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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Gameplay first, graphics later.

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  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 14114

12/10/12 7:44:02 PM#21
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Abuz0r
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Abuz0r

To the guy criticizing the order of my list, I agree with you, however my list was not in order of importance, it was just a list that I blurted off the top of my head and later came back and added to.

It's not the order of the points.  Order is irrelevant.  You're trying to claim that no one cares about graphics, but what's important to you is graphics and various other things.  Or various other things and graphics.  Either you care about the graphics or you don't.  You can't have it both ways.

I said gameplay first, graphics later.  I didn't say "Gameplay, not graphics"

When these new games come out, they need to focus on how great the game is for playing.  If they want to make graphics they can do it when players are satisfied with the gameplay.  You can always make subtle graphical updates.  These games which have a 300 million budget and spend 285m on graphics and 15m on gameplay always wonder why they don't make a profit.

Why are we arguing about it? That's obvious.

How are developers supposed to test out their gameplay if the graphics for it aren't in place yet?  If your program tries to load graphics assets that aren't there, it probably crashes.  If you make placeholder graphical assets, then you've spent time doing that knowing full well that you're going to discard them later.  (Sometimes you do that anyway, but you'd rather not overdo it if you can help it.)

You test the game with untextured models and blockout environments. Wireframes, even. If the game is fun when everything is a white cube, it'll be even more fun when it looks great afterwards.

One of the biggest mistakes by hobbyist game makers is to start building their zones or art  assets first. "Look, we made a town! Look at our cool zone!" Yeah, that's great. It's just going to get thrown out once they realize that their game mechanics don't fit within the worldspace or function within the arbitrary confines they prematurely created.

The first thing I made with tessellation was a sphere.  It was completely white, on a completely black background.  That made it indistinguishable from a circle.  If you draw white boxes on top of other white boxes on top of other white boxes, how do you tell where one box ends and another starts?

Now, you don't have to build all of a game's artwork before you can do anything else.  Of course not.  But there many situations where you have to make both underlying game mechanics and graphics for them.  And you need to make them match each other, for which it is tremendously helpful if you have the option of changing either one to match the other.

When I wanted to test collision detection between a cylinder and an ellisoid, I needed to be able to draw both an cylinder and an ellipsoid.  I didn't need to draw a thousand cylinders or a thousand ellipsoids.  Though just one of each wouldn't do, as I needed to draw a bunch of different ellipsoids to help figure out why where the game thought an ellipsoid was for physics purposes didn't match where it thought the ellipsoid was for graphics purposes.

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3835

12/10/12 7:49:13 PM#22

Great opinion piece. I totally don't agree with most of it, but that's why they are opinions.

I like graphics - they don't have to be top notch, but I don't want to go back to playing 2D top-down MUDs....

Also - could care less about PvP.

  Zorgo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/05/05
Posts: 2269

Who did wrong? The advertiser hired to sell the game or the consumer who put faith in advertising?

12/10/12 7:52:12 PM#23
Originally posted by Abuz0r

 

NOBODY CARES.  

DID I MISS ANYTHING?

I care.

I imagine there are those like me.

So you missed an entire segment of the gaming population who doesn't think it is an either/or situation. Or a this first or that first.

 It is the 21st century - If I don't get the flying hover car I was promised as a child, the very least I'm owed is a video game with both good gameplay and graphics. It is entirely possible to build a good game with good graphics concurrently.

There are plenty of great games out there with crappy graphics; if that's your thing, go play a classic.

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 21640

12/10/12 8:43:56 PM#24
Originally posted by Zorgo
Originally posted by Abuz0r

 

NOBODY CARES.  

DID I MISS ANYTHING?

I care.

I imagine there are those like me.

So you missed an entire segment of the gaming population who doesn't think it is an either/or situation. Or a this first or that first.

 It is the 21st century - If I don't get the flying hover car I was promised as a child, the very least I'm owed is a video game with both good gameplay and graphics. It is entirely possible to build a good game with good graphics concurrently.

There are plenty of great games out there with crappy graphics; if that's your thing, go play a classic.

Yeh ...

There is no need to choose. And graphics add atmosphere to a game.

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12694

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

12/10/12 9:52:22 PM#25
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Abuz0r
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Abuz0r

To the guy criticizing the order of my list, I agree with you, however my list was not in order of importance, it was just a list that I blurted off the top of my head and later came back and added to.

It's not the order of the points.  Order is irrelevant.  You're trying to claim that no one cares about graphics, but what's important to you is graphics and various other things.  Or various other things and graphics.  Either you care about the graphics or you don't.  You can't have it both ways.

