N'Gai Croal on video game realism - talks Killzone 2 and more

EmCeeGramr

Member
Jun 25, 2005
38,456
0
0
Getting back to N'Gai's original point: this is something that crossed my mind a few weeks ago (not in relation to Killzone 2 at all, mind you).

In real life, we look at ugly things and grimace. In videogames, if an ugly thing is realistically rendered, we think it's beautiful. At what point does it start to overlap?
 

Mamesj

Banned
Jul 30, 2007
8,125
0
0
This truly is the place to go to discuss video games with people who have good taste and open minds.
 

SapientWolf

Trucker Sexologist
Jul 4, 2004
35,737
0
0
Shins said:
Take note kids: if you cover up simple ideas with fancy words, you too can be mistook for insightful!

Verisimilitude? Get the fuck out of here. :lol
Get a fucking clue. I am willing to bet that N'Gai has read that article and all the people going "verisimilitude lol" haven't.

The first is an example of game mechanics. It so happens that enemies in GoldenEye can’t see through many windows in the game. The player can see through, and shoot through, but the enemies just won’t see through. The window is opaque to them. This might seem like a bug. It is certainly unrealistic. It is an example of unrealistic gameplay. And, as it happens, it is pretty good gameplay. It means you can spy on people more easily. Which makes sense for a Bond game. And that is fun. Realism isn’t relevant to good gameplay. Only verisimilitude matters. The art is in knowing what you can get away with. Sometimes as a designer you are surprised how much players don’t object to, for example enemies that can’t see through most windows. Other times, players are very sensitive to unrealism, for example if you shoot someone and somebody else nearby doesn’t react.
 

BobsRevenge

I do not avoid women, GAF, but I do deny them my essence.
Oct 14, 2007
12,906
0
0
If you read my statement closer you'd see you aren't really pointing out any flaw in my logic.

If something sounds really latin and ends with -tude chances are it sounds pretentious in something like this.
And I really don't want this to sound like its a big deal, it isn't. I honestly don't really care that much, but I don't like just letting these things fly either.
 

Mamesj

Banned
Jul 30, 2007
8,125
0
0
BobsRevenge said:
If you read my statement closer you'd see you aren't really pointing out any flaw in my logic.



And I really don't want this to sound like its a big deal, it isn't. I honestly don't really care that much, but I don't like just letting these things fly either.

Yeah, this really shouldn't fly. People should not be using new words that we haven't heard of before. This was really a close one. Had I gone to m-w.com and looked it up, my vocabulary may have expanded slightly. Scary shit!
 

zaidr

Member
Jun 30, 2007
1,412
0
0
EmCeeGramr said:
Getting back to N'Gai's original point: this is something that crossed my mind a few weeks ago (not in relation to Killzone 2 at all, mind you).

In real life, we look at ugly things and grimace. In videogames, if an ugly thing is realistically rendered, we think it's beautiful. At what point does it start to overlap?

I don't think ugly things in games are viewed in the same way as in real life. At least for me, I look for cool looking normal maps, nice shading and shit like dat yo (just spicing up my post for the plebs who might think I was being pretentious). I don't think we've come to the point where we are looking at graphics as solely a vehicle for the gameplay / story.

Seriously though, N'Gai kind of addresses this when stating that we look at games in a skewed view of reality.
 

Cipherr

Member
Dec 15, 2007
28,084
0
0
Kansas City Missouri
Mamesj said:
Yeah, this really shouldn't fly. People should not be using new words that we haven't heard of before. This was really a close one. Had I gone to m-w.com and looked it up, my vocabulary may have expanded slightly. Scary shit!
:lol :lol :lol :lol

Dear god, lol at "not letting this shit fly" I almost cried laughing when I read that.
 

BobsRevenge

I do not avoid women, GAF, but I do deny them my essence.
Oct 14, 2007
12,906
0
0
Mamesj said:
Yeah, this really shouldn't fly. People should not be using new words that we haven't heard of before. This was really a close one. Had I gone to m-w.com and looked it up, my vocabulary may have expanded slightly. Scary shit!
:lol :lol

That's not what I meant though. I didn't really have to look the word up because I did have an idea of what it meant, which was pretty much confirmed when I actually did after we started arguing about it just to be sure. I just said it was fancy because I never heard it in conversation. That doesn't mean I don't know what it means.

