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Gameplay or Graphics? No, seriously
November 9th 2000, 21:36 CET by Darkseid-D

Gamers are a funny bunch these days. They cry out for innovation, for great gameplay, and for companies to focus less on graphics. Yet, itís the companies that put most of their effort into their graphics that get the kudos come review time. These are also the games that do the best at retail.



-

Sure, there are a few exceptions, but on the whole gamers show their true colors when it comes to laying down money for a companies latest offering. Flashes, booms and bangs wrapped up in a specular/bump/environment-mapped package seem to do the best at the local EB. Thought provoking games with less than spectacular graphics, while they do well at review time, tend to tank at retail.

Iím not saying that this is representative of ALL gamers. Of course it isnít. But reading forums, youíll hear cries of ďThis game is more of the same!Ē ďGreat, more find the key gameplay!Ē ďThese graphics suck!Ē Ö Then something like the Serious Sam demo will show up, which wraps Doom-style-find-the-key gameplay in a flashy package and gamers around the world drool in unison. Whatís up with that?

Some people will tell you tales of their childhoods. How games didnít need good graphics to be good games because they had Ö get ready Ö here it comes Ö gameplay. Theyíll drag out games like M.U.L.E and try to educate you on the fact that the game looks like crap, but thatís because the designers focused on the gameplay and not the graphics.

Well, Iíve got a secret to tell you Sparky Ö you arenít going to want to hear it, but here it is: they COULDNíT have good graphics back then. It wasnít possible. Now, do you seriously think that if I could hop into the wayback machine and show those developers how to squeeze out a current day 3D engine on the hardware of that time, they wouldnít use it? Of course they would. Having bad graphics wasnít a design decision Ö the hardware of the day dictated it.

Now, sure, it could be argued that being forced to have bad graphics forced developers to focus on gameplay, but I donít think thatís any less true today. If a company doesnít have the ability to produce a stunning 3D engine, they are going to focus more of their time on the design of the game and try to sell to the market that wants that.

You see, developers have choices these days. They can go for pure gameplay, they can focus on graphics because todayís hardware allows that, or they can go for a nice mix of the two. But real-life time constraints DO dictate that you wonít get the best of both worlds in any one title. Itís not possible. Not without taking 4 years of development time with an extremely talented team. And letís face it; there are only so many of those to go around.

Mind you, thatís if youíre starting from scratch. Companies like, for example, Epic and id, are building on established technologies with each game. Some might say this is a bad thing, but I disagree. Once a company creates a solid backbone of technology, they can shift more into design and worry less about the back end Ö until that back end becomes outdated and they have to redo it of course.

Something like Unreal Tournament exemplifies this theory: the Unreal engine took many years to create. When it came out, it was a visually stunning game, but the game itself was a little disjointed in itís design. So Epic took that engine, added some improvements and tweaks and built Unreal Tournament on top of it. They already had a strong engine and building a great game on top of it was a lot less work then it would have been if they had thrown out the engine and started over.

This, I believe, is how the future classics of gaming will be created. Iíve already seen a few. Deus Ex was built on top of the Unreal engine. System Shock2 was built on top of the Dark engine. This, I believe, is the way of the future.

Written by Warren 'Taskmaster' Marshall. Currently lurking behind a large monitor, doing evil things to UnrealED2 for EPIC

C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: Gameplay or Graphics? No, seriously

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#1 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2000-11-09 21:37:10
Darkseid@captured.com http://www.pcinformer.co.uk
Dont even think about it sparky.


Ds
#2 by "The Relentless"
2000-11-09 21:41:44
relentless@gamedesign.net http://www.gamedesign.net
I think one of the reasons people drool over how a game looks is because with the previews.....THAT'S ALL WE CAN SEE.  We don't get a feel for any of the gameplay, just the graphics in an online or magazine preview.

Just my $0.02.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#3 by "Densun"
2000-11-09 21:51:49
I agree with #2.

Thief had great gameplay and the graphics were good in a different way. Thief was not just a test bed for the Dark Engine.

There's one adventure game I can think of that did badly but everyone who bought it says it's one of the best games. The makers of the game went for a different style of art then people were used to. I don't remember the name of the game, but it took place on a train.
#4 by "BloodKnight"
2000-11-09 21:59:28
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
Graphics would have to be good in a certain degree to make it good.  As long as you can tell what the hell this 'object' or world you are looking at is "realistic"
#5 by "None-1a"
2000-11-09 22:25:58
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
<b>#3</b> "Densun" wrote...
<QUOTE>There's one adventure game I can think of that did badly but everyone who bought it says it's one of the best games. The makers of the game went for a different style of art then people were used to. I don't remember the name of the game, but it took place on a train. </QUOTE>

Orient Express or some thing like that.

Any way on to warren's topic. I think the same old gameplay thing is simply gamers looking at things like Doom with their rose colored glasses of time on. They look back and remember doom's gameplay and want some thing like it. After they get it and relise the same old find the key gameplay isn't the same as they remember it and clammer for something different. that some thing different comes along and it's to complicated or doesn't quite deliver and they put those galsses back on.
--
None-1a.

