View Full Version : Is the extra effort really noticed
10-25-2004, 01:20 PM
I was wondering just how much the general gaming public notice in game art, by general, i mean the people who have NO idea what goes into making a game, but jsut see it as soemthing that they play for fun, I know some people personaly that can't tell a difference between the graphics in games like the original half life, and a game like doom 3 well besides it being "a lot darker" i was playing fallout tatics, an a friend came over who played the original fallout (which i had not played yet) and since i was pretty impresed with the graphics in tatics i asked him how it looked compaired to fallout 1 and he said "hell they look exactly the same, i can't tell a diference" also know people who can't tell the dif between diablo and diablo2 . sometimes it seems we are puting in extra effort, just to impress other people in the industry, oh, and because we want to be badasses /images/graemlins/smile.gif
10-25-2004, 02:23 PM
I know what you mean, I've met plenty of people who don't seem to notice. It seems to me that the worst offenders are non-gamers and casual gamers, because most of the hardcore gamers I know definitely notice.
At the other end of the spectrum, I've also known people who will crawl around empty levels just LOOKING for mistakes. We made fun of my former boss because the first thing he'd do in any game is go find a corner and just look up and down at the corner repeatedly, or walk around staring at the ground. He said that he though Call of Duty was "a total joke" because they textured the small rubble and debris on the ground rather than modeling every little stone and scrap.
Takes all kinds I guess.
I guess it depends on the game. When I was playing UT2k4 for the first time at Unreal Universty I never noticed any of the new characters. Basicly because that game moves so fast. On the other hand Painkiller has some of the best characters I've seen in a FPS to date.
Because I do MOD I tend to stop and smell the roses more now . Check out the lay of the level, Stop to examine the dead nazi's face, notice the clouds in the skybox, examine the texture on the groung to see if it is a photo repo. or a drawn fax. and see what would happen if I did something totaly unexpected.
Geting back to Mojo's Q. I think they do too. If you are spending 200~400$ on a vid card you want to know if you are getting your money's worth.
Thunderkor -your boss is an anal jerk CoD rocked and the texture on the thompson when you to ironsightes mode was perfect.
Folks that spend a lot of money on video cards arent the average gamer.
When I was in line for GTA: San Andreas today, the shitload of other people in line purchasing the same thing clearly drove home the point that graphics doth not make the game.
Unfortunately I dont think that for the most part people do notice or appreciate the difference between average and very high quality artwork in a game. Shit, alot of the people I work with dont.
10-26-2004, 07:32 PM
yyou talking bout soul aren't you daz, we can tell
10-26-2004, 08:00 PM
1st off, a person that can't tell the difference between half-life and Doom 3, should be slapped with a keyboard.
Though I think PC Gamers notice detail more than Counsol gamers, mainly because with a PC the screen is almost right at your face and with a Counsol your tv may be about 3-5 feet away from you, so you don't notice as much.
Sometimes I suppose it just makes developers happier to put in the most minute piece of detail, just so when someone does notice they're just like "wow, that guy went all out".
10-26-2004, 09:39 PM
I think a lot of times moderately casual gamers may be influenced by the extra detail and effort, even if they don't notice it directly themselves.
Not just because it affects them subconsciously (though it probably does), but because a lot of them might be making their purchasing decisions based largely on the advice of hardcore gamers. People who read gaming magazines, for instance, might not all have neccessarily noticed the minute graphical differences between two games, but as soon as a reviewer calls their attention to it in an article, a lot of them will be more likely to appreciate it (or at least buy it to see what all the hullabaloo is about).
10-27-2004, 04:33 AM
Personally I think they do notice to some extent, but what they notice is the Overall graphic quality rather than anything specific.
Halflife, when taken as an overall, is still a pretty good looking game. Yes, it's low poly, lacks real time lighting, etc etc, but it's art direction was outstanding when it first came out, and it holds it's own fairly well simply because of how impressive it was at the time.
Games require a lot of elements to define their look - characters, environments, lighting, interface, Tech art, animation, particles, etc etc. What Mr Joe average sees is a blurring of all of these, so that if one thing isn't so cool but something else is exceptionally good they'll see it as a good looking game.
