Can Graphics get much better?

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maconlon439:
I've read a lot of discussions of what the next-generation of gaming will be like, and I wonder if we really can improve on gamings graphical capabilities. I've seen what the current consoles have to offer, and I don't know how much graphics can get much better from here.

Are you kidding? This current gen is awful. Pathetically small levels because consoles have too little RAM, and most textures only barely standing up to passing glances, let alone careful scrutiny. The textures in Dishonored, and vanilla Skyrim are a washed out blurry mess even before you get close to them.

Considering the higher quality of rendering in DX11 and the HQ texture packs available in many mods for PC games, the original question is not only demonstrably and observably a yes, it begs the question why something so easily observable needed to be asked. This generation is 7 years old, there are mobile phones now almost on par with this console generation for heaven's sake.

Of course it can. But why would it? Games look good enough now. I'd prefer if devs concentrated on mechanics, design and narative.

ScrabbitRabbit:
We might not necessarily see a huge spike in budget sizes. Think about it; extra processing power means that certain work arounds no longer need to be implemented.

I wish I could believe that, but the reality is that your statement would probably be more accurate if we amended it to say "for a while" at the very end. Yeah, developing better tech like the Unreal Engine 4, with substantially improved development pipelines will help alleviate some of the budget pressure, but how long developers can get away without heavily optimizing titles and finding workarounds to get the hardware to do something they want which it isn't quite powerful enough to achieve is a simple factor of time. The longer they spend working on static hardware, the more likely they'll need to do those things. And if the previous generations are any indication, they'll be at it in 2 years or less.

Now granted, it's not a completely bad thing. It is a matter of essentially building on years of development experience so companies do get better over time, but you can only be so efficient when dealing with HD quality art assets, and the complex programming going on with AAA games these days. Better pipelines make some tasks easier, but making it faster and more efficient for developers to produce these titles really just means that the bar on what they can do for the same budget is raised, and they'll be pushing it to the limit again soon enough.

Graphics on consoles need improving. There is poor draw distance, frame rate drops, lighting/reflection/refraction, ambience limitations. 720p at 30fps max instead of 1080p at 60fps. Then detail as well.

But graphics are the least important factor (but still a bit important)

A more important factor is AI:

How do enemies react to you, if you kill their friends do they get scared or fight differently. If they investigate a shadow or noise do they tell their comrades who will get suspicious if they don't come back. Enemies on patrol go back and forth in the same pattern which is nothing like real life.
I read someone in Dishonoured stopped time took out 3 guys, chopped ones head off and threw it at the 5th. The 5th guy didn't react any differently- just attacked as normal.

Honestly I would prefer to play a linear game where enemies truly react to you instead of Deus ex:HR with generic limited AI (although still v good game).

An example of an improvement is the MGS3;

If you get seen you can take out the guy before he calls out to near by guards
If all the guards are alerted you can take out the radio guy before he calls reinforcements, if he lets out half a call then dispatch will still become suspicious and they send someone to investigate.

Hitman 2 innovated for its time too;

Disguising as someone from a small organisation (villa bodyguards) gets you detected faster
Holding the wrong gun while in disguise gets you detected faster depending on your proximity and if the guards are already on alert

dark souls;
Im enjoying the balance of dark souls- when you drink a potion you drink it in real time.
You can't pause the game to conveniently change to a more resistant gear mid battle. It also helps balance everything out unlike skyrim where you have regenerating health and potions you take instantly?? Love the game but some severe balancing issues...do the makers want me to take magic potions half way through a dragon fight, is this how the game is balanced 'cos i kind of don't want to do that.

What i'm trying to say is before improving graphics (which takes a crap load of money and man hours) they should spend that time improving AI, game mechanics etc. It will make the game so much better.

But it won't happen. I see user reviews where they focus in on the 'textures' of Dishonoured, 'omg that's not good' even though they made the game levels massive-relatively speaking. sigh

Before clicking, I was 90% sure this was going to be said by a console gamer. Not only are there massive spaces for improvement (seriously getting tired of linking that Samaritan demo), I can feel a notion of 'graphics are the only thing that improves with new hardware', to which I say hell no.