What I meant was that I have a pet-peeve for wording like that, especially because it is sort of a fad in some circles of gaming journalism to use flowery language for no real reason. I see it pop up and it always strikes me as tacky.
 

Kintaro

Worships the porcelain goddess
Jun 10, 2004
27,928
0
0
So, basically...Killzone 2 is too good at what it does visually? I need to play this game. :lol
 

Dirtbag

Member
Jul 31, 2006
13,194
0
0
New Orleans / Los Angeles
Talk about the thread missing the point.
To SDF, isn't it something special that Killzone 2 called into question his entire notion of gaming by doing something so different/well? Isn't that enough for your guys?? Can there ever be any discussion without everyone getting so sensitive. I hate this place.
 

SickBoy

Member
Jun 7, 2004
6,981
0
0
I was hoping the comments calling him out as an Xbot, etc., for his opinions were jokes. I love the game and I don't think there's anything wrong with what he's saying about it...

Also, I guess the new rule for writing is: If you wouldn't write it in a text message don't do it.

Verisimilitude is a perfectly cromulent word for the Edge audience (who this was written for -- I was pretty sure I read this in the magazine a while ago..).

EDIT: Oh, but wait, LOL 7/10 amirite?
 

Mamesj

Banned
Jul 30, 2007
8,125
0
0
BobsRevenge said:
:lol :lol

That's not what I meant though. The pretentious wording. I didn't really have to look the word up because I did have an idea of what it meant, which was pretty much confirmed when I actually did after we started arguing about it. I just said it was fancy because I never heard it in conversation. That doesn't mean I don't know what it means.

What I meant was that I have a pet-peeve for wording like that, especially because it is sort of a fad in some circles of gaming journalism to use flowery language for no real reason. I see it pop up and it always strikes me as tacky.


and by flowery, you mean "above the high school level." Got it. Here's a reason why he should write that way: because that's the way he writes.

A lot of people write about all kinds of media in a highly descriptive way, which resonates, er, sorry, it is a style that people enjoy because they find it insightful.
 

Orlics

Member
Jun 13, 2006
2,733
0
0
Mamesj said:
and by flowery, you mean "above the high school level." Got it. Here's a reason why he should write that way: because that's the way he writes.

A lot of people write about all kinds of media in a highly descriptive way, which resonates, er, sorry, it is a style that people enjoy because they find it insightful.
N'Gai: Killzone 2 is doubleplusungood.
 

zaidr

Member
Jun 30, 2007
1,412
0
0
BobsRevenge said:
:lol :lol

That's not what I meant though. I didn't really have to look the word up because I did have an idea of what it meant, which was pretty much confirmed when I actually did after we started arguing about it just to be sure. I just said it was fancy because I never heard it in conversation. That doesn't mean I don't know what it means.

What I meant was that I have a pet-peeve for wording like that, especially because it is sort of a fad in some circles of gaming journalism to use flowery language for no real reason. I see it pop up and it always strikes me as tacky.
There is also a voracious anti-intellectualism in some "circles of gaming" that want nothing more than to marginalize honest discussion in favour of keeping true the idiom of "games are just games". That always strikes me as trite.
 

Mamesj

Banned
Jul 30, 2007
8,125
0
0
zaidr said:
There is also a voracious anti-intellectualism in some "circles of gaming" that want nothing more than to marginalize honest discussion in favour of keeping true the idiom of "games are just games". That always strikes me as trite.

WHAT THE FUK IS AN IDIOM YOUR AN IDIOM
 

androvsky

Member
Sep 19, 2007
7,940
1
895
So, uh, do people realize Croal no longer works for the media?
Actually, that explains a lot (deletes extended rant about gaming journalism partially fueled by a really bad 1up podcast). I missed that. :) Yeah, I don't like Killzone 2's aesthetics either, but I think almost everyone (including N'Gai) can agree that it's the whole point.


And that last bit about kittens et blah, that was one of the lamer things I've read.
It's one of the lamer things I've written. It's been a long day. :(
 

BobsRevenge

I do not avoid women, GAF, but I do deny them my essence.
Oct 14, 2007
12,906
0
0
Mamesj said:
and by flowery, you mean "above the high school level." Got it. Here's a reason why he should write that way: because that's the way he writes.

