• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Horses

EatChildren

Currently polling second in Australia's federal election (first in the Gold Coast), this feral may one day be your Bogan King.
Jan 29, 2008
36,152
5
0
Australia
Let's discuss horses in video games.

Though I haven't ridden in years, I grew up around horses and so, like anybody with an inherent understanding of something, am always interested in how games handle them. Particularly their animations, rendering, and weight when controlled.

Plus who doesn't like riding off into the sunset?



Of what I've played, Red Dead Redemption probably stands out as the most satisfying and believable integration on a play level. The weight and motion of the horse and how it moves across the landscape feels great, like you're actually controlling another animal that isn't like your anthropomorphic protagonist. It helps that the environments and setting are gorgeous, and thus fitting for outback riding.

While I'm not overly fond of the gameplay implementation, The Last of Us wins big points of being the most realistically rendered horse. I said it elsewhere long ago, but Naughty Dog absolutely nailed the fur shader. Much of the time the artists stick with a basic normal map to convey the way lighting through fur casts subtle shadows on a horse's body, but it usually amounts to the horse looking like clay. Naughty Dog used a slight lighting shimmer in combination with the above and it looks fantastic.

Then there's Skyrim and Inquisition, both of which have shit horse riding.

The future is full of horses it seems. Wild Hunt has a horse, with proper terminology in its movement speeds, and seems to animate well. Phantom Pain has a horse, for stealthing and shitting. And Zelda Wii U has a horse too, one that magically avoids trees. The innevitable Red Dead Redemtion 2 will surely have horses, hopefully as good as its predecessor.

Horses are exceptionally stupid creatures that cost a small fortune and a lot of work to keep. But this thread is not for that. The real questions are: what are your favourite horses from video games? And are we entering a generation of horses?

And if so, what can we do to stop it?
 

Kenzodielocke

Banned
Dec 24, 2014
22,161
4
0
Agree with you, RDR has the best horses and horse riding. SoTC is good for the time it came out and the small section in TLoU was also good.
The first time, you kill a horse accidentally in RDR is horrible.
 

NateDog

Member
Apr 4, 2013
3,899
0
0
Alexandria Castle
Red Dead Redemption's horse riding was a lot of fun and it was great having it at a level where you could really see the need and use for it, and then as you move towards the end you see the beginning of that point in time where vehicles were about to step into the spotlight.

I seriously hated using Agro though, although that was more to do with the awful control response in the HD version of Shadow of the Colossus.
 

Sayad

Member
Feb 24, 2014
9,257
0
435
I still love SotC way, where as you're still controlling the character on the horse, not the horse.
 

toddhunter

Member
Apr 14, 2010
22,300
2
615
39
Australia
The horses in RDR were great.

The problem was you spent 95% of the game looking at the ass end of one bobbing up and down as you rode to and from missions.

It gets to you after a while.
 

flipswitch

Member
Jul 12, 2005
7,030
2
1,310
What I loved about the horses in RDR is their muscle movement as they walked or galloped. I don't think I've seen that done before in any game since. I would rate the horses as the benchmark.
 

naitosan

Member
Nov 23, 2014
569
0
0
Definitely Red Dead Redemption had best horse riding, it just felt so good especially after you shoot bad guy off from their horse in action. Now I want to replay RDR...

Agro was great but the control wasn't perfect. The animation of horse was actually believable, especially it was entirely done by hand key animation.

Zelda 64 had great horse because it was first (at least for me).
 

Creaking

He touched the black heart of a mod
May 17, 2013
16,495
2
0
Dynasty Warriors 4: Red Hare

I remember it being exceptionally difficult to get the Red Hare saddle in Dynasty Warriors 4, but then, I was 10 or 11 or something. Still, the fastest horse in a game all about battlefield management that had a pretty slow default on-foot speed... it was a great boon.

Terribly unrealistic and it controlled like a fatter, faster version of yourself, but that's Dynasty Warriors for you.

And I always preferred it to the cartoon of badassery that they turned it into with 7


edit: whoops, wrong picture: http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/dynastywarriors/images/d/d4/Red_Hare_Concept_(DW7).png/revision/latest?cb=20130315220231
 

jgwhiteus

Member
Oct 12, 2007
1,573
0
0
How can there be a horse thread without Life With Horses 3D?
EDIT: on topic, I'm ambivalent on the "immersion-breaking" of just whistling and having a horse magically appear to take you anywhere you want to go. Like, that horse just traversed thousands of miles of treacherous terrain in an instant from its stable, and then magically disappears once you're done with it.
 

Emedan

Formerly 'emellertid'
Oct 2, 2014
465
21
450
Well Mount and Blade more or less have a monopoly on horseback combat. It's a great game for any cavalryman out there (myself being one), the archaic engine is taking its toll now though which is a shame.
 

Daverid

Member
May 22, 2014
426
0
320
I hope we continue to see more horses, if it ends up being the generation of horses I'll be happy, I love them in games and prefer them to just about any other type of land movement.
If GTA V had horses, I wouldn't have used anything else.

RDR has had by far my favourite implementation of Horse Riding. Hopefully it controls well in The Witcher 3, especially with mounted combat being a thing.
RDR2 would be glorious, considering all the extra stuff developers can do now with the new consoles (Not just graphically), it would easily re-top itself and I continue to pray everyday that we do get a RDR2.
 

sinxtanx

Member
Dec 5, 2008
4,426
2
0
Sweden
Shadow of the Colossus is the best for me since the horse is a horse. Like an NPC you climb onto and have a dialogue with, and the dialogue takes you where you want to go.
 

