Computerplayer1

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Realism: The Glass Ceiling of Gaming

Most gamers are at least casually aware of the Uncanny Valley – the point at which a character in a game looks close enough to photo realistic, but because of the infinite little movements and expressions a real human emotes, seems unsettling because the game does not emulate it well enough. The Uncanny Valley is something game developers have to battle any time they make the choice to go for realistic character models. At this point in time, it seems that the UV has only one definition, but is there another version of the Uncanny Valley coming around? Are games going too far to capture realism?


Oh Snap! She's got a...wait, those wrinkles don't look right.

Obviously graphics have become one of the most, if not the most, important part of games in the eyes of the average gamer (especially the younger crowd). It would be foolish to deny that developers largely focus on making sure their game looks amazing before they worry about gameplay, but lately there seems to be some spots of light poking through the darkness. Games like Grand Theft Auto 4 that strive to give a more realistic world to play in, for example, lead the way of the sandbox.

I think as we move forward, we're going to start seeing more genres incorporate the sandbox ****of gameplay. The Mercenaries series, for example, has melded third-person action with the sandbox. In a similar vein, the Far Cry and Crysis games have thrown the First-Person shooter into the sandbox. Even sports games like NHL 09 have flexed their realism muscles when the "be a superstar" mode has you play as one player from a dynamic angle, and even has you sit and watch from the bench when your shift is over (now that's entertainment). Where is all of this going, and how does it relate to the uncanny valley?

Let me answer that question with another question: When does a game stop being a game? I don't know about the rest of those who played GTA IV, but the novelty of having anyone but Bruce blow up your cell phone every five minutes wore off really quickly (and even Bruce, however awesome he was, got annoying after a while). Rockstar was shooting for a more realistic world, but it kind of backfired. It isn't any more fun to have your cell phone being called constantly by needy friends in a game than it is in real life. The same kind of deal happened with San Andreas when you had to eat and workout, or suffer the consequence of morbid obesity. Developers probably aren't going to stop though, so long as they know realism is the thing that's cooler than sliced bread, and so some time down the road, the next definition of the Uncanny Valley is going to come roll up on us.


Psht, show me my muscle tissue and tendons.

Sometime in the future, maybe when GTA VII graces our shelves, we may be in the position where a game world seems almost too real, much like a character model that looks too real, but something will be off enough to creep you out. The other scenario is that it will be so real that it'll be boring as hell. GTA VII will have you buying groceries, using the washroom, showering, and perhaps most shockingly, putting on a condom before rocking the car. It's going to bring together so much of what you do outside of the game that it will probably stop feeling like a game altogether (assuming you shop, relieve yourself, bathe, and wrap it up of course). On the other side of things, Far Cry 9 will probably have a feature where once you die; you're done, back to square one – just like the RL! Or maybe you'll have to manually stitch your arm up with a motion sensing controller (ok so that last one sounds awesome, but you get the picture).

It's kind of ironic, really. Gamers are dying for a realistic experience, but there are those ever present limits that will remain as roadblocks for developers and "Uncanny Valleys for both themselves and gamers to try and get over. It's one of the few glass ceilings of gaming, and one that doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

What's your take on realism and games? Is there a stopping point where anything beyond it is too real? Will developers even take it that far?

Have a good one,

CP1

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Computerplayer1

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Edited By Computerplayer1

Most gamers are at least casually aware of the Uncanny Valley – the point at which a character in a game looks close enough to photo realistic, but because of the infinite little movements and expressions a real human emotes, seems unsettling because the game does not emulate it well enough. The Uncanny Valley is something game developers have to battle any time they make the choice to go for realistic character models. At this point in time, it seems that the UV has only one definition, but is there another version of the Uncanny Valley coming around? Are games going too far to capture realism?


Oh Snap! She's got a...wait, those wrinkles don't look right.

Obviously graphics have become one of the most, if not the most, important part of games in the eyes of the average gamer (especially the younger crowd). It would be foolish to deny that developers largely focus on making sure their game looks amazing before they worry about gameplay, but lately there seems to be some spots of light poking through the darkness. Games like Grand Theft Auto 4 that strive to give a more realistic world to play in, for example, lead the way of the sandbox.

