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Default Skyrim - First Look @ WSJ

July 31st, 2011, 11:50
The Wall Street Journal has a First Look at Skyrim, covering the basics:
But Skyrim is a subtle step forward in other ways. The demo still has bugs, but it feels aesthetically precise. An animation-blending system makes moving bodies look alive and muscular. A swung axe lands with a terrible, momentous thud on a troll’s forehead. Magic powers pop and crackle, frightening and forceful like oil in a cauldron. The game’s engine simulates weather and cloud movement, and one spell actually changes the weather as far as the camera can see, bringing down storm-clouds and rain and thunder on a now-harried dragon. And there are cinematic “kill moves,” in which the action slows down or the camera pulls back to show you finishing off a monster with a flourish.
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July 31st, 2011, 11:50
Never understood players mesmerized with graphics prowesses.

Graphics betterment is a sure thing. It is part of the mechanical progress in the video industry. Today's games graphics looks better than yesterday's games and will look less good than tomorrow's graphics, artwork, art direction being another discussion.

So why bother about something that is a such a sure delivery? Why not focus on things that are not a given from the start?

Ah, this is a so called RPG, something that can be defined and therefore can not expect an angle for reviewing qualities.

Yep, so better to keep with qualities that do not need reviewing then. That is the only stuff left to write a 'review' on.
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July 31st, 2011, 11:54
For an exploration-focused game like Skyrim graphics matter a lot really. It's not the cool thing to say but great graphics help immersion and immersion is very important in some genres like exploration-focused open-world RPGs.
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July 31st, 2011, 12:07
In what genre, game types immersion is not very important?

Speaking of the requirement of immersion as being specific to so called RPGs is moot.

Better to focuse when it might happen that immersion enablement is not required.

Because immersion is stuff that are required by most games, whatever their types, genres of whatever.

The difference being that players in other genres can precisely tell what they feel is required to provide an immersive feel.
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July 31st, 2011, 15:27
You can have immersion with older graphics as well, this is someithing apprently no-one understands.

The immersion of Zanzarah was incredible for me when I was playintg it … And that was something around 10 years ago …

But - graphics cards mnufacturers want people to buy their latest products - naturally they insist of "immersion" being a hraphics-driven thing … Including the downplay of other factors like sound, for example, or level design …

I have hd only once in my whole life a virtual wood in a PC 3D game where I lost my way deeply within the woods - and that as in Znzarah.

This example shows me what is actually possible with level design - if one knows his or her craft …

Speedtree-based woods never ever manage to get me lost within any wood inside of a game … This can only be done with hand-crafted level design, imho.

Of which graphics alone play only a minor role … It's the concept that counts, imho !
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July 31st, 2011, 18:19
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
So why bother about something that is a such a sure delivery? Why not focus on things that are not a given from the start?
If anything, poor animation and voice acting ARE a given when it comes to Bethesda games.

I've seen plenty of people complain over the years regarding clunky animations and poor voice acting with regard to Oblivion and Fallout. They never really bothered me much but Bethesda seem to be claiming that they have addressed these particular complaints.
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July 31st, 2011, 19:40
An animation-blending system makes moving bodies look alive and muscular. A swung axe lands with a terrible, momentous thud on a troll’s forehead. Magic powers pop and crackle, frightening and forceful like oil in a cauldron. The game’s engine simulates weather and cloud movement, and one spell actually changes the weather as far as the camera can see, bringing down storm-clouds and rain and thunder on a now-harried dragon. And there are cinematic “kill moves,” in which the action slows down or the camera pulls back to show you finishing off a monster with a flourish.
I've just been playing a bit of Tex Murphy: Mean Streets that I got off GOG, and it made me realize just once more how little I care about any of the above.

Who the hell cares about my body looking muscular if the gameplay and story is up to cr* and if there is zero uniqueness factor to the game? I want to discover new worlds in games and be challenged. If I wanted to watch it raining I would sit on the porch, and if I simply wanted to watch good cinematics, I'd go to the movies.

I am looking forward to Skyrim, but I hope to hell that there's more to look forward to than pretty graphics, the "radiant" system and dynamic weather (which I hate in games anyway - why can't it just be nice weather instead of raining 80% of the time?)
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July 31st, 2011, 22:34
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
You can have immersion with older graphics as well, this is someithing apprently no-one understands.
Whoa there, I never said otherwise. I just graphics help immersion.
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July 31st, 2011, 22:48
Oblivion was a combo of great graphics and horrible graphics. Talking to NPCs was painful, mostly.

I like excellent graphics. Hope they can pull this off.
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July 31st, 2011, 23:03
I'm just hoping for improved idle chatter. I saw a mudcrab the other day….
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August 1st, 2011, 04:19
Originally Posted by RivianWitch View Post
I've just been playing a bit of Tex Murphy: Mean Streets that I got off GOG, and it made me realize just once more how little I care about any of the above.

Who the hell cares about my body looking muscular if the gameplay and story is up to cr* and if there is zero uniqueness factor to the game? I want to discover new worlds in games and be challenged. If I wanted to watch it raining I would sit on the porch, and if I simply wanted to watch good cinematics, I'd go to the movies.

I am looking forward to Skyrim, but I hope to hell that there's more to look forward to than pretty graphics, the "radiant" system and dynamic weather (which I hate in games anyway - why can't it just be nice weather instead of raining 80% of the time?)
I agree on animations not mattering much to me and neither do many other cosmetic details. I still remember people obsessing over a screenshot showing 'clipping'.

But I do like day-night cycles and dynamic weather. Though night and rain have no gameplay effect (in Morrowind, in Oblivion stores close and people go home).