Jackano

Member
Jan 19, 2006
5,228
1
1,280
France
twitter.com
I hope Zelda Wii U will have good horse mecanics but I don't think they will go for extreme realism sadly. I was a little disapointed back then by Epona in TP after SoTC.
 

Heartfyre

Member
Jan 12, 2013
2,432
0
0
I say the Shadow of the Colossus had the best horse. More than any other game, Agro felt like a character in the game rather than a mode of transport. It didn't react immediately to your commands and felt more like a creature with agency. As great as RDR's horses were, they were basically just modes of transport. They'd suddenly appear behind you when you whistled, they'd respawn after they died, and were capable of bounding much farther distances at speeds a normal horse couldn't, all to serve the gameplay rather than be a realistic representation. That's not a horrible compromise by any means, but for effectively creating a horse with a character, I have to give it to SOTC.
 

Creaking

He touched the black heart of a mod
May 17, 2013
16,495
2
0
I hope we continue to see more horses, if it ends up being the generation of horses I'll be happy, I love them in games and prefer them to just about any other type of land movement.
If GTA V had horses, I wouldn't have used anything else.
GTAV might have had horses at one point. There are unused audio files of the police communications describing a suspect (you) as riding a certain color of horse, the same way they describe the vehicle you're driving in during a pursuit. They had audio files for something like 5 horse colors.
 

Daverid

Member
May 22, 2014
426
0
320
GTAV might have had horses at one point. There are unused audio files of the police communications describing a suspect (you) as riding a certain color of horse, the same way they describe the vehicle you're driving in during a pursuit. They had audio files for something like 5 horse colors.
Man that's depressing. Even if they'd just copied across RDR's horses with no improvements of any kind, I still would have been happy as Larry.

Anyway, another thing more developers need to work on is mane/tail hair. Getting a generally "decent" looking horse seems to be pretty easy these days, but hair quality and the movement of it still seems to be generally lacking.
Hairworks seems to be making a great move in that direction, but it's supposedly still destroying GPU's to do so. Hopefully it can either be more optimized, or developers can find other, better ways of doing it, because this is just downright incredible:
 

Overside

Banned
Dec 28, 2014
3,060
0
0
Agro is still the best horse ever.

Going beyond simply making a tool for traversal made all the difference.
 

Hung_real

Member
Sep 12, 2012
1,465
0
470
Fredericton
Dynasty Warriors 4: Red Hare

I remember it being exceptionally difficult to get the Red Hare saddle in Dynasty Warriors 4, but then, I was 10 or 11 or something. Still, the fastest horse in a game all about battlefield management that had a pretty slow default on-foot speed... it was a great boon.
Red hare is the sickest horse of all video games

No horse can provide it a decent challenge
 

EatChildren

Currently polling second in Australia's federal election (first in the Gold Coast), this feral may one day be your Bogan King.
Jan 29, 2008
36,152
5
0
Australia
Skyrim has the fugliest horses I have ever seen

those tubby little legs lmao

look like bootleg bears
They were supposed to be like clydesdales.
 

EGM1966

Member
Aug 5, 2011
10,351
0
0
UK
SOTC still has best horse in that you really have to ride it and Argo feels independent of you. RDR has good horse movement but the horse never does anything other than what you direct which isn't like a horse. Argo's little hesitations at times and the sense you're never in full control really sells Argo as the best balance between real horse riding and the needs of reliable controls in a game. I often wonder how much tuning went into making Argo feel right for majority of people.

Love horse riding in games though and RDR, Oblivion, Skyrim, etc are all much more fun when zipping around on your trusty steed (until you accidentally kill them that is).
 

Soultaker0220

Member
Nov 10, 2014
334
0
0
Sweden
Red dead horses were fantastic.It was so fun riding in that amazing open world. Also Agro in shadow of colossus, even though it felt sometime he did not listen. Agro was such a badass horse to ride and u could do cool tricks with him.
 

benny_a

extra source of jiggaflops
Apr 25, 2009
17,350
1
0
Shooting a horse in the head while it was running at full speed was a viable tactic of taking out enemies and other players in Red Dead Redemption multiplayer.

It was good.

Also the skinned remains of a horse was quite a sight.

I think the actual horse riding is the best in Shadow of the Colossus because IMO you can put the RDR horse into more situations where the lack of inverse kinematics on the limbs is apparent. (Or maybe it has it in general, but it has several states where that doesn't work where two legs are hovering in the air.)

But this is nitpicky to the highest degree. Any game that reaches either of these two levels is already better than all other game out there that features horses.
 

matrix-cat

Member
Jan 9, 2009
10,072
1
0
I rode the same horse all the way through Red Dead Redemption, reloaded my save any time I inadvertently rode it off a cliff or got it mauled to death by a cougar. When events at the end of that game's story meant I could no longer be with that horse, the game lost a lot of its lustre for me.
 

so1337

Member
Aug 16, 2006
4,893
0
0
Coincidentally, I just rode a sick demon horse carriage to castle cainhurst in Bloodborne. Most horses in Bloodborne are rotting cadavers though.
 

Shift Breaker

Member
Jan 19, 2015
2,934
0
280


As for actual games, the Assassin's Creed games always come to mind when I think of horses, and that's just how awful they were in II, Brotherhood and III. They were faster than walking but god, they were awkward, kept getting caught on scenery. They were faster, but that's about it.