Sunday, 22 July 2012

What visual games photorealism crisis?

Just came across this post from over a year ago. I don't know if the focus of discussion in the gaming world has moved on by now since I haven't been paying attention a whole lot, but I have to say that I really don't agree with the thought that the photorealistic approach is "... a dead-end street, an aspiration that, once perfectly achieved, leads to a death of possibility."

Instead, I see it as a route to more tools that allow us to create realistic-looking representations of fantasy and imaginary worlds. Just look at the Avatar film. Focusing on the world environment itself, so much of it looked like nature documentaries I had seen literally that morning that I could easily imagine that this was a whole functioning other world, similar to ours, but very different. I know I'm talking about a film here, but I think with games it can also apply.

But not even just fictional fantasy worlds; photorealism can be used to represent all sorts of historical places and events realistically and factually too for us to explore - a bit like in the Assassins Creed games. And the number of possible events or locations during specific times/eras to re-present in a gaming experience grows literally every day.

Gaining tools to create photorealistic stuff is NOT what would lead to the death of possibility. Believing that the only goal is attaining photorealism, and ignoring the fact that it's not the only thing worth pursuing, is the mistake that may lead to the death of possibility - and even then, ONLY in the minds of the people who believe it. While they cry over the fact that they just created the last game worth creating visually, the rest of us will be enjoying the tools that have been created for our own entertainment, educational, or exploratory purposes.

When considering the Big Picture, photorealism should never be seen as the ultimate goal; it's just a useful tool worth attaining to help us accomplish other goals. No one should forget that.

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