O forget it.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#6 by "kitrack"
2000-11-09 22:42:16
jbholdridgeii@vt.edu
I will sound off with my ill informed opinion ....
In my view, games are like meeting someone-
Sure, looks are everything, but they sure help get the initial interest.
A game with poorer graphics will have less of a chance, period, to get people to play it, because there is such a large number of games available versus the number of games most people either can or will buy.  When there is such a disparity, people are going to discount those that don't make a good first impression ...
--- .sig begins here ---
I know it's wrong.  But there isn't a twelve step program for that sort of thing.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#7 by "Twitch"
2000-11-09 22:42:24
twitch@gamepig.com http://www.gamepig.com
To offer an oversimplified response - a game can be fun without looking good. By the same token, a game won't be fun just because it looks good.

On the other hand, I don't buy the conventional wisdom that graphics are nothing, gameplay is everything. Having something interesting, stylish and/or impressive to SHOW gamers can be important, although it depends a lot on the genre too. Good graphics will make a fun game more enjoyable.
#8 by "JMCDaveL"
2000-11-09 22:47:13
jmcdavel@mailandnews.com
The Last Express is the title.
It used rotoscoped animation, which was used in Prince of Persia and I want to say Out of this World and Flashback.

--jmc
#9 by "Ryan Greene"
2000-11-09 22:50:53
DS- How did you know my nickname in High School was Sparky?

Balance, that is what I want. Good gameplay, good graphics. That's why I liked Armored Core so muhc, deep rich gameplay with customising your Core, and a simple control mechanic, combined with a goo (not great) graphics engine.
 I wish I had the time to play it through again...Or the $ for a PS2 so I could play the new one.
#10 by "fyrewolf"
2000-11-09 22:59:20
I just read the comment that TF2 is now tentatively being called a "First-Person Strategy" game.  Oh joy.

I can't wait to spend hours online mining crystal or cutting down trees.  Or standing around for hours waiting for our side to amass enough power to all die gloriously atempting to destory the enemy's tower.  Or whatever.  I know this is an exaggeration, but for a person like myself, who doesn't like RTS games, adding RTS features does not excite me.

I'm really starting to worry about TF2.  They're not suffering from feature creep; it's more like feature avalanche.  First it was a free add-on to Half-life.  Then it was going to be a commerical add-on to Half-life.  Then it was going to be a separate product using the Half-Life(Modified Quake) engine.  Then they decided to use an in-house engine.  Now they want to make it part RTS.

You know what I want?  I want a game that makes me feel like I'm in <i>Saving Private Ryan</i>.  I had hoped TF2 would do that, but now I'm not so sure.
#11 by "None-1a"
2000-11-09 23:06:35
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
<b>#10</b> "fyrewolf" wrote...
<QUOTE>I can't wait to spend hours online mining crystal or cutting down trees. Or standing around for hours waiting for our side to amass enough power to all die gloriously atempting to destory the enemy's tower. Or whatever. I know this is an exaggeration, but for a person like myself, who doesn't like RTS games, adding RTS features does not excite me. </QUOTE>

Their was some talk early on about a commander unit (a bodyless thing in the game that followed the action and issued commands to other players). This could be what they mean by RTS elements.

--
None-1a.

O forget it.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#12 by "12xu"
2000-11-09 23:06:51
mswitzer@insync.net http://http;//www.hichouston.org
<b>#10</b> "fyrewolf" wrote...
<QUOTE>I know this is an exaggeration, but for a person like myself, who doesn't like RTS games, adding RTS features does not excite me.

</QUOTE>

then don't play the commander...the RTS features will be all in how the commander issues orders to his troops...they will be displayed to you as commands and i believe you will have arrows that point you to assigned waypoints, etc....sounds like a great idea to me...

12xu
out<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#13 by "The Relentless"
2000-11-09 23:12:37
relentless@gamedesign.net http://www.gamedesign.net
From what I gathered it was that the commander got to be the RTS type, while the people he commands are more FPS.  I could be wrong.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#14 by "GiantLeap"
2000-11-10 00:21:32
webmaster@reviewcentral.net http://www.reviewcentral.net
Really... the best selling games like Deer Hunter, etc. have terrible graphics (by our standards) -- but new computer users (especially those coming about in 1998) love these things.  It must be the simplicity and bragging rights that you installed a sprite based game.

Heh, I dunno.
#15 by "The Relentless"
2000-11-10 00:28:36
relentless@gamedesign.net http://www.gamedesign.net
<b>#14</b> "GiantLeap" wrote...
<QUOTE>Really... the best selling games like Deer Hunter, etc. have terrible graphics (by our standards) -- but new computer users (especially those coming about in 1998) love these things. It must be the simplicity and bragging rights that you installed a sprite based game.

Heh, I dunno. </QUOTE>

I hear these same people that play those games also have trouble punching holes in their ballots, usually causing their ballots to be nullified and tossed out.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#16 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-11-10 01:24:58
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
Could someone point out a recent top-selling game that was technologically impressive?

