The Three Pillars of HD Era Gaming...

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  • style 4 Nov 2006 13:51:56 416 posts
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    After my experience with the Xbox 360 version of Fifa 07, I felt compelled to fire a shot across the bows of those who feel that all the 'HD Era' consoles have to offer is tarted up graphics. From where I'm standing, there are three main pillars upon which they stand:


    Look governs the visual fidelity of the game, and the immersiveness of its world. It is not solely confined to realistic visuals either. In the last generation, cel shading was made possible. Who knows what graphical and stylistic techniques will be powered in this. And despite what the naysayers would have you believe, graphics are a very important part of how enjoyable a game is. Maybe not a defining factor by itself, as the Grand Theft Auto III games proved, but it is very important.

    Feel governs physics, interaction and movement. How a game is played, basically. Gaming is an interactive medium, so the way in which you connect with the game world is of utmost importance. The recent Gran Turismo games are a pertinent example of this mantra, as their ability to improve upon the momentum and load distribution of the cars led to a more tactile and involving game than was had in the PSone games.

    Play is a pretty vague tenet, that covers the experience one has with the game. This comes down to multiple criteria. Level design, story. Even graphics and physics. More specifically, I'm referring to AI. Most games see you face off against some form of sentient opponent, so how they react and respond to you will play a significant part in how you react and respond to them, and thus enjoy the game. This is an area where Halo excelled back in the day, being one of the first console shooters to offer up a truly dynamic and involving opponent.


    To tie all this into a specific point of relevance, my experience with Fifa showed me one thing. With regards the second pillar, Feel, it is light years ahead of any football game ever made.

    Now, it is important to note that I still believe Pro Evolution Soccer 6, a last gen game, to be better. Have a look in the thread entitled "Fifa 07", around page 23/24, to see all my thoughts on the two games. Powerful consoles do not automatically lead to better games. A PlayStation 2 and an Xbox 360 are just computers. Nothing more. It still takes a human to take advantage of each platforms strengths, meaning that one will not neccessarily supercede the other by default. That said, the point behind this thread is simple. You throw Fifa 07's physics engine into Pro Evolution Soccer 6, and you instantly have a game that just couldn't be made on the Xbox or PlayStation 2.

    And that's what this thread, ultimately, is all about. I learnt last night pretty definitively that HD Era gaming is not just about "pritty grafix". There are physics and AI possibilities that have yet to be exploited in a lot of games, because it's easier, cheaper and quicker to make good graphics than it is to revamp whole engines. However, as costs eventually come down, we should start to see these machine begin to justify themselves, as in the long run, they certainly have a lot more to offer than just better graphics.
  • Deleted user 4 November 2006 13:53:53
    I haven't bothered to read the post, but how does high-definition improve the physics of a game?
  • silentbob 4 Nov 2006 13:54:26 28,975 posts
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    Yawnzuki!

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  • haowan 4 Nov 2006 14:00:01 7,384 posts
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    deathgibbon: HD Era, not HD.
  • style 4 Nov 2006 14:01:13 416 posts
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    deathgibbon wrote:
    I haven't bothered to read the post, but how does high-definition improve the physics of a game?
    Huh? I referred to the "HD Era", not HD itself. If you must know, I was trying to avoid saying "The Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3" because then the Nintendo fanboys would be up in arms, I get flamed, albundy accusations follow, and so on. But if my alternative wording confused you, feel free to swap any and all references to the HD Era with the 360 and the PS3. Although you could argue that the Wii has to offer in the Feel department.
  • style 4 Nov 2006 14:03:08 416 posts
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    haowan wrote:
    deathgibbon: HD Era, not HD.
    Uh, yeah. What he said!

    :-)
  • haowan 4 Nov 2006 14:06:06 7,384 posts
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    Yeah, there's a whole bunch of people saying the next gen will give us better AI and better physics and therefore better gaming. It's BS IMO, but feel free to dream.

    Good AI is partly dependent of processing power yes, but good AI doesn't have to rely on that, it should be fun to play against and very very few games manage that. Good AI was perfectly possible in the last gen, it's just that it takes a lot of work and effort to get going, and most of the time people don't see that as necessary for a game.

    And I really don't see what physics can really add to a game, ultimately, unless you're on about immersion.
  • silentbob 4 Nov 2006 14:07:10 28,975 posts
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    Thread still boring and painfully obvious.

    /sets egg timer

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  • heyyo 4 Nov 2006 14:10:32 14,373 posts
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    style wrote:
    three main pillars:


    Look

    Feel

    Play

    Style
  • silentbob 4 Nov 2006 14:10:34 28,975 posts
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    haowan wrote:
    And I really don't see what physics can really add to a game, ultimately, unless you're on about immersion.
    Haowan LOL!