I said gameplay first, graphics later.  I didn't say "Gameplay, not graphics"

When these new games come out, they need to focus on how great the game is for playing.  If they want to make graphics they can do it when players are satisfied with the gameplay.  You can always make subtle graphical updates.  These games which have a 300 million budget and spend 285m on graphics and 15m on gameplay always wonder why they don't make a profit.

Why are we arguing about it? That's obvious.

How are developers supposed to test out their gameplay if the graphics for it aren't in place yet?  If your program tries to load graphics assets that aren't there, it probably crashes.  If you make placeholder graphical assets, then you've spent time doing that knowing full well that you're going to discard them later.  (Sometimes you do that anyway, but you'd rather not overdo it if you can help it.)

You test the game with untextured models and blockout environments. Wireframes, even. If the game is fun when everything is a white cube, it'll be even more fun when it looks great afterwards.

One of the biggest mistakes by hobbyist game makers is to start building their zones or art  assets first. "Look, we made a town! Look at our cool zone!" Yeah, that's great. It's just going to get thrown out once they realize that their game mechanics don't fit within the worldspace or function within the arbitrary confines they prematurely created.

The first thing I made with tessellation was a sphere.  It was completely white, on a completely black background.  That made it indistinguishable from a circle.  If you draw white boxes on top of other white boxes on top of other white boxes, how do you tell where one box ends and another starts?

  • Borders
  • Lighting
  • Colored but non-textured objects
  • Test textures 
  • Wireframes

Those are a few quick solutions, Take your pick. I hope you're just being obtuse because that's an odd question to come from soneone who calls himself a game designer.

Now, you don't have to build all of a game's artwork before you can do anything else.  Of course not.  But there many situations where you have to make both underlying game mechanics and graphics for them.  And you need to make them match each other, for which it is tremendously helpful if you have the option of changing either one to match the other.

Yes, there are always exceptions. You asked how developers are supposed to test out their gameplay if the graphics for it aren't in place yet. I gave you an example. I did not say it must always be done that way. 

When I wanted to test collision detection between a cylinder and an ellisoid, I needed to be able to draw both an cylinder and an ellipsoid.  I didn't need to draw a thousand cylinders or a thousand ellipsoids.  Though just one of each wouldn't do, as I needed to draw a bunch of different ellipsoids to help figure out why where the game thought an ellipsoid was for physics purposes didn't match where it thought the ellipsoid was for graphics purposes.

Wait, who said you had to create a thousand of anything, especially for a basic test like what you describe? Were you responding to another post? The paragraph I was replying to is quoted above. This one:

How are developers supposed to test out their gameplay if the graphics for it aren't in place yet?  If your program tries to load graphics assets that aren't there, it probably crashes.  If you make placeholder graphical assets, then you've spent time doing that knowing full well that you're going to discard them later.  (Sometimes you do that anyway, but you'd rather not overdo it if you can help it.)

If your program is crashing because you don't have textures, you're doing it wrong. Most devs will make the models hot pink or some other horrendous color so they can easily see when a texture is missing. That's a much better way to check and do QA than crashing the game because of a missing texture. And if you're spending a lot of time on placeholder textures, you're also doing it wrong. One solution is to make some checkered or striped squares and you're done.

 

 

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 14114

12/10/12 10:07:54 PM#26
Originally posted by Loktofeit

The first thing I made with tessellation was a sphere.  It was completely white, on a completely black background.  That made it indistinguishable from a circle.  If you draw white boxes on top of other white boxes on top of other white boxes, how do you tell where one box ends and another starts?

  • Borders
  • Lighting
  • Colored but non-textured objects
  • Test textures 
  • Wireframes

Those are a few quick solutions, Take your pick. I hope you're just being obtuse because that's an odd question to come from soneone who calls himself a game designer.

How are developers supposed to test out their gameplay if the graphics for it aren't in place yet?  If your program tries to load graphics assets that aren't there, it probably crashes.  If you make placeholder graphical assets, then you've spent time doing that knowing full well that you're going to discard them later.  (Sometimes you do that anyway, but you'd rather not overdo it if you can help it.)

If your program is crashing because you don't have textures, you're doing it wrong. Most devs will make the models hot pink or some other horrendous color so they can easily see when a texture is missing. That's a much better way to check and do QA than crashing the game because of a missing texture. And if you're spending a lot of time on placeholder textures, you're also doing it wrong. One solution is to make some checkered or striped squares and you're done.