I look at the charts and all I see are mostly games with "dated" 2D graphics, like The Sims, RollerCoaster Tycoon, Diablo II, Age of Empires II, Baldur's Gate II... sorry kids, 3D games get most of the press, but the games that actually sell are the ones that run on the vast majority of computers in existence today, those that don't rely on having current OpenGL or D3D drivers.
#17 by "BarneyQue"
2000-11-10 01:26:07
barneyque@hotmail.com
Heh heh.   You know warren, what you said about M.U.L.E. is of course true, they had no chance to make it look good, and if they could have, it might have changed the game enough that people like me who did in fact play more than my fair share of the game, not like it as much.

The old game's people look back on were state of the art at the time, and would not fly today. There's no going back. Same thing goes for Doom type games, it had it's day, and we can all wish for more, but it's done, people as much as they probably think they want more, really don't.

There will be games released this year, and next that will in 15 to 20 years time look like shit, and we will be having the same discussion looking back on today's game's trying to hold developers feet to the fire demandind more of the same.

Part of the problem, is that some of us older folk, have pretty much grown up with games from the beginning of them. A lot of the experiences we had, are now gone, you simply can't have them again, we are somehow changed by our experiences.  I like to use the birth of the FPS in this line of thought.  The feeling we got from moving from simple basic text games, to platform type games, on to the arcade favorites, and finally into the vibrant world of FPS can never be had again.

The younger generation growing up now, have no point of reference as to why some of the older titles like doom were such a big deal at the time, all they have for a point of reference is perhaps quake 2.  having said that, they too will experience new pardigms of gaming that will be their M.U.L.E. type of experience that they will look back on.

It's a big cycle, some of us have been around from pretty much the start, and others are just jumping in now.  Things seem to have hit a bit of a rut in the last couple of years, but there will again be a period of growth, a new gener, and a new Carmak to come.

To get back on topic, from a logical point of view, we obviously want both graphics, and gameplay in our current games, it's unlikly that a game missing in either catagory in this day and age have any chance of success. The real problem, will be for the developers to find a way to profitably make games that are graphically rich by current standards, and are still fun.  The content we see these days, is much more difficult, and time consuming to come up with than say the graphics of a game like Zaxxon was.   This is where engine reuse will help a bit, but as time goes on, it will get more, and more difficult, perhaps untill computers get sufficiently powerfull that the artists can just slap together worlds in a fashion that don't have to balance finesse with functionalily, much like programming has become very shoddy compared to the days of old, but the powerfull hardware is compensating for that now so we tend not to notice as much as we would have.

Anyway's.... I'm rambling big time here, so I'm going to stop.

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#18 by "BarneyQue"
2000-11-10 01:33:28
barneyque@hotmail.com
<b>#16</b> "Steve Bauman" wrote...
<QUOTE>Could someone point out a recent top-selling game that was technologically impressive?

I look at the charts and all I see are mostly games with "dated" 2D graphics, like The Sims, RollerCoaster Tycoon, Diablo II, Age of Empires II, Baldur's Gate II... sorry kids, 3D games get most of the press, but the games that actually sell are the ones that run on the vast majority of computers in existence today, those that don't rely on having current OpenGL or D3D drivers. </QUOTE>


Having said that, all the title's you just rattled off, while they are not 3d glossy magazing like graphics, you certainly can't compare them to the graphics in a game like mule that used about 8 frames of animation, drawn on graph paper with a mighty resolution of about 16 on each side, and one colour per "player-missle" as they were called at the time, now known as sprite graphics.

They are similar, but no one is going to mistake Age of Empires for a title like M.U.L.E, or Diablo2 for the origional 2D Castle Wolfenstein.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#19 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-11-10 02:39:17
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<quote>They are similar, but no one is going to mistake Age of Empires for a title like M.U.L.E, or Diablo2 for the origional 2D Castle Wolfenstein. </quote>
Of course not, but the general assumption the article makes is that games with the flashiest graphics sell. A look at the actual charts, as opposed to message boards, tells you that games with great gameplay (not always) and low system requirements (almost always) are what really sell.
#20 by "Twitch"
2000-11-10 03:02:01
twitch@gamepig.com http://www.gamepig.com
I still have a "MULE Skinner" certificate from Ozark Softscape certifying my 100,000 score with a human and 3 of that other race that never cooperated. Wonder if it would fetch anything on eBay ;D
#21 by "Didier"
2000-11-10 03:09:54
dsavanah@biziworks.com.au http://www.biziworks.com.au
I see a new Industry evolving (if not already) providing 3D content for game developers. Something like what Viewpoint does for the 3D modelling scene right now. Making a game will be more & more like making a movie, various niche companies that do 1 thing really well will succeed in this new era!
#22 by "Bob Just Bob"
2000-11-10 03:14:11
kevinakabob@mindspring.com
<b>#3</b> "Densun" wrote...
<QUOTE>There's one adventure game I can think of that did badly but everyone who bought it says it's one of the best games. </QUOTE>

<b>#8</b> "JMCDaveL" wrote...
<QUOTE>The Last Express is the title. </QUOTE>

I have The Last Express, and I will admit that it looks good, but I do not like the game at all. Maybe it's just me, but the character in the game doesn't do anything the way I would. So the game is just running around looking for hot spots and hoping that I do something right. A big disappointment.

