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Default Kotaku - Memorable Pre-Rendered Backgrounds

May 11th, 2013, 13:09
Kotaku has a new article on the most memorable pre-rendered backgrounds in games. Now he lists a few RPG's, but doesn't mention any Infinity Engine or Fallout titles.
Pre-rendered graphics weren't only used in complex cinematic cutscenes back in the day when a game's own 3D engine couldn't do the job. Developers also used them as in-game backgrounds to bypass graphical limitations. And some of the games had really well-made, atmospheric pre-rendered backgrounds.

Squaresoft and Capcom preferred these a lot in their PS1 games in the late 90s, but it wasn't just them. With minor differences—some games had a combat screen in full 3D, for instance—other developers also took advantage of this method.

And it had a good run, until video game engines started to become much more powerful and were able to handle camera angle changes and real-time rendering.
More information.

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Last edited by Couchpotato; May 11th, 2013 at 13:19.
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May 11th, 2013, 13:09
He did however add some Final Fantasy pics.
I don't see anything memorable there.

Also he added stills from some adventures and Myst was not among those (just to say that although Myst renders were breathtaking back then, IMO it's one of the worst adventures that exists).

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May 11th, 2013, 13:21
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Also he added stills from some adventures and Myst was not among those (just to say that although Myst renders were breathtaking back then, IMO it's one of the worst adventures that exists).
I never played Myst was it that bad? Everybody praised the games when I was younger.

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May 11th, 2013, 13:56
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
I never played Myst was it that bad? Everybody praised the games when I was younger.
Myst is by many one of best adventures series it's even one 14 games that where officially pronounced art.Personally I think it's great series and has one of best puzzle design ever(Riven, first sequel,has THE best puzzles imo).
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May 11th, 2013, 13:59
I've tried playing Myst, but I think I prefer watching paint dry.
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May 11th, 2013, 14:04
Myst is one of my favorite adventure games.

At the time of release, it was one of the most powerfully immersive games I'd played.

Obviously, it's somewhat cerebral and it's very much about being observant, slowly piecing things together. It takes patience and you need to be curious.

But the puzzles are great and they're all about logic - where many traditional adventure games tend to have weird and inconsistent puzzles. Myst was very fair in that way, and I definitely prefer logic over trial-and-error.
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May 11th, 2013, 14:05
Myst had nice graphics and a good atmosphere. The gameplay itself…well, wasn't really that good. You clicked from screen to screen and had to do puzzle minigames.

However the pictures in the kotaku article seem to be totally random and mostly from an individual's past who spent most of his time with console games.

Fallout and BG were probably not taken as examples as in these cases as it was probably more of a question of style in these cases than a technical limitation as mentioned in the intro. In the examples the characters run around as 3D models in a pre-rendered static environment. I think I never really liked that mix, can't think of s single game with that mix which I liked. Also it was basically the downfall of pure 2D scenes like in Monkey Island, which I prefered.

These days the situation is different though. The 3D models are so good that there isn't much of a disconnect anymore. If a background is done in 2D it's a question of style (and they are often drawn and not pre-rendered). And 3D models for characters are actually easier to do than 2D models if they need to be dynamic (change armor/weapons/hair).
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May 11th, 2013, 16:12
I can't believe that I will actually defend a Kotaku article, but it is right there in their title. Video Games. Not Computer Games.
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May 11th, 2013, 16:20
Afaik the term "Video games" is used universal for both. At least this is also what the wiki says. But yeah, you might be right. This might have been their intention. But then again…Project Eternity doesn't fit. Neither does Grim Fandango.
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May 11th, 2013, 16:33
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
Afaik the term "Video games" is used universal for both.
Ack! I keep forgetting that. I'm an old gamer, so I immediately associate video games with consoles.
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May 11th, 2013, 17:42
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
Afaik the term "Video games" is used universal for both. At least this is also what the wiki says. But yeah, you might be right. This might have been their intention. But then again…Project Eternity doesn't fit. Neither does Grim Fandango.
At least they separate "video" and "games". I honestly cannot stand the "videogames" compound that is going around. Some sites, like Destructoid, use only the compound. Ridiculous. What, is this German? Do we need to combine all adjectives and nouns into new words?
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May 11th, 2013, 19:05
The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was Final Fantasy 7. Most of the backgrounds in that game were stunning at the time. I love when they would pan the camera out and take a distant wide shot of the scene, and your character turned into a small ant in the giant background. I'll always have very fond memories of that game.
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May 11th, 2013, 20:12
Nice to see PE down at the end.
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May 12th, 2013, 00:27
I remember a couple that blew me away with their backgrounds when they first came out.

Kings Quest V - the first in the series to be in 256 color VGA graphics, though later they went back and updated the first one, not sure about the rest. At the time I thought KQV was the best looking game I had ever seen.

The Pawn - this was a text adventure, but each location had a screen shot that you could pull down from the top menu to see the location. This was one of the first 16 color EGA games I had ever played. Interestingly enough, Dragon Magazine reviewed it and gave it 4 stars out of 5 if you had an EGA board, 2.5 stars if you didn't.
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May 12th, 2013, 05:46
Myst was an interactive slide show when it was released, and it outsold every other game on the market, by a lot. It was the first computer game made for people who didn't even like computer games, and it's not a coincidence it did so well, considering the average adult computer owner had just bought their very first computer (ever) that year.
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May 12th, 2013, 09:14
Originally Posted by CraigCWB View Post
Myst was an interactive slide show when it was released, and it outsold every other game on the market, by a lot. It was the first computer game made for people who didn't even like computer games, and it's not a coincidence it did so well, considering the average adult computer owner had just bought their very first computer (ever) that year.
It's true that a lot of people misunderstood what it was about
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May 13th, 2013, 23:37
I should probably apologize in the name of the author (since we're both Hungarians) for not including PS:T, them Fallouts, Simon the Sorcerer, and tons more. Apparently he did play all the Final Fantasy games, however.
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