How long until games are photorealistic?

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How long until games are photorealistic?

They already are!
3
3%
5-10 years
33
33%
10-20 years
31
31%
20-30 years
12
12%
30-50 years
1
1%
50-100+ years
4
4%
Never / When otters fly
16
16%
 
Total votes: 100

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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Narsil » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:36 am UTC

Sometimes I'm kept going because I think to myself that one day, Dwarf Fortress and Nethack will be in full Elder Scrolls-type 3d. Oh man. Oh man.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Xeio » Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:10 am UTC

Mr. Beck wrote:As for AI, nothing I have seen compares to the Hunters in HL2 Episode 2.
It's hard to explain just how it is unless you've played, but let me say that when I fought them, I felt dumber than the AI. I would be running from one around the back of a house, then find the other two had waited for me on the other side! Again, I can't rally explain- but none of their actions felt unplanned, yet practically none were scripted. Another time they cornered me in a bathroom by running into both doors simultaneously.
Not only that, but the way they behave feels malicious. Even if you somehow missed their introduction, I think that a player would feel that once they attacked, they would never stop until the victim was 100% dead- and then they would calmly saunter away.
I never noticed this, they followed me around like sheep to the slaughter. It may/may not help that I'm very good at ducking in/around buildings.

Edit: Sheep to the slaughter? *wonders*

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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:20 am UTC

Mr. Beck wrote:As for AI, nothing I have seen compares to the Hunters in HL2 Episode 2.
It's hard to explain just how it is unless you've played, but let me say that when I fought them, I felt dumber than the AI. I would be running from one around the back of a house, then find the other two had waited for me on the other side! Again, I can't rally explain- but none of their actions felt unplanned, yet practically none were scripted. Another time they cornered me in a bathroom by running into both doors simultaneously.
Not only that, but the way they behave feels malicious. Even if you somehow missed their introduction, I think that a player would feel that once they attacked, they would never stop until the victim was 100% dead- and then they would calmly saunter away.


This. I don't know if the Hunters were actually that good, or if seeing them do what they did in the beginning of the episode just instilled a powerful feeling of

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But yeah, those things were irritating. Which made smashing into them with a car quite enjoyable.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Decker » Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:29 am UTC

I always thought that the AI in F.E.A.R was really good. I constantly found myself being flushed out of cover by grenades and being flanked when I didn't expect it.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby thecommabandit » Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:19 am UTC

Re: Hunters
The Hunters are really well crafted. They fit in with all other Combine synth, especially that feeling that it's an animal and doesn't really have any abstract reasoning or sentience, but can still pull all sorts of complicated and tactical manoeuvers on your ass to kill you. Like they're intending to kill you and do it well, but that they're not necessarily evil themselves. They way Hunters kill is also amazing AI. They trap you in that building and pin you down with constant fire. They use melee and ranged attacks in the right contexts and can co-ordinate their attacks. I've seen them actively avoid taking positions by explosive barrels. Didn't stop me throwing some at them with the gravity gun but it's still remarkable intelligent.

Recently I've been playing Mass Effect and the AI is... variable. Oftentimes I've been frustrated by someone who refuses to come out from cover until their shield has regenerated or they've healed themselves a bit, which is good because Im obviously expecting them to be stupid and suicidal. Othertimes some enemy will decide it's a good idea to charge at and come around the cover with a pistol to kill me. Krogan and Geth usually do that, but the geth do it well and means I panic and have to deal with the immediate threat, leaving time for other troopers to advance. Perhaps the krogan AI is programmed to be stupid and brute-forcey.

Also about Mass Effect: That's prettymuch as close to photorealism as you'd really ever need to be. There's some problems with self-shadowing on faces and from other small objects, but if they solved that and the repetition of the body animations during talking then it'd be perfect.

EDIT :I forgot to mention this part: the physics in Mass Effect are pretty good too. Especially when a biotic uses lift. It's very satisfying when a husk or creeper is charging you, you use lift and they float upwards but carry on going forwards, flying over your head. Conservation of momentum ftw.

Although in the Mako, the physics are pretty shit. You're driving this huge ATV with jump thrusters and a big ass-cannon on it and it just bounces about like its plastic filled with air. It just has no weight. And don't tell me it's the gravity. It acts identically on a 0.6g world as a 1.6g one. Another problem with ME: gravity doesn't change on different planets. It would be so cool if the physics engine could change the air density and gravity depending on the planet (I know Valve's has these features - you can change them in Gmod) but maybe they thought it was too difficult or would take to long to configure it for each uncharted world.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Rippy » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:54 pm UTC

I thought the AI in mass effect was meh (still loved the game though). Enemies seem to have this habit of standing in one spot and shooting, then occasionally running towards you more.

