how important is graphics anyway

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rouncer 103 Jul 06, 2013 at 13:55

How many times have I read posts about gamers that say “the graphics was great, but the game was boring.” Why dont we listen to these people and stop devoting so much time just to graphics and not actually making the game fun! like who cares if you just use flat coloured triangles, the game could still be totally awesome.

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fireside 141 Jul 06, 2013 at 15:30

I think it’s starting to change a little bit with the indie movement, but yeah, long time coming. One thing that’s kind of helped is that people are playing games on phones and noticing they are just as fun in a lot of cases, in some, even more so. Kickstarter is helping also, I think. These budgets they are getting aren’t enough to make an awesome engine in most cases, but people are interested more in the ideas. We’ve cut out the little man that thinks he knows what we want.

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Reedbeta 167 Jul 06, 2013 at 20:12

Improving graphics while leaving gameplay stagnant is a really easy trap for a game team to fall into, I think, because it’s easer in a sense to work on graphics. It’s generally pretty clear what you need to do to improve graphics in a game: use more triangles, higher-res textures, more sophisticated lighting/shading models, more elaborate particle effects, etc. That doesn’t mean it’s not a lot of work, but you basically know what you need to do to get the graphics to a certain level, and you can make steady progress.

With gameplay, though, it’s more of a guess-and-test business - you can’t really predict what’s going to be fun or not, so it’s easy to invest lots of time in prototyping and testing different gameplay ideas, and end up not actually making much progress. I’m not a game designer so maybe it’s not quite as bad as that if you’re more experienced in that area, but that’s the impression I get, at least.

It really takes a lot of discipline for a team to keep focused on the hard problem of improving the core gameplay, and not get sidetracked too much into the easier problems of improving the graphics, presentation, and so forth. Not that those things are irrelevant, but it’s tempting to spend a lot of time on them, and then you end up not spending enough time on the core gameplay.

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fireside 141 Jul 06, 2013 at 21:29

It really takes a lot of discipline for a team to keep focused on the hard problem of improving the core

I think being in the games business would be kind of scary really. It’s not like putting out tennis shoes or something where you can be pretty sure more people will buy them next year. You don’t keep coming out with hit games and you are soon forgotten.

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David_Gallagher 102 Jul 07, 2013 at 07:09

I think both are important. many games I wouldn’t have tried, honestly the graphics pulled me in (not so much technically brilliant but the style). I’ve never been into casual games really and I’m still not, but something about the graphics in zuma and bejeweled got me to try them out and I really enjoyed them, but they aren’t my type of game and I never bought them but the demo’s where great and If I was into these types of games I would buy them. I also was never into fps games but after returning crisis (had to try it but hated it) and swapping for bioshock (best thing I ever did) I was amazed at how engaging an fps can be (though haven’t bought another fps since but bioshock which I found moving, tried a few others but I hate shooting galleries unless im at an arcade with a light gun). I really think both are important. but graphics from a technical aspect of hbao dof or any other post process effect or shader effect etc… doesn’t get me to try anything just the overall look and atmosphere. if the game sucks I take it back, if the demo suck I don’t buy it.if the genre doesn’t interest me I don’t buy it unless I try it and see if it grabs me. I think the real challenge is getting the consumers to try other genres out rather than just what is popular. so rounding up, at least for me, I like invoking game play and nice graphics and a reason to try a genre I’m not familiar with (I do look and try things out but not everything grabs me, but I hated fps until I saw bioshock which has opened me up to trying different things as you never know when someone will get it right).

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fireside 141 Jul 07, 2013 at 08:53

Style is a weird thing. I do have to like the graphical style to play a game, but I can’t even put my finger on why I like it. There are old games with 320x240 resolution that I like the style. Some I don’t. Same with some more modern games, but mostly, it’s the game play and story that attract me to a game. Demo’s are a necessity for me. Games are too expensive and most of them don’t appeal to me. Usually when I take a chance, I’m disappointed.

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rouncer 103 Jul 07, 2013 at 09:33

I guess what my point is, why make graphics a priority when it can be done last.

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David_Gallagher 102 Jul 07, 2013 at 10:25

@fireside, I agree the only games that I played without knowing anything about them (and happy I didn’t as I was so overjoyed to have played them) was “max payne 2” and “bioshock” (yes I was buried in my own stuff missed all the hype and just got lucky) other than that without a demo I really have to think carefully as in Australia the price of a brand new game is just ridiculous. @rouncer, I agree but the bottom line is always money and that most developers have to answer to someone funding them, and the average consumer doesn’t support indies only what there friends are doing. And most games these day, and a lot even when I was growing up, are just expanding on currently existing ideas. I don’t like different just because it’s different, even an indie has to work for my love, but when I shell out cash I want the whole package. graphics alone don’t sell me but neither do mechanics, to me the idea has to come first for the actual gameplay the art work would come second once the ideas is totally flushed out, but a game developer who is funded externally may just have to produce a product they are being told to make, just my thoughts anyway :/.

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rouncer 103 Jul 07, 2013 at 13:32

everyones thoughts are cool.

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fireside 141 Jul 07, 2013 at 15:37

I guess what my point is, why make graphics a priority when it can be done last.

That can also save money, since ideas change on a game and then the graphics have to be redone. I find myself working on graphics as I go along because I’m not that good at it, so it’s ok if I have to do it over. It will probably look better the next time. If I had to pay somebody, I would just use something simple until later in the design. I’ve seen people use squares, blocks and spheres. I think I would like a little more than that to picture what’s going on, but if it’s all you’ve got, it works. There are a lot of free models around now that indies can use also for design purposes. Sketchup is really great for whipping up some buildings once you get used to it, and if you read the TOS that they signed when they uploaded models to 3d warehouse, you can basically use them for anything. Trouble is, a lot of them are really high poly. I just rework them in Blender because there’s no way I can produce enough content by myself. I can do it for a small game, but that’s about it. That’s one of the really cool things about a big budget game in my book. They can afford all those artists. A big open game with stylized art is still an amazing sight to me, but it takes game play and character interactions to make it come to life.

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TheNut 179 Jul 08, 2013 at 06:53

@David Gallagher

the average consumer doesn’t support indies only what there friends are doing.

If we’re talking about kids who only know how to play games on a console, sure. However, there’s a vast majority of PC gamers and the indie market is very well supported. Half of my game library is purchased indie content, most of which I bought the expensive exclusive editions to support them. It’s not just me though, there’s tons of others out there doing the same. If the game is good and especially addictive, people will come. Word of mouth is just free marketing.
@rouncer

I guess what my point is, why make graphics a priority when it can be done last.

Nothing should ever really be done last. You need to plan everything in advance and work in parallel, otherwise your architecture will suffer immeasurably. The challenge is maintaining balance.

The reality is, if a game looked good but the gameplay was garbage, there’s nothing that company could have done differently to change that. It’s not just about having a good game designer or high quality writers, the whole team has to be creative and communicative. If your developers are a bunch of robots interested in algorithms and performance, then of course the gameplay is going to be garbage. Developers need to be just as creative and provide feedback on the project. They have to be actively involved, be open minded, and provide support, especially to those that don’t have the technical background to understand what it is you’re offering to bring. When you have a team that synergizes, you will have a much better final product.

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Stainless 151 Jul 08, 2013 at 08:13

Which is incredibly difficult when you have 200 people working to a deadline on one game