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The inevitable graphics discussion thread

posted by Vainamoinen on - last edited - Viewed by 1.1K users

Some of you have already voiced their opinion, but as the game's release gets closer and the first footage is out there to watch and judge, let's hear some details about what you think about the graphic style. I'll chime in later. ;) ;)

I explicitly abstained from bringing this discussion down to "realistic vs. cartoony" in the poll. I hope you approve.

23 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Whoa, did my comic book just start to walk?


    That's the one for me - I think it's the perfect style.
    Only thing that would make it more like the comics is if there's a "Black & White" mode somewhere in the options........

  • It's surely good-looking!
    Even if it's still pretty low in polycount, it's quite well disguised.

    But I'm serious when I say that they need a more efficient engine for their next games. TT Engine got some nice effects and it's very comfortable for programmers and artists, but the result is quite anachronistic if you compare it to Unreal Engine III (2007) in terms of framerate, ploygons displayed and stutters.

    And I strongly believe that tessellation would improve the general aesthetics, without compromising scalability for older systems (you can disable it in every moment), dynamically adapting detail, and provide a future settlement for next-gen console portings.

    tessellation.jpg

  • I am all about the realistic look, but being this takes place in the "comic timeline" I'm totally content with the look

  • @Bloody Eugene said: It's surely good-looking!
    Even if it's still pretty low in polycount, it's quite well disguised.

    But I'm serious when I say that they need a more efficient engine for their next games. TT Engine got some nice effects and it's very comfortable for programmers and artists, but the result is quite anachronistic if you compare it to Unreal Engine III (2007) in terms of framerate, ploygons displayed and stutters.

    And I strongly believe that tessellation would improve the general aesthetics, without compromising scalability for older systems (you can disable it in every moment), dynamically adapting detail, and provide a future settlement for next-gen console portings.

    tessellation.jpg

    I don't think it's really fair to compare the Telltale Tool with Unreal 3. Not only is the latter newer and made by a much larger company, but it was made with a completely different genre of game in mind.

    Anyway, The Walking Dead looks nice, but the animation is still very...jerky. Telltale's clearly better at cartoony graphics than realism. I feel like TWD and Law and Order were both made cel-shaded in an attempt to avert the problems that come with realistic graphics, and while it does help a little, The Walking Dead is still closer to the realistic end of the artstyle spectrum. The characters look fine in screenshots, but in motion there's a slight Uncanny Valley vibe.

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    Vainamoinen Moderator

    @RAnthonyMahan said: Anyway, The Walking Dead looks nice, but the animation is still very...jerky. Telltale's clearly better at cartoony graphics than realism. I feel like TWD and Law and Order were both made cel-shaded in an attempt to avert the problems that come with realistic graphics, and while it does help a little, The Walking Dead is still closer to the realistic end of the artstyle spectrum. The characters look fine in screenshots, but in motion there's a slight Uncanny Valley vibe.

    There's no spectrum, at least not a linear one with two "ends"... but I'm repeating myself. ;)

    The Walking Dead is a comic book, and the game tries to mimick exactly those abstractions that distinguish the comic from "realism", i.e. most prominently the black, "inked" lines. I'm not sure yet where I stand in this issue, but key questions for the answer could be: Are the black inked lines the only factor (or sole decisive factor) that distinguish TWD graphics from an attempt at realism? In how far was the actual animation in previous TTG games different than it is in TWD or JP, were movements more exaggerated?

    Concerning the character models, Lee looks just great, so does Glenn. By now I can also say with certainty that Lee's facial animation works quite nifty. Hershel however seems to have a very cubic face, and I still haven't warmed at all to the Clementine model, she was unfortunately given the head of a grown person! If there wasn't great voice acting during her exposition, I would probably send that "kid" right out with the zombies on the first encounter. ;)

  • In my opinion, Telltale should change one thing in their games.

    Texture size. Use larger ones please. 1024x1024 textures would be very nice. I assume the current ones are 512x512, or 256x256.

    Sure, the game's file size will be a lot bigger, but it will look a lot nicer.

  • @RAnthonyMahan said: I don't think it's really fair to compare the Telltale Tool with Unreal 3. Not only is the latter newer and made by a much larger company, but it was made with a completely different genre of game in mind.

    You're right.
    Still, I feel that TT is graphically constrained by its engine. They have great artists, but I feel that something is lost from paper to screen everytime.

    As a company that's trying to reach a wider audience, you have to look around yourself to face your competitors - expecially if you're naming "Heavy Rain" as reference.
    But even niche graphic adventures are moving forward - look to Memento Mori 2, it's so close to Telltale games, but it's from a company with less budget and less market - still it's a little bit more detailed in textures, Polygons, and experienced in camera DOFand effect than any TT game:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USWhrv8_hXQ&hd=1

    Compare with JP (the most technical proficient TT game):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKKeRNCmBoY&hd=1

    BTW I think that The Walking Dead is really good, and will be one of the best TTG in terms of graphic.
    Style > Technology

  • To be honest, I think all of Telltale's games have been fairly weak in the animation department. I don't know how to describe it, but I guess a lot of the time characters move very...stiffly.

    There's also this bad habit of reusing the same stock animation again and again. For example, in the Sam and Max games there's this recurring animation where a character (usually Max) will take his left hand and move it back and forth twice, as if he was sweeping something away. Once you notice how much that animation gets used, it becomes a little annoying. And there's also :guybrush: , which even Biff Tannen got in on later.

    The thing is, the weak animation is a lot more forgivable in Telltale's earlier, cartoony games, because realistic movement isn't really a priority. You're not expecting Sam and Max to move believably, because a six-foot talking dog in a suit isn't believable to begin with. But when Telltale attempts realism, things look very, very...off when the characters move. If I saw a real person making the same kind of faces they did in Jurassic Park, I'd be creeped out.

    09FBN.png?1

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    Vainamoinen Moderator

    I don't see that. In the example picture, I see a slight contraction of the corrugator and possibly the mentalis/triangularis vs. orbicularis oris muscle, as evidenced in the creases on the upper nose and the lips being pressed together.* That's a prrretty normal thing to do! :D

    Wisecracking aside - Telltale's relatively low-budget engine could never account for all the complexities of facial expression. I can say, however, that even in companies with impressive budgets for games, hilarious facial expression failures occur. A lot of what animators do in this field still seems guesswork. Some models can display anger impressively, but miss a simple smile by a mile.

    I'm hardly an animator (just an on/off dedicated artist), but I assume that you can not do much more than attach a load of strings to your character's face and take a very critical look at what happens when you pull more than one string at a time. I imagine the technique to feel quite like being a puppeteer, and you're always bound by the limitations of the puppet.

    The picture above is a rather complex, yet subtle (!) facial expression. I don't see it as awkward, really, and I was impressed with JP's facial animation as a whole. But always relative to the assumed budget!

    * Still my only source for this kind of stuff is Gary Faigin's Complete Guide to Facial Expression.

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    Vainamoinen Moderator

    Huh, seems like there's overwhelmingly positive results for this poll! :D :D

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