On the first part, in other words, in order to do the testing, you do have to have some sort of graphics available.  Not necessarily textures, but something.

As for the second part, well then, maybe I'm doing it wrong.  I take an extremely unusual approach to textures, though, as I don't have any saved on the hard drive.  Everything is generated on the processor, so creating the texture for a new object is typically about 5 lines of source code--and often much of that is a copy and paste from elsewhere.

Whenever I try to implement something new, it's likely to crash the first time because I forgot to specify some attribute.  It's usually pretty easy to fix, I'm getting better at it, and it doesn't lend itself to low-probability crashes that are a major pain to debug.  But maybe I am doing it wrong.  Do you know an easy fix for that?

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12694

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

12/10/12 10:44:55 PM#27
Originally posted by Quizzical

Whenever I try to implement something new, it's likely to crash the first time because I forgot to specify some attribute.  It's usually pretty easy to fix, I'm getting better at it, and it doesn't lend itself to low-probability crashes that are a major pain to debug.  But maybe I am doing it wrong.  Do you know an easy fix for that?

For things like the textures, it *should be* relatively easy. Create an exception handler to trap the error code and log it (along with any additional info to help you identify where the error actually was). If you're using VB, try to avoid "On Error Resume" - it's an easy out but it's sloppy. :) Google "programming catch exceptions" and find a page on the language you're using.

EDIT: And I just realized "You're doing it wrong" probably came across a bit arrogant. My apologies if it did. I should have added some smilies in there.

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 14114

12/10/12 10:53:56 PM#28
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Quizzical

Whenever I try to implement something new, it's likely to crash the first time because I forgot to specify some attribute.  It's usually pretty easy to fix, I'm getting better at it, and it doesn't lend itself to low-probability crashes that are a major pain to debug.  But maybe I am doing it wrong.  Do you know an easy fix for that?

For things like the textures, it *should be* relatively easy. Create an exception handler to trap the error code and log it (along with any additional info to help you identify where the error actually was). If you're using VB, try to avoid "On Error Resume" - it's an easy out but it's sloppy. :) Google "programming catch exceptions" and find a page on the language you're using.

EDIT: And I just realized "You're doing it wrong" probably came across a bit arrogant. My apologies if it did. I should have added some smilies in there.

My computer programming skills are almost entirely self-taught, so there probably are a lot of things that I am doing wrong.  And I've used the "you're doing it wrong" line enough times myself that I can hardly complain about someone else saying that to me.

I'm using Java, and when the game crashes because I forgot to specify something, if it gives me a null pointer exception or index out of bounds exception or some such, it tells me exactly what line it crashed on, which usually makes it easy to track down the cause, sometimes by outputting some text immediately before the crash, then letting it crash again.  What is more of a pain is when the program just hangs and won't tell me what line it hung on.  I can track that down by outputting text at various points and seeing what the last text to get output before it hangs is, but it would be easier if it would just tell me which line it stopped at.

  Abuz0r

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/03/12
Posts: 321

 
OP  12/10/12 11:59:01 PM#29

OK I see a lot of people think my "graphics later" means I like 2d browser based trash compactors.

WOW HAS WHAT I CONSIDER SUFFICIENT GRAPHICS. 

It has worse graphics than 80% of new games being released.  Instead of focusing on how everything looked, they made sure the people playing have a lot of content.

This is basically where WoW clones go wrong, they clone the game's style and the quest set up, but they can't get the gameplay right.  Just further proving my point.

All I'm freaking saying is I don't need to be playing on a blue-ray fantasy world.  I hate when I log in a game and it's obvious they spent their entire budget on amazing graphics and the game it self is garbage.

  Fearum

Elite Member

Joined: 1/15/11
Posts: 1150

12/11/12 12:11:36 AM#30

I want both. Why settle for anything less?

The better question is when are they going to be able to match great graphics with great gameplay?

Is it the code or the technology that is holding it back?

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 14114

12/11/12 1:18:24 PM#31
Originally posted by Abuz0r

OK I see a lot of people think my "graphics later" means I like 2d browser based trash compactors.

WOW HAS WHAT I CONSIDER SUFFICIENT GRAPHICS. 

It has worse graphics than 80% of new games being released.  Instead of focusing on how everything looked, they made sure the people playing have a lot of content.

Don't get the idea that every game could make WoW-quality graphics for free.  Blizzard has surely spent many millions of dollars making the graphics for WoW.  WoW probably has a larger budget than any other MMORPG ever made.

