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Videogames: All Valves on Deck


IlyaP
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31 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Not really. Attention to detail can be, sometimes. Or it can be made fun of. But you don't need mechanics to do that. BG3 is a great example where the plot has absurd changes and directions based on all sorts of things you can do, and people are still finding out weird things that happen based on choices.

Ditto Solasta: Crown of the Magister, which also had a lot of fun experimentation available. 

31 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

By comparison how many people love the brain dance parts of cyberpunk?

They were a cool idea, but I don't think they ever quite achieved the level of cool that they could be, as, really, the only BDs V ever encounters are plot-driven, with very few there for the sake of anything other than a quest-line, from what I recall. Which suggests to me that they never quite figured out how to make it work as a concept outside of when it serviced the plot. 

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9 hours ago, Kalbear said:

I think they really need to figure out that games don't need the level of engineering to be fun, and more investment in the story and gameplay over graphics and mechanics will pay off significantly more. Especially if you can't reasonably charge more.

Absolutely 100% I remain completely unable to fathom how the resource requirements to make these games have been allowed to balloon so astronomically. Does all that time and money truly all go on the minor physics crap you talk about later? On graphical fidelity nobody is going to see because who can afford a £2k graphics card? At this point they may as well just make the 1080p textures and assume that GPU upscaling is taking care of the rest. 

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Honestly, it just blows my mind that I was paying $50 for NES/SNES cartridges in the early/mid 90s and I'm still paying just slightly more than that 30 years later.  Meanwhile, my $5 footlong at Subway is now $12.

As a guy who's favorite games of last year were Chained Echoes and Sea of Stars, its hard for me to wrap my mind around being a graphics whore.  :lol: 

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There was a good point earlier on about how a lot of this firepower in time and money and people is being taken up chasing tinier and tinier, more incremental gains in graphical fidelity. Fallout 4 looked a lot better than Skyrim but I don't think the jump from Fallout 4 to Starfield is as notable or significant as the jump from Skyrim to FO4. And running a new graphics card or a whole new console generation to run games that only look a bit better than the last generation also feels like a losing proposition.

What was interesting is that Remedy developed Alan Wake 2, the best-looking video game ever made (for the next little while anyway), in under three years for apparently under $50 million. It's not an open-world game at all, but it is a pretty big zone-based game with a structure more like The Last of Us (but almost twice the length), although maybe not quite as many assets. And Finland is not a cheap country to develop in. Figuring out how they did that and applying it at scale would be interesting.

Edited by Werthead
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Honestly, art style and direction matter so much more than ever-increasing graphical and physics-system fidelity, but also I think Palworld is gonna perhaps finally wake AAA developers up to the fact that there's a massive demographic of gamers who don't give a shit if it's janky - let alone the latest shiniest thing- so long as it delivers what they're after gameplay wise, and isn't actually broken. I mean, the biggest game in history being Minecraft should have been a clue, but...

 

 

Mind you, it probably won't, given that the last Pokemon game itself sold perfectly well (for a Pokemon game, ie ridiculously well for anything else) despite its launch being entirely about the fact that it looks like shit. Most gamers just don't care that much. 

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28 minutes ago, Werthead said:

What was interesting is that Remedy developed Alan Wake 2, the best-looking video game ever made (for the next little while anyway), in under three years for apparently under $50. It's not an open-world game at all, but it is a pretty big zone-based game with a structure more like The Last of Us (but almost twice the length), although maybe not quite as many assets. And Finland is not a cheap country to develop in. Figuring out how they did that and applying it at scale would be interesting.

I think this is a good example - they had precisely one set of things you can do with very little character choice, and when you do that you can do things far more cheaply. You can also do a lot more pre-vis and walk throughs of the game earlier and cheaper too, making sure that it works as a flow without having to do expensive reshoots and behaviors. 

I also suspect Alan Wake 2 did not heavily modify the Northlight engine that they used for it; having a system that already had been used for two other games likely helped tremendously. 

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8 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I think this is a good example - they had precisely one set of things you can do with very little character choice, and when you do that you can do things far more cheaply. You can also do a lot more pre-vis and walk throughs of the game earlier and cheaper too, making sure that it works as a flow without having to do expensive reshoots and behaviors. 

