Author Topic: Graphics-A Discussion.  (Read 6439 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline NGTM-1R

  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
  • 213
  • Syndral Active. 0410.
I still can't help but feel that the CryTek engine - and games developed on it - are largely a yard-stick for graphics and they're successful precisely because they target the high end modding crowd who want to prove a point about the power of their computer systems.

What struck me about Crysis and Warhead was that the graphics degraded abominably as the settings were lowered. Crysis on medium settings looks horrible, worse than most games do on their lowest. (This is probably where Battuta's comment about the crappy plantlife comes from, as Crysis plantlife is incredibly crappy on medium settings, looking about as realistic as if were made of Erector Sets.)
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
I made a comment about crappy plantlife?

Crysis really can be astoundingly gorgeous. The interior of the alien ship, the huge mountain trembling before you. And it's beautifully colorful - one of my favorite contemporary engines. But it's full of strangely plastic characters with odd animation and art design that never quite inspires.

Now, as CP5670 rightly points out, this is art design, not engine design. But...I don't know. There's something about Crysis' characters that says they don't really cooperate with the engine. Whereas something like Halo (or Nexus - another old engine that still looks great) just seems full of objects with weight, objects that fit into the world but catch the eye.

 

Offline CP5670

  • Dr. Evil
  • Global Moderator
  • 212
Quote
Here's the kind of thing I was thinking of with regards to H3:

clicky

That actually looks fairly good, better than what I was seeing on Google. However, it cannot be an actual ingame shot given the resolution. The ground also seems to be sand but has an odd, glossy look to it.

Actually, I looked into the engine itself a bit and it has to be one of the crappiest engines in use right now. :p It's not only locked at 30fps, but it also upscales everything from some lower resolution, has no AA capability and does not do trilinear filtering (which became standard in games about 10 years ago). It's a good thing there are no other games using this engine.

Quote
What struck me about Crysis and Warhead was that the graphics degraded abominably as the settings were lowered. Crysis on medium settings looks horrible, worse than most games do on their lowest. (This is probably where Battuta's comment about the crappy plantlife comes from, as Crysis plantlife is incredibly crappy on medium settings, looking about as realistic as if were made of Erector Sets.)

This is true to some extent. Crysis doesn't scale well at all and needs to be played at least at "high" settings to see the game like it's supposed to look. On the other hand, the difference between high and very high is fairly small.

 

Offline Aardwolf

  • 211
  • Posts: 16,384
    • Minecraft
sometimes "realism" gets in the way of balanced playability

Although I agree that this is true "sometimes", I have been too-often annoyed by people who seem to think that doing something realistically (most often that means "Newtonian" for space combat) is inherently bad.

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Quote
Here's the kind of thing I was thinking of with regards to H3:

clicky

That actually looks fairly good, better than what I was seeing on Google. However, it cannot be an actual ingame shot given the resolution. The ground also seems to be sand but has an odd, glossy look to it.

I think it's a panorama composited of screenshots, thus the resolution.

Quote
Actually, I looked into the engine itself a bit and it has to be one of the crappiest engines in use right now. :p It's not only locked at 30fps, but it also upscales everything from some lower resolution, has no AA capability and does not do trilinear filtering (which became standard in games about 10 years ago). It's a good thing there are no other games using this engine.

And...yet...it looks fabulous. Artistic and beautiful. So...? (Not to mention that the upscaling thing is what allows it to have such beautiful lighting.)

I strongly suggest actually playing both the games you're comparing, mind. I've played and loved both Crisis and H3 intently.

 

Offline NGTM-1R

  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
  • 213
  • Syndral Active. 0410.
I made a comment about crappy plantlife?

I'm probably confused. Someone was ragging on the trees.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline CP5670

  • Dr. Evil
  • Global Moderator
  • 212
Quote
And...yet...it looks fabulous. Artistic and beautiful. So...? (Not to mention that the upscaling thing is what allows it to have such beautiful lighting.)

I strongly suggest actually playing both the games you're comparing, mind. I've played and loved both Crisis and H3 intently.

I still haven't seen much evidence of that. The screenshot you posted is reasonably good, but it's certainly nothing beyond or even equal to what the best looking PC games right now offer.

I don't have the game (or a 360 for that matter), but my brother has it. I'll check it out at some point when I visit him, although he tells me that the graphics are mediocre. :p

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
I've said, time and again, that they are technically mediocre, but they look great. It's mostly up to the excellent art design and animation.

This is not a PC vs Xbox thing. I have a top-of-the-line PC. I thought Mass Effect looked better on Xbox, but that's not really fair given that it's a port. I thought Halo 3 looked far better than ArmA 2. I thought Halo 3 was as good to look at as Crysis because it offered more and it was aesthetically coherent (though Crysis was knock-down gorgeous when it got its act together.)

Prince of Persia was also on that level.

