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Opinion Cringe Pre rendered backgrounds in 2020

Elektro Demon

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So hear me out.
Back in the good 'ol days of playstation 1, developers used prerendered backgrounds because of technical limitations.
And it made the game look at least one generation higher. Then later on, we got re1 remake and re0 for the gamecube and it also was quite glorious.
But ever since those games, prerendered backgrounds seem like they're forgotten.
Can you imagine what games would look using todays tech? We could have photorealistic looking games using prerendered backgrounds.
I had an idea, and I don't know if this is possible. How about using real photos as prerendered backgrounds? That would be insane. But I don't know would this work.
What do you guys think and will we ever see a resurgence of this ancient technique?
 

10000

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I think it will be glorious for some games with fixed camera angle

one of the biggest reason what makes legend of dragoon or ps1 final fantasy memorable that those games could capture the dream like and fantasy environment very well with this technique
 
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01011001

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yes a game that would use state of the art prerendered backgrounds and uses all the hardware power to only render dynamic objects in the scene would look absolutely crazy.

the issue is that this limits the design of the game immensely.

you could only do static camera angles for example.

so it would be great for something like a Dino Crisis remake.
Dino Crisis with state of the art graphics in the style of REmake would look like an animated movie in terms of quality... but it would be very limited in scope aswell.
 
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Elektro Demon

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yes a game that would use state of the art prerendered backgrounds and uses all the hardware power to only render dynamic objects in the scene would look absolutely crazy.

the issue is that this limits the design of the game immensely.

you could only do static camera angles for example.

so it would be great for something like a Dino Crisis remake.
Dino Crisis with state of the art graphics in the style of REmake would look like an animated movie in terms of quality... but it would be very limited in scope aswell.
It does limit the gameplay a little bit. But something in the lines of a throwback survival horror game would be perfectly fine.
 
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sunnysideup

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It does not need to be prerendered.

With set camera angles you could pretty much do cg graphics in real time. Especially if most of them are static.

Personally i would love to see more cinematic camera work again.
 
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Jtibh

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Not sure if its considered pre rendered but myst 3 and 4 had 360° pre rendered background with some animated parts in it.
To me that still looks amazing.
 
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Mato

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There is still some value in them if they are hand drawn and have a specific cartoon style. But for 3d renders, I don't see the point.
 
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Belmonte

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The problem of photos is that the character models and animations should be outstanding to not feel strange.

But it could be awesome. What if, instead of photos, they did record the places and make some kind of gif of them, like RE Remake and RE Zero? Or even better, moving cameras, like Code Veronica or Fear Effect. They need to record the camera movement and the video go forward or back depending of the player position.
 
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Fictive

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OP is asking for real photos, not scenes built from devs creating assets. It’s already out there, similar to Google Maps or even iPhone’s panoramic feature. But now, the photos would be extraordinary quality in the range of 50+ megapixels.
 

Al3x1s

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I'm more fond of the trend getting rid of pre-rendered stuff even in cut scenes than want them to get in-game also. If you're gonna limit the camera angles and therefor what can be on screen at any given time you can already achieve great results but maintain real time 3D and therefor have far more dynamic camera views, far more dynamic backgrounds with movement and lighting and real time interactions with their various elements, and so on. Now wanting 2D art or a mix of cg and 2D art is another matter and yes that can be pretty damn cool, as used in some recent retro CRPGs. But really, real time 3D can already be pretty sweet with some concessions, even Alien Isolation on PC or The Vanishing of Ethan Carter looks pretty damn amazing despite being first person games, the details, sharpness and realism are amazing. There's basically zero reason to go pre-rendered.

2014 indie game with standard freeform first person (so imagine what an AAA company caring to go for this level of detail and stylized realism in a fixed camera game could achieve, lol). There's basically zero reason to go pre-rendered. Higher quality is up to tech and budget, not real time vs pre.
 
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JordanN

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I'd appreciate if VFXVeteran VFXVeteran could weigh in on this.
Is this really possible? Like using a real life as a pre rendered background in the game? Would it work.
It already exists. It's called photogrammetry.

And it's been widely used this generation. Star Wars Battlefront comes to mind.





In fact, it's very common for almost every game aiming for photorealistic graphics today to have used scanned textures from real life. Only the models have been made by hand.
 
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JordanN

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OP is asking for real photos, not scenes built from devs creating assets.
In that case, I think games like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Realities accomplishes that. It basically operates using the same idea. Scanning real life locations and using them as backgrounds.



 
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Elektro Demon

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In that case, I think games like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Realities accomplishes that. It basically operates using the same idea. Scanning real life locations and using them as backgrounds.

I was thinking that, like real life photographs.
You'll have to excuse my bad editing skills but I think it illustrates the point very well.

 

Zannegan

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I'd like to see it done as an experiment, but if you just literally used photos, the static backgrounds would not look very convincing. And with the level of detail already put into some character models, would you really be able to make something noticeably better-looking with the power-savings from a prerendered background?

But even if you could, when you think about all the work it would take to make that 3D character interact believably with a 2D background (not to mention what you'd have to do with shadows and lighting) it seems like it would be much more difficult and have, in the end, worse results than just using a static camera on a 3D scene.

As others have mentioned, you can use photogrammetry and environment (laser?) scanning to create incredibly realistic textures for 3D objects and have the best of both worlds. Prerendered backgrounds (especially something pulled from pictures) would be pointless today, self-defeating even.

Like I said, it would be interesting to see as an artistic experiment, but ultimately it seems like a lot of trouble for a worse result.
 
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I read online that that was the original plan for Alone in the Dark...to use photos for the mansion backgrounds. Then because of technical limitations, they scrapped the photo idea and used the pre rendered backgrounds instead. As an experiment, I'd like to see how a pre rendered bg game would look like using photos.
 
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Elektro Demon

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I read online that that was the original plan for Alone in the Dark...to use photos for the mansion backgrounds. Then because of technical limitations, they scrapped the photo idea and used the pre rendered backgrounds instead. As an experiment, I'd like to see how a pre rendered bg game would look like using photos.
Interesting, I didn't know that.
I also would like to see this done as an experiment.
 
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VysePSU

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Yes to pre-rendered 3D backgrounds. No to real-life photograph backgrounds because they're not as interesting to look at, in my opinion.
 
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Bakkus

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Umm, they have been prominently featured in most of the popular indie games since those games made their mark in 2008.