Yes.

Well, that was quick.

Course they can, and will, we are not at the peak of technology now, nor (Unless we become extinct) will we ever be. That is what is awesome about humanity.

Graphics will continue to get better. Hopefully budgets will start to slide down again once the tech is more standardised and cheaper.

I think my eye and brain will need an upgrade before we get better graphics.
Even after LASIK I will cant handle HD.

janjotat:
I'll just leave this here, but yes they can get better. But is it worth it? A dev has to pay the artists making modern day devs focus upon graphics over other components within games. I would rather they spend more time making a game more fun rather than looking pretty.


But I am still happy my computer is powerful enough to run this.

Hell even the previous generation of Unreal is better than current generational (and possible nextgen) capabilities

So yes, there is a LOT of room for improvement over current generation looks

I don't think there is enough room to make the graphics better without making all characters look like bad androids.
Errant Signal did an episode about graphics and gives a few interesting points.

maconlon439:
I've read a lot of discussions of what the next-generation of gaming will be like, and I wonder if we really can improve on gamings graphical capabilities. I've seen what the current consoles have to offer, and I don't know how much graphics can get much better from here.

Look at a PC, the end...

Crysis is infinitely better on the PC than console, and you can clearly see a huge graphical improvement, getting real close to reality. Your games haven't gotten to this level yet, and programmers for games are generally lazy, and also don't get paid much, so they aren't taking advantage of resource saving techniques as much as they should even on consoles.

Graphics on consoles look awful - half the textures seem to be lower resolution than my calculator's tiny screen. There is a lot of room for visual improvement but performance will NOT increase. Developers will do exactly what they have done this generation - raise quality to such a level that the hardware starts to struggle. We don't be seeing 60fps in the next generation, let alone 120.

They can and will, but next generations equivalent of complaining about short linear games will be complaining that games used to fill more than a single room and could take longer than 25 seconds to finish for their $200 price tags. However tehy will be defended as they only cost about the same as a pair of trainers.

A direct question to the OP. Have you seen anything that's not on a console? I'm being serious here. Any tech demos, perhaps?

Rack:
They can and will, but next generations equivalent of complaining about short linear games will be complaining that games used to fill more than a single room and could take longer than 25 seconds to finish for their $200 price tags. However tehy will be defended as they only cost about the same as a pair of trainers.

Just in case that is hyperbolic as opposed to sarcastic, there's no way the next gen will move towards an even worse shape of small-scale'itis that has the current console gen bent over.

Yes, quite easily. A lot of games use increasingly obvious smoke and mirrors to feign technical improvements.

Hammeroj:
A direct question to the OP. Have you seen anything that's not on a console? I'm being serious here. Any tech demos, perhaps?

Rack:
They can and will, but next generations equivalent of complaining about short linear games will be complaining that games used to fill more than a single room and could take longer than 25 seconds to finish for their $200 price tags. However tehy will be defended as they only cost about the same as a pair of trainers.

Just in case that is hyperbolic as opposed to sarcastic, there's no way the next gen will move towards an even worse shape of small-scale'itis that has the current console gen bent over.

That's some level of optimism you have, any reason for this miraculous change in direction?

Rack:
That's some level of optimism you have, any reason for this miraculous change in direction?

The bar is constantly moving, so it's always getting better. Do we need it? Not necessarily. Do we want it? I don't really care.

janjotat:

Anthraxus:

janjotat:
I would rather they spend more time making a game more fun rather than looking pretty.

This. How about improving and expanding on gameplay, complexity/depth, more content ?

Better graphics are cool, but def not at the cost of hampering more important things.

It takes a lot of time and a lot of money to create good graphics. That is why indie studios generialy don't have very good graphics. You need to be AAA and have lots of money to do so. The better the graphics the more money unnecessary. I was saying devs should focus their attention more upon game play, complexity/depth, more content i.e. making it more fun.

I know, and I agreed with you. That's why I started with ...This.

The..How about part... wasn't directed at you.

Look at your screen... now look out the window... Back to the screen... If you noticed a difference then there is still a way to go! The future will be games with the graphics of today's cutscenes... which is a trend that is continuous and has been since cutscenes came about!

