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Better Graphics or Better Visuals?

From the Magnavox Odyssey to the XBOX 360 and PS3, each age of gaming hardware has supported game designers drive to make games with better graphics. But, it’s clear now that graphics in video games have hit a plateau. With the amount of detail that can now be put into an environment or character, people are no longer wondering as much about how much better the graphics can get. In fact, people are now going backwards to abandon graphics and focus on gameplay (Mega Man 9 for example). Even though classic gaming is amazing fun, there’s still room for improvement for the big budget hot visuals games of the future.

This is where the difference between better graphics and better visuals comes in. If a character designer spends months creating a perfect work of three dimentional art… it wont amount to much if the character walks around like a robot in the game! What games need now is better physics. The good news is that many designers in the industry know this and are hard at work in this direction.

At GDC 2010, Havok flexed their muscles with some tech demos. The two areas explored here are destructible environments and realistic cloth. First up is a video showing how destructible environments can drastically improve the experience of playing the game.

As you can see, there are many different areas of destruction. The coolest part I found was how structures can be stressed until broken and then fall apart properly! Next up is a tech demo showing off realistic cloth physics.

There’s still a lot of room for improvement here in my opinion. The cloth kinda makes it look as though the monster is underwater or there’s a constant small gust of air flowing upwards. Of course, different materials would move differently. Silk compaired to leather for example.

It looks like games in the future are going to have more going for them than just 3-D TVs! I’m looking forward to Crysis 2 which uses the same Havok pyhsics shown above in the CryEngine 3 tech it runs on. Crysis 2 is due out March 22, 2011…

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3 Comments

  • Joseph
    Dec 12, 2010

    Yeah, I’ve seen this vids quite a while ago. Very impressive tech, but one of the Lucasarts destruction engines looked better to me.

  • Kenji
    Dec 13, 2010

    I really liked the Monkey Island 2 Cryengine, too bad they didn’t make the remake like that, not that the remake is bad, but it would have been a cool 2nd version for fans. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bInZ7_y4Lw

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