On graphics

Everybody makes such a big deal out of graphics. It’s probably right after gameplay in terms of importance to a video game(at least from a developer’s standpoint). But it’s occurred to me that to make graphics ultrarealistic is sometimes counterproductive. Even though it’s just a movie, somebody showed me screenshots to the sequel of Final Fantasy VII. Even though the images were as realistic as it could possibly get(I’ve yet to see this thing in motion) I felt it was the ugliest thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on, but others thought it looked great. But the other extreme is often no better. Everybody(or almost) raves about Final Fantasy VII, but to me the character models and cinema sequences in Panzer Dragoon Saga are more appealing while the same elements in FF VII look more like puppetry. Why is it that to me, the fuzzy graphics of Ico look wonderful while the superpolished, high budget graphics of, say, Xenosaga look too shiny and lifeless?

So what makes good graphics to you? How much is too much? When should graphics take a back seat, and when should a game be eye candy?

Okay sorry about that. Just going through some useless musings. :smiley:

Because shininess and higher polycounts don’t necessarily mean its power put to good use. Assuming from your words that Xenosaga has a superior graphics engine to Ico you can be damn sure that, if Ico used it, it would be tons better cos of it’s artists and in the same style of the Ico you know now, just taking the extra power to it’s advantage rather than changing the style.
More power in the graphics engine doesn’t mean that the artists who are the people that bring games to life are as skilled in creating an immersive environment and characters as the artists of engines that are perhaps “lesser”. And ofcourse it doesn’t mean that just cos you have more power you go for “ultra realistic” style, that’s far from the truth, the game designers have a certain art style in mind and follow it to the fullest of their and the graphics engine’s ability rather than saying “ok we have the power to make uber realistic characters now so lets do it!” You can have lots of power and not go for realism…
Look at Wind Waker for example, surely the Gamecube can produce more realistic looking characters than the PSOne, no? And yet for this game, it doesn’t. It’s all in the art style rather than the power of the graphics engine, so even hinting at things like “more power is worse” is totally wrong since it’s up to the artists to put that power to good use. And it’s equally wrong to think that when someone calls for better graphics he means he wants more “uber realistic” graphics.

On the other hand just cos you don’t like a specific art style doesn’t mean that it’s bad in general (Like FFVII - Advent Children for example which by the way it doesn’t look ultra realistic to me)

And ofcourse you can’t really call the FFVII characters “art” since they were made like that due to the PSOne’s limitations and knowledge of it at the time.(Though in the cut scenes it’s again a matter of personal preference since in my opinion the videos were quite well made for the time - not on part with PDS but imo they weren’t even trying to be as serious with them, FFVII is a much more lighthearted game)

And graphics don’t always come second to gameplay, a lot of times they are equal if not more importand imo since they actually enhance gameplay. I wouldn’t play Broken Sword if the characters and backgrounds were badly drawn and animated southpark esque caricatures for example…

technical specs and art direction are two very different things.

I don’t think a game should ever be just eye candy (because it’d no longer be a game), but graphical design tends to be important in different ways for different games and genres. It mainly comes down to how a game tries to immerse someone in the experience it offers; certain games need to go for realistic and believable visuals that aren’t particularly imaginative (such as sports sims and racing games), whereas in others - like Panzer Dragoon Saga and The Wind Waker, for example - a unique graphical style can be inseperable from the rest of the experience, to a greater or lesser extent. There’s no hard or fast rule.

I’m pretty sure that any game trying to conjure up a fictional world should strive to have the highest-quality graphics it can, though; superior graphics always make a game that little bit more immersive.

Personal preference, I expect; all graphics end up being stylised in some way, and different people are always going to dislike certain graphical styles no matter how technically impressive the visuals are. Personally I’ve never liked Halo’s visuals, for example, though of course they were pretty amazingly impressive when the game was released.

The only game I’ve ever actually complained about having crap graphics was Fighters Megamix. I actually won Megamix in a local newspaper competition, and I’m not sure if I got the finished product or a “silver” disc. All the characters are really pixelly compared to the screenshots I saw in SSM, and there is no lip sync to speak of.

Usually, graphics don’t really matter, nor the style. If I’m playing “Castle of Illusion” I expect cheesy Disney graphics, and if I’m playing Resident Evil I expect scary ones. As long as the graphics don’t impair the gameplay, I can’t complain (with the exception of Megamix).

From what I remember Megamix did have some pretty rough graphics, and the character models were on the blocktastic and pixelly side. Virtua Fighter 2 had much higher-res visuals, but AM2 ended up sacrificing a lot of quality so they could use the resources for other things, apparently. I didn’t think it looked too hot either; on the plus side though, your disc’s probably fine.

So while we’re talking about it, who actually DOES want to see the sequel to Final Fantasy VII? O_O

I guess I must be one of those people who wishes old school hand drawn animation wouldn’t die just yet.

Eh, I have played ff7 and did enjoy it, so most likely I will most likely check it out. I did check out the preview of it while I was at the San Diego Comic Con, but I wont pass judgement until I see it.
Although I am not going crazy when I see the new Version of Cloud and Seperioth, eh, they just look more Asian, which is kinda strange but expected. It just irks me that this game gets all of this neat stuff while others like ff6 is totally forgotten, but it is like what the Japanese man told me at the booth, FF7 is really popular, the best and will sell.
I am more of a Vincent Valentine fan myself as strange as it sounds, I liked his character much better when comparared to the rest in the cast, although I very much enjoyed Cid, one of the older chracters. =)
As for the graphics, I suppose they still count, but here I am still playing Phantasy Star 2, Chrno Trigger and Final Fantasy 6 way more often than I usually do with any PS or X-box titles.
I dont think that the graphics are that much of a deal, but they can cleary have a impact on the game.
Anyone ever played Vagrant Story emulated? It is a very beautiful game when all of those pixels are gone.

[quote=“dragoon lover”]So while we’re talking about it, who actually DOES want to see the sequel to Final Fantasy VII? O_O

I guess I must be one of those people who wishes old school hand drawn animation wouldn’t die just yet.[/quote]

Hey… I wanna see Advent Children, if only because of the fact that I’m kind of a fantasy-obsessed moron. Final Fantasy, Panzer Dragoon. Anything otherworldly of “fantasy like” amuses me, and Final Fantasy VII is no exception. I am just more stuck on Panzer Dragoon than anything else. I am actually looking forward to the movie.

And no, you’re not the only one who wishes old animation won’t die. I may watch the movie, but I’m actually not a big fan of the computer animated films. Games, fine. Movies and shows… It gets old. But I’ll suffer through the movie for reasons known only to me and my sick mind who just seems to kind of watch these things and go, “Ooooh… Nice…”

As for shiny graphics: I am easily distracted by shiny objects. DO NOT DEFY THEM!

It utilised the engine they used for Fighting Vipers yeah? Megamix had all the lovely lighting effects if you’ll remeber, so I imagine it was either HI-RES or fancy pants lighting, one or the other but not both.

Even the graphics used on Fighting Vipers OWNED Fighters Megamix.