Some Questions for the Community

Posted by (twitter: @RobProductions)
June 22nd, 2015 11:25 am

First off, it’s a been a long time since I’ve been active here xD Forgive my absence, I’ve been working on perfecting my skills and some really large projects that may finally release sometime within the next several months! Here’s a quick preview:

Apex Alpha Screen 2 Apex Alpha Screen 1

As you can tell, the past several months for me have been about improving my games in terms of graphics and visuals/effects. I’ve learned that detailed worlds take hours and hours of hard work detailing even the smallest, unseen items. And I’ve learned tricks to work around modeling every item, such as repetition and implication. However, I’m not here to talk about my new game, I’m here to ponder why the gaming community has changed, specifically within the past year.

Improving the graphics in my own game made me think…

Why are people so obsessed with graphics?

E3 2015 just ended, and all I heard about the smaller games was “What??? This is 2015, games should look better!!” I’ve seen hundreds upon hundreds of comments about Fallout 4 and how it looks “bad” or “I’m not getting this because it’s no better than Skyrim.” Now whether you think Fallout 4 looks bad or not, the point here is why care? When Minecraft was released did people bash it for its graphics? No, because the focus was on gameplay and innovative mechanics. There was also a stylistic decision to the 32-bit look.

When I play a game, for example Shadow of Mordor, I don’t play to watch stunning visuals. Sure, it’s awesome to have something that’s nice to look at, and the particle effects make gameplay more satisfying, but in the end… I play to unlock more upgrades. Or I play to advance the story. Or I play to see all the unique bosses generated. Some developers have claimed that graphics pull in the audience, and mechanics keep them there.

 

But why has it become a competition? Why are downgrades and optimizations and particle counts making/breaking the game for some people? Why does it matter what resolution your shadows are or how many polygons your characters have? I’ve always gone by the rule that the graphics in your game should fit your game. But I’m seeing people that hate Watch Dogs because the shadow quality was lowered for the final release. And I just don’t understand why.

Why do Resolutions/Framerates/Specs matter?

Yes, I’d much rather play a game at 60fps. Yes, I’d much rather play a game at 1080p. But why is it causing people to cancel pre-orders? Fallout 4 was just announced to be 30fps on consoles. Can you guess the comments? “Unacceptable for a 2015 game!” “Bethesda sucks! These are current gen consoles!”

People don’t seem to want to accept any framerate lower than 60 for anything, even if it means not playing one of the most anticipated games of the year. And I don’t understand why it matters in the slightest. As someone who grew up with games running in a 400×600 window, I can get immersed in any decently made game, no matter the resolution or framerate. I played Mount and Blade with a constant 23fps in 400×600 stretched fullscreen just a year ago, and it’s still my favorite multiplayer game of all time.

What is it about gamers these days that they won’t accept lower specs? It’s not even that they care about the gameplay or mechanics… they just care about the graphics and the “hours of gameplay”. They want something that looks good and lasts a long time with “new content”. Maybe it’s just because I’m a developer, and this is hate towards developers… Or maybe I’m not as spoiled as some of the gamers out there nowadays. But to me everyone seems to be angry.

Why do Gamers hold Grudges against Companies?

Finally, I’d like to address Ubisoft. Literally everyone hates Ubisoft. Why? I have no clue.

They’re mad at the Watch Dogs downgrade. They’re mad at the quality of Assassin’s Creed Unity. They’re mad at the glitches in Assassin’s Creed Unity. They’re mad at the length of the South Park game. They’re mad at… what exactly?

Sure, none of the items above are good. But they were things expected of a company like this. Companies are not evil, they’re not out to get you, they just want money. And they’re going to take action to make the most money no matter what, so why is everyone upset when they do something like this? Konami confirmed microtransactions in Metal Gear Solid 5. Suddenly people are canceling pre-orders and shouting at them to stop being greedy. Really? Optional payment to get stuff faster is bad? Might I stress “Optional”??? You’re going to not buy a game because somewhere in the code is a “pay” button?

What do you think?

These are just my OPINIONS so please don’t judge me for my OPINIONS thank you ^-^. But honestly, is it just because I’m a developer that I’m siding with developers here? Or am I simply not in the AAA industry so I don’t expect AAA quality? What is making gamers nowadays so focused on graphics? Why are they so spoiled?

It seems like I just woke up today and everybody was angry at people in my profession. Or maybe they’re angry at publishers. Either way, there’s nothing good in the comments anymore, just hate. Hate and strong opinions. I’d love to know what you guys think! (P.S. I don’t know everything about these incidents, so I may be wrong about the opinions of some players)

And soon I will start posting more about my upcoming game :) Thanks for reading!

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13 Responses to “Some Questions for the Community”

  1. WiErD0 says:

    I have noticed this kind of negative trend towards games on which more production and advertising money is spent as well. Quite honestly, the attitude slightly annoys me, as it seems that you can never actually get a AAA game that lives up to the standards set for it. Coming out with a new game that has NO BUGS is nearly impossible, especially when you are dealing with the internet and multiple programmers, even if you have spent years working on the thing. Getting 60 fps 1080 p, and crisp shadows means that you HAVE to be drawing less triangles, because hardware can only process and draw so much in 1/60th of a second.

    So who is actually in the wrong? To get this straight, it is NOT the people making the hardware. I would argue that at least part of the problem is with the advertisements. While the goal is for people to pre-order the game, when you have an add as cool as the ones that are coming out today, (Black Opps 3’s Ember, for example) you are just asking to not be able to get up that standard.

    Furthermore, although First Person Shooters are quite popular, they are again a deathtrap. When you are playing a 2D Mario platformer, 60 fps has just about the same significance as 30. Seeing the Goomba a 60th of a second faster is irrelevant. However, when you are doing a 3D first person game, when you turn, nearly every pixel completely changes color, so a lower framerate (like lower than 30, I personally think Destiny’s 30 is completely fine) is much harder to deal with. But again, the problem is NOT with the hardware, it is with the designers. The fact that whoever was behind this absolutely needed to max out hardware performance shows how they need to start coming up with ideas other than, “use this gun to shoot that enemy, reload, do it again”. Now, I love First Person Shooters as much as the next guy, but people making them should realize that they are stepping into a death trap as soon as they start.

    As far as 1080 p goes, if your hardware cannot support it, don’t design a game that is suppose to be realistic. Why Nintendo is the only one who has figured this out is beyond me, but they managed to make fun games (Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros) on by far the weakest of the next gen consoles (if Wii U is even that). With the exception of PVZ Garden Warfare, my favorite multiplayer game yet, it seems like anything but real life is outlawed in video games. VIDEO GAMES ARE NOT REAL LIFE. If you try to make them as real as real life, you are giving yourself a much higher standard than you need to (but also a higher reward if you get there).

    Finally, I would like to point out that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing that there are more complaints about games now then there were 5 years ago. I think that about 80% of people who buy a game will play it though, and the other 20% will either not have time for it or whine about what they don’t like. The people who are busy shooting each other thousands of times in their free time are the people who love/like the mechanics of the game. The people who need to go home and rethink their lives are the ones whining about this, that, or the other, when they are oblivious to how many things COULD have gone wrong, but didn’t. As you pointed out, there was an uproar when the shadow quality was lowered. Sure, maybe a few thousand people canceled their preorders, but without doubt, tens or hundreds of thousands didn’t. These guys are all fine, or at least indifferent, with the change, but they aren’t going to go out on the internet shouting, Hooray for lower shadow quality! Yes!”, both because they have better things to do with their time, because they don’t care in the first place, and because doing so would result in little support from the others who feel the same way for the first two reasons, but a ton of hate from the people who need their shadows for no apparent reason. In short, the internet is a toxic and negative place, but I think there really are many more people happy with what they are getting than most people think.

    • WiErD0 says:

      *play it through*

      • I 100% agree :)

        Thanks for your thoughts, and I would to add to what you said by saying that the people who don’t mind shadow quality decrease probably don’t voice their opinions–because they don’t care. And it might just seem as though everyone hates unrealistic games because they are the only ones who voice their opinions constantly and angrily. So maybe there is hope for people without insane expectations! ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. Jajo says:

    I’m a fan of 2D games with 8bit – 16bit graphics. Although I do love a beautiful 3D game, It’s only a good game when I look at the clock and see that I’ve played it for hours. Performance is a great thing, but playing a 2D game at 30fps doesnt bother me. Playing a 2D game at 600fps is also quite nice. As for companies, I don’t care- if the games good, great. Otherwise, never mind, I’ll just play a different game.

  3. Gaspard_ says:

    I think it’s the lack of increase in quality more than everything else.

    I’m currently playing some old games on the GameCube(~2006) and I was astonished by their quality on the old TV. They all run 60 FPS. So it isn’t unrealistic to think: 10 years later–> FPS at 60 everywhere.

    I think we hit a point where newer games can’t “outshine” old games like they used too, but everyone is expecting it.