I also suspect Alan Wake 2 did not heavily modify the Northlight engine that they used for it; having a system that already had been used for two other games likely helped tremendously. 

A lot of those things should have applied for Last of Us II, but it still took them seven years to make that game, although IIRC they didn't lock in the script as early as they could and that resulted in a ton of work as they changed their mind on some things having already animated and voiced them. And having engine familiarity should have also sped up Starfield, but it didn't help them at all (people are justifiably asking what the hell they spent eight years doing for that game).

There was a tech walkthrough with the guys from Remedy on Northlight and they said they had to rebuild a lot of new systems from Control and Quantum Break to handle foilage and trees in the incredibly photoreal way they wanted. It was a ton of work.

Edited by Werthead
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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

A lot of those things should have applied for Last of Us II, but it still took them seven years to make that game, although IIRC they didn't lock in the script as early as they could and that resulted in a ton of work as they changed their mind on some things having already animated and voiced them. And having engine familiarity should have also sped up Starfield, but it didn't help them at all (people are justifiably asking what the hell they spent eight years doing for that game).

There was a tech walkthrough with the guys from Remedy on Northlight and they said they had to rebuild a lot of new systems from Control and Quantum Break to handle foilage and trees in the incredibly photoreal way they wanted. It was a ton of work.

This made me go into a rabbit hole of checking out Northlight, and their tech is pretty cool:

https://www.remedygames.com/article/how-northlight-makes-alan-wake-2-shine

It's also interesting that they were basically developing the entire engine for Alan Wake 2 because their existing stuff wasn't going to work - so Quantum Break and Control essentially were them playing around with it while they did this. 

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14 hours ago, Werthead said:

A lot of those things should have applied for Last of Us II, but it still took them seven years to make that game, although IIRC they didn't lock in the script as early as they could and that resulted in a ton of work as they changed their mind on some things having already animated and voiced them. And having engine familiarity should have also sped up Starfield, but it didn't help them at all (people are justifiably asking what the hell they spent eight years doing for that game).

There was a tech walkthrough with the guys from Remedy on Northlight and they said they had to rebuild a lot of new systems from Control and Quantum Break to handle foilage and trees in the incredibly photoreal way they wanted. It was a ton of work.

I haven’t played naughty dog games but looking at their footage on YouTube I still think they’re the best at facial animations. No other games come close.

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26 minutes ago, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

I haven’t played naughty dog games but looking at their footage on YouTube I still think they’re the best at facial animations. No other games come close.

Uncharted 4 is particularly excellent in this department. Feels almost more like a live-action movie than a game. 

Edited by IlyaP
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Anyway, I was gonna mention, on the subject of the bloat in dev teams and such: I mentioned before I was playing Prince of Persia the Lost Crown, and I finished it a few days ago. It's a fine game, big for its genre and pretty well-polished and balanced (though it did release with a few bugs). Because it's both got quite an in-depth combat system and some very precise platforming, I understand how a bigger team would help it do things an indie metroidvania team can't do...

...but the end credits throw up over three thousand names. For a 2D Metroidvania with about 15-30 hours of gameplay (took me 35, but, you know, I'm a slow gamer). That's mental. I think it's safe to say not everyone on that list, or even most people on that list, were in the dev team directly, but that's true of most credits lists these days so far as I can tell. It seems like a ridiculously unwieldy operation to bring to bear on a game still pretty equivalent to indies giving credit to typically 50-150 people. But, you know, Ubisoft. 

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hoping it turns out as good as the original was…..but the fact that the main character is voiced which severely limits multiple dialogue choices and customisation is much more restricted in terms of the clans is quite concerning…

This studios never made an RPG of this type either.The visuals look decent and the combat seems fun on the plus side. This demo seems to suffer from the Avowed syndrome of just focusing on the combat instead of the RPG mechanics which made the first game so memorable in the first place and what fans really expect and want from this franchise. 

Edited by Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II
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Looks cool in terms of world building. No gameplay footage though.

Same guys who made Lucky Few, I remember that looked interesting too but never played it.

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