And I'm not going to say that I don't like graphics, but fuck 'em. I still play Populous, and Darklands, and Daggerfall. Graphics are good enough now, the damn developers should be worrying about the gameplay instead of adding some new feature that only 100 people in the world will even notice, and causes the game to be incompatible with any system that's over 2 weeks old, and it runs like shit until the next chip generation. If it doesn't have massive replay value, I won't buy it. Graphics do nothing for the replay value.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#23 by "deadcoil"
2000-11-10 03:32:31
deadcoil@hotmail.com http://impure.org/flem
Egad.  Tough one.

And as much as I've bitched about graphics and such in previous threads, I'm going to have to go with Gameplay.

See, I dig RPGs.  FF, Fantasy Star, Breath of Fire, Chrono Trigger/Cross... these are the games that made up my video time for the last 10 years.  Sure, I play a few fighters every so often, and Fear Effect is just downright kicking of the asses, but most of it is RPG.

And the reason why RPG gaming got me hooked in the first place isn't for the totally l33t bitmaps in the original FF.  Consider what was out at the time:
Super Mario Brothers [Jump around.  Jump around.  Get up get up and get knocked the fuck back by an ill-rendered dragon who spits orange bitmaps at you.]

Duck Hunt [Point.  Pull trigger.  Repeat as necessary.  Dog is not an optional target, no matter how much you wish it was.]

Mega Man [like mario, but more Anime, and therefore Cooler.]

Pro Wrestling [Do not get me started.]

Zelda [ABABčąčõAB and now that fucking song is stuck in your goddamned head]

Although some of these were fun, the gameplay wasn't that incredibly fun or imagination inspiring.  

Then RPG became a thing.  Yeah, you can take it for face value, but most RPG players like to use it like a DnD game, without all that "Hang out with a bunch of smelly friends who have never touched a woman's breast, let alone kissed one" baggage.  It was, in a nutshell, fun without having to rely on 24 color graphics to spice it up.

Another good example, and much more recent, is the Oddworld series.  True, the graphics in these games kick your face in, pop your eye out of its socket, and skullfuck you whilst singing "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy", but that's not why I play them.  Frankly, the adventures of Abe have some of the most versatile, outstanding gameplay I have ever experienced.  It's almost enough to make me consider an X-box.

At the same time, you have Parasite Eve 2. Damned fine graphics, but the game itself is trash, pure and simple.  The gamplay of PE was fun, innovative, and a hoot & holler in a box.  They COULD have continued with that theme, but no, they had to rip off RE because they figured that we REALLY just want unweildy controls.

So: Gameplay over graphics in a heartbeat.  There's no other reason to download Nesticle and walk down memory lane.
#24 by "Intaglio"
2000-11-10 03:39:43
god@gurutech.org http://www.gurutech.org
Steve Bauman (#19) Wrote:

Of course not, but the general assumption the article makes is that games with the flashiest graphics sell. A look at the actual charts, as opposed to message boards, tells you that games with great gameplay (not always) and low system requirements (almost always) are what really sell.

--

I think the purpose of the article was to compare graphics and gameplay specifically in the FPS genre of games.

Thats what it seemed like to me, anyway.

--Intaglio
#25 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-11-10 03:58:00
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
<b>BarneyQue</b> (#17):
<QUOTE>It's a big cycle, some of us have been around from pretty much the start, and others are just jumping in now. Things seem to have hit a bit of a rut in the last couple of years, but there will again be a period of growth, a new gener, and a new Carmak to come.
</QUOTE>
Are things really in a rut?  Thief?  Deus Ex?  System Shock2?  And that's just the first person shooter genre.

Or are we focusing on the negative and not taking the time to celebrate the positive?

<b>Steve Bauman</b> (#19):
<QUOTE>Of course not, but the general assumption the article makes is that games with the flashiest graphics sell. A look at the actual charts, as opposed to message boards, tells you that games with great gameplay (not always) and low system requirements (almost always) are what really sell. </QUOTE>
That's a good point.  I think maybe my comments were directed more at the FPS crowd than general gamers.  I mean general gamers are the people who buy Deer Hunter and Who Wants to be a Millionaire ...

--

Warren Marshall - Professional Nuisance<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#26 by "Apache"
2000-11-10 04:19:52
apache@stomped.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
steve wrote:
<quote>Of course not, but the general assumption the article makes is that games with the flashiest graphics sell. A look at the actual charts, as opposed to message boards, tells you that games with great gameplay (not always) and low system requirements (almost always) are what really sell. </quote>

Ah, that explains the retail sucess of Unreal. ;)
#27 by "George Broussard"
2000-11-10 04:43:54
georgeb@3drealms.com
Apache,

<quote>Ah, that explains the retail sucess of Unreal. ;) </quote>

No, Unreal was simly the BEST FPS game available when it shipped.  It was better than Quake 2 (visuals, gameplay etc), not so good on the multiplayer though.

