Is it consoles lackluster marketing? Or is the lack of AAA games from major devs?

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by dobwal, Sep 1, 2020.

  1. Silent_Buddha

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    It's been possible to do since the early 90's, probably even the 80's. The Elder Scrolls: Arena (1994) had an open world and all the buildings could be entered.

    If anything the scale of games has gone down significantly over the years because the cost of development has gone up significantly. Each new Elder Scrolls game is in many ways more limited with smaller worlds than the previous Elder Scrolls games. But it's not all doom and gloom. Story has remained rich, NPCs are less cookie cutter (although still cookie cutter), less procedural generation of dungeons (but massively smaller dungeons as a result), etc.

    If you mostly game on console things like that might not be as apparent, but looking at the PC side of things is dramatic how the scope of most games decreased as hardware power increased. Again, cost of development for most developers.

    There are, of course, always exceptions. The Witcher 3 was pretty massive even compared to previous games in the series. GTA continues to be ambitions in terms of scope and immersion.

    But those come at a cost of massively increased budget, massively increased development time, and massively increased teams of developers and artists compared to previous games in the series.

    Cost (time, number of developers, number of artists, and money), not technology is the key limiter when it comes to things like all buildings being enterable, much less furnished and even remotely unique.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  2. cheapchips

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    Technology is a key limiter and it drives costs. Pick on Spiderman, since it's one of the highest fidelity cities with realistic scale. That's maxing out the PS4's streaming bandwidth and latency to fetch the areas surrounding the player in large chunks. There isn't the headroom for anything but select interiors baked into that coarse scale streaming.

    Next gen streaming is fast/low latency enough that locations could change from these monolithic things to a buffet of selected assets. That has a potential knock on for procedurally mixing up a wide varity of assets for buildings. That's a cost opportunity, as you don't have artist/level designers creating every space. It's not like they do at the moment anyway, see the AC:Unity example. High latency / low bandwidth streaming and CPU povety stops it being pushed further for dense environments like cities.

    I'll concede that from a gameplay perspective interiors probably aren't the top feature for Spiderman though. :smile:
     
  3. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Spider-Man isn't maxing out the PS4's streaming bandwidth, Insomniac had to low-ball it to allow owners with larger, slower HDDs to play the game. The drive that ships in PS4s shifts ~50mb/sec, whereas Spider-man assumes there may be a really crappy drive shifting just 20mb/sec.
     
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  4. cheapchips

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    Forgot that detail, but not sure that changes my argument that much. It still pretty limited bandwidth before you consider seek times.

    Out of curiousity, how are other streaming dependant PS4 games handling low speed drive upgrades?
     
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  5. DSoup

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    It doesn't but it makes you wonder much much better Spider-Man could have looked had Insomniac been able to rely on 150% of the bandwidth they had to go with.

    In Spider-Man you rarely see texture/geometry pop-in or low-LOD models whereas these aren't uncommon on other games. I don't think it's practical to always try to optimise for this, especially across multiple platforms where anybody can install a game to any rubbish drive - at the end of the day I think you need to accept that people who bought a low-speed drive will experience some unharmonious graphical effects ;-)
     
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  6. Silent_Buddha

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    And yet it remains true that as technology improves and advances, games have for the most part gotten smaller in scope and smaller all with less features.

    There will always be exceptions. Those with larger budgets (Rockstar games) or platform exclusives funded by a platform holder.

    Even on platform exclusives we see games are limited by developer choice and not by technology. HZD not having flight for example, wasn't a limitation of technology but a limitation driven by developer choice.

    Nothing currently prevents developers from having every building in every game being enterable and explorable...except cost (manpower, time, money). Technology does nothing to help this. In fact technology makes it harder to accomplish this as it makes it more costly to implement than it would have been on a previous generation of technology.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  7. Johnny Awesome

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    I agree, but also want to point out that sometimes it's not a bad thing that games are being scaled back IMO. It's a waste of my time to go into a house in Witcher 3 to get some useless loot that just clogs up my inventory for the sake of "immersion". Sometimes I'd just rather the door were locked. Don't waste my time with useless crap.
     
  8. Silent_Buddha

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    You could always just...not go into the building. :)

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  9. Entropy

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    I have to agree. Back when Deano Calver posted here, he once wrote that he wanted all NPCs to have their own lives and agendas and act in the world to fulfill them.
    I responded that while that sounded like a nice AI simulation project, I wasn’t sure that I actually wanted that in a game. If I chill out with a computer game, playing Gorgar the Mostly Honest Barbarian, I don’t necessarily want my fence in the game world to have gone visiting his aunt in Uzbekistan for a week as I try to unload the pack of loot I’m schlepping around.

    The purpose of games is player entertainment. Simulating old chemical film and optics abberations, trying to craft fulfilling NPC lives, creating thousands of city apartments full of bland crap and so on doesn’t significantly work towards that purpose. To my mind, these things show game development that somewhere lost sight of the overall goal, and for whatever reason start spending resources on for the player tangential or even negative aspects.

    And I feel that lack of positive gaming ideas is why we see almost the entire AAA tier of gaming being devoted to polishing of the Same Old.
    Or you could see it as a natural consequence of industry maturity I guess. But as a player, I simply don’t care about simulation of how strong backlighting makes the ears of characters ever so slightly translucent, and money and time spent on that is, in my book, just a waste, following a history of world simulation refinement well beyond the point where it serves its original purpose.
     
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  10. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    I think it depends on the game and the mechanics. I'd very much agree this would pretty pointless in Grand Theft Auto but in something like Skyrim, it makes more sense.
     
  11. Daozang

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    I think it is a combination of all of the above.
    Developer choice is based on time and budgetary constrains as well as technology limitations.

    Technology does not make anything harder, or more costly, quite the opposite.
    The expectations of gamers however, do.
    Nothing is stopping a dev from making a vastly superior ES Daggerfall with basic animations and repeating assets.
    But all of the above do stop them, if they choose to make an ES Daggerfall successor with high quality minimally repeatable assets, complex animations and modern rendering tech, while checking every gameplay feature the original had on the list.
    Drawing stick figures takes less time, money and requires less advanced tools, than painting the Sistine chapel.
    And while we are way past stick figures, we are not even close to the Sistine chapel.
     
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