Look at me mom, I'm inconsistent!

 

                The problem is that the more photorealistic the graphics get it’s easier to notice what is going wrong. Take as an example stairs; they can look great there is nothing wrong with the models and textures. Well let’s not talk about Alpha Protocol it’s probably not a bad model the textures are just lacking. I would take a screenshot of what I mean, but I’m not going to subject myself to that game again. What I am talking about in terms of stairs is however, the fact that for many games there is only one solid movement animation. Don’t get me wrong I know most games have more than one animation for movement. I’m talking about the fact that they are all made for the player to run on a horizontal axis. There are generally no animations for walking up/down stairs. Even if there is such an animation in the game it doesn’t feel like your character is running / walking up a staircase there is no weight to them, I’ll talk more about weight later though. There are some games that get these animations feeling and looking right, the first game that comes to my mind is Alan Wake. Now call me crazy *please don’t I can’t take the pressure* but you have no idea how much time I spent in Alan Wake just running up and down the stairs and marveling at the animations. Alright, as soon as I wrote that I began to feel crazy let’s forget I ever said such a thing. This animation is a make or break for me in terms of immersing myself in the game. I don’t care how nice the graphics are but if I walk down some stairs and it looks like he/she is floating above it, it reminds me that I am in a game and not inhabiting the character. Alright so the first paragraph was all about stairs, things can only get more interesting from here right? Right?

Alright now it’s time to talk about rock physics and yes I’m serious. If they are going to try and make the game realistic, yet walking along you can move a generously sized chunk of rock just by bumping into it with your feet, there seems to be some kind of gravity problem. Either that or your character must have spent all his time in the gym on his legs, they must be huge. This is a problem for me and I especially noticed how much it bothered me, when I saw gameplay in Crysis 2 where chunks of a building exploded off of the side of it and then bounced harmlessly on the cement or car. Needless to say I cringed at that moment. Lucasarts has created the euphoria system to give everything the ability to realistically react to opposing force glass, wood, and metal are all wonderfully realized put a rock in front of someone and it will stay the exact same rock no breaking apart in the least. Now I understand this is probably not that big of a deal for you in games. As I’ve already said I’m probably just crazy.

Speaking of crazy I want to touch on one topic very lightly because I know it’s a heavier handed topic for another day. The animation of shooting or getting shot is a very tricky thing to pull off when the player character can shoot any body part they want. This becomes a problem because I don’t want to see the same animation when I shoot some in the balls compared to when I shoot them in the face. Yes I know that everyone seems to use ragdoll physics, that’s fine it’s a good physics model but when they die and then float to the ground and land with no weight to them. Not to mention that after they fall they have the same problem that rocks do in the fact that they are essentially weightless. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked across a room after my genocide of people that aren’t me, and had a dead body get caught on me and I panic and just started shooting at it and peeing myself. It was on Dead Space don’t look at me like that. This has become more and more of a problem when everything is looking more realistic.

That’s quite enough of that discussion it was starting to become tedious, well more tedious then I usually am I guess. Now, I want to talk about a characters weight, no I’m not calling anyone fat except for the Volus their fat and everyone should hate them. What I am talking about however is feeling a characters weight in the world. If I’m playing as Master Chief I want to feel like I’m am heavier than the marines running around if they stand on a dead piece of wood I should break down into it. I want to feel the strength that a genetically engineered super soldier has. Show him breaking things just by trying to grab it. As it stands there are few games that really show the weight of the protagonist let alone NPC’s. This is a problem if you want me to feel a connection with a game, let alone the character I inhabit. The best game I can come up with a very weight conscious character is Uncharted 2. The beginning train sequence where you climb up the side or inside of the train gives me a feeling that the character actually inhabits this world. He can’t climb up everything because the object may not be able to hold his weight.

These things are essential *to me at least* to get me immersed into a game, world, character, and story. Don’t get me wrong I still fall in love with games but they tend to be few and far between as of late. It’s the realism in certain games that makes the games great. While, fucking this up can prove disastrous to any game trying to immerse you in its world and characters.

23 Comments
24 Comments
Posted by Rawrnosaurous
 

                The problem is that the more photorealistic the graphics get it’s easier to notice what is going wrong. Take as an example stairs; they can look great there is nothing wrong with the models and textures. Well let’s not talk about Alpha Protocol it’s probably not a bad model the textures are just lacking. I would take a screenshot of what I mean, but I’m not going to subject myself to that game again. What I am talking about in terms of stairs is however, the fact that for many games there is only one solid movement animation. Don’t get me wrong I know most games have more than one animation for movement. I’m talking about the fact that they are all made for the player to run on a horizontal axis. There are generally no animations for walking up/down stairs. Even if there is such an animation in the game it doesn’t feel like your character is running / walking up a staircase there is no weight to them, I’ll talk more about weight later though. There are some games that get these animations feeling and looking right, the first game that comes to my mind is Alan Wake. Now call me crazy *please don’t I can’t take the pressure* but you have no idea how much time I spent in Alan Wake just running up and down the stairs and marveling at the animations. Alright, as soon as I wrote that I began to feel crazy let’s forget I ever said such a thing. This animation is a make or break for me in terms of immersing myself in the game. I don’t care how nice the graphics are but if I walk down some stairs and it looks like he/she is floating above it, it reminds me that I am in a game and not inhabiting the character. Alright so the first paragraph was all about stairs, things can only get more interesting from here right? Right?