And whenever you ship and can be considered the best, or even close, you will sell well.

Nothing touched Unreal till Half-Life shipped 6 months later, and even by then Unreal still had a huge buzz.

In the end, Unreal's visuals were so far ahead of Quake 2's that it simply had to sell well.
#28 by "Apache"
2000-11-10 05:22:14
apache@stomped.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
George wrote:
<quote>No, Unreal was simly the BEST FPS game available when it shipped. It was better than Quake 2 (visuals, gameplay etc), not so good on the multiplayer though.

And whenever you ship and can be considered the best, or even close, you will sell well.

Nothing touched Unreal till Half-Life shipped 6 months later, and even by then Unreal still had a huge buzz.

In the end, Unreal's visuals were so far ahead of Quake 2's that it simply had to sell well. </quote>

My point was that at the time of Unreal's release it not only had extremely high system requirements, but the only supported 3D mode was glide and the netcode sucked ass.

Sure, it was a great single player FPS and had cool out of box bots, but in the end, Unreal sold so well because of its amazing graphics.
#29 by "BarneyQue"
2000-11-10 05:25:48
barneyque@hotmail.com
<b>#25</b> "Warren Marshall" wrote...
<QUOTE><B>BarneyQue</B> (<A href="spy-internal:Load/177#17">#17</A>):

<quote>It's a big cycle, some of us have been around from pretty much the start, and others are just jumping in now. Things seem to have hit a bit of a rut in the last couple of years, but there will again be a period of growth, a new gener, and a new Carmak to come.
</quote>
Are things really in a rut? Thief? Deus Ex? System Shock2? And that's just the first person shooter genre.

Or are we focusing on the negative and not taking the time to celebrate the positive?

<B>Steve Bauman</B> (<A href="spy-internal:Load/177#19">#19</A>):

<quote>Of course not, but the general assumption the article makes is that games with the flashiest graphics sell. A look at the actual charts, as opposed to message boards, tells you that games with great gameplay (not always) and low system requirements (almost always) are what really sell. </quote>
That's a good point. I think maybe my comments were directed more at the FPS crowd than general gamers. I mean general gamers are the people who buy Deer Hunter and Who Wants to be a Millionaire ...

--

Warren Marshall - Professional Nuisance</QUOTE>


There are exceptions to the rule.  The three titles you mentioned, I enjoyed very much, excellent titles for the current generation no argument whatsoever.

When I write, I tend to leave much unwritten that is flowing through my head. When I spoke of being in a rut, I was more thinking along perhaps a different line than was percieved.  Right now we are just comming out of what I think is a big 'me too' stage.  There were a few big hits a few years ago, and everyone spent the next few years trying to replicate that. We ended up with a flood of FPS's, and a lengthy string of version 2's, and three's of titles.  That's not all bad when the titles comming out are in the target I'm looking for, and for the most part that has been just the case, but from an eveloutionairy point of view, things slowed down a bit while every last bit of the big hits were explored, and re-explored by both the creators of the hit, and all the peers of the creator, which for the FPS tract, we can probably agree is id software.

This can been seen from both the companies making the AAA titles, and even in the mod makers.  No FPS game is complete anymore untill it has a CTF, a TF, and a CS mode of play anymore. There has been some progress of course, games like UT added more modes of play, DeusEx successfully merged and evolved the framework a bit.

So I'm not trying to be negative, I'm actually quite happy I like most all of the games available to me on the shelves lately, I'm quite happy, but that or the fact that there are a handfull of exceptions mean that there is not a bit of a rut to jump out of. I like current games, and when the next advance hits, I can only hope that the video cards that are currently out their that cost in excess of 800 Canadian dollars will have come down so I can enjoy the new crop to the fullest.

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#30 by "BarneyQue"
2000-11-10 05:30:28
barneyque@hotmail.com
I think I get at least 7 points their for my excellent destruction of the english language.  I am going to have to start writing this shit in word before I post.  

Too many errors to mention, humor me, and do some mental corrections as you read that, and I'll try to do better next time.
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#31 by ""
2000-11-10 05:58:16
Gameplay or graphics?

Well, this review says it all:

http://www.dailyradar.com/reviews/game_review_1041.html
#32 by "Apache"
2000-11-10 05:58:59
apache@stomped.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
BarneyQue wrote:<quote>I think I get at least 7 points their for my excellent destruction of the english language. I am going to have to start writing this shit in word before I post.

Too many errors to mention, humor me, and do some mental corrections as you read that, and I'll try to do better next time. </quote>


HAH! <A HREF="http://www.voodooextreme.com/articles/nolfreview.html">read my No One Lives Forever review</a>. (Now new and improved;)
#33 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-11-10 06:09:24
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
<b></b> (#31):
<QUOTE>Gameplay or graphics?

Well, this review says it all:

http://www.dailyradar.com/reviews/game_review_1041.html </QUOTE>
This from the site that named Shenmue the "BEST GAME EVER!!".