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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby SirMustapha » Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:19 pm UTC

I find myself in agreement with those asking for less graphics and more physics and AI. I want to play games, not stare at them. I enjoyed going around BioShock whacking little objects to see them flying around. It was fun. And the AI was fairly decent, as far as I'm concerned (either that or I'm REALLY bad at aiming, which made things more difficult than they should). Besides, even those "falling sand" games which have a LOT of stuff in them are surprisingly fun to play around with for a while. I don't need excellent graphics - I just need to believe things are actually happen.

And, for the love of the gods, LESS PLOT. If I want a plot, I watch a film or read a book. When I finish a game of FreeCell, I don't want to discover the cards are actually controlled by some ridiculous intelligent computer that sings a song at the end. I am fine with doing stuff without a clear, precisely defined goal.

Besides, I got just sick of seeing games that have really cool, interesting premises boil down to the same old "kill the one single BIG BAD boss at the end". Why do games have to have ONE big villain? I actually have sketched up a concept for a game in which you're clearly fighting something, but it's not actually there, and eventually it doesn't exist at all. That would be nice - focus on WHAT you're doing and not on WHY.

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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby headprogrammingczar » Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:38 pm UTC

You would love Shadow of the Colossus. It boils down to "kill the 16 big bosses at the beginning and end". There are three cutscenes that give plot, and the rest of the game is either eyecandy or boss battles.

Actually, this game did photorealism pretty well. The world was made on a HUGE scale, so all of their work went to optimizing their LOD rendering. This made huge landscapes look incredibly detailed while also keeping the close-up areas from getting filled with visual clutter. They also went for textures over geometry, so they could make a very good-looking landscape without a crapload of foliage. The colossuses (FF gets colossus but not the plural...) are wonderfully animated. The texture detail and simpler geometry makes them look much bigger than they actually are. The fur on the colossuses is standard N64 technology, rather than particle effects, which makes it seem thicker and less "Pixar". Absurdly high detail can be done well, but it is not by just making the biggest fucking model file you can.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Klapaucius » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:04 pm UTC

headprogrammingczar wrote:You would love Shadow of the Colossus. It boils down to "kill the 16 big bosses at the beginning and end". There are three cutscenes that give plot, and the rest of the game is either eyecandy or boss battles.

Actually, this game did photorealism pretty well. The world was made on a HUGE scale, so all of their work went to optimizing their LOD rendering. This made huge landscapes look incredibly detailed while also keeping the close-up areas from getting filled with visual clutter. They also went for textures over geometry, so they could make a very good-looking landscape without a crapload of foliage. The colossuses (FF gets colossus but not the plural...) are wonderfully animated. The texture detail and simpler geometry makes them look much bigger than they actually are. The fur on the colossuses is standard N64 technology, rather than particle effects, which makes it seem thicker and less "Pixar". Absurdly high detail can be done well, but it is not by just making the biggest fucking model file you can.


The animation quality (as in, the characters' movement) was a big help--everything moved very fluidly, especially the protagonist and his horse. The actions of the colossi were just a sight to behold--especially
Spoiler:
the eagle, the creepy, creepy bearded one, the fish, and the Chinese dragon.

The environment itself was amazing too--an open peninsula full of ancient ruins, mountains, and wildlife that I must have spent hours just exploring. I remember finding all the strange areas that didn't seem to serve a purpose... like the mysterious 'wall' that's supposed to have a hidden 'face' on it.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Cheese » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:45 pm UTC

Narsil wrote:Sometimes I'm kept going because I think to myself that one day, Dwarf Fortress and Nethack will be in full Elder Scrolls-type 3d. Oh man. Oh man.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Jack Saladin » Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:22 pm UTC

The colossuses (FF gets colossus but not the plural...)

That's because it's "colossi".

I've yet to see an example of someone saying how FF's dictionary misses something where they're not just spelling it wrong. FF DICTIONARY > YOU.

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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:38 pm UTC

Colour. Aluminium.

It seems FF dislikes UK spellings (which doesn't bother me). This could probably be changed in the setting somewhere though.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Jack Saladin » Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:40 pm UTC

Yeah, you can get a British English Dictionary add-on. Which is an odd way to do it, but oh well.

