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Old 28-07-2011, 07:47 AM   #61
Eagle of Fire
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Wow... So many things you just said are wrong to many levels.

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One thing I don't understand. You guys are serious when you compare a game like Civilization to Civilization IV for example? I personally played both of them. The first Civ is a sad piece of work by today's standards (boring, unrewarding etc), while Civ IV is everything that I wanted at the time I played it. Of course I now speak objectively - I can still easily get in the right mood and enjoy the first Civilization as well.
I don't know who compared Civilization to Civilization IV, but anyways I'll bite... I played Civ, Civ II, Civ III and Colonization IV which is a sad excuse for its name as it is only a Civilization IV mod... And the best feature of Civilization IV is the graphics.

Yes, you heard me... The most prized upgrade in a strategy game is its graphics upgrade???

There is different genres in the industry. Those different genres have different needs... But the craze right now is only focused on better and better and better and better and better and better graphics. All the time... But let me tell you: some genre actually suffer from "upgraded" graphics. This is the case in strategy games in which the best use of graphics is to give you the broadest idea of what is happening on your whole map instead of focusing on how you can zoom in and literally see the little dudes in your cities.

In a real strategy game, you don't want graphics to intrude in the gameplay. Because a strategy game is all about thinking your next move to perfection. Not how your artillery piece make such a beautiful explosion when you use them. And it is sadly not really surprising that the industry can't be arsed to make a good score of strategy games nowaday... They simply are not equipped well enough to understand how it works in the first place since it is not directly related to graphics.

I have to admit that I didn't even bother trying to play Civ IV and Civ V though. There has come a point in the gaming industry history that I simply stopped caring about what they could get out because everything they did get out was really trashy. Graphics does not make a game, and they forgot that. So I just strolled along, hoping someday to find a real game which could raise my spirit back enough to I'd actually care to waste money on trying new games I might actually like... Sadly, this didn't happen yet.

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I also heard a myth here which says that devs nowadays give less attention to detail. Compare the walls of Doom to the walls of Doom 3, compare Half-Life's world to the one in Half-Life 2, Legend of Kyrandia to The Whispered World and Syberia, the random dungeons of Diablo to the finely crafted mythical world of Titan Quest etc etc. There is a tremendous amount of detail going on in today's games, not to mention they have an entire army of artists. Yes, even such games as Call of Duty: Black Ops have plenty of art in them. Who else would make the artwork, art concepts, models, level design, cutscenes, script writing etc?
Comparing the walls of Doom versus Doom 3 is stupid. Not only the walls of Doom were OK, if not beautiful by themselves, you are comparing games so far apart in term of age that you don't take into consideration that the makers of Doom could not have make those walls much better without drastically reducing the speed of the game. Doom was meant to be ran on 486 PCs for God sake! Comparing that to the computers which are about a thousand fold faster nowaday is mind numbing.

Also, you probably don't know how brilliant the roguelike random system of Diablo and Diablo II is. Even though, again, those games are way older than the comparison, they really shine in both their simplicity and their complexity. Which come out from every good game, dare I say.

I also dare say that those so called details you are talking about are probably only in the graphics themselves. The templates. Etc. Which is exactly why we are sick of them because, again, graphics does not make a game!

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In fact there's so much detail, it spawned an entire genre that makes you dig through crap minutiae - its name is Hidden Object games.
No idea what that is... Moving on...
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You guys also failed to notice that genres such as FPSs have long since attained perfection in terms of gameplay. You really want another raw Doom in 2011? How would a developer make its product stand out from the mass of generic FPSs, without shifting the focus on graphics (Crysis), atmosphere (Bioshock), presentation (Call of Duty franchise), gadgets (Crysis again, Singularity, Half-Life 2) or cross-genre-ing (Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, Portal, Zeno Clash, Sanctum).
Well, that is the whole point. We don't want another frigging FPS! Period! Just look at the image on the last page... I though it said it all.
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At the same time, the gaming industry has evolved considerably. Until mid-90s it was pretty niche. Now there are all kinds of gamers, from moms and grandpas to "hardcore" players that only played a single game in their entire life, and it has "craft" in its title. The industry went gargantuan, but you as the Old Guard kept your interests relatively the same, thus you have become niche. To find what you're looking for, you need to look harder, because no matter how many casual players there will be, there's always something to please you too. But are you? Many of you are fans of Panzer General, but how many of you do know of Panzer Corps? Many of you are fans of Jagged Alliance but how many of you heard of Team Assault: Baptism of Fire? It gets funnier, because they're both published by the same company, and relatively easy to find if you want to...
If by "evolved" you mean "took what was right and turned it wrong"... Then yes, the gaming industry really "evolved".