--

Warren Marshall - Professional Nuisance<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#34 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-11-10 06:09:59
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
<b>Apache</b> (#32):
<QUOTE>HAH! <A href="http://www.voodooextreme.com/articles/nolfreview.html">read my No One Lives Forever review</A>. (Now new and improved;) </QUOTE>
*wonders if this review will be positive*

:)

--

Warren Marshall - Professional Nuisance<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#35 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-11-10 06:12:07
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<quote>That's a good point. I think maybe my comments were directed more at the FPS crowd than general gamers. I mean general gamers are the people who buy Deer Hunter and Who Wants to be a Millionaire ... </quote>
You seem to be proposing the idea that somehow only fans of FPS games are hardcore and everyone else is a "general" gamer. Guess what? Strategy gamers are hardcore. Adventure gamers are hardcore. Role-playing gamers are hardcore.

I didn't mention a single mass-market game like Deer Hunter; all of the examples were hardcore serious games in their genre that happened to cross over to the masses, something only a very tiny number of FPS games have ever done. Both the hardcore and general gamers buy HARDCORE SERIOUS games like Baldur's Gate II, Diablo II, Age of Empires II and RollerCoaster Tycoon (despite its candy coated shell, within lies a seriously complex strategy game).

I'd argue a casual gamer is one who likes those BIG SHINY OBJECTS at the expense of gameplay. Two people download a demo. One checks out the 3D doo-dads, runs the game at multple resolutions, tries all of the graphic options, runs with multiple color depths, takes screenshots, puts up comparisons for his or her friends.

Another person runs through the level/mission multiple times on multiple difficulty levels, tries to figure out how the game's AI works, explores every nook and cranny looking for each and every secret....

Which person is a gamer? Which person is hardcore?
#36 by "George Broussard"
2000-11-10 06:16:07
georgeb@3drealms.com
Apache,

<quote>Sure, it was a great single player FPS and had cool out of box bots, but in the end, Unreal sold so well because of its amazing graphics. </quote>

One of these days I'm going to read messages fully before I post ;)

Warren:

<quote>This from the site that named Shenmue the "BEST GAME EVER!!". </quote>

You deny that?  Seriously though...Shenmue will appeal to some and not others, and that's fine.

But it is a landmark game I think.  And it will sell bazillions and ganor more awards than you can shake a nekkid teen JPG from Wiederhold's desk at (um, sorry).

It's just a fresh approach to a game and is the killer app for the DreamCast.
#37 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-11-10 06:16:29
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
<b>Steve Bauman</b> (#35):
<QUOTE>Which person is a gamer? Which person is hardcore? </QUOTE>
I don't remember bringing the issue of "hardcode" into this.  That's yours.  Take it back, we don't need it.  :)

Let's just stick with what I said ... my comments in this article are directed at the FPS crowd.


Now, somewhat on topic, I found this comment in an Evil Avatar thread from an anonymous poster ...

</quote>Hasn't counter-strike proven that gameplay is more important than graphics about 5,000 times over by now? Just go visit the gamespy statistics page. <quote>

This would prove the point if Counterstrike looked like hell.  But it doesn't.  It has great graphics to go along with the great gameplay.

--

Warren Marshall - Professional Nuisance<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#38 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-11-10 06:16:55
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<quote>Ah, that explains the retail sucess of Unreal. ;) </quote>
Ah, Unreal... good point. Let's consider that game. Yup, it had high system requirements. Does that make it an exception?

It certainly looked better than anything on the market at the time, and that may have led to its success. It had a great name, and its delays meant it got an ugodly amount of press, but I'm not entirely convinced that means a helluva lot. If press translated directly to sales, Messiah might have actually sold more than five copies.

Hmm, but it also had a SOFTWARE mode that allowed it to run on more machines than other games coming out at the time (even if they ran it slowly). And so did Half-Life. Funny how the two best-selling FPS games in the last four years worked on more machines... coincidence? Maybe.
#39 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-11-10 06:17:33
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
<b>George Broussard</b> (#36):
<QUOTE>You deny that? Seriously though...Shenmue will appeal to some and not others, and that's fine. </QUOTE>
It may be a fine enough game, but the best game ever?  Bitch, please.  ;)

--

Warren Marshall - Professional Nuisance<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#40 by "George Broussard"
2000-11-10 06:20:41
georgeb@3drealms.com
<quote>It may be a fine enough game, but the best game ever? Bitch, please. ;) </quote>

Best Game Ever is thrown around everytime a new hot game comes out.  About every 2-3 years.

It's a pointless title and should just be renamed to "Great game!".  But you know as well as I do that as a developer, you'd sure like to have a title declared "Best Game Ever" ;)

Hell for DNF I'll settle for "Best game in half an hour". ;)
#41 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-11-10 06:24:58
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<quote>I don't remember bringing the issue of "hardcode" into this. That's yours. Take it back, we don't need it. :) </quote>
Well, OK. Consider is removed.