The reason WoW graphics look dated is that they are.  At launch, Blizzard was limited to what they could do in 2004.  Newer APIs (and yes, even the ubiquitous but very old DirectX 9.0c is a "newer" API than what WoW had available at launch) and dramatically faster hardware make it possible to produce higher quality graphics at less cost, and it would be very foolish to ignore that in pursuit of WoW-quality graphics.

  13lake

Elite Member

Joined: 9/14/10
Posts: 210

12/11/12 1:28:21 PM#32
When i get life-like graphics on a virtual reality headset, I'll start whining for better gameplay, untill then speed up technology and get us better graphics DEVs !
  Zorgo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/05/05
Posts: 2269

Who did wrong? The advertiser hired to sell the game or the consumer who put faith in advertising?

12/11/12 2:43:46 PM#33
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Abuz0r

OK I see a lot of people think my "graphics later" means I like 2d browser based trash compactors.

WOW HAS WHAT I CONSIDER SUFFICIENT GRAPHICS. 

It has worse graphics than 80% of new games being released.  Instead of focusing on how everything looked, they made sure the people playing have a lot of content.

Don't get the idea that every game could make WoW-quality graphics for free.  Blizzard has surely spent many millions of dollars making the graphics for WoW.  WoW probably has a larger budget than any other MMORPG ever made.

The reason WoW graphics look dated is that they are.  At launch, Blizzard was limited to what they could do in 2004.  Newer APIs (and yes, even the ubiquitous but very old DirectX 9.0c is a "newer" API than what WoW had available at launch) and dramatically faster hardware make it possible to produce higher quality graphics at less cost, and it would be very foolish to ignore that in pursuit of WoW-quality graphics.

Just to add to what Quiz said,

 I think WoW has great graphics that have held up extremely well. Well beyond 'sufficient'.  I don't mind the older graphics because it was wrapped in a great stylized art. While I can tell from a tech perspective they are older (limited animations, limited skeletons, 'flatness', etc.) I believe the art style made up for that. What they did with their technical limitations was done very well, it has held up visually better than, say EQ1, imo.  The world is beautiful, the animations can be down right hilarious (in a good way), and it is an art style branded in my memory. It would be hard to imagine WoW 'improving' the graphics, because it might not feel like WoW anymore.

Contrast that with something like EQ1 where I believe a graphic overhaul starting from square one and a more cohesive artistic style, would do the product good. I think the same thing done to WoW  would potentially lose subs. Like making 'new' coke. 

I mean really, when compared to the competition, saying warcraft held up 'well' is an understatement, some of the older games, imo, are unplayable simply from a graphics perspective.

Anyway, when someone rejects warcraft due to 'dated' graphics, I think it is wise they don't look at the rest of the iceberg under the water. 

 

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 21640

12/11/12 3:11:49 PM#34
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Abuz0r

OK I see a lot of people think my "graphics later" means I like 2d browser based trash compactors.

WOW HAS WHAT I CONSIDER SUFFICIENT GRAPHICS. 

It has worse graphics than 80% of new games being released.  Instead of focusing on how everything looked, they made sure the people playing have a lot of content.

Don't get the idea that every game could make WoW-quality graphics for free.  Blizzard has surely spent many millions of dollars making the graphics for WoW.  WoW probably has a larger budget than any other MMORPG ever made.

The reason WoW graphics look dated is that they are.  At launch, Blizzard was limited to what they could do in 2004.  Newer APIs (and yes, even the ubiquitous but very old DirectX 9.0c is a "newer" API than what WoW had available at launch) and dramatically faster hardware make it possible to produce higher quality graphics at less cost, and it would be very foolish to ignore that in pursuit of WoW-quality graphics.

Oh .. wow has good graphics .. not good in terms of polygon count, but good in terms of design and art.

Last time i was still playing Cata, i really enjoy those shoulders that have gear turning in them, or the staff that has a wiggling tail. It looks 10x more interesting than the realistic looking but generic axe or staff in SKYRIM. It is about the design, not the realism.

  Arclan

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/29/07
Posts: 1448

"Ideas are worthless. The only currency that holds any weight is the ability and drive to execute."

12/11/12 4:20:23 PM#35

Obviously true, OP. Look at minecraft and WoW. Inferior graphics but the games were far more popular than SWTOR, POBS, etc.

Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  worldalpha

Novice Member

Joined: 11/03/11
Posts: 401

Working hard on WorldAlpha

12/11/12 5:23:47 PM#36
Graphics gets people to start playing a game, gameplay keeps them there.

Thanks,
Mike
Working on Social Strategy MMORTS (now Launched!) http://www.worldalpha.com

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