The only thing which really "evolved" in the gaming industry is the cash flow. Games in the '90s were not invested millions of dollars with the guaranteed return of ten time the investment. They were small companies with small budgets which somehow managed to get out great games gameplay wise. Not graphic wise.

Also, I know you already know that... But a gamer who play only one game is not an "hardcore gamer". An "hardcore gamer" is a gamer who play it all, all the time. If you play only one game then you are an "hardcore player of [insert title here]", and nothing more. Or, more to the point, called "a player who is utterly addicted to a game and might need to seek professional help". That's like a world of difference here.

Also... Grandma and grandpa gamers? Are you kidding me? You probably mean that the future of PC gaming rely into mindless flashgames you can get rid of in about 10 minutes in term of gameplay... Or games in which all you do is search for clues and go to the next screen. Because, short of boring Wii games which are pretty much built on the same idea, that's what "grandma" and "grandpa" PC users are playing. Oh, that and... Solitaire. That's a classic. You just can't go wrong with Solitaire. I'm sure Microsoft would lose so much users if they didn't include that game in every single OS they make! And that's not even sarcastical...

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It's incredible that in this amazing ocean of both indie and mainstream titles you still can't find something that you'd like. I need to back up TC on this: you really do sound like deprecating geezers. I won't start listing all the worth-noting hardcore titles of 2011 as I usually would do, because it's your gaming life - you manage it.
Sorry to bring you to reality again... But "Indies games" were hot like several years ago. And after several years, most of them are either still in development without a sheer hint of when (or even if!) they'll ever be completed, or a very few of them simply turned mainstream. With all the problems that involve.

Like Mount & Blade. I jumped that bandwagon very late, and loved the version I tried. Then later on they released another version and suddently the whole game shifted to better graphics - and a huge FPS drop. I mean, I thought I had finally found a great game there, thought they had it right where I wanted. All what was left in my mind for them to do was to polish the gameplay aspect of the game - quests, NPCs interaction, army management, etc - but they wanted to go mainstream. So what did they do? Work on improving the graphics which were already really good... Really great... So this is what you tell me is the future? Get hooked on games which will not end up playing like you liked them in the first place?

Right...

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As a conclusion I want to say something I've learned after playing quite a few games. When you start a new game, you need to have the right mindset. If you begin with "This game is new, therefore it is crap. I shall play it just to attest historically that all the latest games are crap." you already lost. You will never enjoy it the way you should be. And by the looks of this thread, this is exactly what happened here. Even worse - some of the major complainers have failed to even play the games they criticize so desperately...
I never start playing with such a ridiculous mindset. What I do keep as a mindset though, when I start a new game, is "did'nt I already played this like a hundred times before?". FPS: all the same. Run, aim shoot. Run aim shoot. Run aim shoot. (Supposedly) RPGs? Create char, which is often fixed anyways. Run aim slash. Run aim slash. Run aim slash. And again, simply changing or upgrading the graphics don't help a dime here.

Whatever the setting, it is always the same. I dare you to bring me a real game which is really different or original, and I'll call it a great game. I did it plenty of times in the past, for games genre I even hated (example: I hate adventure games. Quest for Glory is a great game. I hate MMORPG. WoW is a gem game, can't say otherwise) and I'll just do it again. But I so lost hope in "modern" gaming that for that the game would need to bump into me now rather than the opposite... Because I'm certainly not open to lose money to try new games which are rightly so crappy in comparison to the standards and quality I want to find and play.
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Old 28-07-2011, 11:01 AM   #62
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If you run it through Microsoft Sam, this post becomes amazing.
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Old 28-07-2011, 02:17 PM   #63
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As usually, everyone sees the matter with games "back then" and "nowadays" differently
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Originally Posted by Eagle of Fire View Post
They were small companies with small budgets which somehow managed to get out great games gameplay wise. Not graphic wise.
Don't forget there existed Electronic Arts already in the first years of the 90s, and it ruined Ultima VIII, leaving it still full of bugs and no (planned though) expansion pack. It also ruined Ultima IX, which looked as a promising game first, but ended up being only mediocre.