<quote>Let's just stick with what I said ... my comments in this article are directed at the FPS crowd. </quote>
I guess my point is that there are other genres that don't seem to follow this "shiny objects" rule, so why do FPS games? There have been plenty of gorgeous 3D strategy games, but Age of Empires II and StarCraft and Red Alert 2 destroy them, all with "primitive" 2D graphics (and in the case of AOE II and StarCraft, 256 color graphics no less).

So perhaps a successful FPS is one that actually runs on the widest variety of machines, not one that has all of the bells and whistles.

But still, explain this: "Yet, itís the companies that put most of their effort into their graphics that get the kudos come review time. These are also the games that do the best at retail."

Which games at retail outsold Half-Life, which wasn't visually cutting edge when released and still isn't (but will still probably outsell every other FPS game this Christmas)? Unreal Tournament isn't as advanced as Quake III and smoked it. You say the graphically impressive FPS games do best at retail, and from my admittedly less than ideal perspective, I see games with lower system requirements (and more mediocre graphics) doing best at retail.
#42 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-11-10 06:27:12
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<quote>But it is a landmark game I think. And it will sell bazillions and ganor more awards than you can shake a nekkid teen JPG from Wiederhold's desk at (um, sorry). </quote>
You're right about the awards, but I can't for the life of me figure out what makes it so innovative.

Everything it's doing (weather, day/night cycles, people with regular daily rituals, tons of crap to play with) Origin did in 1992 with Ultima VII.
#43 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-11-10 06:36:44
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<quote>It may be a fine enough game, but the best game ever?</quote>
Ugh, any publication that stoops to crap like that is prostituting out their reputation specifically to get quoted.

And if that was indeed true, then I guess everyone can pack their bags and stop producing games. There's not reason to produce anything else, because that game is so good--the best ever--that no one will ever want to stop playing it.
#44 by "BarneyQue"
2000-11-10 06:37:30
barneyque@hotmail.com
<quote>
Gamers are a funny bunch these days. They cry out for innovation, for great gameplay, and for companies to focus less on graphics. Yet, itís the companies that put most of their effort into their graphics that get the kudos come review time. These are also the games that do the best at retail. </quote>

Interestingly enough, a good number of the best game's in the gameplay catagory do not do well at retail.  So it's possible to make a very successful game but not do well at retail.

System Shock, DeusEx, and SS2 are good examples of this, I don't think they bombed at retail, but they certainly did not do a hell of a lot of good for the people making them from what I understand.   I could be wrong here, correct me if needed.

So what's more important, or better said, which is more desirable?  Making an awesome low to average selling game, or selling  two million of a painfully average or worse game.  That should cause a big of a conflict for some people I imagine.







<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#45 by "George Broussard"
2000-11-10 06:50:32
georgeb@3drealms.com
Steve,

<quote>perhaps a successful FPS is one that actually runs on the widest variety of machines, not one that has all of the bells and whistles. </quote>

All major FPS titles that have sold 500K-2 Million copies have met two main criteria.  

1) the gameplay was awesome and above most games of it's type in the past and something people will make an effort to show their friends

2) they could be considered the best engine at the time they shipped (or very close to the state of the art).

Doom, Duke 3D, Jedi Knight, Unreal, Half-Life,  etc met these guidelines.  The countless other FPS games faultered on one or both.  Most of the time it was on #1 - gameplay.  Most engines are viable enough these days in the visuals dept.

<quote>But still, explain this: "Yet, itís the companies that put most of their effort into their graphics that get the kudos come review time. These are also the games that do the best at retail." </quote>

Those article guys are clueless.  Visuals do not denote sales.  KingPin and Voyager are WAY prettier than Half-Life, but won't even touch HL's sales.  Visuals get your game looked at.  Gameplay get's it sold.

<quote>and from my admittedly less than ideal perspective, I see games with lower system requirements (and more mediocre graphics) doing best at retail. </quote>

Primarily the games that do best at retail have AWESOME gameplay.  Diablo 2, Sims, Roller Coaster Tycoon - man, that's all good stuff.  Solid, Simple, Deep games that a casual gamer can play for 15 minutes or 4 hours.  THAT's the key.
 
<quote>You're right about the awards, but I can't for the life of me figure out what makes it so innovative. Everything it's doing (weather, day/night cycles, people with regular daily rituals, tons of crap to play with) Origin did in 1992 with Ultima VII.  </quote>

It's presentation and focus.  UO did most of what EverQuest tried a couple years earlier, yet EQ was far more popular.  Just timing, and presentation.

