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March 12th, 2014, 12:50
In my language quality assurance professionals make a distinction between 'technische kwaliteit' ('technical quality') and 'kwaliteitsbeleving' ('perception of the degree of quality').

The first applies to things like the product or service conforming to the specifications that were agreed upon or advertised by the producer, as well as being up to snuff compared to (if any) generally agreed upon minimal technical standards in that particular branch of industry or services. The product is either up to these standards or exceeds them, and is therefore a 'quality product', or it doesn't.

The second applies to how customers / users perceive the product; it's somewhat related to taste and is far more subjective (and in principle can be psychologically manipulated). A product can be up to snuff in terms of specs and industry standards, but still be seen as 'low quality' because the customer in question is unusually demanding (or was perhaps used to a similar product that far exceeded the norm in terms of 'technical quality').

A game like DA2, for instance, definitely has aspects that would score very low on ' technical quality' (for instance the fugly lo-poly NPC's and the low number of different environments) by 2011 CRPG standards. The angry reactions by disappointed players to the ' awful' Companion characters (Anders, Isabella, Fenris, take your pick) is more a matter of perception, because they aren't any worse in terms of voice acting or dialogue than characters from many other CRPG's.

Edit: Some furious posts while I was typing .
I think I'm mostly on D'Artagnan's side of the debate, as far as the perception by the 'consumer' is concerned. I would also argue that actually having some knowledge of some specific ' technical' aspects, whether that's writing, architecture or computer 3D graphics will probably heavily influence one's perception as well. That may come over or feel subjective, but probably has some ' objective' aspects as well. One possible example, for instance, would be stupid, obvious mistakes in a historical movie; an expert (or even an informed layman) would instantly recognise that the research / props department did a 'bad' job technically speaking, and that would negatively impact his/her perception of the movie.
Last edited by Fluffyhotep; March 12th, 2014 at 13:03.
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March 12th, 2014, 12:58
One should also keep in mind that any reaction is subject to emotional underpinning - and that emotions aren't invalid just because they're irrational.

Biased responses, for instance, is a very common ocurrence - and however irrational it might be, it's still the response that's there.
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March 12th, 2014, 13:11
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
You're honestly trying to tell a person that his perception of Witcher 2 visuals is wrong - because you think DA:I is prettier, based on screenshots and videos.
I don't think it's prettier. So far, from what we've seen of DA: I, it seems rather bland compared to The Witcher 2, which has a very dense environment and great atmosphere. Doesn't change the fact that the graphics of DA: I are of higher quality tho - better lighting, better effects (water etc), more polygons, higher level of detail and so on. Take a tree from DA: I and compare it to a tree in The Witcher 2, and the tree from DA: I will no doubt look more like an actual tree than the one in The Witcher 2.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
You have zero authority and if you want to claim expertise - I'd challenge your insight any day.

You're being quite arrogant, believing yourself capable of telling other people what constitutes better graphics. To suggest you have that kind of authority is something I find nauseatingly conceited.
Alrighty then, which game has the highest graphics quality:

Might & Magic 6:


Skyrim with the overhaul mod:


Putting up a poll between Might & Magic 6 and Skyrim titled "best game" might end up fairly even. Putting up the same poll, but for "highest graphics quality"? Come on, that's not even a contest.
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March 12th, 2014, 13:24
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
I don't think it's prettier. So far, from what we've seen of DA: I, it seems rather bland compared to The Witcher 2, which has a very dense environment and great atmosphere. Doesn't change the fact that the graphics of DA: I are of higher quality tho - better lighting, better effects (water etc), more polygons, higher level of detail and so on. Take a tree from DA: I and compare it to a tree in The Witcher 2, and the tree from DA: I will no doubt look more like an actual tree than the one in The Witcher 2.
I don't follow. You said Witcher 2 was not as impressive as DA:I. You also said the DA:I engine is more impressive than pretty much all other engines.

