BEN HARD­WIDGE MO­TION HEAD­ING BLEURGHHERE RICK LANE PLEASE

Cre­at­ing beau­ti­ful games is about more than cram­ming in Stand­first here please gra­tu­itous Stand­first graph­i­cal here ef­fects, please ar­gues Stand­first Rick here Lane please Stand­first here please Stand­first here please

Custom PC - - OPINION - / FROM THE ED­I­TOR / IN­VERSE LOOK

or ev­ery game re­view I write for I take some­where be­tween 250 and 1,000 screen­shots to ow, use I’d as bet­ter ac­com­pa­ny­ing­make sure im­ages.I have an The Nvidia rea­son card I in take 2014, so I many is be­cause thought, th­eas I watched­vast ma­jor­i­tythe Witcherend up 3 be­ing PhysX un­us­able.demo last Char­ac­ters pro­pri­etaryor en­e­mies GPU aren’t fea­ture fully wouldin shot, ac­tu­al­lyor the per­suade ac­tion meis ob­scuredto go with by one ob­jec­tive com­pany’s mark­er­sGPU overor an­other’s a daz­zling since ex­plo­sion­the 3dfx ef­fect. days. Or, Graph­ic­sas is most card of­ten com­pa­ni­es­the case, the have im­age bee­nis sim­ply com­ing hor­ri­blyup with blurred. th­ese This unique lat­ter selour prob­le­mown comes judg­ment cour­tesy­call, ac­cordingof the won­der­fulto your graph­i­cal pri­or­i­ties. ef­fec­tWhat are that your is pri­or­i­ties mo­tion- when.blur, one of the sil­li­est aes­thetic con­ven­tions in mod­ern gam­ing.

For those of you un­fa­mil­iar with the tech­nique, mo­tion-blur is a post-process ef­fect used to blur the im­age on screen when the player turns or tilts the game cam­era, most of­ten to sim­u­late the ef­fect of your eyes re­fo­cus­ing when you turn your head. It’s a bizarre im­ple­men­ta­tion; this ef­fect only oc­curs if you spin around with enough force to rat­tle your brain in­side your skull like a rugby ball in a tum­ble dryer, in which case blurred vi­sion is prob­a­bly the least of your con­cerns.

Smudg­ing out the world like an inkblot when­ever the player moves com­pletely de­feats the point of artists cre­at­ing the lov­ingly ren­dered en­vi­ron­ments that are a sta­ple in to­day’s games. For years, the main­stream game in­dus­try has tried to cram more and more poly­gons into real-time graph­ics to ren­der crisp, de­tailed im­ages. But then a mo­tion-blur ef­fect gets slapped in front of it, like the work of a fraz­zled teacher do­ing the make-up for a school na­tiv­ity play.

Mo­tion-blur isn’t the only of­fender in the line-up of bad graph­i­cal ef­fects. A few years back, Bloom light­ing was the worst cul­prit, sat­u­rat­ing games such as Fa­ble and the re­cent

F WSyn­di­cate re­boot, making them ap­pear as if they were hal­fim­mersed in the sun. A lot of poorly thought-out graph­i­cal ef­fects emerge from games treat­ing the game cam­era like an ac­tual video cam­era, rather than the per­spec­tive from which the player sees the game. It re­sults in bizarre vis­ual frip­pery, such as wa­ter and dirt splash­ing di­rectly onto the screen as if it was a lens, as well as lens flare, film grain and most re­cently chro­matic aber­ra­tion. The lat­ter oc­curs when a lens can’t unify all the colour wave­lengths in the same fo­cal plane, caus­ing a blurry, coloured ‘fringe’ to ap­pear around the im­age’s fo­cus. So not only are game cam­eras sim­u­lat­ing lenses, they’re sim­u­lat­ing lenses as well.

Th­ese tech­niques aren’t en­tirely with­out their place. It’s sen­si­ble to use ef­fects such as film grain and chro­matic aber­ra­tion in Alien: Iso­la­tion. Here, the de­vel­oper painstak­ingly recre­ated the look of Alien, a film made in 1979.

The prob­lem is that many of th­ese ef­fects are in­cluded as stan­dard in vis­ual post-pro­cess­ing, part of a frus­trat­ing ten­dency among larger devs and pub­lish­ers to cram as many graph­i­cal ef­fects into a game as pos­si­ble, in­stead of con­sid­er­ing what best suits the game stylis­ti­cally. It’s lazy show­boat­ing, and it’s in­creas­ingly coun­ter­pro­duc­tive be­cause th­ese newer ef­fects are only no­tice­able when they’re ramped up to the point of be­ing vis­ually ob­struc­tive.

Com­puter graph­ics are now good enough to ac­com­mo­date many dif­fer­ent aes­thetic styles, and it’s time for de­vel­op­ers to start putting greater thought into they want to re­flect their sys­tems, themes and mo­tifs vis­ually, rather than treat­ing graph­ics as a num­bers game. If your ap­proach is sim­ply to mix ev­ery colour, you’ll al­ways end up with brown.

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