Most ideas have been done to some degree or another.  It's the magic, intangible combination and plish factor.  Look at Diablo 2.  Harldy an innovative game (aside from Battle.Net) - yet it's so highly polished it sucks you in.  By the time you're bored they got your $55.
#46 by "Apache"
2000-11-10 06:53:10
apache@stomped.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
steve wrote:<quote> You seem to be proposing the idea that somehow only fans of FPS games are hardcore and everyone else is a "general" gamer. Guess what? Strategy gamers are hardcore. Adventure gamers are hardcore. Role-playing gamers are hardcore. </quote>

The reason why action games seem more "hardcore" is that they have a large, high profile, established community of online sites dedicated to them.

warren wrote:
<quote>It may be a fine enough game, but the best game ever? Bitch, please. ;) </quote>

Shenmue may appeal to some people... I am not one of them.

george wrote:<quote> Best Game Ever is thrown around everytime a new hot game comes out. About every 2-3 years. </quote>

Yep. Most recently there was Jedi Knight, then Half-Life. I wonder which game will be next?

steve also wrote: <quote>Which games at retail outsold Half-Life, which wasn't visually cutting edge when released and still isn't (but will still probably outsell every other FPS game this Christmas)? Unreal Tournament isn't as advanced as Quake III and smoked it. You say the graphically impressive FPS games do best at retail, and from my admittedly less than ideal perspective, I see games with lower system requirements (and more mediocre graphics) doing best at retail. </quote>

I think a lot of factors contributed to UT outselling Q3A.

1) It was released first.
2) It has more to offer.
3) It was dare I say a better game? :)

BarneyQue wrote: <quote>
So what's more important, or better said, which is more desirable? Making an awesome low to average selling game, or selling two million of a painfully average or worse game. That should cause a big of a conflict for some people I imagine. </quote>

That really depends on your company's goal. Would you rather make lots of money, or make really cool games? The truly gifted do both.
#47 by "George Broussard"
2000-11-10 07:10:51
georgeb@3drealms.com
I've an interesting question:

Gunman.  Sorry but it's kinda ugly from what I've seen in the 300 shots.  I don't care because gameplay matters.  But, it does look a little retro compared to what's out there now.

So my question is, will Gunman sell well?  Even if it has amazing gameplay and they leverage the "Half-Life Engine" to the max, is Gunman interesting enough looking for people to care about?

Will be interesting to watch.  I hope it does well, as I'd like to see mod guys make out.  But I don't hold my breath in the cynical world of FPS games.

Suppose this would support Warren's "graphics over gameplay" argument.  And I do agree that you need a minimum of visual interest to even get off to a start.
#48 by "Densun"
2000-11-10 07:11:44
I think there's comanies that are too lazy to think of gameplay and only want to sell games through graphics just to make money. People we'll play these games once and forget about them.

Then there's also companies that make gameplay, in an action movie form (like iD, Epic, and 3D Realms). People we'll find these games very fun to play and remember them clearly even after a couple of new games have been released.

And of course there are other types, but I'll mention only these two right now. The first example is that of a bad game; no better than an amateur programmer wanting to show what he can do. The second is a good one, but not everyone will think pure action games have gameplay just because it's action.

Also, the only reason companies shouldn't be held responsible for not having gameplay is if they don't have enough resources. It's not the job of the programmer, artist, or level designer to create gameplay, but it's the job of the designer.

The artist and level designers flesh out the view of the designer, and the programmer(s) make a converter that takes in thought and puts out a palpable rendering of the input.

Now, not every company has a designer so the programmers, artist, and level designers all contribute to making the gameply and most of us probably know the limited time they have aside from their main tasks.
#49 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-11-10 07:12:04
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<quote>The reason why action games seem more "hardcore" is that they have a large, high profile, established community of online sites dedicated to them. </quote>
Well, the strategy game community is just as established, and the adventure and RPG communities have been around a lot longer. There are tons of Command & Conquer, WarCraft, StarCraft and Age of Empires sites, but you don't hear about them as much because... well, much of the press focuses on FPS games, and sites like Voodoo Extreme and Blue's News focus on linking to the FPS community sites (which makes sense, since both sites really started out solely catering to that genre).
#50 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-11-10 07:12:15
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
<b>Steve Bauman</b> (#41):
<QUOTE>Which games at retail outsold Half-Life, which wasn't visually cutting edge when released and still isn't (but will still probably outsell every other FPS game this Christmas)? Unreal Tournament isn't as advanced as Quake III and smoked it. You say the graphically impressive FPS games do best at retail, and from my admittedly less than ideal perspective, I see games with lower system requirements (and more mediocre graphics) doing best at retail. </QUOTE>
UT may have smoked Q3, but Q3 didn't sell poorly by any stretch of the imagination.  But what about Deus Ex?  Graphically, a good game, but not exceptional ... it's beauty is in it's gameplay.  But I don't think it's burning up the sales charts ...

<b>BarneyQue</b> (#44):
<QUOTE>So it's possible to make a very successful game but not do well at retail.
</QUOTE>
Well, there's a few kinds of success.  Critical success (reviews, etc) is great, but it doesn't keep the lights on or feed the troops.  :)

<b>George Broussard</b> (#45):
<QUOTE>Those article guys are clueless. Visuals do not denote sales. KingPin and Voyager are WAY prettier than Half-Life, but won't even touch HL's sales. Visuals get your game looked at. Gameplay get's it sold. </QUOTE>
Really?  Explain Deus Ex, System Shock2 and Thief.  Not doing badly, but certainly not burning up the sales charts.

Half-Life sold because of it's gameplay for sure ... but at the same time, it's certainly not an ugly game.

--

Warren Marshall - Professional Nuisance<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
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