October 12th, 2006

Hmm, that’s a lot of hate.

Anyways, I was talking the other day with a CS friend who’s doing work on graphics generators, specifically noise functions, and I got to think about something that bugs me to no end: bad video game textures.

You know the story.  You’re standing on high ground, looking down at an ocean, a field, a long stretch of rock, and those sneaky little patterns–the chinks in the randomization–shout at you like tacky, tiled wallpaper.

What does it take to make man-made visuals look random?  Is really as simple as chaos, or do we need to see some emergent behavior, however small?  On second thought, forget the theory; I just want it now.

Tags: Blog

8 Responses to “Things That I Hate, #57”

  1. FerrousBuller Says:

    Rescue on Fractalus, baby!

    Seriously, isn’t that a limitation of current graphics engines? They all use texture maps to “wallpaper” polygons, because anything which looks better is (presumably) too memory- and/or computationally-intensive to be feasible on current hardware. You can increase the number and size of texture maps – and have for the last decade – but there’s a limit to how much storage you can realistically use; and in the end it’s still just wallpaper. [I think ray-tracing is the next big “in ten years” graphics rendering technique for games.]

    What exactly did you have in mind?

  2. Cybersexy Says:

    Personally, I can live with occasional graphic glitches if the game play is good.

  3. Bonnie Says:

    What exactly did you have in mind?
    Ah, to my understanding, it’s not a limit of graphics engines so much as a limit of thinking through what randomness looks like. It doesn’t necessarily need to be complex, just right :).

  4. Craig Alexander Says:

    It’s been done before, in fact, almost a decade ago with Ultima Online. Developers of today have absolutely no excuse.

    I’m developing a heavily tile-based game, and I didn’t think that through. Come to think of it, my grass looks a bit tiled. Thanks for bringing this up Bonnie, you’ve changed at least one game for the better.

  5. MD² Says:

    I had been wondering about that back in march while playing FFXII. Why, given that we have (as far as understand, and am told by people much more competent than I am in that matter) the mathematical tools, haven’t they develloped software tools that would randomize the form of monsters so that each iteration of the same type would feel unique ?

    (Well, in the case of FFXII, it’s a hardware problem, but with PC games – I’m looking at you Oblivion – there should have been something done more recently.)

  6. Craig Alexander Says:

    I suppose that would be taking things a step further. In some online games you get this cheap trick where they take the same model, resize it, recolour it and change its name slightly, and that’s supposed to be a new monster to fight. That, however, is a different argument.

    I know what you mean though – each model itself should be slightly different. That’s completely possible. I think developers are just too lazy.

  7. MD² Says:

    Let’s not jump the gun here, I don’t really think it’s a problem of laziness. Economy, or ineffective/obsolete production models, seem more likely to be at fault. Or just plain hardware again (though with current gen PCs I hold doubts ^_^” ).

  8. Bonnie Says:

    Thanks for bringing this up Bonnie, you've changed at least one game for the better.

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