis are mostly used as benchmarks like: Look,I can run this game with solid 60 fps!

That is all I can say on this subject,

There are examples of games where the quality was arguably reduced due to the visual focus. FF13 being the most recent example. Supposedly they removed a whole lot of content to make for space on the disk for the visuals. IF that's true, it would explain why it was shit (my opinion).

Now if we want to consider the current generation of consoles, they should definitely stop focusing on visuals, save aesthetics, for better gameplay. Current gen consoles are simply out of date and lack the processing power of even the cheapest computers today. Stop trying to squeeze better visuals out of it, it's not helping much. It's part of the reason we need a new generation of consoles, or more PC development.

Theoretically a new generation could easily maintain current gen visuals, or better, and have plenty of room to expand gameplay.

Although there's the possibility that devs/publishers wont be willing to sacrifice visuals because they're marketing surveys show that people just want something shiney. I've met people who actually say "The graphics are shit" as a reason for not getting a good game like Legend of Zelda. Those people are shallow pricks or children.

There are examples of games where the quality was arguably reduced due to the visual focus. FF13 being the most recent example. Supposedly they removed a whole lot of content to make for space on the disk for the visuals. IF that's true, it would explain why it was shit (my opinion).

Plenty of space left over on the Blu-Ray I would imagine. It was the decision to release it on the 360 with DVD's that led them to remove content to save space. Remember the graphics were designed for use with the PS3 and Blu Ray, only in the last year was it decided to put it on the 360 and at that point it would be too late to lower the graphics quality.

I don't think developers should ignore graphics, no. However, they shouldn't have graphics as the #1 priority. If a game has an amazing game world, but horribly fucking shit-awful gameplay, no one will subject themselves to play it because they could just Google some landscape images instead. Now, if a game has absolutely outstanding gameplay, but mediocre graphics, people are more likely to accept the graphics because the gameplay is the true heart of it (and you can't just Google gameplay and get any enjoyment from it).

I'm sure you guys know what I'm saying.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

endtherapture:
Games should concentrate on gameplay and gameplay mechanics now that this level of graphics have been reached.

People were saying that when Unreal (1) was released.

OT: No. I like good graphics, and most people do too, even if they wont admit it. Should graphics be the main concern of every developer? No. But I have no problem with a developer studio like Crytek or CDProjekt taking the time to make a game that looks absolutely stunning.

trollpwner:
Now who remembers Deus Ex, Thief 2 and System Shock 2?

2 of those games were praised for their visuals when they came out.

No but come on, The Witcher 2 literally looks photorealistic. They nearly got hair right, plus the game can handle multiple characters on screen without it dying, giving a sense of epic battles.

image

Keep these visuals I say, improve the hair and stuff and focus on making better gameplay, more open worlds and varying gameplay and trying to get more characters on screen.

Look, we can see Geralt's individual pores:

image

Depends what the games attraction is. I think a good looking game is always great but it doesnt come before gameplay. FF13 is fantastic because of its graphics and it really helps bring things alive. To have it sacrificed (the gameplay, excellent by the way, is still king in FF13) would be a shame and would take, feel, from the overall experience even if it meant more put into gameplay. Could games such as Just Cause be possible with old style graphics. I find it difficult to imagine sub-par graphics would make for a playable game in Just Causes case because it is about a huge tropical island and look is very important to big open world games.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked