Graphics vs content

User avatar
voxelproof
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 08:13
Location: Europe

Graphics vs content

by voxelproof » Mon Jul 02, 2018 19:15

There's an interesting video made by Extra Credits which casts some light on the issue of great importance to all game developers, also in Minetest. This also by the way explains why upgrading the graphics of Minecraft is a real cul de sac for this game. Making very good graphics always comes at a cost and if the graphics is decided to be of highest achievable quality it usually implies abandoning the ambition of creating rich in-game world. Sometimes it ends up with spectacular fireworks hiding shallow (some may say also primitive) content.

Another video made by the same team discusses the problem of so-called "Uncanny valley" or, in other words, why humans in photorealistic AAA productions always look artificial. This is also relevant to the former video in terms of optimisation of the costs of development; but what really matters is that in spite of putting great effort, time and money into developing high-quality game such attitude often proves to be counter-productive and makes in-game characters less and not more believable.

And the last one I'd like to put under consideration is the sample of the gameplay from one of the latest AAA titles -- "Jurassic World Evolution". This in my opinion clearly shows that the "Uncanny valley" paradox is not constrained only to human characters. Unfortunately the similar deterioration in the impression made by animation of animals occur when the otherwise great static graphics is combined with (and spoiled by) unnatural movements and the repetitive (and sometimes clearly symmetrical) patterns of behaviour. My impression after watching this video is that dinosaurs are endangered by extinction again, this time in gaming.

What is the conclusion? It has in my opinion a great relevance to the Minetest project. Of course having good graphics with shaders, smooth animation of NPCs and particle effects would be nice and add a lot to the overall experience. But once this side of development outweighs more structural approach and taking care of keeping the in-game worlds deep and rich in content, it usually marks entering a downward slope and the beginning of a 'beautiful death' of the idea of game as such. Why? Because any game and any play can't do without the participation of the most important component - the player's imagination. Making games impressive shows with all the content constrained to what can be shown explicitly and in the most realistic way possible is in fact not about gaming: it is a "moviefication" (a new word probably :)) and makes AAA games more and more resembling theatrical sceneries with nothing behind them.
>>>there is life beyond the Cube>>>
 

User avatar
Hume2
Member
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 08:24
Location: Czech Republic
GitHub: Hume2
In-game: Hume2

Re: Graphics vs content

by Hume2 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 20:36

Nice point. The super-realistic games use a lot of graphics but the old glitches still survive. These glitches don't mind me in such unrealistic games like Minetest but they are much more apparent in super-realistic games.

I'll use the "Jurastic World Evolution" as reference. These old glitches are:
  • Whole the world is made of flat textures.
  • All models are hollow. There is nothing inside.
  • A dinosaur doesn't have to touch his food to eat it.
  • All dinosaurs are killed the same way.
  • A dead dinosaur doesn't change its model even when it's half-eaten.
I could continue with this list. It's not easy to eliminate these glitches because it would mean far bigger hardware requirements.

I think that games shouldn't copy the reality. Each game should have its simplified world. The world doesn't have to be realistic. If the game world has nothing to do with reality, it's not a mistake.
If you lack the reality, go on a trip or find a job.
 

User avatar
voxelproof
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 08:13
Location: Europe

Re: Graphics vs content

by voxelproof » Tue Jul 03, 2018 13:15

Hume2 wrote:Nice point. The super-realistic games use a lot of graphics but the old glitches still survive. These glitches don't mind me in such unrealistic games like Minetest but they are much more apparent in super-realistic games.


Yes, that's exactly what I meant.

I'll use the "Jurastic World Evolution" as reference. These old glitches are:


I would add animal bodies penetrating through each other. This makes all the magic vanish in an eye's blink.

It's not easy to eliminate these glitches because it would mean far bigger hardware requirements.


Some parts of animation are of stunning reality and if they put another 10-20 mln bucks into these lizards the effects would be amazing (but probably requiring high-end hardware to enjoy it). However it's very unlikely to happen because it probably wouldn't pay off -- after all higher price of the game (which is now quite expensive already) plus skyrocketing development costs would dramatically cut profits, and on the other hand widening the playerbase by reducing price wouldn't bring desirable income either because the market is not very hungry for dinosaur meat I'm afraid ;)

I think that games shouldn't copy the reality. Each game should have its simplified world. The world doesn't have to be realistic. If the game world has nothing to do with reality, it's not a mistake.


And even though I'm not very fond of blocky trees some textures allow to make surprisingly agreeable landscape compositions and suddenly this unrealistic game turns into some symbolic representation of sometimes desirable and sometimes eerie otherworldly realities ;)
>>>there is life beyond the Cube>>>
 

User avatar
Hume2
Member
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 08:24
Location: Czech Republic
GitHub: Hume2
In-game: Hume2

Re: Graphics vs content

by Hume2 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 17:43

voxelproof wrote:I would add animal bodies penetrating through each other. This makes all the magic vanish in an eye's blink.

Yeah, collisions. I haven't seen a 3D game with proper collision handling for a long time.

I think that SuperTux is a game that aims for high quality of audiovisual stuff and therefore is dying. I like SuperTux but I don't like the way it's developed. I'll begin with a brief history. SuperTux began well. It was nearly done in 2007 but then it was nearly abandoned. After that, the developers were totally irresponsible. It was so close to finish SuperTux as game but they added lots of useless stuff instead. There were already several unused features and they just made it worse. In the year 2014, a new team formed. This team is good in that they made some steps forwards. However, they have only vague thoughts of what SuperTux already contains. Plus they imagine that SuperTux will contain many fancy elements those were never planned before. You can read more in my post on GitHub.
If you lack the reality, go on a trip or find a job.
 

slopsbucket
Member
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2014 22:56
Location: Top End, Australia

Re: Graphics vs content

by slopsbucket » Fri Jul 13, 2018 05:32

I think Voxelproof has raised a very valid issue here that deserves consideration.

Sometimes it ends up with spectacular fireworks hiding shallow (some may say also primitive) content.


I was a huge fan of the initial Total War series of games, my favourites were Shogun and Medieval, both of which started performing strangely on newer versions of Windows and hardware.

Then they released Shogun II, I was wrapped, I bought it. But it was a Steam game and I couldn’t play it without a 64 Gigabyte download. At the time my internet access allowed me 1 gigabyte a month of downloads. I complained quite loudly to Sega and they very kindly sent me a set of new discs that only required a 16 megabyte download.

I went through all of that only to discover that the game was crap. The graphics was fantastic but the battle maps were too small to allow any real strategy and there was only 2 different battle maps. It gets pretty boring playing the same maps over and over, especially when they’re too tiny for flanking manoeuvres.

The Age of Empires series did exactly the same thing, I still play the original with it’s poor graphics and enjoy it. In AoE III the maps were so tiny that gameplay was akin to 2 people sitting face to face and taking it in turns to hit each other with a stick. I didn’t even try to give the disks away, I just binned them.

Another game at the other end of that scale – I still play the tty version of NetHack, been playing for nearly 30 years and I’m still not sick of it.

Cheers,

Andrew.
 

User avatar
voxelproof
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 08:13
Location: Europe

Re: Graphics vs content

by voxelproof » Fri Jul 13, 2018 14:43

slopsbucket wrote:I
Another game at the other end of that scale – I still play the tty version of NetHack, been playing for nearly 30 years and I’m still not sick of it.


And I play tiled version of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

Yeah. You're obviously more to gaming than I but I dived more deeply into the subject when waiting for the No Man's Sky (yes, I was utterly hyped by the trailers). Shortly after the release it became obvious to me that high definition photorealistic graphics as it is now is most often a real disease of the development of core game engines.
>>>there is life beyond the Cube>>>
 

User avatar
Jordach
Member
 
Posts: 4516
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 17:58
Location: Blender Scene
GitHub: Jordach
IRC: Jordach
In-game: Jordach

Re: Graphics vs content

by Jordach » Fri Jul 13, 2018 18:14

The bigger problem I've found, is that the bigger the art and asset teams grow, the less quality the gameplay becomes, and this does apply the other way around.

Dark Souls for all the in-world detail that it does, is a great balance of art and gameplay. The mechanics are somewhere between Castlevania and the exploratory nature of the Metroid games.

Another game that ensures story and gameplay are not outshone by the art teams, is Final Fantasy XV. On PC, the graphics are absolutely insane, pushing well over 5 million triangles a frame, and 150 million per second. The combat is partially turn based and real-time (if enabled), or plays like Dark Souls in real time.

It feels like the games produced before it, but do not follow the same old JRPG formula that got stale with FFVII. Combat is rewarding to hunt bosses at night or by crawling dungeons, because it always makes it worth it in the end. The huge amount of skill required to parry, dodge, counterattack, use teammates for combination attacks are absolutely astounding.

Finding new equipment and gear for you and your group is a perfect example, because unlike Borderlands or traditional RPG games, they aren't useless within the next couple of levels of content. They stay relevant for about 10-20 levels.

Like Dark Souls, skill is required to be efficient, not with stale boring tactics.

For some, raking-yourself-in-the-face difficulty might be too much for some, and would rather have a bit more freeform fun in the middle.

The 1993 DOOM was two things: gameplay and graphics. Or as John Carmack put it: "Story in a game is like a story in an adult film. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important." (Slightly changed for the kiddos in here.)

The Fallout (and Elder Scrolls) series is another example of blending all styles of gameplay, slow and calculated, or fast and brutal. All sorts of players are catered for with the massive variety of equipment and weapons. The world itself is also a massive canvas for the player to change the world as they see fit, who rises and falls. New Vegas is the best example of this in recent times.

I've spent the last two to three months entirely balancing the entire mass of combat mechanics I've been working on for Solar Plains. Specifically for balance, as finding a broken or overpowered ability makes the entire thing boring, and we all know how boring games can get if we have access to the developers console.

Positive feedback loops are a game concept often ignored in the face of rolling the slot machine called loot boxes and the whatnot. Reward the player for playing the game and enjoying themselves, and not punish them for playing the game slightly differently, or by taking different paths. Hitman games are a great example of this thinking. There are multiple paths to your goal, with different playstyles catered for. There are four styles of gameplay that I've commonly seen over the years:

Power, Melee: Brutish, armoured, loves being in the face of their opponent withstanding heavy blows and assaults.

Power, Ranged: Heavy weapons/spells, area denial, loves being the person that's blocking an opponent with area of effects or doing massive damage.

Finesse, Melee: Fast, light, dances around targets dodging attacks as if they were a leaf on the wind, one mis-step and they're out.

Finesse, Ranged: Accurate, stealthy, takes a single shot with massive results, but risks missing.

Obviously there's hybrid types and jack-of-all-trades types that doesn't fit the quadchotomy, but are rough estimation which Solar Plains uses as it's core.

For a game to be good, it needs to balance mechanics and gameplay, against the story and graphics. But spend at least half of your time working on the gameplay before polishing up any sort of graphics - because otherwise, in 5-10 years, people will not play a game that relies on bad mechanics.

Games like Super Mario World and 64, Doom (and Goldeneye 64, Duke Nukem Forever), Quake 3 (and UT), Street Fighter II (and Smash Bros), The Legend of Zelda series (with Metroid) and the GTA series pre GTA IV.

With some of these games now nearly approaching their 30s, yet are played because of their well-crafted gameplay.
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=19056 Solar Plains Dev Server
 

User avatar
Chiantos
Member
 
Posts: 304
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 09:04
Location: Earth
GitHub: BlockColor
IRC: mrchiantos
In-game: mrchiantos

Re: Graphics vs content

by Chiantos » Fri Jul 13, 2018 18:54

Past : Content.
Actually : Graphic.
Futur ? No Content, No Graphic ... Game with no beautiful Graphic and no very content.

Look Android Store Game and Facebook Game or Fornite, this is not content. Not Graphic for majority ... The Futur is Free to Play or Pay to Win. This is not good or bad ... Majority like Play no real Free Games, use cash for best in Game or for speed.

The good player for industry ? The Casual player who go cash in dlc, lootbox, speed pack , gun pack ...

The industry make actually Game for Win à maximum cash, not for build à community or regular gamers.

This is not Content vs Graphic in reality, This is Good Game vs Cash Game.
Game : BlockColor - Avatar Mod with Cms : SkinKey
 

User avatar
voxelproof
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 08:13
Location: Europe

Re: Graphics vs content

by voxelproof » Fri Jul 13, 2018 21:24

Jordach wrote:The bigger problem I've found, is that the bigger the art and asset teams grow, the less quality the gameplay becomes, and this does apply the other way around. udies

(...)


Thanks a lot for such exhaustive and interesting survey of the history of video gaming. Except for arcade games I never was a hard player I must admit. Things changed when some interesting concepts of procedurally generated content and open worlds took enticing shapes in a few more or less popular games (including Minecraft, this game is indeed worth thorough research of the essentials of good and bad game design). In my opinion video games industry seems to be not aware that essentially fundamental structure of all games, in that number video games, is some abstract idealization of chosen reality, a simplified model rather than one-to-one projection. I think that most importantly graphics-heavy games are usually not expandable (so adding new content and mods by fanbase is most often impossible unless some advanced user interface for this kind of creativity is provided) and, secondly, they flood a player with a stream of information that sort of blocks the part of thinking required for more abstract activities - imagination, abstraction, synthetic reasoning and so on. In other words -- except for a commercial allure of great graphics -- if a designer wants to make a real game, graphics should be just an addition and developed as the last element of the system and certainly not its pivotal axis. Now it looks as though the predominant approach is just the opposite. Well, if people like this it's OK for me but then the whole story is less about gaming and more about a show business.

Games like Super Mario World and 64, Doom (and Goldeneye 64, Duke Nukem Forever), Quake 3 (and UT), Street Fighter II (and Smash Bros), The Legend of Zelda series (with Metroid) and the GTA series pre GTA IV.

With some of these games now nearly approaching their 30s, yet are played because of their well-crafted gameplay.


BTW - there's a roguelike version of Doom - D**mRL. Very nice, I've completed it recently. Not very demanding, the game mechanics is really not complicated (unlike many other rls) and it's tactics is on a very simple level but if anyone wants to start playing roguelikes it's one of the best ways to learn basics of rl gaming
Last edited by voxelproof on Sat Jul 14, 2018 07:37, edited 1 time in total.
>>>there is life beyond the Cube>>>
 

slopsbucket
Member
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2014 22:56
Location: Top End, Australia

Re: Graphics vs content

by slopsbucket » Fri Jul 13, 2018 23:33

Yeah. You're obviously more to gaming than I but......


My first computer was a TRS 80 that had been extended to it's maximum 48 kilobytes of memory, but I was 19 years old. I got a new girlfriend and started working a second job and computers didn't seem that important any more.

When I was in my mid 20's I saw someone playing NetHack on a 286 and that's what got me hooked on computers again.

I've recently been going through all my old games and getting them to run under Wine because most of the newer games have very little to offer other than Eye Candy. And those old games can't run under newer versions of Windows either. In just a few more weeks my Windows drive will become clean empty storage space.

I also found a fantastic resource for those that like the roguelike games - https://int10h.org/oldschool-pc-fonts/readme/

It's a collection of the old IBM DOS fonts converted to ttf format and released under a CC by AS 4 license.

Cheers,

Andrew.
 

slopsbucket
Member
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2014 22:56
Location: Top End, Australia

Re: Graphics vs content

by slopsbucket » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:21

I remembered another game that did well in providing both eye candy and fantastic game play. I still say that it's one of the prettiest games I have ever played.

Freelancer.

Released by Microsoft in 2003, it wasn't a huge seller at the time and official support for the game was dropped in almost record time. Today you can find it on Abandonware sites.

But the fan base community was very strong and is still continuing today: https://discoverygc.com/wiki/Main_Page

They didn't just keep the game alive, they extended it to far beyond anything Microsoft could have imagined, what was about 40 or so galaxies is now hundreds and the extent of mods available is huge.

It is pretty, but this was achieved by good graphic design, (art) not by adding more and more triangles.

Cheers,

Andrew.
 

User avatar
voxelproof
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 08:13
Location: Europe

Re: Graphics vs content

by voxelproof » Sat Jul 14, 2018 13:51

slopsbucket wrote:But the fan base community was very strong and is still continuing today: https://discoverygc.com/wiki/Main_Page

They didn't just keep the game alive, they extended it to far beyond anything Microsoft could have imagined, what was about 40 or so galaxies is now hundreds and the extent of mods available is huge.


Very interesting. I heard the name but haven't seen it in action yet, going to check it out.

It is pretty, but this was achieved by good graphic design, (art) not by adding more and more triangles.


You've pointed out another extremely important side of graphics design, and it's indeed what can make a game more playable or playable at all. (I wouldn't be so fond of Dungeon Crawl if I played it in ASCII mode I suppose.) And of course I wouldn't ever say that graphics doesn't matter. But it should be (usually) just a spice or dressing and not the main dish :) There're obviously some exceptions from this general rule -- e.g. when I 'play' (it's not a game actually) SpaceEngine I look for amazing spacescapes and realistically looking surfaces of planets, and the 'winner's prize' is when I find some really awesome views. And -- going back to Minetest -- when I mess around with the textures and map generators it's also about nice visual experiences -- but I don't play a game then, the truth is that I use Minetest just as a truly wonderful walking simulator. When the gameplay is concerned this sort of textures I am creating now would be an obstacle for the game's immersiveness (maybe except creative mode) and certainly wouldn't match the themes of most games.

On the other hand there're already texture packs which seem to be waiting for a good game -- probably the best of them is the Horror Texture Pack. I have never seen a tp providing so perfectly the feeling of fear and supernatural menace.
Last edited by voxelproof on Sat Jul 14, 2018 18:52, edited 2 times in total.
>>>there is life beyond the Cube>>>
 

User avatar
Hume2
Member
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 08:24
Location: Czech Republic
GitHub: Hume2
In-game: Hume2

Re: Graphics vs content

by Hume2 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 17:57

I almost always played only free games (or cracked :D). And it looks like I haven't missed anything.

I think that graphics should be in the games only to represent what actually is in the game, not all the details those don't do anything. There might be some decorative-only elements but I think that the most of game elements should have another function.
If you lack the reality, go on a trip or find a job.
 

User avatar
voxelproof
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 08:13
Location: Europe

Re: Graphics vs content

by voxelproof » Sat Jul 14, 2018 18:41

Hume2 wrote:I almost always played only free games (or cracked :D). And it looks like I haven't missed anything.

I think that graphics should be in the games only to represent what actually is in the game, not all the details those don't do anything. There might be some decorative-only elements but I think that the most of game elements should have another function.


That's a minimalistic attitude. I generally agree with it however some extra aesthetic value added just for pleasure isn't bad. Old traditional games -- like different types of card games -- certainly provide better experience when played with artistically designed decks.
>>>there is life beyond the Cube>>>
 

User avatar
voxelproof
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 08:13
Location: Europe

Re: Graphics vs content

by voxelproof » Sat Jul 14, 2018 18:44

slopsbucket wrote:I
Freelancer.

Released by Microsoft in 2003, it wasn't a huge seller at the time and official support for the game was dropped in almost record time. Today you can find it on Abandonware sites.


I like it. It looks as though NMS was inspired by it.
>>>there is life beyond the Cube>>>
 

slopsbucket
Member
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2014 22:56
Location: Top End, Australia

Re: Graphics vs content

by slopsbucket » Sat Jul 14, 2018 22:35

I like it. It looks as though NMS was inspired by it.


I had never heard of NMS, I've spent the last decade living in a remote tropical rainforest. No TV, no radio.

I hope you enjoy it. For others that want to play here's a link to the Mod Pack itself with all the instructions you should need:

https://discoverygc.com/

If you're completely new to this game I recommend that you play the original version before playing the extended one. The original version teaches you how to play.

Hume2 wrote:I almost always played only free games (or cracked :D). And it looks like I haven't missed anything.


If a game is worth it you should pay for it. Some of my games I have paid for several times over as CD's have a short lifespan in the tropics. That said, I nearly always download the pirate copy first and use it as a Demo, especially after the Shogun II disaster.

It's important to remember that if people aren't getting paid properly they are unlikely to keep working. Never paying for games can potentially destroy people's will to keep developing new games. Or they head down a disastrous DRM path like Steam.

Cheers,

Andrew.
 

hajo
Member
 
Posts: 595
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:45
Location: DE

Re: Graphics vs content

by hajo » Sun Jul 15, 2018 08:25

voxelproof wrote:
slopsbucket wrote:I
Freelancer. .. Released by Microsoft in 2003

It looks as though NMS was inspired by it.

You mean No man's sky ?

Other games in that space-travelling / trading / fighting genre I know of
are Elite and EVE-Online.
 

User avatar
voxelproof
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 08:13
Location: Europe

Re: Graphics vs content

by voxelproof » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:22

slopsbucket wrote:
I like it. It looks as though NMS was inspired by it.


I had never heard of NMS, I've spent the last decade living in a remote tropical rainforest. No TV, no radio.


This is the only plausible explanation of your ignorance I can think of :)

Well, No Man's Sky is undoubtedly the most hyped heap of s**t in the gaming history. I had been waiting for it since the first announcement in 2013. And the release was something like a shock to me.

Two years later the game still hasn't in the least improved its exploratory merits. The planets lack dense diverse forests, there're no rivers (to say nothing of waterfalls), there're no alpine-type high mountains and so on and so forth. Hello Games (the developer of the game) fully deserves to go bust for what it did. Fortunately I waited for the first gameplay videos and never bought this trash.
Last edited by voxelproof on Sun Jul 15, 2018 13:10, edited 1 time in total.
>>>there is life beyond the Cube>>>
 

User avatar
voxelproof
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 08:13
Location: Europe

Re: Graphics vs content

by voxelproof » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:37

hajo wrote:You mean No man's sky ?


F*****g yes.

Other games in that space-travelling / trading / fighting genre I know of
are Elite and EVE-Online.


I know. What I want this genre for is partially satisfied by the SpaceEngine. A screenshot I made a couple of days ago:

Image

However I prefer exploration in Minetest - even though the voxellized landscape is but a symbolic representation of real terrain features it still gives much more fun. And last but not least: SE is in a way too realistic. Sometimes it allows to enjoy wonderful serenity but also sometimes causes extreme feeling of uncanny solicitude of being lost alone in the huge and uncomprehensible Universe. Because you're aware that what you see is a mirror reflection of reality.
Attachments
SE.jpg
(39.73 KiB) Not downloaded yet
>>>there is life beyond the Cube>>>
 

User avatar
Hume2
Member
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 08:24
Location: Czech Republic
GitHub: Hume2
In-game: Hume2

Re: Graphics vs content

by Hume2 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 14:50

I think that a game can be made infinite quite easily but it's nearly impossible to make it unexplorable. I'll explain what I mean by these terms:

By infinite I mean that your life is too short to reach the end without cheating. For example, you never reach the end of the world or you never get all items.

By unexplorable I mean that your live is too short to explore everything that the game might come with. The game is explored when you can be no longer surprised by anything new that you see.

There's a huge difference. The game can be infinite but still explorable. You can recognise the same patterns repeating over and over. After you figure out the pattern, you don't have to explore it any more. You have already seen whole infinity in a few examples. I have never played NMS but I heard that when you see a few planets, you have actually seen all the planets.

I'm not sure whether a game can be unexplorable. It seems like human-designed content is usually harder to explore than generic content. I think that each game is polynomial but the player's exploration is exponential. (If you got confused with maths, skip to the next paragraph.) A game can be polynomial with a high rank but it doesn't make it exponential. The rank can be pushed up by adding new human-designed content. There should be only a few elements on the beginning so the player doesn't get confused at start. After some progress, the number of elements might raise. However, once the player explores the last human-designed element, he explores whole game. At this point, the exponential exploration is faster than the polynomial game. There's nothing new to offer the player.

It looks like a game needs to be programmed infinitely long to be unexplorable, even when there are infinite items. Maybe there's another way. Maybe the unexplorability can be based on a mathematic problem that is hard to solve / can't be solved exactly and has many solutions. It also implies that even the developers wouldn't know what it contains. I imagine it like the Mandelbrot set (if you know that). The formula of Mandelbrot set is such short but the result is so complicated. To be honest, this is what inspired me to create my own mapgen, Terrainbrot. I'd like to see some games based on mathematic problems.
If you lack the reality, go on a trip or find a job.
 

User avatar
voxelproof
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 08:13
Location: Europe

Re: Graphics vs content

by voxelproof » Sun Jul 15, 2018 16:09

Hume2 wrote:I think that a game can be made infinite quite easily but it's nearly impossible to make it unexplorable. I'll explain what I mean by these terms:

By infinite I mean that your life is too short to reach the end without cheating. For example, you never reach the end of the world or you never get all items.

By unexplorable I mean that your live is too short to explore everything that the game might come with. The game is explored when you can be no longer surprised by anything new that you see.



I agree. I was thinking about 'practical infinity' in open world games and your conclusions are in accord with what I figured out so far. I would add to this 2 kinds of in-game infinity you've listed here the third one -- the infinite content. I suppose it's not necessarily tantamount to the 'infinite explorability' (or just 'unexplorability' as you put it) -- and by 'content' I mean a set of different discernible elements constituting the in-game universe. This is important in that sense that imo makes your hypothesis of impossibility of creating 'infinitely explorable' games highly questionable.

There's a huge difference. The game can be infinite but still explorable. You can recognise the same patterns repeating over and over. After you figure out the pattern, you don't have to explore it any more. You have already seen whole infinity in a few examples.