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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby EvanED » Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:24 pm UTC

For a long time FF didn't know "okay". Hell, it may still not, and it's just getting it from my custom dictionary.

Also, "colossuses" is an accepted spelling of the plural. (According to Random House and American Heritage. Though Webster does specify colossi as the sole plural.)

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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby el_loco_avs » Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:50 am UTC

Klapaucius wrote:
headprogrammingczar wrote:You would love Shadow of the Colossus. It boils down to "kill the 16 big bosses at the beginning and end". There are three cutscenes that give plot, and the rest of the game is either eyecandy or boss battles.

Actually, this game did photorealism pretty well. The world was made on a HUGE scale, so all of their work went to optimizing their LOD rendering. This made huge landscapes look incredibly detailed while also keeping the close-up areas from getting filled with visual clutter. They also went for textures over geometry, so they could make a very good-looking landscape without a crapload of foliage. The colossuses (FF gets colossus but not the plural...) are wonderfully animated. The texture detail and simpler geometry makes them look much bigger than they actually are. The fur on the colossuses is standard N64 technology, rather than particle effects, which makes it seem thicker and less "Pixar". Absurdly high detail can be done well, but it is not by just making the biggest fucking model file you can.


The animation quality (as in, the characters' movement) was a big help--everything moved very fluidly, especially the protagonist and his horse. The actions of the colossi were just a sight to behold--especially
Spoiler:
the eagle, the creepy, creepy bearded one, the fish, and the Chinese dragon.

The environment itself was amazing too--an open peninsula full of ancient ruins, mountains, and wildlife that I must have spent hours just exploring. I remember finding all the strange areas that didn't seem to serve a purpose... like the mysterious 'wall' that's supposed to have a hidden 'face' on it.


The combination of artwork and *excellent* animation made this game amazing. The used physics rules to create the animation which ended up causing their faster collosi to be smaller. That plus the fact that you could randomly run on anything that was level enough. Man.
Even just the animated horse was great, adjusting the positioning of the hooves on the terrain when running up. Most games just cop out and put the model at an angle if it's going uphill. I've only played the damn game on weekend (don't have a ps2) and I still hear the soundtrack in my head now.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:07 pm UTC

Couldn't you get something like FF:AC (or something better, since that was ages ago) then make a point and click adventure or "Press the button at the right time to get the good scene" type game and that would count as a photorealistic game?
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby el_loco_avs » Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:09 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Couldn't you get something like FF:AC (or something better, since that was ages ago) then make a point and click adventure or "Press the button at the right time to get the good scene" type game and that would count as a photorealistic game?


Ah one of those prerendered 'rail' games. That would count for me... and it ususally means real-time rendering of those same graphics is only a couple years away.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby NathanielJ » Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:39 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Couldn't you get something like FF:AC (or something better, since that was ages ago) then make a point and click adventure or "Press the button at the right time to get the good scene" type game and that would count as a photorealistic game?


If that's a qualification for a game being photo-realistic, then games have been photo-realistic since 1998 or so, thanks to Riven.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Jebobek » Wed Sep 24, 2008 2:57 pm UTC

There used to be a arcade game where you were a sheriff shooting real-life video actors on a big screen that played a video of them falling over if you shot them, or played a video of them shooting you if you missed/did not shoot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Dog_McCree

Mad Dog McCree is the first live-action laserdisc video game released by American Laser Games. It originally appeared as an arcade shooting game[1] in 1990 (see 1990 in video gaming). It gained a lot of attention for its real-video style, bearing similarities to recent Hollywood westerns.

A laserdisc video game is an arcade game that uses pre-recorded video (either live-action or animation) played from a laserdisc, either as the entirety of the graphics, or as part of the graphics.

...Although I'm sure we're talking about making polygon video games photorealistic.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Endless Mike » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:18 pm UTC

FMV games don't count.

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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby headprogrammingczar » Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:38 am UTC

Myst IV looks very good (and was done in full 3D). You just have to ignore the fact that the rendering engine was optimized for stationary reference frames (I promise it is 3D!). If they put the same effort into it as the earlier games, they could have properly integrated the live action and CG to not look tacky.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Frimble » Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:58 pm UTC

headprogrammingczar wrote:Myst IV looks very good (and was done in full 3D). You just have to ignore the fact that the rendering engine was optimized for stationary reference frames (I promise it is 3D!). If they put the same effort into it as the earlier games, they could have properly integrated the live action and CG to not look tacky.