YMMV, of course, but...I don't know. Things like Battlefield 1943 are far more modern and yet look repulsive. Gears of War 2 and Killzone 2 as well.

I have to take a moment to spit on the Frostbite engine. I hated Bad Company and so far as I can tell Battlefield 1943 is just as bad.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 09:03:02 pm by General Battuta »

 

Offline CP5670

  • Dr. Evil
  • Global Moderator
  • 212
I've said, time and again, that they are technically mediocre, but they look great. It's mostly up to the excellent art design and animation.

Well, what I see so far indicates that the game doesn't actually look so great, in artwork or any other sense. It's good, but not spectacular. And to be honest, I don't think it can look great during actual gameplay due to the limitations of the engine. The 30fps cap would get on my nerves even if everything else had been perfect.

As I mentioned before, I think the best and most varied level artwork appears in the UT games, surpassing Crysis in that respect. Those are pretty much my gold standards to compare to.

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
 :doubt:

You're free to disagree that it's beautiful, you're even free to disagree with the art design and color palette, but please, don't tell me that my perceptions can't possibly be correct because of something as silly as an FPS cap.

If I sit down and look at the game - take the gorgeous skybox around the destroyed ONI Alpha Site in ODST, or a cruiser overhead - and say 'wow, that's really beautiful', then it's beautiful. Not beautiful because I'm uneducated regarding framerates or upscaling or whatever. It's just beautiful.

And the scale of the vistas portrayed is truly awesome. Sometimes Crysis-level, though no doubt with more trickery.

I don't mind approaching it from the technical side, but that's rather missing the point. I imagine you'd critique the Nexus engine on much the same grounds and yet it still looks superb.

 

Offline NGTM-1R

  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
  • 213
  • Syndral Active. 0410.
The 30fps cap would get on my nerves even if everything else had been perfect.

Considering I found said cap undetectable, and it's been news to everyone else I've consulted, I think you're talking out of your rear about the cap even mattering.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
If the issue is that it can't look great to you because you're ultrasensitive to technical details like torn frames and whatnot, that's fine. But dictating that it can't look great to anyone who is not an ignoramus seems kind of high-handed.

People can be fully aware of the engines' technical specifications and still view it as an excellent engine. I thought Half-Life looked better than Half-Life 2 in a lot of ways. And MechCommander was infinitely more gorgeous than MC2.

 

Offline CP5670

  • Dr. Evil
  • Global Moderator
  • 212
:doubt:

You're free to disagree that it's beautiful, you're even free to disagree with the art design and color palette, but please, don't tell me that my perceptions can't possibly be correct because of something as silly as an FPS cap.

If I sit down and look at the game - take the gorgeous skybox around the destroyed ONI Alpha Site in ODST - and say 'wow, that's really beautiful', then it's beautiful. Not beautiful because I'm uneducated regarding framerates or upscaling or whatever. It's just beautiful.

You're entitled to your opinion, of course. Although we can't really have a meaningful forum discussion about it if you cannot elaborate further on what exactly is beautiful about them. :p I can give you specific reasons why I think they are not so great.

Seriously though, an FPS cap that low would be a deal breaker for me in any first-person game, especially when the engine is obviously capable of much more. The motion quality just suffers too much. I recently got the Incoming games from GoG, which I had played in the past and liked. However, they both have a 30fps cap and it looked almost nauseating for a while. I can remove the cap like I did in the past, but the game speed is dependent on the framerate and they run way too fast at 85-100fps on modern computers, so there is no option but to play at 30fps.

Quote
Considering I found said cap undetectable, and it's been news to everyone else I've consulted, I think you're talking out of your rear about the cap even mattering.

A google search on it brings up numerous articles and forum threads about it. It's apparently a well known issue.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 10:02:32 pm by CP5670 »

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Quote
can give you specific reasons why I think they are not so great.

You can give specific technical reasons why you feel the engine is bad...all of which have been thoroughly laid out and explained by the developer as intentional choices. I like the engine because of what that 30 FPS cap and upscaled resolution allow it to do.

You may value different attributes in an engine than I do, but simple FPS counts have meant very little for a long time, especially when Crysis (for example) can comfortably be played at 20 FPS due to its excellent use of motion blur. What matters is the end product. The Halo engine may look pretty grainy if you zoom in and pick at every non-aliased edge, but when you're in the flow of the moment, or when you pause to examine a gorgeous vista, it holds up and even excels.

All this while tackling environments and tasks pretty impressive in their size and ambition.

 

Offline Mongoose

  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
  • Global Moderator
  • 212
  • This brain for rent.
    • Minecraft
    • Steam
    • Something
People can be fully aware of the engines' technical specifications and still view it as an excellent engine. I thought Half-Life looked better than Half-Life 2 in a lot of ways.
I've never actually played the original Half-Life myself, but I'm calling your bluff on this one.  Those faces...my God, those faces. :p

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
But it's an uncanny valley thing. When everything is uniformly meh, it comes together in a cohesive way that never disrupts your immersion. You accept the world on its own (slightly crappy) terms.

