Wadjet Eye Games

Author Topic: Graphical Style  (Read 10938 times)

CloudStrifeNBHM

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Graphical Style
« on: April 13, 2007, 08:11:27 PM »
Hey all,

I highly enjoyed the Shivah, as much for its presentation style, mixing full voice acting with old school graphics, as for its original and grounded storyline. However, I never really was a fan of old school adventure games (I'm too young!), so I wanted to know: what do you like about the pixelated graphical style? Is it simply nostalgic, or do you prefer it because it avoids realism in graphics in favor of realism of scenarios? I hate to act like a video game snob, but I guess I can reference Facade here... where the creators consciously created an iconic visual style to keep the focus on the actual social game. Thanks, and I look forward to playing The Blackwell Legacy!

Offline DaveGilbert

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Re: Graphical Style
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2007, 11:03:50 PM »
Hi Cloud,

First off, I'm glad you liked the game!  The pixelated old-school graphics were a concern for some, and admitedly if I had my druthers I'd go with high res.  However, I have my reasons. My previous experience with high res hasn't been very good.   The art takes a lot longer, it's more expensive, it's a lot more work, and the freelance artists are more likely to flake out.  I once tried to organize a project that was high res, and it was impossible to get anything done.  After four months of hustling (and going through about 8 background artists), we only had one background to show for it. 

The lower resolution is cheaper, it gets done faster, and the artists will see the fruits of their labors (i.e. a commission check) sooner so they are more likely to stick with it.  In my experience, the low-res games will actually get MADE, and in a reasonable amount of time to boot.  Perhaps I'll go back to high-res when I can afford fulltime artists, but until then I'll stick with what's reliable. 

edit: I love the phrase "avoids realism in graphics in favor of realism of scenarios".  I'm going to use it the next time someone complains about the graphics.  ;D

« Last Edit: April 14, 2007, 10:59:54 AM by DaveGilbert »

CloudStrifeNBHM

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Re: Graphical Style
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2007, 09:35:06 PM »
Huh, that's surprising! I thought that the lo-fi graphics were a conscious effort that you specifically aimed for, not a budget choice. It is an interesting mix, though, between the voice acting and blocky visuals. This may be a question you've got before, but have you ever considered using edited photographs for graphics, at least for locations and profile pictures, if not for character animation? At least in the Shivah, all of the locations and people are (of course) able to be found in NYC without too much effort. Might not work well for walking and other animations, though.

It's actually something I'm considering for a game next fall (can't resist a plug for GDIAC at http://gdiac.cis.cornell.edu). I don't want the game to be too dependent on art output, so I'm wondering if I can utilize photos as a main part of graphics to reduce the art load. I'm interested in what you think, Mr. Gilbert, because of all the games I've ever played, The Shivah surprisingly came closest to what I'd like to achieve in my own future designs: non-fantasy stories with a deeper theme than just beating the game. I think Manifesto Games' review said it best:

"
Rabbi Stone Has a Crisis of Faith

Before we go any farther, please notice the headline. When was the last time you heard a game described in remotely similar terms?
"

Is there any merit in the idea of using photographs for visuals to enhance a more realistic storyline, or would it probably just come off as tacky?

Offline DaveGilbert

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Re: Graphical Style
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2007, 12:50:24 PM »
Hi again Cloud,

I wouldn't recommend photographs as backgrounds, it's high-nigh impossible to get exactly what you want, and very difficult to change if it's not exactly right.

I attempted the photographs-as-backgrounds thing once, in an incomplete game called "Eye of the Jade Sphinx."  It was my first serious game attempt, way back in late 2001.  You can download it at http://www.davelgil.com/jade/jade_complete.zip if you are so inclined, to see how I managed. 

You'll also see what Rosa's teddy bear is a reference to. :)

Offline sierramindy

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Re: Graphical Style
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2007, 07:15:45 PM »
For me the the graphics in The Blackwell Legacy were a return to the good old days of Sierra and LucasArts and I was quite at home with the style. I found it relaxing and easy to enjoy the game, after all the high tech stuff in today's games that ruin the games since they leave out the adventure fun in favor of the  bloodthirsty fight.
I like that quote: "avoids realism in graphics in favor of realism of scenarios" and I just wish that idea could be gotten across to those game developers that insist on adding everything to a game except characters that one is interested in enough to follow them in the adventure that is the reason for playing the game in the first place.
Just putting in my 25 cents worth, inflation you know.

Offline Totengeist

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Re: Graphical Style
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2008, 09:19:10 PM »
For me the the graphics in The Blackwell Legacy were a return to the good old days of Sierra and LucasArts and I was quite at home with the style. I found it relaxing and easy to enjoy the game, after all the high tech stuff in today's games that ruin the games since they leave out the adventure fun in favor of the  bloodthirsty fight.
I like that quote: "avoids realism in graphics in favor of realism of scenarios" and I just wish that idea could be gotten across to those game developers that insist on adding everything to a game except characters that one is interested in enough to follow them in the adventure that is the reason for playing the game in the first place.

I totally agree. :) While graphics are great, its more important, in my opinion, to find a good balance, than to make the shiniest thing around.