The GTA series is a good example. Yes, it has several issues, it has low poly(ish) characters and compared to most modern racing games fairly unadvanced vehicle technology (no reflections, no realtime shadows and so on). But what is does have is done with flare and style and is done by the bucketload.
Probably not being very explanatory of my point since I just woke up, but there's one in there somewhere...
10-27-2004, 05:41 AM
I think that's something you don't notice when it's there, you just notice its absence when it's not.
10-28-2004, 02:42 AM
I think they can tell a difference between poor and good quality artwork but between good and very good - nope.
I mean how many gamers can spot anathomical mistakes or know how cloth folds?
Actually i think technical side is far more important, like no texture seams cause everyone notices them or bad deformation etc.
10-28-2004, 10:12 AM
Lot's of people I know hate the art in doom 3 because everything is so dark. The high detailed characters, the normal mapping, dynamic lighting and the bump maps didn't even caught their attention. But it shows that a great game document is way more important then just great art.
10-28-2004, 12:49 PM
I think the extra effort is noticed, as long as there is no subtlety about it. Few will conciously notice the rising polygon couts, but they might notice the environment cube reflected in "Heroguy's" shiny armour. They wil also notice particle effects if the blood fountains like a <i>Zatoichi</i> movie. Theywill also notice the qualityofthe explosions and spell effects. hey may not notice the grass conciously, but nte that the environment looks abit more real, and lush, but when yougetright down to it, mostly whatpeople notice are their personal reactions to the speed of response, controlability, and gameplayof a game, and after that, they will notice the effect their character has on the bad guys with their shiney, awsome powers.
A lot of the graphics enhancements are so as to look good with the game press. :-)
10-30-2004, 10:55 AM
I think for the most part no one notices, game reviewers don't seem to know the difference which is pretty sad. I remember when SSX3 shipped one of the magazines rated us the same as another game for graphics and made no mention of our final gather lighting, shadow cast from every object in the scene and beautiful lighting themes. Our new lighting rig in SSX3 was the defining visual improvement for that game and far surpassed anything on the market in the same genre. I think there was a small blurb that said the environments still have their great lighting. Did the reviewer even play last year's game, does he even know what lighting is? And as far as I can tell the other game didn't really have any lighting, as far as artistically any ways, they have that change the tint on all the vertex colours technique for night and day, looking a bit better in the new version but still not that impressive if you are a trained lighter. A similar review was written about the game I am currently working on comparing us to a game that has no lighting and everything is just shaded grey, my lead was a little dismayed since the lighting is the main area of focus on our environments and that is where we spend all our time with the art director.
Yeah that shit can get quite depressing malcolm. Clearly a tremendous amount of effort and consideration went into the lighting in SSX3 ( I saw the presentation your AD gave down at EARS ) and for it to go unnoticed and unappreciated is infuritating. Reviewers not understanding the fundamentals of how we make games really bugs me. That Greg bloke I forget his name. The one on Gamespot. His video reviews really fricking annoy me because he talks about the graphics of games with an obvious lack of understanding. Saying stuff like ' the models are crisp' or 'there is clipping now and again'. Clipping? wtf is clipping? All the character work in 'Everything Or Nothing 'was attributed to 'EA's proprietary face scan technology' hahahah. Yeah its called me and SouL.
10-30-2004, 05:51 PM
I do notice graphics alot. Though sometimes I really prefer not to look at a game and see exactly how things were done. Like with Zone of the Enders 2. It looks incredible if you don't stop and look aroudn at the little. It still looks great even after doing that, but it kinda takes away from the original effect /images/graemlins/frown.gif
But to be honest with you, I see a lot more people who specifically focus on graphics when it comes to playing a game. I know people who will say a game is terrible and they would never play it just because it's "old and ugly." Then they start blabbering on about how much better Half-Life 2, a game they haven't even played yet, is than the said old game. http://boards.polycount.net/images/icons/poly110.gif
10-30-2004, 08:01 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Then they start blabbering on about how much better Half-Life 2, a game they haven't even played yet, is than the said old game. http://boards.polycount.net/images/icons/poly110.gif
[/ QUOTE ]
you forgot about the leaked HL2 beta, the beta itself wasnt really playable till custom maps were produced, also CS source is out now as well
"All the character work in 'Everything Or Nothing 'was attributed to 'EA's proprietary face scan technology' hahahah. Yeah its called me and SouL."