Here I disagree. The most obvious example is the game which is the subject of discussions on this Forum - Minetest (and many other procedurally generated open world sandboxes). You see what the pattern is in seconds, the same is about the building blocks of the world and game mechanics -- it takes no longer than a few hours to learn all the constitutive elements and yet it remains highly explorable if you want to find e.g. interesting mountains, caves, rich ore deposits or other procedurally generated content. This goes much further in another great game - Dwarf Fortress were procedural generation of the worlds creates content which is surprising even for its developers.

I'm not sure whether a game can be unexplorable. It seems like human-designed content is usually harder to explore than generic content. I think that each game is polynomial but the player's exploration is exponential.


Good point, however I would argue that not every game is polynomial. In fact there're games which are even factorial e.g. bridge. You're aquainted with maths so I'll skip the explanation ;)

A game can be polynomial with a high rank but it doesn't make it exponential. The rank can be pushed up by adding new human-designed content. There should be only a few elements on the beginning so the player doesn't get confused at start. After some progress, the number of elements might raise. However, once the player explores the last human-designed element, he explores whole game. At this point, the exponential exploration is faster than the polynomial game. There's nothing new to offer the player.


Yes, most games probably follow this scheme. But what is of great interest to me is the hidden potential of procedural generation. I realized it not earlier than when I started to play with MT map generators. I am pretty sure that it's possible to find settings for different mods (rewriting them before to make them flexible for that purpose) which would generate practical infinity of diverse plantlife, mobs and settlements.

It looks like a game needs to be programmed infinitely long to be unexplorable, even when there are infinite items


Strongly disagree :-) Look at old board and card games -- chess openings is a great example of old-style exploration of the "chess universe". There're thousands of them and even the greatest world chess masters can't say they truly explored each innermost recess of this game.

Maybe there's another way. Maybe the unexplorability can be based on a mathematic problem that is hard to solve / can't be solved exactly and has many solutions. It also implies that even the developers wouldn't know what it contains. I imagine it like the Mandelbrot set (if you know that). The formula of Mandelbrot set is such short but the result is so complicated. To be honest, this is what inspired me to create my own mapgen, Terrainbrot. I'd like to see some games based on mathematic problems.


Yes, now I agree and e.g. card games (even very simple solitaires) provide a great number of truly unsolvable mathematical conundrums which can be a great inspiration for developers to create games with amazing, ever-changing and, what's the most important -- surprizing content. Another way to achieve this goal is to make games which feature elements of evolution and generate emergent content, but this is a subject for a wholly new thread.
>>>there is life beyond the Cube>>>
 

User avatar
Hume2
Member
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 08:24
Location: Czech Republic
GitHub: Hume2
In-game: Hume2

Re: Graphics vs content

by Hume2 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 18:05

It looks like I completely forgot about classic games. Yes, many of them aren't and can't be completely explored. I was talking about games in which you can feel as an inhabitant of an artificial world. I enjoy playing chess but really, I don't feel as being a part of that world. Maybe the "being a part of a world" is that problem.

In exploration, there are two types of surprises. The first one is that you can predict something to generate and you find it. It's mainly when you find a large ore deposit or you find a strangely shaped hill. The second type is that you find something that you couldn't expect before. It happens each time you discover a new human-designed element. It's the same surprise as when you manage to discover a completely new and effective strategy in chess. Maybe there's not a sharp edge between these two types.

Procedurally generated content is good but there is usually a pattern that you can notice in each generated thing. In Minetest, each thing consisting of blocks is not the pattern I mean. A nice example of bad procedural generation is when each generated thing is a random combination of given elements. Imagine a human-ish face generator based on this. You have some eyes, some noses, some mouths etc. so there are a lot of combinations. However, you'll get bored quickly. After seeing a few of these faces, you'll notice that all follow the same pattern. The algorithm should be done so you can get surprised even in the second way I said. If it's capable of doing so infinitely times, it's really good.

Minetest has the capability of generating such diverse structures, plants, mobs etc.. However, it seems like the current generators are too limited. I'd like to see that sometimes implemented properly.
If you lack the reality, go on a trip or find a job.
 

slopsbucket
Member
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2014 22:56
Location: Top End, Australia

Re: Graphics vs content

by slopsbucket » Mon Jul 16, 2018 08:19

Hume2 wrote:In exploration, there are two types of surprises. The first one is that you can predict something to generate and you find it. It's mainly when you find a large ore deposit or you find a strangely shaped hill. The second type is that you find something that you couldn't expect before. It happens each time you discover a new human-designed element. It's the same surprise as when you manage to discover a completely new and effective strategy in chess. Maybe there's not a sharp edge between these two types.