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  • haowan 4 Nov 2006 14:11:15 7,384 posts
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    OK, name one, that doesn't use physics as its basis for gameplay.
  • style 4 Nov 2006 14:12:07 416 posts
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    haowan wrote:
    Yeah, there's a whole bunch of people saying the next gen will give us better AI and better physics and therefore better gaming. It's BS IMO, but feel free to dream.

    Good AI is partly dependent of processing power yes, but good AI doesn't have to rely on that, it should be fun to play against and very very few games manage that. Good AI was perfectly possible in the last gen, it's just that it takes a lot of work and effort to get going, and most of the time people don't see that as necessary for a game.

    And I really don't see what physics can really add to a game, ultimately, unless you're on about immersion.
    After playing Fifa 07, I just can't agree with that. And when I play Gears of War, I'm sure I'll agree even less. But you're entitled to your own opinion, of course. I sort of see your angle with regards AI though. It is the most difficult of the three to accomplish. But it can be done. Forza Motorsport was a gleaming example of this, when placed beside the Gran Turismo games. In fact, against nearly any racing game to-date, it shines.

    Edited by style at 14:15:57 04-11-2006
  • silentbob 4 Nov 2006 14:13:13 28,975 posts
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    haowan wrote:
    OK, name one, that doesn't use physics as its basis for gameplay.
    Your statement was hilarious in that one of the biggest goals for any game is to immerse the player. Hence LOL!

    Capiche?

    Edited by silentbob at 14:13:13 04-11-2006

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  • haowan 4 Nov 2006 14:13:15 7,384 posts
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    I'm no football game man - is the AI in Fifa 07 better on the 360 than it is on other platforms?
  • haowan 4 Nov 2006 14:13:57 7,384 posts
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    silentbob wrote:
    haowan wrote:
    OK, name one, that doesn't use physics as its basis for gameplay.
    Your statement was hilarious in that one of the biggest goal for any game is to immerse the player. Hence LOL!

    Capiche?

    I don't agree with that at all, I think the biggest goal is to engage the player, immersion is just a bonus.
  • silentbob 4 Nov 2006 14:14:51 28,975 posts
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    haowan wrote:
    silentbob wrote:
    haowan wrote:
    OK, name one, that doesn't use physics as its basis for gameplay.
    Your statement was hilarious in that one of the biggest goal for any game is to immerse the player. Hence LOL!

    Capiche?

    I don't agree with that at all, I think the biggest goal is to engage the player, immersion is just a bonus.
    It's part and parcel of the same thing. You just need to broaden your definition of 'immersion'.

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  • style 4 Nov 2006 14:15:28 416 posts
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    haowan wrote:
    I'm no football game man - is the AI in Fifa 07 better on the 360 than it is on other platforms?
    I would say yes, personally. I rented Fifa 07 on the Xbox last weekend, and whupped the game on World Class, within an hour or two of booting up the game. No such luck with the 360 version though. From my experience, it was a lot harder. In saying that though, PES6, a PS2 game, has better AI. Make of that what you will.

    :-)
  • heyyo 4 Nov 2006 14:16:11 14,373 posts
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    How can you engage a player without immersion
  • style 4 Nov 2006 14:17:42 416 posts
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    Harry wrote:
    /wonders when Style will finally say something like "the true HD era will start with PS3" and out himself as Phil Harrison. :)
    Well I'm getting an Xbox 360 for Crimbo, so probably never.

    However, I'll probably procure a PS3 in two years time, when it is reasonably priced, so..."The r3al n3x7 g3nz beg1ns 2008!".

    :-)
  • style 4 Nov 2006 14:20:08 416 posts
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    Of course I do. I like to reverse engineer it.

    Where do you think I get all my ideas from?

    /controversial

    ;-)
  • haowan 4 Nov 2006 14:21:01 7,384 posts
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    silentbob wrote:
    haowan wrote:
    silentbob wrote:
    haowan wrote:
    OK, name one, that doesn't use physics as its basis for gameplay.
    Your statement was hilarious in that one of the biggest goal for any game is to immerse the player. Hence LOL!

    Capiche?

    I don't agree with that at all, I think the biggest goal is to engage the player, immersion is just a bonus.
    It's part and parcel of the same thing. You just need to broaden your definition of 'immersion'.

    Again I can't agree completely: physics for the most part allows for greater immersion, and allows the player to for example run around breaking things or poking things and watching them move, but unless that's part of the actual game mechanic I wouldn't say that was engaging the player in the game, more in the game's world - immersion.