A lot of people write about all kinds of media in a highly descriptive way, which resonates, er, sorry, it is a style that people enjoy because they find it insightful.
Its not a matter of intelligence level. There is a matter of saying certain words are a signal of intelligence, which really bothers me. Any person can use any word correctly, its just a matter of learning a definition. By flowery I mean using words or wording that is superfluous or replacing words or wording that is used more often in a given context.

There is a difference between being highly descriptive and using a tacky style of writing. It probably bothers me more because I used to write like that before I saw the pretention in it. I just wrote two large research papers in my last semester of college, you'd better believe I know the difference between being highly descriptive and using tackily pretentious wording. I would not say anything about the word verisimilitude if I was reading some philosophy paper, but this isn't that.
 

BobsRevenge

I do not avoid women, GAF, but I do deny them my essence.
Oct 14, 2007
12,906
0
0
zaidr said:
There is also a voracious anti-intellectualism in some "circles of gaming" that want nothing more than to marginalize honest discussion in favour of keeping true the idiom of "games are just games". That always strikes me as trite.
I'm not one of those, and I do disagree with them. Shit, if you look back on a few of the hundreds of games as art topics on this forum you'll see me arguing for it being true. I think games have plenty of artistic merit as a medium, although it hasn't really been explored very well.
 

zaidr

Member
Jun 30, 2007
1,412
0
0
BobsRevenge said:
There is a difference between being highly descriptive and using a tacky style of writing. It probably bothers me more because I used to write like that before I saw the pretention in it. I just wrote two large research papers in my last semester of college, you'd better believe I know the difference between being highly descriptive and using tackily pretentious wording. I would not say anything about the word verisimilitude if I was reading some philosophy paper, but this isn't that.
So, descriptive writing is tacky now? Can you not see that that specific word sums up exactly what he needs to say there, without becoming wordy and losing the real meaning? And if you don't get that word (even though its a very simple word really: veri- real, simili - similiar; similar to reality), a short trip over to google define: solves everything.

I know what kind of writing you are trying to point towards, but I just don't see it here.

What I see though is some hypocrisy on your part. One one hand, you say you're OK with games being discussed as art, while on the other, you are saying that you must write in a specific (more simplified) way, since you're talking about just games.
 

Mamesj

Banned
Jul 30, 2007
8,125
0
0
BobsRevenge said:
Its not a matter of intelligence level. There is a matter of saying certain words are a signal of intelligence, which really bothers me. Any person can use any word correctly, its just a matter of learning a definition. By flowery I mean using words or wording that is superfluous or replacing words or wording that is used more often.

There is a difference between being highly descriptive and using a tacky style of writing. It probably bothers me more because I used to write like that before I saw the pretention in it. I just wrote two large research papers in my last semester of college, you'd better believe I know the difference between being highly descriptive and using tackily pretentious wording. I would not say anything about the word verisimilitude if I was reading some philosophy paper, but this isn't that.
"Pretentious" is pretty misused word around here. People see things they don't understand, then they throw up the word to shield themselves from their own lack of understanding. N'Gai's article is mostly descriptive and for as intelligent as the guy is, he doesn't expect much else from the reader of this article, aside from a decent vocab. But you actually provided a great example of real pretentiousness in your own post. I believe the claims that you just wrote two research papers and that you know what tackiness and pretentiousness look like were supposed to lead us to believe that your own style wasn't those things? OH SHI-- :lol

and lemme guess, your writing style in your research papers was conservative as hell and constricted for fear of drifting off point? 'cause generally, professors want research papers written that way. Really great reference point to judge a personal, expository essay on.
 

zaidr

Member
Jun 30, 2007
1,412
0
0
Mamesj said:
"Pretentious" is pretty misused word around here. People see things they don't understand, then they throw up the word to shield themselves from their own lack of understanding. N'Gai's article is mostly descriptive and for as intelligent as the guy is, he doesn't expect much else from the reader of this article, aside from a decent vocab. But you actually provided a great example of real pretentiousness in your own post. I believe the claims that you just wrote two research papers and that you know what tackiness and pretentiousness look like were supposed to lead us to believe that your own style wasn't those things? OH SHI-- :lol

and lemme guess, your writing style in your research papers was conservative as
hell and constricted for fear of drifting off point? 'cause generally, professors want research papers written that way. Really great reference point to judge a personal, expository essay on.
Logical fallacy - appeal to authority, yada yada..

And BobsRevenge, it may seem like people ganging up on you, when really it (for me at least) the whole thread is leading us to direct so much bile towards you. You kind of embodied the sentiment, with your "i can't let this fly" thing...
 

SapientWolf

Trucker Sexologist
Jul 4, 2004
35,737
0
0
I think N'Gai is missing Killzone 2's main source of beauty, which is all the gunporn. The game is one of the best in the genre in terms of the pure visceral impact and sexiness of the weaponry.
 

zaidr

Member
Jun 30, 2007
1,412
0
0
SapientWolf said:
I think N'Gai is missing Killzone 2's main source of beauty, which is all the gunporn. The game is one of the best in the genre in terms of the pure visceral impact and sexiness of the weaponry.
Yeah. The guns take up like 1/4 to 1/2 of the screen at all times...
 

mikekennyb

Member
Sep 6, 2006
1,074
0
0
San Diego, CA
Dirtbag said:
Talk about the thread missing the point.
To SDF, isn't it something special that Killzone 2 called into question his entire notion of gaming by doing something so different/well? Isn't that enough for your guys?? Can there ever be any discussion without everyone getting so sensitive. I hate this place.
GAF never change :lol
 

Tieno

Member
May 6, 2006
17,488
1
1,205
Belgium
Zzoram said:
I understand what he's saying. People were saying it about Fallout 3 too. When a game is too realistic in it's ugliness and destroyed earth, it becomes somewhat depressing. I'm not saying Fallout 3's graphics were realistic, just that the wasteland in the game was realistic in it's sparsity, and it was depressing.
Fallout 3 doesn't fall in the same boat as Killzone 2. Fallout 3 has those destroyed beauty moments like Gears of War (DC center with the monument, the white house and other stuff) that Killzone 2 lacks, according to N'Gai. Fallout 3 is an incredibly bleak and oppressive game, much more than Killzone 2. Fallout doesn't deny us those pleasures. N'Gai is saying that Hellghan is just plain ugly place and world to be in, there's nothing to marvel or wonder at. Just a lot of ugly buildings and ugly destroyed buildings. It becomes a pretty game by its graphics engine and (art style?). Whether you like that or not, is up to you.
 

Nafai1123

Banned
Apr 7, 2008
12,712
0
0
If N'gai was saying this about films instead of movies, would anyone actually take him seriously?

"Saving Private Ryan, by contrast, consistently denies us those pleasures. Yes, its cinematic quality is unquestionably stellar. Yet based on the creative and technical art direction for the film, the guiding principle for Steven Spielberg must have been ‘decrepit ugly’. All of this is subtly reinforced by Spielberg's penchant for supplying a single hint of beauty – lapping waves on a beach; the barest glimmer of sunlight peeking through Norways’s thick cloud cover – that only serves to augment the game’s overall gloom...

I could have done with the suggestion of devastation instead of a meticulous recreation of it. I’d have preferred a more distanced, iconic representation of the beachhead rather than the flawlessly dismal illustration in the finished film."

Pretty sure shit like that would get him stuck teaching film 101 for high school students. Give me a fucking break... :lol
 

Orlics

Member
Jun 13, 2006
2,733
0
0
BobsRevenge said:
Its not a matter of intelligence level. There is a matter of saying certain words are a signal of intelligence, which really bothers me. Any person can use any word correctly, its just a matter of learning a definition. By flowery I mean using words or wording that is superfluous or replacing words or wording that is used more often in a given context.

There is a difference between being highly descriptive and using a tacky style of writing. It probably bothers me more because I used to write like that before I saw the pretention in it. I just wrote two large research papers in my last semester of college, you'd better believe I know the difference between being highly descriptive and using tackily pretentious wording. I would not say anything about the word verisimilitude if I was reading some philosophy paper, but this isn't that.
But opinion columns are never written like research papers. They are meant to be interesting and pleasing to read, whereas research papers are supposed to just be as informative as possible. Surely you can think of more situations than "philosophy papers" where you'd see the word verisimilitude.

Nafai1123 said:
If N'gai was saying this about films instead of movies, would anyone actually take him seriously?

"Saving Private Ryan, by contrast, consistently denies us those pleasures. Yes, its cinematic quality is unquestionably stellar. Yet based on the creative and technical art direction for the film, the guiding principle for Steven Spielberg must have been ‘decrepit ugly’. All of this is subtly reinforced by Spielberg's penchant for supplying a single hint of beauty – lapping waves on a beach; the barest glimmer of sunlight peeking through Norways’s thick cloud cover – that only serves to augment the game’s overall gloom...

I could have done with the suggestion of devastation instead of a meticulous recreation of it. I’d have preferred a more distanced, iconic representation of the beachhead rather than the flawlessly dismal illustration in the finished film."

Pretty sure shit like that would get him stuck teaching film 101 for high school students. Give me a fucking break... :lol
But film isn't rendered... it's transposed directly from reality. He could make that point if SPR were done entirely in CG, and I doubt too many people would laugh at him.
 

zaidr

Member
Jun 30, 2007
1,412
0
0
Nafai1123 said:
If N'gai was saying this about films instead of movies, would anyone actually take him seriously?

"Saving Private Ryan, by contrast, consistently denies us those pleasures. Yes, its cinematic quality is unquestionably stellar. Yet based on the creative and technical art direction for the film, the guiding principle for Steven Spielberg must have been ‘decrepit ugly’. All of this is subtly reinforced by Spielberg's penchant for supplying a single hint of beauty – lapping waves on a beach; the barest glimmer of sunlight peeking through Norways’s thick cloud cover – that only serves to augment the game’s overall gloom...

I could have done with the suggestion of devastation instead of a meticulous recreation of it. I’d have preferred a more distanced, iconic representation of the beachhead rather than the flawlessly dismal illustration in the finished film."

Pretty sure shit like that would get him stuck teaching film 101 for high school students. Give me a fucking break... :lol
You've picked the wrong movie. Saving Private Ryan has some very nice "destroyed beauty" moments - the easiest that comes to mind is the field the party is walking through when they get their mission to retrieve Private Ryan, and they are all joking with each other. Not to mention you have Diesel and Damon to ogle while you watch.

If you want to compare a movie that is "decrepit ugly", think of something like "The Devil's Rejects". Just pure ugly, and halfway through it, you feel shitty inside just watching it. A game that makes me feel the same way: Condemned. Theres just no letting up. Its decrepit building after decrepit building.
 

HK-47

Oh, bitch bitch bitch.
Oct 24, 2007
49,170
0
1,010
Well thats Condemned purpose and I thought it was brillant at evoking such emotions.
 

Kintaro

Worships the porcelain goddess
Jun 10, 2004
27,928
0
0
When I see a N'Gai post on the forum. I always think "What if a regular, no name forum poster wrote this post. How would people respond?"

I honestly don't have an answer. Depends on the content I guess. :lol In this case, they would probably be labeled as a troll.
 

zaidr

Member
Jun 30, 2007
1,412
0
0
HK-47 said:
Well thats Condemned purpose and I thought it was brillant at evoking such emotions.
I'm not trying to qualify it. It did what it set out to do very well. I'm just saying picking Saving Private Ryan to compare aesthetically in the same context is wrong.
 

zaidr

Member
Jun 30, 2007
1,412
0
0
Kintaro said:
When I see a N'Gai post on the forum. I always think "What if a regular, no name forum poster wrote this post. How would people respond?"

I honestly don't have an answer. Depends on the content I guess. :lol In this case, they would probably be labeled as a troll.
Proving this is a troll post? Or that you're too rash in labeling people?
 

EmCeeGramr

Member
Jun 25, 2005
38,456
0
0
Yeah, I was specifically thinking of run-down rotting urban environments like in Condemned.

You see a collapsing filthy slum in real life and you think "what an eyesore,"

...A collapsing filthy slum in a game is more likely to have you gasping at the amazing volumetric smoke effects coming from the beautifully detailed hobo, lying in volumetric urine that actually flows across the cracks and porn magazines that flitter in the wind!

Obviously it comes down to art direction and the eye of the beholder, etc., etc. But it's something to think about. What happens when graphics become so good that we can actually make truly ugly things?
 