There's no requirement for sleeping at night in Morrowind, but most of the time I actually 'roleplayed' and sought out an inn or unoccupied house (or slept in the outdoors) when it got dark. In most cases, when it rained I looked for shelter. It isn't 'story' or 'gameplay' but it is something I miss when playing many RPGs.

Maybe 'missing' is too big a word. I 'accept' that certain RPGs don't offer these things. I still enjoy RPGs more than I would any other genre. But consequently I find those types of RPGs less entertaining.
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August 1st, 2011, 05:54
Basically good graphics improve good games. Good graphics do not make bad games good.
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August 1st, 2011, 09:05
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
But - graphics cards mnufacturers want people to buy their latest products - naturally they insist of "immersion" being a hraphics-driven thing … Including the downplay of other factors like sound, for example, or level design …
A lot of gaming is now done on consoles, with different consequences on graphics cards demands.

It is a two way street and traffic is denser from players'side. Players are the ones who demand information about graphics, bettered graphics etc…

In the so called RPG genre, it shows even more as reviewers/developpers in other genre can explain what better graphics mean and bring to enhance the game genre experience.

But as telling what a RPG is is forbidden, reviewers/developpers of so called RPGs are left with praising graphics for the sake of graphics. Even for movies, people try to see how the aesthetics serve the purpose of the movie.

It comes mainly from players and an unsound demand as better graphics, save disasters (at which point most people will be informed) are a given.
Developpers/reviewers only give what the majority of players want.
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August 1st, 2011, 09:30
Animations have long been weak points in Bethsoft games, so I'm definitely pleased they're addressing it. Morrowind had some fantastic scenery, it was somewhat spoiled when an NPC with a broom up their arse came waddling onto screen.

Arguably scenery and immersion matter more in sandbox games like TES than story prowess - for me it's about living in a virtual world. Things like weather are even more important, as an aid to drive character decisions and player wonder. Daggerfall again aced this personally - the music and graphics combining to really give a very different feeling based on where in the world you were and what time of year it was etc. Emerging from a tavern in the morning to find the city with a sprinkling of snow and the sky full of flakes is one of those magical moments.
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August 1st, 2011, 11:07
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
Basically good graphics improve good games. Good graphics do not make bad games good.
Aha. Well said. I was trying to say that these things are nice to have, but I get a bit nervous if they're the only things going for a game. The prettiest game on earth can be lovely to run around in for a while, but if all it ends up being is a contentless showing off of technology and reality simulation, one soon gets bored with the experience no matter how pretty and realistic the window dressing might be.

So yes, all these things are a bonus, but they shouldn't be what the game is about.

Personally I've always toggled the weather back to good weather in Ob and Morrowind - it's nice when there's occasional wind and rain, but too much can also be a pain. I'm playing Arcania at the moment, and it is ALWAYS raining - what a pain.

I don't mind a cyclical night time, but I prefer night time to be as short as possible, and the game should include things for me to do at night, otherwise it just feels like an irritating interjection to the action, I feel.

Night time in Ob was good for stealing things, if you were RP'ing a thief, for instance, but in the Gothic games I mostly found it a pain, especially because you couldn't just sleep anywhere. I'd leave my character standing in a safe place in the middle of town, and go make coffee etc, hoping that by the time I returned it would be morning again, so that I could go about my business again.
In RL I don't sleep all night so if they want a day-night cycle it would be good if they make a nightlife routine, where people go and visit pubs and drink and play poker and that kind of thing only at night; up to say 12AM.
Last edited by RivianWitch; August 1st, 2011 at 12:26.
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August 1st, 2011, 11:22
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Daggerfall again aced this personally - the music and graphics combining to really give a very different feeling based on where in the world you were and what time of year it was etc. Emerging from a tavern in the morning to find the city with a sprinkling of snow and the sky full of flakes is one of those magical moments.
Agreed, this would be very nice if done well - if the seasons are actually worked into the game, and you get more rain or snow or hot weather at certain times of the year depending on the season.

The way it's been done in most games so far, has simply seemed like a random preset autocycle to me though. As in: set swampy areas to rain 10 minutes, clear weather 30 secs, then reset and repeat: rain 10 mins, clear 30 secs.. etc. etc. -just that throughout the game.
Seasons would be wonderful, though, I think…
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August 1st, 2011, 11:41
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Arguably scenery and immersion matter more in sandbox games like TES than story prowess - for me it's about living in a virtual world. Things like weather are even more important, as an aid to drive character decisions and player wonder. Daggerfall again aced this personally - the music and graphics combining to really give a very different feeling based on where in the world you were and what time of year it was etc. Emerging from a tavern in the morning to find the city with a sprinkling of snow and the sky full of flakes is one of those magical moments.
Hopefully, that is arguably. Immersion is a request made for most of genres (I still expect examples of games genre not requesting immersion) The means to achieve immersion relatively to the genre requirements is a totally different story than the request for immersion itself.
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August 1st, 2011, 12:35
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
Basically good graphics improve good games. Good graphics do not make bad games good.
This. I don't understand why a discussion of graphics always devolves into a discussion of gameplay. They are separate things.
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August 1st, 2011, 12:37
My opinion on the graphics is stated here : http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showp…9&postcount=90
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August 1st, 2011, 13:51
It's interesting really. I remember when I first played Wolfesntein 3d (back in 1990 or something) I was like 'wow, this is just like being there!'. Then with each game that pushed the graphics forward I would just say the same thing, and then looked at the previous games where I said the same thing and smirk at how awful the graphics looked. So basically, if they hadn't changed graphics in the last 10 years I would still think it looks awesome. But I can definitely say I prefer the gameplay of 10 years ago to the interactive movies we 'play' today.
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