What does that mean, exactly?

If we're talking about technical advances, then I agree - but that's not quality.

You can't equate technical evolution with quality.

If you could, then WoW would be less attractive than most modern MMOs - and I know you know that's not true for a LOT of people.

In that same way, you can't hire the best director, the best actors, the best scriptwriter, etc. and be assured that the end result is a better movie.

Putting up a poll between Might & Magic 6 and Skyrim titled "best game" might end up fairly even. Putting up the same poll, but for "highest graphics quality"? Come on, that's not even a contest.
My opinion is no more objective than your opinion.

There will be people who think MM6 is prettier, because people respond differently to different things. Have you ever asked a girl about this sort of thing? Trust me, you might be surprised what they prefer.

Even if we can't find a single person on the entire planet who prefers MM6, it still doesn't mean Skyrim is objectively prettier - because we don't have the hold on objective truth.

The same is true for anything. Almost any person you'd meet would agree that Godfather is a better movie than Porky's - but that doesn't make it an objectively true statement.

There are people who enjoy involving their feces in their sexual activities. Statistically, we're talking very, very few people - but they exist. Who are we to tell them that's not enjoyable?

I'd have thought you of all people would agree with this kind of thing.
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March 12th, 2014, 14:08
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I don't follow. You said Witcher 2 was not as impressive as DA:I. You also said the DA:I engine is more impressive than pretty much all other engines.

What does that mean, exactly?

If we're talking about technical advances, then I agree - but that's not quality.

You can't equate technical evolution with quality.

If you could, then WoW would be less attractive than most modern MMOs - and I know you know that's not true for a LOT of people.
That's exactly what I'm saying. The graphics quality is down to polygons, lighting effects, tessellation, shadows and so on and so forth. It has nothing to do with the style of the graphics or the atmosphere. These things are extremely hard to measure. WoW is an excellent example - many people like the cartoony style to more realistic ones, but the likes of Elder Scrolls Online does have higher quality in terms of graphics.

In other words: What happens when you alter the "graphics quality" settings in a game? Low, medium, high and so on.

I understand where you're coming from mate, especially given the WoW example, and I believe it's simply a slight confusion regarding terms. What you're referring to is commonly known as "Aesthetics", whereas I'm talking about "Graphics".

For more information, see this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oK8UTRgvJU

It's a brilliant explanation really, does the job way better than I can. In fact, I recommend everyone see it, so they understand the difference between putting money into graphics vs aesthetics.
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March 12th, 2014, 14:19
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
That's exactly what I'm saying. The graphics quality is down to polygons, lighting effects, tessellation, shadows and so on and so forth. It has nothing to do with the style of the graphics or the atmosphere. These things are extremely hard to measure. WoW is an excellent example - many people like the cartoony style to more realistic ones, but the likes of Elder Scrolls Online does have higher quality in terms of graphics.
We're going in circles. You think the technical level equates to overall quality - and I don't.

I've explained why this is so, and that quality is subjective. You can have a hugely inferior technical state and come up with an absolutely beautiful game - like Journey or ICO, whatever.

The application of the word "quality" is misleading and, in my opinion, wrong.

In other words: What happens when you alter the "graphics quality" settings in a game? Low, medium, high and so on.
You could name those options anything you want. Lots of games use terms like "shadow quality" and "animation quality" - but that doesn't mean having them on high makes the entire game better than another game using the same terms but in a less advanced engine.

I understand where you're coming from mate, especially given the WoW example, and I believe it's simply a slight confusion regarding terms. What you're referring to is commonly known as "Aesthetics", whereas I'm talking about "Graphics".
It's the use of the word "quality" I have a problem with.

If you must use that word, then I guess a compromise can be "technical quality" and not "graphics quality" - and then I'm being nice

I'm not necessarily more impressed by a higher technical quality.

For instance, I was MUCH more impressed by the visuals in Hero or The Fountain than I was by Avatar.