Everyone has a bit of a point here. True that older games can often hook you in for longer time than new ones, but also true that not all new games are about graphics and less about content. Yes, the tendency is about better graphics, though it was always there, even with old Dos games. There just was much more left to discover than now. There's always something to find, if only one cares to look for long enough.
And speaking of new inspiration, there are some ideas around about possible future of computer games. Not "video" games anymore...
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Old 28-07-2011, 04:11 PM   #64
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I'm not sure that bringing examples from the past really help the point here. Yes, there has been bad attempts at going for the graphics first instead of the gameplay... But those examples were the exception in the past. Now, nowaday, it is the norm. And that is what we are discussing here.
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Old 28-07-2011, 06:10 PM   #65
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ROTFLMAO @ Microsoft Sam

Eagle of Fire, it's absolutely seldom I say this, but you definitely nailed it!

And from my pov there's nothing to add, which is seldom again
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Old 28-07-2011, 07:06 PM   #66
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Whoah TA, Civ1 may be dated technically, but I must strongly disagree. If you said for example that Civ gameplay was boring and unrewarding compared to RTS, or Total War gameplay, that would be a matter of taste. But CivX against Civ1? You've got to be kidding. Even if the later sequels were better (they'd better be!), they build upon the original idea with minor adjustments. And most of the few concepts (beside graphics and sound improvements) that the later sequels have introduced into the Civ saga have been taken from other strategy games. And Civ installments are more like previous ones than in other sagas, precisely because the first game already had so much success in it.
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Old 29-07-2011, 06:16 PM   #67
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This has become an "Everything that I don't like is dumb" thread. A couple of points must be made:

1. Everyone is not you. Regardless of how you feel about FPS games (to pick just one example out of many), the genre is undeniably alive and well, judging from the number of FPS titles cranked out on a regular basis. So there must be quite a few people out there who like those games (and no, I don't consider myself one of them; I haven't played an FPS game regularly since the original Unreal Tournament). If you would like to talk about how stupid those people must be, go right ahead. I'm sure you'll find plenty of others with the same prejudices.

2. Commenting on how a particular game sucks without ever having played it opens you up to all kinds of well-deserved ridicule.

3. If you absolutely can't stand the idea of nice graphics in a game, most modern games allow you to adjust their settings to the point where they're as visually appealing as something that comes out of a dog after it drinks from a stagnant puddle. As a bonus, games often play much more smoothly at those settings.

4. Ever notice how a lot of those companies that made the great games you remember from your childhood either got bought by other companies or simply don't exist anymore? Refer back to point 1 for a possible reason.

5. Finally, if you're miserable because absolutely nothing out there meets your standards for a great game, write one. Don't know a programming language? Learn one. Learn four; you've got the time, since you're not wasting it playing all those terrible new games. And you can't complain that graphics programming is too difficult, since you've already established that good graphics make for a crappy game. If there are enough people out there who feel the same way you do, your game may become a huge hit and could even change the direction of the entire industry. Of course, at that point you'll be considered a sellout by the same people who initially thought your game was the greatest thing since the Commodore 64. Enjoy the ride.
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Old 29-07-2011, 08:14 PM   #68
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Well, those are the classic counter arguments to real PC gaming. I mean, c'mon... Can't you think of a better argument yet? Those same arguments have been brought out since 10-15 years now. They didn't hold the road then, they don't hold it right now either.

1.) The whole point of having a whole community of gamers is that not everyone is like everybody else. The fact that I am not part of the majority right now does not mean I don't have my right to express my opinion on the matter. Telling me "shut up and go away" won't work. I even wonder why people think it would.

2.) I played more games in my life than any producer could dream to make and sell in ten lifetimes. I know how games work, even their inner working even. I never talk bad about a game I never played, period. You probably say that because I mentioned I didn't play Civ IV, but I did play Colonization IV which is exactly the same thing. I don't like talking thru my hat and I do all I can not to do exactly that.