    Half-Life 2 is an interesting example in that almost all the puzzles and physics gameplay apart from the crane section(s) would be perfectly do-able IMO without a proper physics solution. Having the physics there adds to the level of immersion but in most cases doesn't actually generate gameplay (edit - this sentence is a bit wrong actually, but I CBA to correct it, suffice to say that using the phyics is a better way of doing the puzles in HL2 than doing it any other way), although that line is horribly blurred because the puzzles used, while not necessarily original, definitely do come from having played about with the physics and creating puzzles from it. So yeah - in cases, physics gives us better games where they use it for their game mechanics.

    In addition that Natural Motion business is very interesting indeed, although I do wonder whether it will lead to meaningful gameplay or just engrossing puppetry, if you see what I mean.

    Edited by haowan at 14:25:05 04-11-2006
  • haowan 4 Nov 2006 14:22:04 7,384 posts
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    style wrote:
    haowan wrote:
    I'm no football game man - is the AI in Fifa 07 better on the 360 than it is on other platforms?
    I would say yes, personally. I rented Fifa 07 on the Xbox last weekend, and whupped the game on World Class, within an hour or two of booting up the game. No such luck with the 360 version though. From my experience, it was a lot harder. In saying that though, PES6, a PS2 game, has better AI. Make of that what you will.

    :-)

    So do you suppose they could have made the game harder just for the 360 or would you put it down to better processing power allowing for more complex AI? Did you notice the computer doing anything that you don't think would be computable on the Xbox?
  • haowan 4 Nov 2006 14:23:02 7,384 posts
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    heyyo! wrote:
    How can you engage a player without immersion

    Is minesweeper immersive? Spider Solitaire? Mah Jong?
  • silentbob 4 Nov 2006 14:25:10 28,975 posts
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    haowan wrote:
    heyyo! wrote:
    How can you engage a player without immersion

    Is minesweeper immersive? Spider Solitaire? Mah Jong?
    Yes. See previous point.

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  • haowan 4 Nov 2006 14:27:05 7,384 posts
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    OK, we're doing semantics now. Since I brought it up, my definition is that you feel part of the world of the game in which you're playing, and that doesn't come from playing the game mechanics, but by experiencing the atmosphere of the game.

    Capiche?
  • style 4 Nov 2006 14:29:45 416 posts
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    haowan wrote:
    style wrote:
    haowan wrote:
    I'm no football game man - is the AI in Fifa 07 better on the 360 than it is on other platforms?
    I would say yes, personally. I rented Fifa 07 on the Xbox last weekend, and whupped the game on World Class, within an hour or two of booting up the game. No such luck with the 360 version though. From my experience, it was a lot harder. In saying that though, PES6, a PS2 game, has better AI. Make of that what you will.

    :-)

    So do you suppose they could have made the game harder just for the 360 or would you put it down to better processing power allowing for more complex AI? Did you notice the computer doing anything that you don't think would be computable on the Xbox?
    As I said before, the machine is only nine-tenths of the law. It is ultimately down to a developer to make things happen. In that sense, within EA towers, and the talent they have at their disposal, I do believe that the 360 version was only do-able on a 360. Let's just say that the opposition felt independent. Each opposing player was an individual entity that needed passing, as opposed to the Xbox version where they moved as a block, and I found it extremely easy to learn their collective routine, and shoot at will.

    Of course, I will muddy the water by saying Pro Evolution Soccer 6 trumps both, and pretty significantly as well, even though it is very much a PS2 game. Which goes back to my developer-centric argument. A game is only as advanced as the developer behind it. Fifa 07 on the 360 is not better than PES6 simply because, in my opinion, Konami are just better at their job, full stop. However, when Konami develop a proper next gen PES title, I fully expect it to be superior to the current (last?) gen versions in every way, AI very much included.

    Does that answer your question?

    :-D
  • haowan 4 Nov 2006 14:31:30 7,384 posts
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    Kind of - you're saying that good AI is dependent not on the machine but the developer.

    So it's not part of the pillars of HD Era gaming then?
  • style 4 Nov 2006 14:34:53 416 posts
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    No, what I was trying to say, in the most convuluted way possible it seems, is that while better machines make better AI possible, it takes a good developer to turn potential into reality. That is why as much of an advance as EA have made on their own game, given the additional processing resources of the Xbox 360, they do not have the ability to trump a PS2 game from a superior developer (in my opinion). However, and this is the important bit, I fully expect Konami to make PES6's AI look redundant in the next year or two.
  • style 4 Nov 2006 14:35:27 416 posts
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    Truk wrote:
    Why the laughing smiley at the end of that post? It comes across like you're laughing at the person you're replying to. Quite patronising, in my opinion.
    No, I was laughing at myself due to the convuluted way in which I was trying to get my point across. Self-depreciation.

    Edited by style at 14:37:25 04-11-2006
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