It's a brilliant explanation really, does the job way better than I can. In fact, I recommend everyone see it, so they understand the difference between putting money into graphics vs aesthetics.
It may be a conceit, but I like to believe I'm pretty knowledgable when it comes to these concepts.
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March 12th, 2014, 14:23
Did you even watch the video? "Graphics" refer to the tehcnical aspect (polygons, resolution, effects, etc), "aesthetics" is everything else. How good a game looks is more reliant on aesethetics than graphics. It's why Baldur's Gate still looks good after all these years.
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March 12th, 2014, 14:34
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Did you even watch the video? "Graphics" refer to the tehcnical aspect (polygons, resolution, effects, etc), "aesthetics" is everything else. How good a game looks is more reliant on aesethetics than graphics. It's why Baldur's Gate still looks good after all these years.
I can't watch youtube videos at work, but I did click the link

I'm fully aware of what the words mean and the differences between technically advanced graphics and aesthetically pleasing graphics.

I'm also aware that graphics that rely on technology that's rapidly advancing will age much faster than graphics that rely on established technology that's more or less stagnating. It's the reason Phantom Menace looks very dated today - while Alien still looks fantastic.

I do believe my point has been that the two are very, very different.

I'm not sure why posting a video saying the same thing is useful now, unless it's not saying the same thing?

Again, it's the word quality - and the concept of "graphics quality" being equated, by you, to how advanced the engine is and how detailed the assets are.

I don't have a problem with the word "graphics" and if you're saying DA:I has more "advanced graphics" than Witcher 2 - then there's no point of contention.
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March 12th, 2014, 14:43
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
In other words: What happens when you alter the "graphics quality" settings in a game? Low, medium, high and so on.
That's partially depending of how "trained" the customers are.

I have read pople calling the graphics of SWTOR "lame" because they are trained far, far better graphics …

And part of the reason why Ultima is considered "unplayable" would perhaps lie in this "training" as well …

We get accustomed - trained - to a certain standard - and then refuse to go to any lower level than this.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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March 12th, 2014, 18:46
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
You must be nostalgic or something. The Witcher 2 has impressive graphics, but certainly not on par with the best we've seen from DA: I. It's using the Frostbite 3 engine, which is probably the most impressive engine available right now. It's certainly head and shoulders ahead of REDengine 2, which was used for The Witcher 2.

Physics, lighting, effects and so on should all be spectacular right out of the box. The rest is down to the artists and the priorities of BioWare (it's obviously not going to look as good as Battlefield 4, as a lot more effort is put into the graphics of FPS games).
Ha. I can use the "best" engine out there and create the shittiest 3d environments. Engine means nothing, Marylander.
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March 12th, 2014, 18:55
Maylander puts heavy emphasis on technical side of engine (and analysis of its possibilities), while most players are affected much more by artistic side, the whole image and creativity. When you play a game you dont study technical manual.

As Trasher correctly said - engine is just a tool. You can buy yourself the most expensive painting tools but without real talent it wont help you to draw beautifull picture.
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March 12th, 2014, 23:22
I trailed off a bit on the end there, but I gotta say I agree with Maylander on this one. No matter the art style or aesthetics of a game, improving the quality of the graphics is all about sliding everything to the max setting and putting on all those fancy effects. Graphics is a technical term, not a question of taste, and thus it can be compared to see which games has graphics of the highest quality. And considering that graphics is a technical measurement, the quality of those graphics comes down to who can push this the furthest. Of the same reason, one can compare graphics between games to see which games has the most advanced graphics, and consequently graphics of the highest quality. What you actually think of them from a subjective point of view is irrelevant.
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March 12th, 2014, 23:36
I am on the side of Maylander. Why? why not since nothing really matter according to DArtagnan
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March 12th, 2014, 23:42
Makes about as much sense as always
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March 14th, 2014, 02:50
What a very generic reply…
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March 14th, 2014, 03:48
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I've never seen an area of expertise from DArt; outside of arguing, but the boy loves the argument game and you guys have given him several Argasms

P.S. I didn't read the thread, just the number of posts in the argument game.