3.) The whole point is not to play with nice graphics or not. The point is that developers spend so much time improving or working on graphics that they don't work on the gameplay. You guys really have not been listening to what we say since several years, isn't? I'll repeat: graphics does not make a game. If all you do in a game is have nice graphics, you are making a bad game from the start. So no, reducing the level of graphics is only going to frustrate people like me even more. Nice try...

4.) I fail to see how this point is even relevant. Microsoft also bought out of business many companies. Are they really the God sent company from the heavens because of this? If anything, those big companies which managed to make big bucks bought the smaller ones because a) their employees were highly qualified personnel and 2) it was business sound to take a good competitor out of business. All those big companies which are only out for the big bucks do follow the classic marketing approach... Having them try to get their competitors out of business is the most classical of the classic ways to do that. This would however be a business discussion, completely unrelated to the one right now.

5.) No. I'm not going to make a new game. I'm not even going to try. I'm a gamer. By definition, it means that I play games. If I had any kind of inspiration to become a game designer, I would have done so 20 years ago. Thank you.

Beside, if you look well enough you'll see that the example you wish to take by trying to take me down is already present at large in the gaming industry. Some games, especially indie games, have already took the road to lesser graphics but high gameplay and made huge hits. You simply won't see those games in the mainline industry because they would not sell well to the FPS gamers who would not even touch the game with a 10 foot pole as soon as they noticed the game would not require a 2020 PC rig to run the graphics...
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Old 30-07-2011, 04:10 AM   #69
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1. I agree. Why, did someone tell you to shut up and go away? I don't recall reading anything of the sort in this thread. And incidentally, you are indeed part of the majority - the vast majority - in this particular community, given that the site is dedicated to old games. Not too many people come here to sing the praises of the latest Call of Duty title.

2. Let's try to stick to facts and leave hyperbole out of this (it is technically possible to do that in a discussion, or so I've heard), unless you really think you've played more games than someone could possibly dream up in 750 years. Disparaging Civilization IV when you've only played Colonization IV is like disparaging a band when you've only heard remixes of their songs.

3. I am in total agreement that focusing on graphics ber alles makes for a crappy game, but you seem to be of the opinion that there is no possible way for a game to have good graphics and engaging gameplay, to the point where you will dismiss out-of-hand any game that looks halfway decent.

4. The topic of business would be irrelevant to a discussion about the state of the gaming industry? I disagree, as do a number of other people who've brought it up in this thread. Like it or not, game companies exist to make money, and they do so by producing games that sell. If you don't like FPS games, or sports games, or adventure games, or MMORPGs, don't buy them (or rent them, in the case of MMORPGs). If someone produces a game that you do like (assuming such a thing is possible), buy it. Companies care where you spend your money, not what you think of other people who buy their products.

5. It was probably unintentional, but that's the most optimistic thing you've said in this thread. After all, if you're not willing to change anything, the situation must not be nearly as desperate as you've made it out to be.
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Old 30-07-2011, 07:02 AM   #70
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1. I agree. Why, did someone tell you to shut up and go away? I don't recall reading anything of the sort in this thread.
I only responded to your classical rebutals. And in this specific one, telling someone that they are not part of the majority and should either pick it up or leave it be pretty much mean shut up and get out if you don't like it.
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2. Let's try to stick to facts and leave hyperbole out of this (it is technically possible to do that in a discussion, or so I've heard), unless you really think you've played more games than someone could possibly dream up in 750 years. Disparaging Civilization IV when you've only played Colonization IV is like disparaging a band when you've only heard remixes of their songs.
The thing is, Colonization IV is really only a cheap mod to Civilization IV. I can't believe that they actually did it, it was obviously done to shut up Colonization fanatics while making a clear money grab. Think about it... They had already made one game (Civ IV) which was what they call a success... Then they take exactly the same engine, with little to no modifications to the game itself, and ship Colonization IV with it. The worse part is that most people don't even seem to realize it...