    It also may be a lot of the developers fault: we seriously have the feeling the GPU’s are so fast, nothing can slow them down… but then reality sets in: once you have all your models,effects,particles and anti-aliassing

    • Gaspard_ says:

      rendered, the framerate starts to drop.

      The problem is though: it’s pretty binary. It slows down at a certain threshold, and above that threshold you have nothing reminding you it’s nearing.

      As said above, the over-the-top adds don’t help at all either…

  4. keyboardsan says:

    Bro, I still play Pokemon Emerald. ๐Ÿ˜›
    And I prefer it over many mainstream games. Gamers these days who want nice graphics, 60 fps and what not are better off watching a movie maybe? Sure thing we have high performance devices these days which can handle resource intensive graphics…maybe that’s why they want games with awesome graphics? I am a game developer as well as a gamer…I prefer…nice game mechanics and a gripping story over graphics. But, yeah graphics should not suck totally. :p It is hard for independent developers to pull off decent 3D graphics…which is expected of every game these days. *cries*. Which I can’t pull off *cries again*.

  5. drnick says:

    Your argumentation is clearly inconsistent.

    First, you claim that companies are out there to get money, and that is not bad.
    Then you say ‘Suddenly people are canceling pre-orders’, ‘Youโ€™re going to not buy a game because somewhere in the code is a โ€œpayโ€ button?’.

    This is not consistent. If you feel the companies are justified in doing whatever to make money, then you are justifying the current trends with an economic free-market argument, and that implies any arbitrary quality standards people set up to be worthy of their money is fair.

    This inconsistency is annoying. If you feel it is OK for companies to be greedy then it should also be OK for the people with the money to decide, even if their requirements are ridiculous (in your opinion).

    • This was more of a rant than a thought-out argument lol. I have inconsistency in there for sure and no way am I trying to “prove” anything. I’m just stating my opinions and my response to a few people that have ridiculous expectations. (In my OPINION I find it kind of silly that pay buttons are make-it-or-break-it deals for games)

      Sure people have a right to decide what they do with their money, but I wasn’t saying that they were wrong, or even that my rant is anywhere close to the truth, I’m merely suggesting that they don’t make such a big deal over items that I find irrelevant to true quality of a game. (Which is a different statement all-together to the one about companies, even if they do contradict each other) As I said, none of what I said means anything, it is merely a collection of contradictory thoughts that hope to get a response from fellow developers :) Thanks for your response!

    • Wumbo says:

      I think the argument is more that the people playing the games are unnecessarily freaking out over minor and unnecessary technical statistics. Though the “arbitrary quality standards” heavily weight shadow quality and FPS, they do not take game mechanics into account nearly as much as they should. The canceling of pre-orders and refusal to buy a game because it has pay-to-win features in it is just an expression of the arbitrary quality standards not being met.

      I personally am pretty strongly against the whole idea of giving out half a game and then making the player pay for the rest of it half way though (as I feel it is immoral, and personally strongly support NOT buying games that do this sort of thing), but I do think that for the amount of time and effort being put into these projects before complaining about shadow quality, for example.

  6. goffmog says:

    I think the AAA industry and the console manufacturers have done this to themselves to a certain extent by selling games on graphical improvements rather than on gameplay, and new consoles on their pixel pushing statistics, and publishers proclaiming “photorealism” as some holy grail of a goal for videogames.

    Maybe it’s symptomatic of a fetish for “realism”? 20 years ago we gleefully accepted games with cartoony or otherwise abstract and/or representative art styles. The other day I saw a thread on Rockpapershotgun where people in the comments were actually criticizing the developers of the recent XCom remake about the “proportions” of their character models!!!

    The point is that when you go for realism, people expect to see something on par with whatever the current state of the art is re. realistic graphics. It’s no use having what was considered realistic 10 years ago and the cost of realistic graphics seems to increase year by year to the point where only the AAA publishers can afford it. Because they have the money, that’s where they’re expected to put it, and few are willing to take a risk of gambling on any other art direction for fear that consumers wouldn’t understand.

    Almost everything is now set on realism, in an industry that started off by abstracting tennis players as straight lines moving up and down. Basically, we’ve regressed to the Renaissance, let’s hope we don’t have to wait 500 years for an abstract movement to kick us back out of it.

  7. alyphen says:

    People _did_ slate Minecraft’s graphics. A lot. I think one of the reasons may be because people expect beefier games on their beefier PCs to make use of the hardware, but companies are optimising them to run smoothly on older laptops and such, so more people can play.
    Personally, I can appreciate pretty games, but it’s less important than being fun to play.

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