I agree that the landscapes are realistic, but even Myst IV has characters that move like puppets.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Vellyr » Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:18 pm UTC

Looking at games like Far Cry 2 and Grid, I can already barely tell the difference when it comes to landscapes. I would guess we'll have photorealistic landscapes by 2010. Give it 5-10 years for animate objects to catch up. Like other people have said though, some games come very close on animations. The thing that struck me the most about SoC was the way the game made you feel the impact when you got hit by something, that was awesome. WoW also has incredibly good animations.

And, for the love of the gods, LESS PLOT. If I want a plot, I watch a film or read a book. When I finish a game of FreeCell, I don't want to discover the cards are actually controlled by some ridiculous intelligent computer that sings a song at the end. I am fine with doing stuff without a clear, precisely defined goal.


What people want is not more plot, but better plot. Games have a tendency to shoehorn plot into the game without considering the impact. Game plots need to be better integrated into the gameplay, give the player more options to influence them, and move to completely in-game presentation rather than relying on cutscenes.

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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Mr. Beck » Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:01 pm UTC

...again, I mention HL2EP2. Seems like exactly what you want.

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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby headprogrammingczar » Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:59 am UTC

Frimble wrote:
headprogrammingczar wrote:Myst IV looks very good (and was done in full 3D). You just have to ignore the fact that the rendering engine was optimized for stationary reference frames (I promise it is 3D!). If they put the same effort into it as the earlier games, they could have properly integrated the live action and CG to not look tacky.

I agree that the landscapes are realistic, but even Myst IV has characters that move like puppets.

You realize that the characters were played by actors on bluescreen?
I admit, the acting blows in Myst IV; Riven was much better (they even had an operatic actor play Gehn). HL2 and derivatives had good actor movements (or at least I thought).
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Xeio » Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:58 am UTC

Vellyr wrote:Game plots need to be better integrated into the gameplay, give the player more options to influence them, and move to completely in-game presentation rather than relying on cutscenes.

Mr. Beck wrote:...again, I mention HL2EP2. Seems like exactly what you want.

Not so much, as much as HL2 is very story oriented, you are driven by the story, it is not driven by you, you're just there for the ride. Though I'll give you the cutscene free part, though I don't think every game would benefit from that.

Vellyr wrote:Looking at games like Far Cry 2 and Grid, I can already barely tell the difference when it comes to landscapes. I would guess we'll have photorealistic landscapes by 2010. Give it 5-10 years for animate objects to catch up. Like other people have said though, some games come very close on animations.

I disagree. As good as landscapes can look, they are still very cut and dry, the same few-many textures over and over again. Procedurally generated textures seem like they could overcome this at least slightly (with a bit of touching up), but this would either cause a lot of bloat (storing those textures) or a drain on the processor (generating them on the fly). Vegetation and such could also use work, and almost EVERYTHING looks worse once you get up close and personal to it. Distanced objects are under less scrutiny, so these you could probably get looking extremely good, if you manage to be able to render it all at any distance, and stuff doesn't 'appear' as you walk towards it.

Though, even if you can get the static objects to look excellent (and what kind of scenery is 100% static anyway, other than the dirt?), I can't see them sacrificing all that effort to make just one part of the game look good. "Look at our game, sure, the stuff that moves looks so-so, but the dirt! It's FABULOUS!"

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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Frimble » Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:01 am UTC

headprogrammingczar wrote:
Frimble wrote:
headprogrammingczar wrote:Myst IV looks very good (and was done in full 3D). You just have to ignore the fact that the rendering engine was optimized for stationary reference frames (I promise it is 3D!). If they put the same effort into it as the earlier games, they could have properly integrated the live action and CG to not look tacky.

I agree that the landscapes are realistic, but even Myst IV has characters that move like puppets.

You realize that the characters were played by actors on bluescreen?
I admit, the acting blows in Myst IV; Riven was much better (they even had an operatic actor play Gehn). HL2 and derivatives had good actor movements (or at least I thought).

I have now idea what technology was involved, but they are clearly 3D models, and they still don't move right.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby headprogrammingczar » Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:11 pm UTC

Maybe you are thinking of Myst V then? I know Myst IV used live action for its characters.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Frimble » Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:25 pm UTC

Ah yes, my mistake. I apologise.