When it's a great engine with some noticeable failings, on the other hand...'oh, look, a graphical glitch! Oh, look, that texture is horribly low res! Man, that door is just a texture!'

 

Offline CP5670

  • Dr. Evil
  • Global Moderator
  • 212
Quote
You may value different attributes in an engine than I do, but simple FPS counts have meant very little for a long time, especially when Crysis (for example) can comfortably be played at 20 FPS due to its excellent use of motion blur. What matters is the end product.

Sure, but motion quality is an important component of the graphics too. I think the end product suffers a lot if the motion does not resemble movement in real life. For the record, Crysis looks as bad as any other game to me at low framerates. I played it at fairly low resolutions to at least get consistent 40fps minimums, especially towards the end of the game.

Quote
But it's an uncanny valley thing. When everything is uniformly meh, it comes together in a cohesive way that never disrupts your immersion. You accept the world on its own (slightly crappy) terms.

When it's a great engine with some noticeable failings, on the other hand...'oh, look, a graphical glitch! Oh, look, that texture is horribly low res! Man, that door is just a texture!'

I can kind of see where you're coming from. This is an issue in FS2 as well. The original ship models look a lot worse than they used to, when you have all the new high-poly models as a basis for comparison. :p

On a different note, I found some old screenshots I had uploaded of that Delta Sector mod for Far Cry, which you guys might find interesting. It is quite impressive what that 2004 engine was capable of.

DS0001 DS0002 DS0003 DS0004 DS0005 DS0006

Similarly, I think the Crysis engine is capable of much more than what the game itself does. These images (rendered in the engine) give some indication of what we may see in the future, even if they are beyond the range of current hardware to do in real-time.

blade_runner1.jpg
blade_runner2.jpg

  

Offline Liberator

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 210
I'll be honest, those BR screens looked a lot more like the UT3 engine than the crytek.
So as through a glass, and darkly
The age long strife I see
Where I fought in many guises,
Many names, but always me.

There are only 10 types of people in the world , those that understand binary and those that don't.

 

Offline Mongoose

  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
  • Global Moderator
  • 212
  • This brain for rent.
    • Minecraft
    • Steam
    • Something
But it's an uncanny valley thing. When everything is uniformly meh, it comes together in a cohesive way that never disrupts your immersion. You accept the world on its own (slightly crappy) terms.

When it's a great engine with some noticeable failings, on the other hand...'oh, look, a graphical glitch! Oh, look, that texture is horribly low res! Man, that door is just a texture!'
See, I think I'm simply capable of overlooking little flaws like door-that's-a-texture, provided the experience as a whole provides me with some eye-candy graphical moments and vistas (and you can't deny that HL2, and especially the episodes, have some really stunning environments along the way).  I just don't find that they yank me out of the experience at all.  Along the same lines, I think I've found that the hi-poly MediaVP models have actually lent me a greater appreciation toward a few of the nicer-looking retail models, though others definitely do stick out like sore thumbs.  In comparison, when you go back and play something from the N64/PS1 era (or the comparable PC games of the time), especially something involving human characters, the combination of those blurry lo-res textures and blocky models just lends itself to a visually drab appearance.  You look at something like Ocarina of Time, or Goldeneye, or Final Fantasy VII, and they really don't hold up visually (though from my experience, OoT still managed to have a few environmental thrills); even though the graphics may be cohesive in technical level, that cohesiveness just makes everything seem somewhat bleh.  Those screenshots of the original Half-Life engender the same sort of response in me, whereas in HL2, I was more along the lines of, "Ooh, look at that sunset!  Those Striders look awesome!  Check out Alyx's facial expressions!" while ignoring the occasional blurry textures.

(Interestingly enough, I feel like the SNES/Genesis era has this problem greatly reduced vs. the PS1/N64 generation, since the former represented somewhat of a zenith for 2D graphics, as opposed to the latter's first simple forays into the 3D realm.)

On a related note, I don't really know anything about the realm of game engines as a whole, but based on the hardware I have, I was amazed that the Source Engine managed to perform as well as it did on a low-end box and still give me a decent amount of graphical oomph.  I've heard that Valve takes some care to keep things very scalable, and it definitely worked for me.  Even with my 64MB Radeon X300 card, I was able to get some nice pop out of Portal and HL2 Episode 2...not HDR or anything, since those would have slowed me to an absolute crawl, but some pretty awesome normal map shadowing and the like.

 

Offline blackhole

  • Still not over the rainbow
  • 29
  • Destiny can suck it
    • Black Sphere Studios
I say that you are all completely wrong, because the true power of graphics has yet to be unleashed.

Either that, or I'm out of a job, so f*ck you guys.