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Videogame Aesthetics: cel-shading is kinky.

Discussion in 'Other Stuff' started by Nachimir, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. Nachimir

    Nachimir Crony of Stilgar

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    I just wrote a thing on them.

    It's about photo-realism and alternatives to it. With lots of pictures.
     
  2. Mxtrmntr

    Mxtrmntr (Formerly known as Mxtrmntr)

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    I have high hopes concerning the development of computer game visuals, similar to the ones you expressed in the article's last paragraph concerning their diversity. Of course, this goes hand in hand with hopes in more experimentation and variation concerning gameplay; at the moment, the video game industry feels a bit like Hollywood -- even the more ambitious, slightly more "out there" projects seem to be based on often seen, well-known concepts. And then there's the lack of variety in game stories...

    I hope some kind of (experimental) "underground" will be able to develop in a similar way to the music and movie businesses; I guess there is already something like that, but I lack any insight in "indie game development" and the like.

    Anyway, concerning visuals... I loved Grim Fandango for its rather unique style, and the Thief series' distinctive artwork (and/or ideas like the ones used in Constantine's Mansion) definitely made up for the rather blocky graphics. There are so many possibilities concerning visual design for games, I think we'll see lots of nice surprises -- even if we'll have to look hard to find them.

    On a sidenote related to what I wrote about samey stories and the like, I wonder when we'll see overtly "political" games. Video games already lost their innocence in that context with stuff like America's Army, so who knows what the future will bring, and whether it will be likeable in any way.
     
  3. ReD_Fist

    ReD_Fist New Member

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    Speaking of americas army,I seen that on tv,the actuall sim ,they have a panarama screen like 3 or 5 screens side by side,as well as some killer computers running things.
    The cars or trucks hit a curb and you see it all.
    Thats what they are using ,and along with real world maps,like in iraq then they practice different missions.
     
  4. oosyxxx

    oosyxxx teh3vilspa7ula

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    baby jesus plies the tear trade once more time

    well in that case! ;)
     
  5. Rukee

    Rukee Coffee overclocks the overclocker!!

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    I think sounds are also nearly as important as the vissual as they help sell what your looking at. Both have come along way in the past couple years.




    ....nice write up too!!
     
  6. OO7MIKE

    OO7MIKE Mr. Sexy

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    Very good article. Quality stuff. I admit that I have seen quite a bit of that content on the web through other sources but this is a nice presentation. That UT2k4 mod looks interesting.

    I had often wondered what It would be like to make a black and white game. Seriously No colors. Just impressive b&w photo realistic gaming. Would people buy it even if it was done really well?
     
  7. GMotha

    GMotha The nipples from Napels

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    Makes you wonder: my guess is that in 10 (or 5) years we'll have graphical engines and hardware wich'll create 3D environments that'll be as realistic as it'll ever get. A screenshot would be easily mistaken as a high quality photograph. And offcourse there'll be realtime filters that can add any effect, wether distorted or psychadelic, to the game. When that point is reached, then what's left to accomplish regarding (onscreen) computer graphics?
     
  8. Rabid Wolf

    Rabid Wolf Piano Man Ghost

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    congratulations on a very fine article.
    personally, I've grown so tired of this quest for photo-realism, that (even independant of the implicated necessity of constantly upgrading one's hardware) I've been pretty much driven out of games altogether.

    the japanese art style game looks very interesting, though.
    I also recall distinctly some (gameplaywise average) demo of some cell-shaded giant robot game a few years back, though the name of that game escapes me.

    I distinctly recall what positive relief it was for me way back in psx1 days to get a 2d game like symphony o/t night after all of the evermore tiresome 3d games.

    I think generally it's one of those things that the developers keep doing, just because noone wants to be the first to put an end to it.
    the massive chunk that photo-realism-hunting 3d grafics make up in a game's dev budget could (and should) be used otherwise imo.

    thumbed through the article when you posted it yesterday, and just read it in its entirety today. well structured, and researched.
    albeit -- as you said -- just touching the issue really. one could probably write a full length study about that topic.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2005
  9. Nachimir

    Nachimir Crony of Stilgar

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    Thanks all :)

    Likewise, and I think the mod scene could play a huge part in it, with the right middleware. As it is, renderers aren't particularly accessible (Though someone hacked a bloom effect into UT2K4 in exchange for a huge performance hit) and developing an entirely new set of art assets for an engine is beyond the reach of most teams. Alas.

    Psst, Foreverhood, which I didn't know about before writing the article.

    There already are some, but they tend to be in the form of just taking a side rather than examining an issue (As well as the American/European slanted counter-terror games, there are indie FPS games out there where you play neonazis on racist killing sprees, or roles in terrorist groups and armies fighting the US). I don't think there have been any that really examine all sides of an issue in detail, though September the 12th tries to make a point, and Bad Day LA looks very interesting (and funny).

    There have been some, such as The Goat in the Grey Fedora. Hmm, 3D B&W + HDR lighting would be gorgeous, and games could have their very own Citizen Kane ripoff :)

    Nothing but exploration from there on out? Maybe, and I hope so.

    I guess even then there will always be smaller technical challenges around simulating specific visuals, but I suppose also that such problems will keep diminishing as engines become increasingly unified.

    It seems to me that development costs will eventually settle down. The upward trend in game budgets shows no sign of stopping soon, and the market shows no signs of catching up, so developers and publishers will continue to go under. I'm not saying for an instant that such losses are worthwhile; the effect this is having on the game industry is awful. However, there will always be people like the Project Offset guys coming along and pushing things too. I think it's inevitable that, when tools for producing real-time photo-realistic rendering are achieved, they'll eventually become cheaper and easier to use.

    Developing behind the curve until that happens isn't so saleable* in terms of mainstream gaming, but I think that maybe alternate aesthetics could make such offerings palatable to a wider audience than, say, just the arthouse movement in games.

    *Though indie games use less powerful engines that aren't so shiny, and sometimes go for modernised retro style. Going back to Mxtrmntr's point on indie games, they usually can't compete with mainstream development on visuals, so (IMO) indie developers really need to have tight game design.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2005
  10. cataleptic

    cataleptic New Member

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    Excellent article! I noticed it's been slashdotted now as well
     
  11. Stilgar

    Stilgar Ninja

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    GM and Nach: There is a chapter in Voltaires Bastards which covers this exact predicament, except that the subject is the perfection of photo-realistic paintings in the renaissance era(I think it's renaissance). Might be worth a look if you're interested.


    *edit*

    My 2c... I think the closing gap between near-realism and photo perfection in games will consume an exponential amount of resources and will either bring the industry to a halt or bring about a revolution in the design approach to generating enviroments in games.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2005
  12. Nachimir

    Nachimir Crony of Stilgar

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    (Holy ****, slashdotted for the second time this week. My inbox is filling with embarassingly complimentary emails)

    Thanks for the link.

    Procedural generation is a really interesting technique, and I think that to some extent it will be vital in generating content, especially materials. I take it you've seen previews of Spore? If not, there's a presentation by Will Wright on GDCTV (about two thirds of the way down).

    Another technique I've read of studios using is digitising maquettes with a 3D scanner, making normal maps with the resultant models, then reducing the poly count.
     
  13. ReD_Fist

    ReD_Fist New Member

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    Could someone tell me the basic or differences in this cell shader stuff,or is it a chip technology?
    I did try that kyro card once,is it based off of what they were doing?
     
  14. Nachimir

    Nachimir Crony of Stilgar

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    Google will explain it better than any of us. It's basically a way of rendering 3D graphics to look like they're out of a cartoon. It doesn't require any special hardware, but it can easily look tacky.

    ---

    Woo.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2005
  15. ReD_Fist

    ReD_Fist New Member

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    I see, so it will be good for a lot of kiddy games then. kinda sorta.
     
  16. Stilgar

    Stilgar Ninja

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    Definitely. I imagine it's a good option for developers making a kids cartoon/video game conversion.
     

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