(Must get the other Myst games)
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Jebobek » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:45 pm UTC

You can also make a game more photorealistic quicker by fooling with the camera angle to limit computing demand. In oblivion you'll notice how shrubbery blowing in the wind will be invisible in the distance, because rendering all of that at once is non-feasable. If you would do an overhead veiw and lock it in place for a game, you can put all the processing power on a smaller field, giving you a really nice look while maintaining framerate.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Frimble » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:47 pm UTC

NwN 1 uses that system too. If you look carefully you can see that your character is in a little bubble of high definition scenery.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Jebobek » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:54 pm UTC

The problem with that mode is that, well, I like first-person mode, with open spaces! I think another Req. for photorealism is being able to interact and look everywhere and you still get good effects, amirite?
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:00 pm UTC

No, Photorealism just requires that it look like a photograph. Which can be done very, very easily on static backgrounds.

Having photorealistic three-dimensional scenery (which most people in here are talking about) still doesn't mean that you are free to do as you want wherever you want.. it just means everywhere you go looks just like a photograph or, more likely in this case, a movie. Or real life.

Still doesn't mean you can clamber over those chest-high walls.

I'll take Doom graphics if it means I can do anything and have the objects react like I'd expect them to react.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Jebobek » Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:50 pm UTC

So, Reductio ad absurdum, FMV games DO count. :P

But I agree, graphics are ok now as long as the format supports all the function. So if doom graphics make it hard for you to, say, fashion sticks into a hanglider and fly it, it needs to be upgraded.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Yuri2356 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:01 pm UTC

Jebobek wrote:So, Reductio ad absurdum, FMV games DO count. :P

Not really. Photorealism is about applying obscene amounts of realistic detail, to the point that something appears to be a photo of a real scene without actually being a photo. The photo-quality parts of FMV games are actual photos, so they don't fall under the definition.

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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Jebobek » Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:30 pm UTC

Yuri2356 wrote:
Jebobek wrote:So, Reductio ad absurdum, FMV games DO count. :P
Not really. Photorealism is about applying obscene amounts of realistic detail, to the point that something appears to be a photo of a real scene without actually being a photo. The photo-quality parts of FMV games are actual photos, so they don't fall under the definition.
Sorry, I was going with the origional poster's requirements. I think the problem is that I'm going by guidelines that are not as strict vs. what people say "photorealism" is. For instance, I feel that the quality and "weaving together" of photos in a FMV game is important in making the game itself "photorealistic."

For instance, if you were to shoot a live-action guy thats heavily pixelated and he would disappear. The scene changes to a hallway in a flash.
You shoot a live-action guy where you cannot see his pixels (looks real), and he would flash and disappear. The scene changes to a hallway in a flash. Somewhat more photorealistic.
You shoot him and he cringes, then falls over. The scene changes to a hallway in a flash. More photorealistic.
You shoot him and he cringers, then falls over. You then watch yourself walking through a door into a hallway. Most photorealistic.

All of these exampes use nothing but photos/videos, but one is more photorealistic than the other. So you could use the "photorealism" definition and apply it to FMV's too...except if you're right, Yuri, and the images must NOT be a photo in the first place. Then I'd just call it more realistic then.

In any case, FMV's are mostly a thing of the past, we're all talking about having photorealistic three-dimensional scenery here, so I wont harp on it.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby SoapyHobo » Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:44 pm UTC

Jebobek wrote:All of these exampes use nothing but photos/videos, but one is more photorealistic than the other.
Umm, no. They are all using the same game engine/photo quality (apart from the transition between 1st and 2nd), the latter options are more realistic but not more photorealistic. The game in the second description is more photorealistic than the first but after that they are equal.
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby Jebobek » Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:52 pm UTC

Thats what i was thinking, but I just wanted to throw out my line of thinking and why I thought FMV's had degrees of photorealism. Thanks for setting me straight, folks. Again i was looking at:
Time to take bets on when games are going to be indistinguishable from reality.
And was forgetting about
is indistinguishable from a real image or video.
Well back on topic, are photograpic images still being applied on to characters' faces to help make games look more photorealistic?
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby fishyfish777 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:02 pm UTC

I'm gonna vote another 10 years, then games will be *almost* photorealistic. But then the advent of virtual reality will come.

Imagine playing Counter-strike with Virtual Reality :lol:
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Re: How long until games are photorealistic?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:13 pm UTC

fishyfish777 wrote:I'm gonna vote another 10 years, then games will be *almost* photorealistic. But then the advent of virtual reality will come.

fishyfish, meet 1994.
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