Alright now it’s time to talk about rock physics and yes I’m serious. If they are going to try and make the game realistic, yet walking along you can move a generously sized chunk of rock just by bumping into it with your feet, there seems to be some kind of gravity problem. Either that or your character must have spent all his time in the gym on his legs, they must be huge. This is a problem for me and I especially noticed how much it bothered me, when I saw gameplay in Crysis 2 where chunks of a building exploded off of the side of it and then bounced harmlessly on the cement or car. Needless to say I cringed at that moment. Lucasarts has created the euphoria system to give everything the ability to realistically react to opposing force glass, wood, and metal are all wonderfully realized put a rock in front of someone and it will stay the exact same rock no breaking apart in the least. Now I understand this is probably not that big of a deal for you in games. As I’ve already said I’m probably just crazy.

Speaking of crazy I want to touch on one topic very lightly because I know it’s a heavier handed topic for another day. The animation of shooting or getting shot is a very tricky thing to pull off when the player character can shoot any body part they want. This becomes a problem because I don’t want to see the same animation when I shoot some in the balls compared to when I shoot them in the face. Yes I know that everyone seems to use ragdoll physics, that’s fine it’s a good physics model but when they die and then float to the ground and land with no weight to them. Not to mention that after they fall they have the same problem that rocks do in the fact that they are essentially weightless. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked across a room after my genocide of people that aren’t me, and had a dead body get caught on me and I panic and just started shooting at it and peeing myself. It was on Dead Space don’t look at me like that. This has become more and more of a problem when everything is looking more realistic.

That’s quite enough of that discussion it was starting to become tedious, well more tedious then I usually am I guess. Now, I want to talk about a characters weight, no I’m not calling anyone fat except for the Volus their fat and everyone should hate them. What I am talking about however is feeling a characters weight in the world. If I’m playing as Master Chief I want to feel like I’m am heavier than the marines running around if they stand on a dead piece of wood I should break down into it. I want to feel the strength that a genetically engineered super soldier has. Show him breaking things just by trying to grab it. As it stands there are few games that really show the weight of the protagonist let alone NPC’s. This is a problem if you want me to feel a connection with a game, let alone the character I inhabit. The best game I can come up with a very weight conscious character is Uncharted 2. The beginning train sequence where you climb up the side or inside of the train gives me a feeling that the character actually inhabits this world. He can’t climb up everything because the object may not be able to hold his weight.

These things are essential *to me at least* to get me immersed into a game, world, character, and story. Don’t get me wrong I still fall in love with games but they tend to be few and far between as of late. It’s the realism in certain games that makes the games great. While, fucking this up can prove disastrous to any game trying to immerse you in its world and characters.

Posted by LordXavierBritish

Did you just fuck up and only copy/paste half of your blog form another site, or am I missing something?

Posted by Rawrnosaurous
@LordXavierBritish:  I might have, i'm trying to grab everything from my past employers server so i'm hoping most of these are the finished versions.
Edited by Rockanomics

So, much, text! Arrrghhh.... I will chew through this! 
 
I'm totally with you on animations. Not exactly what you were talking about but, in Farcry 2 I would try to make my guns jam and my character go down to 1 health bar just so I could see the cool animations. 
 
Edit : Oh Christ I forgot all about Dead Space and the meat footballs they called corpses.

Posted by Meteora

Walking up stairs really pisses me off because they use the normal walking animation than something else. I do remember that in singleplayer for MW2 the soldiers do run up the stairs in a new animation though.  
 
Also the movement of Master Chief and spartans do indeed piss me off, because there's a lack weight behind it. Its almost as if the soldier was weightless and fighting on the moon. There's still a long way ahead before we can start marking down games that mirrors itself to real life.

Posted by EVO

If by inconsistent, you mean only some games address some of these issues, you're right. But when you think about it, game worlds are consistently becoming more believable as technology improves. In just 15 years we went from Wolfenstein 3D to Crysis. Just give it time and eventually all characters will walk up stairs like Nico, be gunned down like Helghast and possess the weight of Nathan Drake.

Posted by EVO
@Meteora said:
" the movement of Master Chief and spartans do indeed piss me off, because there's a lack weight behind it. Its almost as if the soldier was weightless and fighting on the moon. "
Well, they are fighting in space so a lot of the places probably have similar gravity to the moon.
Edited by ryanwho

Consistency is more important than having 3 areas that look great in stage demos that give an unrealistic impression of the game as a whole. But its because of that factor that you get such inconsistency. Dragon Age had fucking N64 textures in some of the indoor areas even on maximum PC resolution. But it doesn't matter because the parts they previewed looked fine. I find it lazy. When the walk in closet becomes something that a kid hides in for a quest so its zoomed way in on it, you'd think the devs would go "maybe this texture should be updated just a little bit, since we're zooming in so close." But I guess not. And before the "graphic whore" retards show up, its not about it looking bad (though it does), its about it looking utterly inconsistent. with everything around it.