Heck, I could have do exactly the same with Civ III scenario editor!
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3. I am in total agreement that focusing on graphics ber alles makes for a crappy game, but you seem to be of the opinion that there is no possible way for a game to have good graphics and engaging gameplay, to the point where you will dismiss out-of-hand any game that looks halfway decent.
Halfway decent is not decent enough. This has nothing to do with the graphics per se. I guess you don't get what "graphics does not make a game", so I'll spell it out again: it means that you cannot make a great game by focusing solely on graphics. If you take many "new" games and study them, you will realize that the only thing which is marginally better than the other same genre title on the same shelf in your local store is graphics. That is what "graphics does not make a game" mean, because those kind of games focus primarily on having good graphics nice on the eyes and focus on the real game later.

A real game do the opposite: you take a great idea, build on it, then expand the graphics around it so it doesn't impede on the original idea. But even then it is very easy by upgrading the graphics to completely change the original gameplay idea...

So, to answer your question... No, I don't immediately flag games as bad only because they have awesome graphics. There is many other criteria that I follow for my own personal critique, and the graphics per se are really not a big factor here.
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4. The topic of business would be irrelevant to a discussion about the state of the gaming industry? I disagree, as do a number of other people who've brought it up in this thread. Like it or not, game companies exist to make money, and they do so by producing games that sell. If you don't like FPS games, or sports games, or adventure games, or MMORPGs, don't buy them (or rent them, in the case of MMORPGs). If someone produces a game that you do like (assuming such a thing is possible), buy it. Companies care where you spend your money, not what you think of other people who buy their products.
*sigh* Ok, if you absolutely want to go into the business discussion...

It is unfortunately another flawed argument: that argument everybody knows, "if you don't like what a company does don't purchase its products and it will either be forced to change or go under" work well for local business but simply don't hold the road when you have a big enough pool of consumers ready to purchase the product anyways. Because as the pool of consumer grows, so does your awareness campaign and the number of people you need to reach out so it actually work. As you might have guessed it, the Internet really change a lot of things here. Both ways. Suddenly you can purchase things which come from the other side of the world as a end consumer (Ebay), or at the other side of the State (Amazon and similar sites). What might be bad somewhere is good elsewhere, and as long as the goods don't spoil only the shipping time change.

So, as long as a company sell the minimum amount they need to keep head above water, they're good. Even if you actually manage to bring enough people in a while state to boycott a specific product. And as the rest of the items sell with time, they eventually get even more money.

There really is a whole world of new and different marketing and business models nowaday. But there is one very specific model which always won over the decades if you care to do a little research on gaming in general: cheap and numerous items always win on higher quality products. There is plenty of examples: Atari winning over ColecoVision, Nintendo winning over Sega, Personnal Computers winning over both Commodore and Amiga... All those products which won over their competitors over the ages were the cheapest and lowest quality product, which won in the end over numbers rather than over quality.

This is exactly what is happening right now in the PC industry too. Games which get out are only shadows of themselves right now, but will continue to rule the industry as long as they are cheap enough to sell enough in good number. At the cost of quality. Which, for a game, mean gameplay and fun. Unless you really love very basic and almost mindnumbing gameplay and fun which last for about 8 hours top.

That is something I simply cannot accept, especially since the gaming industry already had it right on that aspect of gaming years ago. And as a true gamer, I think this whole shenanigan is worth being opposed to when ever it is possible.
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5. It was probably unintentional, but that's the most optimistic thing you've said in this thread. After all, if you're not willing to change anything, the situation must not be nearly as desperate as you've made it out to be.
Hummm... What's optimistic in what I said? That games have gone the gameplay first graphics last road and became huge success?

Well, nevermind that the vast majority of them are indie games which will never actually be finished?

Anyways, the fact that I do not wish to actually do something directly to change the sad state of PC gaming right now do not mean that it already desperate or not. As I had already mentioned in my other post, there simply came a time at which I could not care anymore about directly seeking out more good games in the pile of bad ones. And as I already mentioned also, I simply can't see how we could actually do something about it. Saying "build a game!" is not an argument. Saying "don't buy it if you don't like it!" is not an argument either, especially since everybody seem to agree with the anti-hacked game community. How are you supposed to know if you like a game enough or not to actually pay full price for it without trying it first? The only option would be not to buy new games at all...

Anyways... I could probably go on and on... But that would not serve much purpose than to look like someone madly ranting away...
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