Hahahahaha! Man, that is a classic line /images/graemlins/smile.gif I'm just glad I wasn't drinking anything /images/graemlins/smile.gif
As for the art...I guess there's just all sorts of people. It's like cars or something. People will see a car and go "wow!, cool car!" and not be able to say why. Styling enthusiasts will be able to say "look at that line, and the placement of that intake!".
I guess the quality is noticed, it just depends on who is doing the noticing as to how much they get it...but it better be fun to play, or all that polish is useless.
10-31-2004, 10:26 PM
I think it's definitely a mixed bag. I tend to agree that non-gamers or casual gamers don't really notice unless as said before it's not subtle. I've always had a love for the eye candy in games way before I got into doing game art so I noticed some of the little things. It wasn't until I started learning how to do game art did I really have a better undertstanding and perspective to see the extra effort.
When playing I always try to allow myself to get engrossed in the game and find a balance of looking at the effort put into the graphics. Sometimes I'll play through games a second time to dig deeper.
Perhaps once games finally achieve Shrek like movie quality and/or ultra realistic quality the general public or average gamer will take more notice of the effort.
10-31-2004, 10:52 PM
I think gamers inability to be able to perceive small details is something that should be exploited by us game artists. Being able to render a general idea that looks "right" but not go into all those realistic details that will never be noticed is important when creating games in such short time constraints. At times it may be considered "lazy" art but when you think about it, it?s really just serving its purpose, nothing more nothing less. Doom3 is a perfect example of this, me and my artist friends looked at the dynamic lighting and detailed characters/environments and thought "wow that some badass art" but I know that my other friends just thought it was "too dark" and "plastic looking". In fact a designer I know was saying how halo looked better and only noticed the difference in quality when I started pointing things out.
11-01-2004, 04:54 AM
Sometimes its really hard not to just strangle those Halo fan boys, isn't it.
I think the point of the issue is that we should be putting our creative efforts into aspects that will by noticed on either conscious or sub conscious level. A player might not notice the intricate specular highlights that you've painstakingly painted onto your characters jewels, but if we work on making our characters and envirnoments more believable, more likable, generally better designed, it will be noticed. Instead of looking at things on a macro level think over all. How do we make people sit up and pay attention? This will (theoretically at least) further the art form of games development, attract a more varied audience and mean that we won't be sitting around waiting for the next frigging FPS sequel.
11-01-2004, 07:20 AM
The extra effort might not be noticed on specifics, like it has been mentioned in this thread, but go ahead and try to make a game with crappy artwork. I garantee some people will notice. When you get together a team of tallented artists, the resulting game is going to look good, and it will be felt on a subconscious level, if nothing else.
11-01-2004, 08:53 AM
Nah , I don't think the 'extra effort' art quality is really noticed. I think extra art direction across character/ambient/environment/hud is noticed, consistent artstyle's that have continuity and tie together well are noticed.
I don't think people are savvy enough to notice that theres better art quality on an individual basis per company, or per character within a company.
We push to make better art for screenshots and magazine covers and for bragging rights with our industry rivals and art buddies. I mean we as an industry in general.
I think some of us fool ourselves that we are pushing the envelope, often I just think we are avoiding buckling down to making the adult decision straight away rather than later on when we have no choice and then have to spend an extra half year 'optimising'.
11-01-2004, 10:30 AM
I agree with art direction being what's noticed. While it is odd to start hearing casual gamers throw terms around like 'bump mapping' and such, I still think the thing that attracts gamers the most graphically is consitent and attractive styles to the game.
Some companies out there use the technology to aid in the creation of their vision while other companies simply ARE the technology, using whatever is the 'new' thing to the Nth degree just because they can. While some devs might say "This is great, our engine can support 100 characters on the screen at once, lets think of a game where there is always that going on," others would say "That new engine feature will be great for that scene/level where the unruly mob breaks out. I think companies that forever ride the cusp simply just to do so are in a sense, one trick ponies and sooner or later when nigh-photo realism becomes cheaper and cheaper, they will be at a loss.