Nafai1123

Banned
Apr 7, 2008
12,712
0
0
Orlics said:
But film isn't rendered... it's transposed directly from reality. He could make that point if SPR were done entirely in CG, and I doubt too many people would laugh at him.
I'm gonna have to disagree with you there. Each shot in a film in meticulously manufactured. Framing, lighting, color saturation, special effects etc. are all used to create an alternate sense of reality, much like a video game that attempts to create a coherent visual experience.

Eg. this..



is not reality. It is a perception of Normandy that is supposed to elicit an emotionally responsive idea of what someone might believe Normandy looked like, which in turn makes it feel more real to the viewer. It is supposed to be oppressive and drab, thus attempting to recreate the experience of being there. Doesn't a video game attempt to do the exact same thing?
 

HK-47

Oh, bitch bitch bitch.
Oct 24, 2007
49,170
0
1,010
Count Dookkake said:
Ebert's slam on the visuals of Battlefield Earth is a pretty good example of this criticism being applied to a film.
Except Battlefield Earth was horrible in every facet of its execution, stylistically.
 

zaidr

Member
Jun 30, 2007
1,412
0
0
Nafai1123 said:
is not reality. It is a perception of Normandy that is supposed to elicit an emotionally responsive idea of what someone might believe Normandy looked like, which in turn makes it feel more real to the viewer. It is supposed to be oppressive and drab, thus attempting to recreate the experience of being there. Doesn't a video game attempt to do the exact same thing?
Guerrilla succeeded, but went too far. Not the case with SPR.
...at least, thats whats being said in the article. I can't judge, as I haven't played the game enough yet.
 

Kintaro

Worships the porcelain goddess
Jun 10, 2004
27,928
0
0
zaidr said:
Proving this is a troll post? Or that you're too rash in labeling people?
If N'Gai's post came from a normal forum poster, they would be accused of trolling the game. I'm not rash, it's GAF. It's happened before. Mention popular game, say something about it in an abstract way ("Killzone 2 looks so good, it lacking...") and the popcorn.gifs arrive. :lol
 

HK-47

Oh, bitch bitch bitch.
Oct 24, 2007
49,170
0
1,010
EmCeeGramr said:
Yeah, I was specifically thinking of run-down rotting urban environments like in Condemned.

You see a collapsing filthy slum in real life and you think "what an eyesore,"

...A collapsing filthy slum in a game is more likely to have you gasping at the amazing volumetric smoke effects coming from the beautifully detailed hobo, lying in volumetric urine that actually flows across the cracks and porn magazines that flitter in the wind!

Obviously it comes down to art direction and the eye of the beholder, etc., etc. But it's something to think about. What happens when graphics become so good that we can actually make truly ugly things?
Well would it not be art to create such a thing of ugliness? And much of the awe over something like you mention is from a technical standpoint as well. Like smoke effects.
 
Jun 7, 2004
17,297
1
0
brain_stew said:
Kameo and Condemned were a huge leap forward for consoles and whilst PDZ was all over the place it still used effects and had texture quality that very few games match today.
It also had online code that still hasn't been fucking rivaled on a console. People shit on PDZ for good reason, but it was very impressive in very isolated areas.

Also lots of idiots jizzed over CoD2.
 

SapientWolf

Trucker Sexologist
Jul 4, 2004
35,737
0
0
Nafai1123 said:
I'm gonna have to disagree with you there. Each shot in a film in meticulously manufactured. Framing, lighting, color saturation, special effects etc. are all used to create an alternate sense of reality, much like a video game that attempts to create a coherent visual experience.

Eg. this..



is not reality. It is a perception of Normandy that is supposed to elicit an emotionally responsive idea of what someone might believe Normandy looked like, which in turn makes it feel more real to the viewer. It is supposed to be oppressive and drab, thus attempting to recreate the experience of being there. Doesn't a video game attempt to do the exact same thing?
That is true. Here is a color photograph from WW2 for comparison.
 

Truespeed

Member
May 6, 2007
7,123
2
930
N'Gai seems to think video games are art and because of this he has a tendency to use colorful and seldom used words, in the context of video games, to illustrate his point. The problem is, video games aren't art, but rather entertainment. His analysis of Killzone has more in common with Killzone, the painting rather than the game. I wish him well on the contract circuit. I'm sure his fellow employers will enjoy incorporating his idea's into their art masterpieces.