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Posts Tagged ‘graphics’

Maybe I should pirate more?

Posted by Ad on August 4, 2012

So I grabbed a bunch of games during Steam’s Summer Sale. Games that were cheap enough for my atm meager funds, games that would work on mac. The problem is that this mac compatibility isn’t that great… and it surprises me that game devs don’t consider the obvious solution:

Don’t put graphics above gameplay!

Crusader Kings II looks like a pretty cool game from the screenshots. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on my machines. One machine can’t run it at all because it has the wrong graphics card, and the other runs it at a ridiculous frame rate, not to mention screws up the colors. Sure, a purple sea (tho it still looks like water) might not be the best creative choice despite that might work for a more moody scenario, but if the frame rate is horrible, the game is unplayable. As the game is really just a bunch of screens with stats on them, plus a map with random troops on it, the graphics can be at a FreeCiv level. FreeCiv is hardly the epitome of graphics, but the game works.

Anyway, I find that SimCity 4 has a bit of the same frame rate problem as well, plus some bizarre and amusing texture issues, but it’s far from unplayable. The problem there is that Steam didn’t offer a mac version, but I found ways around that problem.

The thing is, these aren’t games that need all that much graphics. In fact, most games don’t need anything past what we were able to render a decade ago. A multiplayer FPS would need it to let players blend into the environment realistically, and any real-time game would need it to make sure players get to react as soon as something happens rather than suffer a second’s delay before they see what’s going on and having to work the interface for a few seconds before getting their troops/vehicle/dude/whatever to do what it’s supposed to do. Civ V doesn’t need the graphics it has, the gameplay doesn’t need those graphics. The Strategic View is unfortunately not the default view, nor are its symbols as easy to identify at a glance as the units in the standard view. CKII doesn’t need its 3d display and fancy window decor (and the decor would load faster if the 3d stuff wasn’t hogging the graphics processing). Many games of today are more for show than for gaming, and it’s shutting ppl out from getting to play them.

I wonder if it makes business sense. I mean, I get how it works for the marketing department; they get screenshots and videos and stuff that look good. It’s easier to market than game mechanics. “It looks great, lemme prove it with this non-interactive, print-friendly thing.” But with games like Civ and CK and SC and others, it’s the mechanics that are the game, the graphics are just packaging. They’re harder to market based on gameplay.

Not that I’d want the graphics reduced to the lowest common denominator, but a low-resource alternative graphics option would be nice to have, one that’s less picky about the graphics card and doesn’t require platform specific libraries or only runs on select graphics chipsets. Likewise, the option to not load all the resource-hogging stuff when you start the game (I may have mentioned this before). More graphics options would open up games to a variety of platforms, ultimately getting more players into the game.

Anyway, on a semi-related note…

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