I think as we move forward, we're going to start seeing more genres incorporate the sandbox ****of gameplay. The Mercenaries series, for example, has melded third-person action with the sandbox. In a similar vein, the Far Cry and Crysis games have thrown the First-Person shooter into the sandbox. Even sports games like NHL 09 have flexed their realism muscles when the "be a superstar" mode has you play as one player from a dynamic angle, and even has you sit and watch from the bench when your shift is over (now that's entertainment). Where is all of this going, and how does it relate to the uncanny valley?

Let me answer that question with another question: When does a game stop being a game? I don't know about the rest of those who played GTA IV, but the novelty of having anyone but Bruce blow up your cell phone every five minutes wore off really quickly (and even Bruce, however awesome he was, got annoying after a while). Rockstar was shooting for a more realistic world, but it kind of backfired. It isn't any more fun to have your cell phone being called constantly by needy friends in a game than it is in real life. The same kind of deal happened with San Andreas when you had to eat and workout, or suffer the consequence of morbid obesity. Developers probably aren't going to stop though, so long as they know realism is the thing that's cooler than sliced bread, and so some time down the road, the next definition of the Uncanny Valley is going to come roll up on us.


Psht, show me my muscle tissue and tendons.

Sometime in the future, maybe when GTA VII graces our shelves, we may be in the position where a game world seems almost too real, much like a character model that looks too real, but something will be off enough to creep you out. The other scenario is that it will be so real that it'll be boring as hell. GTA VII will have you buying groceries, using the washroom, showering, and perhaps most shockingly, putting on a condom before rocking the car. It's going to bring together so much of what you do outside of the game that it will probably stop feeling like a game altogether (assuming you shop, relieve yourself, bathe, and wrap it up of course). On the other side of things, Far Cry 9 will probably have a feature where once you die; you're done, back to square one – just like the RL! Or maybe you'll have to manually stitch your arm up with a motion sensing controller (ok so that last one sounds awesome, but you get the picture).

It's kind of ironic, really. Gamers are dying for a realistic experience, but there are those ever present limits that will remain as roadblocks for developers and "Uncanny Valleys for both themselves and gamers to try and get over. It's one of the few glass ceilings of gaming, and one that doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

What's your take on realism and games? Is there a stopping point where anything beyond it is too real? Will developers even take it that far?

Have a good one,

CP1

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tekmojo

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Edited By tekmojo

Humans don't stop at anything until they become extinct or become surpassed by another force greater than their own. As long as games are being made, expect to see Matrix like experiences in the future.

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rollingzeppelin

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Edited By rollingzeppelin

I think that developers realize that when you go full bore on realism you sacrifice the fun that is essential to games. There was nothing stopping Rockstar from putting in grocery shopping or any of the things you mentioned, but they didnt for the obvious reason that it would be boring as hell and not at all fun. The real challenge to developers will be in the graphical department; to not make a game so realistic looking that it is affected by the uncanney valley. The balance between realism and fun in terms of gameplay has been a problem that devs have faced for quite a while. For this reason I think that the future will only bring better balance and we will see games that not only provide a great experience, but also envelope you in a way that makes you feel as if you're in the game.

So in short, no, I don't think that this is a new type of uncanny valley. It's just one of the numerous balance issues that devs face when making a game.

Kudos to creating a pretty interesting topic though. I don't usually comment on forums but this one caught my eye.

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mordukai

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Edited By mordukai

I think Virtual Reality will make a come back in the coming years but not in the same form that it was before. Now that we have such powerful home gaming system I think game developers could and should explore the world of virtual reality as a new mean of input. If done right it could be a new way to immerse the player in the game world, plus if you find a way to combine virtual reality with 3D holo-graphics then they could come up with something very unique. 

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delta_ass

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Edited By delta_ass

No such thing. I welcome more realism.