I think so long as a player can sit down and become immersed enough that they believe in the world (because the technology is in harmony with the art direction) that you have succeeded graphically with the title.
There's always going to be the gamer looking for the next balls-to-the-wall, graphics card crunching, killer app. But I think there are far more gamers out there just looking to get lost for a few hours a day in a place that's wholly unlike the world they know, 100 bump mapped characters on the screen or not.
Perhaps I strayed a bit off topic, so allow me to reiterate and say that your efforts are noticed much like any good piece of art. If it is cohesive and has a nice layer of polish, we all appreciate it.
I know a lot of people who play games but don't notice the little things that are put into the art of the game. Whether it be the details in the models, the skins, the sounds, etc. I try to educate them on it aswell so they can appreciate it the game a little more. They always seem to listen as the stuff IS interesting.
11-06-2004, 11:53 AM
I believe that people only notice the artwork in the first ten to twenty minutes of game. Unless there is special attention called to the graphics, like inflicting post-mortem damage in Soldier of Fortune, I think players mainly concentrate on playing the game rather than the artwork. The main purpose of having really aweseome artwork is to first, get people to play the game, and second spark their interest once they start playing. If the game manages to do that I think it can get away with average looking artwork.
11-06-2004, 04:32 PM
The graphics usually grab my attention for the first few moments until I begin playing the game and realize no effort was put into making it fun to a level that equals the amount of cash that left my wallet to pay for the worthless pile of...
Give me style and gameplay anyday.
At the moment, extra effort to boost the graphics realism is only a method to sell the video cards, and next gen systems.
I would like both great graphics and great gameplay, not one making an excuse for the other
11-07-2004, 08:48 AM
I like giving games a chance even if they don't have the best graphics or the best gameplay right off the bat in hopes that it will get better if i play longer... I notice everything thats going on on the screen, all the little details and wether the artist REALLY took the time.
the best example of this is what happened to me in the past 3 days. I got rome total war, now the game doesn't look fantastic, its definitely far from HL2 or doom 3, every unit looks the same and the textures aren't REALLY GOOD, buildings and environment art are pretty bad. The first hour was like... well alright, its kind of entertainting so I'll give it a try... next thing I know I'm so into it... I played through the night without noticing it... got some sleep and went back to it... its been going on for 3 days now and well... it just rocks... hard... and you know the "extra effort" that could have been put into this MAYBE would have made me appreciate the game right from the start instead of getting really into it after about an hour of playing. It would probably help sell a few more copies among people like me who "play games for the cool looking art".
But you know as a gamer I'm much more forgiving when the art is not 100% l33t, than if the gameplay is lame and unoriginal. Like if I want good computer art I'm going to go see a movie, games are supposed to be interractive, I think its terrible when people don't focus on gamedesign. it will sell and keep selling if its a fun game thats been well designed. but just like you can notice little things about art, same way you notice things about the design, only the effects are much more devastating, if its not fun you stop playing... and whats worse for a game?
11-07-2004, 09:39 AM
interesting read..... And I don't really have an answer, but it has got me thinking.....
To me, consistency is the key word when it comes to this subject, imo. You're more likely to notice a feature that's been obmitted rather than something that is perfectly formed and with lots of bells and whistles.
To me, the aim is to create a consistent picture of the world and it's inhabitants within every frame that is rendered in the game.
The casual gamer may not think that it is a big deal graphically when the effort is put into the graphics or animation but as soon as an element such as lighting, or dodgy UV mapping or a judder at the end of each animation cycle shows it's ugly head, it will be noticed.
A good example of this consistency would be ICO- it is rock solid all the way through when it comes to the art direction and execution- I've not found a place where I've thought "eeew, dodgy uv mapping on that wall" or "that character's shoulder has been boned badly"- I ended up looking past the graphical elements of the game and ended up seeing this game that's really solid and beautiful from every angle.
So yeah, I think that the extra effort is worth it, as long as it balances out the assets in terms of quality.
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