Author Topic: On adventure game graphics: photorealistic vs pixely vs 2,5d vs mixed  (Read 988 times)

KyriakosCH

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What type of graphics style do you find more appealing?

-By photorealistic i mean the style that most new (non-indie, but some indie too) games use. Those are 3d graphics, using skins, and 3d animation of assets.
-By pixely i mean 90s style pixel gfx (eg those in pre Gabriel Knight Sierra adventure games).
-2,5d graphics are usually rendered 3d models, but used as isometric 2d graphics. For example cities on strategy game maps (that aren't 3d) are usually 2,5d. Eg Civilization 3, or Warcraft2 map graphics are 2,5d.
-Mixed gfx can be any combination of the above. They also can include use of photographs found on the web (as room graphics, or item graphics).

I think that having a consistent style is important, if you want the game to look nice (of course it can look bad even with a consistent style := ).
I personally am fond of 2,5d and pixely gfx for adventure games. I do think they are on their way out, though. Even for indie games. You do need an actually talented artist to produce high-quality pixel or 2,5d forms. Most of the new artists are (as is to be expected; makes far more sense money-wise) geared towards 3d model skinning and animating.



DarkSeed wasn't a good game, but i did like the graphics in it :)
« Last Edit: 24 Aug 2018, 14:42 by KyriakosCH »
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VampireWombat

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Alas, you didn't list my preference. High definition cartoonish, like many of the games being published by Daedalic.
But of what you mentioned, I'd go with pixel.
Semi-realistic is good for rpgs and such, but I've yet to see an adventure game that it was the best option.
2.5d can work sometimes.
« Last Edit: 24 Aug 2018, 15:23 by VampireWombat »

Mandle

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DarkSeed wasn't a good game

It's very rare that I get to say this with complete confidence:

WRONG!!! (laugh)

KyriakosCH

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Alas, you didn't list my preference. High definition cartoonish, like many of the games being published by Daedalic.
But of what you mentioned, I'd go with pixel.
Semi-realistic is good for rpgs and such, but I've yet to see an adventure game that it was the best option.
2.5d can work sometimes.

Broken Sword 1 had excellent gfx :) But very few people can draw like that.

DarkSeed wasn't a good game

It's very rare that I get to say this with complete confidence:

WRONG!!! (laugh)

Come on, just look at the protagonist; there is no way he can go up and down a rope to the second floor of the house, at will :=
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VampireWombat

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Broken Sword 1 had excellent gfx :) But very few people can draw like that.
I've only played a few minutes of the Director's Cut version. So I don't have much opinion. Any screenshots I've seen, I don't know which of the games in the series I've seen them from.

KyriakosCH

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Broken Sword 1 had excellent gfx :) But very few people can draw like that.
I've only played a few minutes of the Director's Cut version. So I don't have much opinion. Any screenshots I've seen, I don't know which of the games in the series I've seen them from.





:)
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Blondbraid

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Alas, you didn't list my preference. High definition cartoonish, like many of the games being published by Daedalic.
That is definitively my favorite style, and I think that's what works best in the medium.
I've seen some great pixel-art, but the problem is that since so many indie developers are already using it
it's extremely hard to make a game with pixel art stand out from the crowd and have it's own look.

As for attempting photo-realistic graphics and using poser models, I don't like it since the characters
all too often end upp looking like dead-eyed mannequins. Too many people use it as a shortcut because they
think it's less work than drawing, but creating a lifelike and appealing character that doesn't fall into
the Uncanny valley with 3D modeling will often take just as much if not more practice and effort.
One of the worst examples of Poser gone wrong is Limbo Of The Lost:

(The character above is supposed to be the charming hero of the game... :-\)

VampireWombat

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I definitely agree about 3d graphics, whether for games or movies. Don't use it unless you can pull it off well.
The Telltale Sam and Max games are a good example. While the graphics are decent, they're just not good enough to pull off the charm of the original game or cartoon series.
And there's games like Fallout 3... Most of the models are just ugly.

Kastchey

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You guys have just made me play Dark Seed.

elentgirl

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Interestingly, most of the games mentioned so far have been third person adventure games.  When it comes to first person games, I think that a degree of realism in the enbvironment you are exploring makes a game all the more interesting.  For example, I'm pretty sure that Myst and its many tributes would not have been as fascinating to play with cartoon stule graphics.

KyriakosCH

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Interestingly, most of the games mentioned so far have been third person adventure games.  When it comes to first person games, I think that a degree of realism in the enbvironment you are exploring makes a game all the more interesting.  For example, I'm pretty sure that Myst and its many tributes would not have been as fascinating to play with cartoon stule graphics.

I agree :)
Your own game works perfectly with that style too.
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VampireWombat

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Oh, of course some games don't work with cartoonish graphics. The graphics need to fit the tone of the game, if not set the tone.
3d graphics can work quite well for adventure games with a more serious tone. It's just that it's rarely done well.
And other than Myst, I can't think of any other 1st person adventure game I've played that wasn't FMV...

Danvzare

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Personally, I like pixel art. Especially the unrealistic cartoony pixel art, where all of the characters have heads larger than their bodies. But I also know that I only like pixel art because of nostalgia. While pixel art can look beautiful, I recognise that I see it in rose-tinted glasses. So what merely looks nice, instead looks incredible to me.

If I was to take off those rose-tinted glasses somehow, then what VampireWombat said about high definition cartoonish graphics akin to what Daedalic games puts out, would probably be my preference. But those damn rose-tinted glasses are welded onto my head! >:(

ollj

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games that rely on more realistic visuals (cutscenes) tend to age poorly
, because comuter generated cisuals are inherently surreal, at best uncanny when they dare to appear realistic.

They sure are great and novel for at least 6 months, but visual methods (hardware) develop rapidly, and the visuals of games very likely age poorly, get old VERY fast, like a good old joke, that just gets repeated too often:

this includes prime examples:
Loom
=1680
Agony (amiga)

Shadow The Beast (1,2,3)

Settlers

Worms

Warcraft2

all did good famous novel and expensive visual things, but that all did not age too well, mostly because they use surreal methods to estimate realistic visuals.

a better approach is a visual style that dares to be:
- abstract/minimalistic/clean
- causal/consistent/stylish
- narrative/gameplay focussed
- focused on practical effects, rather than greenscreen/CG.

prime example is
Star Control 2



If you insist on realism, step away from CG, it is inherently surreal:
Jurassic Park 1 only had 6 minutes of CG in total
, where many scenes had stop-motion reproduction to set up the lighting and angles of a scene:

which is why it visually aged a bit better than other CG / JP-movies.
« Last Edit: 15 Nov 2018, 23:40 by ollj »