Another of those old classic games. This one wasn't fantastic for it's graphics but for it's ability to keep surprising you.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_%26 ... video_game)

Also now available for free on abandonware sites. Freelancer might have been the prettiest (in my opinion) but Black & White is one of the most surprising and and definitely the most entertaining.

Black & White II was another of those games that I considered to be a complete waste of money and time, I wrote a horrible online rant about it and binned the disks.

Cheers,

Andrew.
 

User avatar
Hume2
Member
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 08:24
Location: Czech Republic
GitHub: Hume2
In-game: Hume2

Re: Graphics vs content

by Hume2 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:00

slopsbucket wrote:Another of those old classic games. This one wasn't fantastic for it's graphics but for it's ability to keep surprising you.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_%26 ... video_game)

How much of the content is human-designed and how much is pure generic? It looks like it's 90% human-designed but it would be cool if it was pure generic.

EDIT: I know that nothing is pure generic because someone has to invent the mechanics. You know what I mean.
If you lack the reality, go on a trip or find a job.
 

User avatar
voxelproof
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 08:13
Location: Europe

Re: Graphics vs content

by voxelproof » Mon Jul 16, 2018 15:41

Hume2 wrote:It looks like I completely forgot about classic games. Yes, many of them aren't and can't be completely explored. I was talking about games in which you can feel as an inhabitant of an artificial world. I enjoy playing chess but really, I don't feel as being a part of that world. Maybe the "being a part of a world" is that problem.

In exploration, there are two types of surprises. The first one is that you can predict something to generate and you find it. It's mainly when you find a large ore deposit or you find a strangely shaped hill. The second type is that you find something that you couldn't expect before. It happens each time you discover a new human-designed element. It's the same surprise as when you manage to discover a completely new and effective strategy in chess. Maybe there's not a sharp edge between these two types.


I suppose that when you were writing about "expotential exploration" you meant the above pattern of cognition and our ability to categorize the scope of our knowledge. Thus we assemble species into genera, genera into families and so on. But it still doesn't mean that making new discoveries of so far unknown species doesn't bring great joy and excitement to lucky scientists or explorers. There're many examples of discoveries of this kind in recent years. I was very impressed by the discovery of a 'living fossil' plant from the dinosaur era Wollemia nobilis in Australia. It's one of the most beautiful trees nature gave birth to. I think that while systematization of our knowledge and wisdom do tend to be expotential, the core exploration and wonder accompanying subsequent discoveries are actually linear in their inherent nature.

Procedurally generated content is good but there is usually a pattern that you can notice in each generated thing. In Minetest, each thing consisting of blocks is not the pattern I mean. A nice example of bad procedural generation is when each generated thing is a random combination of given elements.


Yeah. Watch the creatures in No Man's Sky :\ Dr Frankenstein would cry looking at them.

Imagine a human-ish face generator based on this. You have some eyes, some noses, some mouths etc. so there are a lot of combinations. However, you'll get bored quickly.


Not if I was a police investigator trying to reconstruct suspect's face.

Construction of the composite was originally performed by a trained artist, through drawing, sketching, or painting, in consultation with a witness or crime victim. Subsequently, techniques were devised for use by those less artistically skilled, employing interchangeable templates of separate facial features. The first such mechanical system, called "Identikit", was introduced in the U.S. in 1959; it used drawings of facial features on transparent acetate sheets that could be superimposed on one another to produce the composite image.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_composite

The algorithm should be done so you can get surprised even in the second way I said. If it's capable of doing so infinitely times, it's really good.


Well, in fact in real nature we can see many very repetitive patterns (this is what makes science possible) and the above example of human faces is not an exception. This is the tiny random flaws that make each of us unique (in terms of appearance at least). And what's more the psychological properties of human psyche seem to allow even stronger categorization of certain traits constituting each (not so unique after all) personality.

P.S.
Another interesting video from Extra Credits -- this one discussing procedurally generated content. I think that our ability to harness this wondrous tool is still on a very early stage and the future will surely bring amazing development in this field if only developers will be willing to risk sinking their customers into immersive immensely engaging worlds ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgbuWfGeG2o

P.S. II
And this one about exploration in games is really worth citing -- it's very relevant to the discussion in this thread, and very well done indeed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FE7lDFAcb4Y

(I could not find these videos without Polish subtitles. Heck, this is how information bubbles work ;))
>>>there is life beyond the Cube>>>
 

Next

Return to General Discussion



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests