Gaming Graphics: When Awesome Goes To Overwhelming

It's a fine line, but cross it and you lose your audience. It's the moment when all the lens flares, explosions, particles, decals, fog and graphical effects overwhelm the viewer and they have no fucking clue what they're looking at. It has the effect of looking at digital vomit splattered on your screen and has about the same visceral effect. Ugh. I've noticed a trend as of late for game developers to pile on the graphics. To some extent hardware is to blame, enabling more and more capability, draw more, render more, display more. But more is not always better. In a static end scene, for example, looking at a castle as it recedes into the distance, sure more is great, put in the detail, put in the textures, that's fine. However if aiming is involved, or worse, your ability to survive, then the "fog of war" isn't really welcome. It's a video game ffs, you buy it to feel super-human, not confused. Video games, console and PC, need to be more frugal in the effects they choose. They also need to be aware that as the game gets harder these visuals increase proportionally (tougher bad guys = using more bullets, grenades, rockets, etc.). If I'm just lobbing shit blindly most of the fun goes away. When the fun dwindles, so does the fan base, because people will keep playing as long as they enjoy it, not a second after. So how to avoid this? More play testing, especially AFTER the primary content is over. Also keep an eye on how much resources your game consumes as it gets harder. If the sound or video starts to stutter because you're crushing the (average) system, that should be another clue. Finally, look at how many people are still playing the game two months later. The massive die-off might tell you something. Maybe you won't be able to fix it for the current release, but there's always updates and DLCs to bring gamers back. It's just an idea.
1 comment
Comment from:  
I agree that the graphics can get overwhelming. If I am just key mashing because I don’t know what I am aiming at what is the use? I also agree about aiming toward the AVERAGE system. If they want a large market share, they need to supply for a larger market. Hint: Not every gamer is a 20-something living in basement of his parents’ home with the ability to spend every penny of his pizza delivery tips on hardware. Some of us have full time jobs and mortgages and refuse to spend the kids’ college fund on computer crap.
11/20/12 @ 07:08