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PureRok

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That looks really, really bad. The skin looks plasticy, the teeth look plastery, her eyes are too white, there aren't ANY wrinkles around her lips/jowls. Hell, the best looking part is the wrinkled area between her eyebrows. Oh, and her nose looks rubbery.
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tekmojo

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Edited By tekmojo

I wouldn't dare say that artistic styles in games will diminish, because they wont. It's more that this will be an example of a much larger gaming medium, and that medium will explore another realm of video game functions. More field of vision, more information being processed through the brain at any given time. You will see the developers' vision for a full experience in virtual stasis. All translates into a more developed game, more realistic. The developer would have to think about "first-person" point of view in new meaning. Same purpose, but completely new meaning. 


Graphical interfaces will be far more efficient and easier to distinguish. If the game requires the interface to be characterized as something other than human interpretation, it can be emulated to do that. The games' interface will be the package to the rest of content. Customization options would create for an even more personal and real feal to it. Also gives more power of control back to the gamers, another concept within virtual reality.

edit: I imagine things will end up kind of like this movie, but within game worlds...

It's not Reality TV, it's Virtual Reality.
It's not Reality TV, it's Virtual Reality.


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axxiomatiq

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Edited By axxiomatiq

I think devs know that ultra-realism doesn't always sell.  Super realistic simulations of airplane piloting and racecar driving have been around for a while, yet titles like Burnout and Need For Speed are still the ones making money.  Also, in case you missed it, Nintendo's has been making no attempt to strive for realism, and they've been raking in obscene amounts of cash for it.  Who cares if my can't control my legless outfielders in a game of baseball, so long as me and my eight year old cousin have a fun time swinging the wiimote?  I'm pretty sure any business savvy dev knows that realism isn't the highest goal, and we won't need to ever worry about too-realistic-to-be-fun games ruling the market.

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Brundage

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red orchestra, nuff said.

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crunchUK

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san andreas is REALISTIC?! lololol

*flies away in jetpack*

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mordukai

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tekmojo said:
"I wouldn't dare say that artistic styles in games will diminish, because they wont. It's more that this will be an example of a much larger gaming medium, and that medium will explore another realm of video game functions. More field of vision, more information being processed through the brain at any given time. You will see the developers' vision for a full experience in virtual stasis. All translates into a more developed game, more realistic. The developer would have to think about "first-person" point of view in new meaning. Same purpose, but completely new meaning. 

Graphical interfaces will be far more efficient and easier to distinguish. If the game requires the interface to be characterized as something other than human interpretation, it can be emulated to do that. The games' interface will be the package to the rest of content. Customization options would create for an even more personal and real feal to it. Also gives more power of control back to the gamers, another concept within virtual reality.

edit: I imagine things will end up kind of like this movie, but within game worlds...

It's not Reality TV, it's Virtual Reality.
It's not Reality TV, it's Virtual Reality.


"
You should really read the book this story was based upon, it's way better.
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End_Boss

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crunchUK said:
"san andreas is REALISTIC?! lololol *flies away in jetpack*"
I lol'd.
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xxNBxx

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RollingZeppelin said:
"I think that developers realize that when you go full bore on realism you sacrifice the fun that is essential to games. There was nothing stopping Rockstar from putting in grocery shopping or any of the things you mentioned, but they didnt for the obvious reason that it would be boring as hell and not at all fun. The real challenge to developers will be in the graphical department; to not make a game so realistic looking that it is affected by the uncanney valley. The balance between realism and fun in terms of gameplay has been a problem that devs have faced for quite a while. For this reason I think that the future will only bring better balance and we will see games that not only provide a great experience, but also envelope you in a way that makes you feel as if you're in the game. So in short, no, I don't think that this is a new type of uncanny valley. It's just one of the numerous balance issues that devs face when making a game. Kudos to creating a pretty interesting topic though. I don't usually comment on forums but this one caught my eye."
all that needs to be said.
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CL60

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End_Boss said:
"crunchUK said:
"san andreas is REALISTIC?! lololol *flies away in jetpack*"
I lol'd."
I'll admit, I also lol'd.