Graphics do not yet perfectly mimic reality so yes, there is visible room for improvement.

The graphics you see on consoles are outdated, those consoles are like 6 years old.

We have much better tech now, and graphics WOULD get better for everyone (pc included because the console ports are holding pc graphics back) if the current generation of consoles would just die already.

They can and they should for games where it adds value (FPS's for example).

Yes, they can get better, but in all honesty I think graphics are the last thing devs should be focusing on right now. They should be trying to make games that have genuine replay-ability.

Of course they can get better and hopefully, high end graphics will become cheaper!

It isn't a high priority, but I also like to see the next big thing in the graphical department.

I'm quite sure that when VGA was the best there was, there were people that thought it couldn't get any better.

When full 3d games were introduced (and everything suddenly had to be 3d), the quality of graphics went down initially, IMO. I suspect we'll have some similar change in the future, some radical new technique that we can't even fathom now, or that is now producing what seems like worse graphics but will end up being better once the magical breakthrough point has been reached (say, good quality procedurally generated stuff).

But even the current approaches leave much to be improved; we can always have higher resolutions :) (and maybe more importantly, less memory and computation needed for that so we don't have to have datacenter-style cooling in our systems).

of course it can, i bet people thought the same question when 8 bit was brand new. technology is evolving so bloody fast now i wont be surprised in 20 years we'll be having games like Dot.Hack Sigh. now that would be freakin cool!

imagin walking through a fantasy style magical forest or land? experiencing it almost like in real life?

amazing, but yes stupid too, just go outside and walk through a real forest, i know. but ....still, it would be freakin sweet.

StriderShinryu:
Absolutely they can get better, and they absolutely should. Having more graphical capability will only allow developers more freedom in what they want to design and create.

Graphics can always improve, but they're not going to be what really progress the gaming industry.

MammothBlade:

I'll give you complete immersion, 100m underwater chained to a pixellated cinder block... :P

Those waves are totally fake. And pixels? What is this, the 1800s?

I haven't noticed much of a change in graphics over the past few years. Can't tell a 2009 game from one released in 2012. Perhaps that's because graphics hit a plateau with the current generation of consoles. I don't want this to become a PC vs. console thing, that's just how the system works at the moment.

Games companies shouldn't prolapse themselves trying to deliver "next-gen" graphics.

I don't play much on PCs. My graphics card sucks, even, but I still see people lose their shit over the new graphics, or even variation between the two consoles (since "Real Gamers" TM don't support the Wii).

I don't know, I can see it still being an issue. They will spend a billion dollars if it gives them a .000001% improvement.

Graphics tech is pretty nice right about now. We've got all sorts of effects that make stuff look pretty, with normal maps, bump maps, spec maps, diffuse textures, advanced lighting ad shadowing, etc. However, we've gotten to a point where photorealism can be achieved easily, even on the relatively underpowered hardware of today's consoles. A look at Halo 4's cutscenes will often cause one to pause to register that the faces onscreen are in fact CGI, and it's not uncommon for someone to confuse a car from Forza with the real deal. Things can get better, but it's not the visual rendering engines that need to get better.

You see, when going for photorealism, part of that is that we recognize when an object behaves correctly when subjected to various stimuli. For example, the water in Halo's multiplayer maps looks pretty realistic when left alone. But when you subject it to, say, a forge object that should be capable of picking up water or retarding it, the illusion is broken. You can't dip a warthog in the water then pull it out with some water still in the seats and the bed. Likewise you cannot build a Rapture-esque underwater tunnel out of forge pieces due to the properties of water not being fully simulated. While Havok Physics is a start, if we want to get better visuals we need better physics. We also need art design that takes advantage of the new tech better than we have now.

That's my two cents.

I'm sure graphics will get better. We still have a long way to go before we can emulate what we actually see in the real world on a computer screen with any real level of believability (With respect to the human form anyway). We still have to manage to cross, "Uncanny valley." You know, that whole, "It looks so perfect that it must be fake," thing...

We have achieved photo realism. That's great. The next step is to completely fool the brain into believing that it's real.