Posted by AlisterCat

Lucas Arts didn't create Euphoria. Euphoria is a procedural animation engine based on the Endorphin engine. The engines that Force Unleashed uses for object properties and deformation is DMM or Digital Molecular Matter, Euphoria for AI/Environment interaction and Havok for object physics. You point out Crysis as an example of highlighting bad physics (or at least how certain objects interact), but should every game have to combine 3 or more middleware physics engines to achieve something that is a little more realistic, yet somehow doesn't make that much of a difference? Crytek have done a great job to create an all round engine package that contains all these things without forcing developers to get licenses for a ton of middleware. They have to make custom shaders for a lot of the stuff DMM does but it's still impressive. They can't dedicate all their resources like DMM though.
 
We just aren't there yet. Physics have only been in games for much less than a decade. Give them time to develop, and yes different games will develop at different speeds. Not every game should obtain a DMM engine license to simulate material properties, it would be far too costly. Basic physics are cheap. We started with canned animation, to ragdoll and things like DMM are part of the next step. It only gets more complicated, it isn't linear.

Posted by WatanabeKazuma

A blog about inconsistency is itself formatted inconsistently , oh the irony.  I tend to write into a word document or notepad before pasting on here so I've had the odd formatting problem in the past.
 
Interesting stuff though, no matter how realistic or dense a game's world is made, you look hard enough you're bound to run up against some rough edges. Animation is my main gripe in this scenario though, a game can have great transitions between animations and all that other great stuff but if something like running or something similarly routine is a bit strange it irritates me so much. Latest example being Yakuza 3 and Kazuma's robot run.

Posted by Meteora
@EVO said:
" @Meteora said:
" the movement of Master Chief and spartans do indeed piss me off, because there's a lack weight behind it. Its almost as if the soldier was weightless and fighting on the moon. "
Well, they are fighting in space so a lot of the places probably have similar gravity to the moon. "
Except when they fight on Earth, in Halo 2 and 3. >_>
Posted by Torrim

These things don't bother me as much as others.  If anything, I find that it really messes me up when I play a game without some sort of physics, exaggerated or no.

Posted by Bellum

The thing with the stairs have always bugged me to no end, but none of these things are game breaking issues. Are you a new gamer or something? If you can't suspend your disbelief a bit, you're missing out.

Posted by Rawrnosaurous
@Bellum:  I've been gaming for the better part of my life, none of these are game breaking issues in any way I wouldn't refuse to play a game because of these issues. These are just issues that I tend to find that never really get pointed out, it's small in the grand scheme of things but I secretly wish that someone pays a little attention to it and fixes it.
Posted by Rawrnosaurous
@WatanabeKazuma:  These few blogs are just articles i have written for past employers and never got around to anything more than a rough draft phase. Pardon the mess.
Posted by Voshterkoff

On death animations, I still think that SOF2 has some of the best ever made. An enemy screaming and trying to make a "last stand" with his sidearm after you blew off his right arm really shocked me when I first played.

Posted by CowMuffins

Go play GTAIV or Red Dead Redemption if you want good stair animations. 
I didn't read the rest of the thread, so I don't know if someone said this already.

Posted by Rawrnosaurous
@CowMuffins:  I've sadly never really been able to play through sandbox games, I always get annoyed or bored while playing. I'm not sure why, but give me so much freedom and I don't end up really wanting to do anything.
Posted by Brendan

I think that the problems the OP has are going to be the next graphical leap for the next generation of consoles.  This has always been a problem because it just isn't technically possible (or at least cost feasible) to produce more advanced physics.  Now that graphics have gotten to a certain level of quality, the way in which those graphical models interact with each other will also become more advanced.  All in time, OP, all in time.
Posted by CowMuffins
@Rawrnosaurous: Play Red Dead Redemption. Just do it.
Posted by Bellum
@Rawrnosaurous: 
 
OIC. Misinterpreted what you were saying.
Edited by EightBitShik
@LordXavierBritish: I was trying to figure that out too...maybe he is trying to be edgy and just start out of nowhere or the start of his article is a continuation of the topic...? I don't know. Interesting read though... I think it's odd as hell and I think you are just grasping for something to write and using the most ridiculous thing to complain about... It's like me writing about Mcdonalds and talking about how I don't like how the seeds in the buns are lined up because it reminds me of my childhood...but meh that is just me.
Posted by Lordborg909

Oblivion was shocking for this one.... pick up 100 cups/knives/whatever and spread them around, fun times..... and wsnt there a hack that would let you use the paintbrushes as stairs?

Posted by PillClinton

so fucking hard not to just CSB this...gotta...fight it...