(On Topic after reading heading)
As long as I can make out details and understand what I'm looking at, I'm good. Generic doesn't matter to me. I prefer high fantasy over every other type of crpg and it has to be considered the most generic of settings. Don't care I don't like teensy tiny characters like in Avadon and Eschalon, but that's because my eyes are old and I honestly like the "dress-up" aspect of equipping armor and weapons.

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March 14th, 2014, 10:46
crpgnutty

You know we can't contribute on your level anyway, so let us play around with the "argument game"

Show kindness and forgive my utter lack of expertise!
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March 14th, 2014, 12:10
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Putting up a poll between Might & Magic 6 and Skyrim titled "best game" might end up fairly even.
Why would you need such poll between any game and Skyrim? That any game would always win. Um… Assuming it's not Grimoire.

Anyway, I really don't care if DA:I graphics will be like Avatar the movie or of less quality. If Bioware wants to go above mediocrity, graphics is the last thing that would need an additional effort investment.

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March 14th, 2014, 12:21
Making it a topic of its own was probably the right choice. The discussion had derailed completely from the news topic.

Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Ha. I can use the "best" engine out there and create the shittiest 3d environments. Engine means nothing, Marylander.
Originally Posted by Farflame View Post
Maylander puts heavy emphasis on technical side of engine (and analysis of its possibilities), while most players are affected much more by artistic side, the whole image and creativity. When you play a game you dont study technical manual.

As Trasher correctly said - engine is just a tool. You can buy yourself the most expensive painting tools but without real talent it wont help you to draw beautifull picture.
Yes, but that's why there are two different terms:
Graphics - the technical aspect. Pixels, polygons and so on.
Aesthetics - the art direction, style and what not.

The quality of the former is very easy to measure. The quality of the latter is extremely difficult, and depends more on personal taste than anything else.

Originally Posted by Steinawarjar View Post
I trailed off a bit on the end there, but I gotta say I agree with Maylander on this one. No matter the art style or aesthetics of a game, improving the quality of the graphics is all about sliding everything to the max setting and putting on all those fancy effects. Graphics is a technical term, not a question of taste, and thus it can be compared to see which games has graphics of the highest quality. And considering that graphics is a technical measurement, the quality of those graphics comes down to who can push this the furthest. Of the same reason, one can compare graphics between games to see which games has the most advanced graphics, and consequently graphics of the highest quality. What you actually think of them from a subjective point of view is irrelevant.
Exactly. It's just a matter of comparing the technologies in question. The highest numbers win, and is thus the most advanced and of the highest quality. There's nothing subjective about that.

Then there's aesthetics, which is highly subjective. I agree with DArtagnan that the term "quality" can't really be applied to aesthetics, as it's very hard to compare what's high or low quality in that regard.
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March 14th, 2014, 12:47
While I've got no emotions invested in what terms we use - there's a big problem with assuming people agree that "graphics quality" is about how advanced they are in technical terms.

For instance, if someone says World of Warcraft has "good graphics" - you can't assume they're talking about how technically advanced it is.

In fact, I personally believe people generally refer to aesthetics - whether as a result of art direction, technically advanced graphics or, most likely, a combination - when they're talking about good or bad graphics. Even if that's not true, it's certainly not uncommon.

There's no way to prove that, however - and I won't try.

But saying a game has "good graphics" merely because it's technically advanced is a very misleading statement, in my opinion.

That said, I'm not going to try and convince people they shouldn't do that. If they really believe that's an efficient way of communicating your opinion - and that people will understand they're talking about how technically advanced a game is, who am I to dissuade them.

All I can do is voice my disagreement and try to explain why. I can only hope I've succeeded in doing that by now.
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