Good question. Theoretically? Yes. I'm sure you've noticed the many pretty demos that have been posted throughout this forum. For my part, here's a nice one of cryengine 3.

In reality, though? Maybe not. We've seen better graphics this generation, but also soaring development costs ($1-4 million for a AAA game in 2000, $20 million in 2010), and games tending to actually get shorter and shallower. Frankly, I'm beginning to wonder if this gen was such a good idea after all.

Maybe graphics aren't the problem of this generation, and maybe I'm just cynically (and falsely!) linking correlation to causation, but once you get past the "oooh" and the "aaaaah" of the latest graphics engine demo, you can't help but notice a little gremlin at the back of your head asking "where's this all coming from?".

Anthraxus:

janjotat:

Anthraxus:
This. How about improving and expanding on gameplay, complexity/depth, more content ?

Better graphics are cool, but def not at the cost of hampering more important things.

It takes a lot of time and a lot of money to create good graphics. That is why indie studios generialy don't have very good graphics. You need to be AAA and have lots of money to do so. The better the graphics the more money unnecessary. I was saying devs should focus their attention more upon game play, complexity/depth, more content i.e. making it more fun.

I know, and I agreed with you. That's why I started with ...This.

The..How about part... wasn't directed at you.

And for that I am truly sorry.

One thing I've found is that the pre-rendered CGI cutscenes of one generation look about the same as the real-time graphics of the next generation. So I'm looking forward to games looking like the Diablo 3 intro sequence :)

They definitely can get better (see current PC gaming), but I wheep at the thought of how much does a machine capable of such visuals is going to cost, without mentioning the cost of the games themselves.

A recent return to Morrowind reminded me that graphical fidelity ain't got shit on a creative level designer. At the moment, graphics in AAA titles aren't that far off from photorealism when still, but as soon as things are moving they look like video game graphics again. That Halo 4 video has really shocking detail, but it doesn't draw me in any more than anything from Halo 1 because as soon as that woman starts talking she looks like an emotionless action figure. A highly detailed one, but still not a real person.

ScrabbitRabbit:

We might not necessarily see a huge spike in budget sizes. Think about it; extra processing power means that certain work arounds no longer need to be implemented. For example, rather than having baked-in shadows that take a long time to create, just have them rendered dynamically in the game world. Unreal Engine 4 is explicitly being designed to make it quicker and easier to build complex and great looking games.

This is what I'm hoping for. Rather than having to devote fifty artists to tasks that don't make the game any more enjoyable, it would be great if a lot of that can be handled by the engine alone. Physics simulations are much simpler to implement (and more resource friendly) than they were just a few years ago, and a big draw of the Unreal Engine 4 is it's real-time lighting and particle effects.

I'm personally holding out for realistic liquid physics, like in those Nvidia demos a few years back. Indie devs should have a field day with that.

Yes, the technology will, but no as most game designers these days can be replaced with chimps nowadays that will go a better job than them at game design.

Luca72:
A recent return to Morrowind reminded me that graphical fidelity ain't got shit on a creative level designer. At the moment, graphics in AAA titles aren't that far off from photorealism when still, but as soon as things are moving they look like video game graphics again. That Halo 4 video has really shocking detail, but it doesn't draw me in any more than anything from Halo 1 because as soon as that woman starts talking she looks like an emotionless action figure. A highly detailed one, but still not a real person.

ScrabbitRabbit:

We might not necessarily see a huge spike in budget sizes. Think about it; extra processing power means that certain work arounds no longer need to be implemented. For example, rather than having baked-in shadows that take a long time to create, just have them rendered dynamically in the game world. Unreal Engine 4 is explicitly being designed to make it quicker and easier to build complex and great looking games.

This is what I'm hoping for. Rather than having to devote fifty artists to tasks that don't make the game any more enjoyable, it would be great if a lot of that can be handled by the engine alone. Physics simulations are much simpler to implement (and more resource friendly) than they were just a few years ago, and a big draw of the Unreal Engine 4 is it's real-time lighting and particle effects.

I'm personally holding out for realistic liquid physics, like in those Nvidia demos a few years back. Indie devs should have a field day with that.

Listen to this guy. He has the vision of progress needed for the video games industry at this time.

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