Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Gaming Effects Versus Hollywood, Part II

Gaming Effects Versus Hollywood, Part II
By

In the second part of this two-part article, we look at special effects like motion blur, depth of field, and distortion, which can either make a gamer’s life easier or rob him of his orientation. We also take a look at the elements of fire and water, for which PC graphics must be compared with the natural world.

Comparison between Stranglehold (UT3-Engine) and Stargate Atlantis.

Hollywood still has a whole lot of surprises up its collective sleeves: spectacular explosions and gigantic monsters keep entertainment enthusiasts glued to both movie screens and HDTVs. Many game developers just don’t have the resources to create such gigantic effects digitally and bring them to the PC, despite the fact that the possibilities in this area are pretty much unlimited, and destruction and devastation only requires starting up a simulation.

Maybe the constantly-growing presence of physical effects will provide the necessary motivation to accelerate their creativity. Perhaps PC graphics experts and games designers only need better-designed building blocks in order to move away from the limited model they’re able to generate today. At some point, it must be possible to have games with violent flood waves, volcanic eruptions, rock slides, avalanches, and earthquakes that will leave Hollywood producers quaking in their boots.

Part 1: Read more about the evolution of the games, the development of characters and the differences between lighting effects and depth effects right here.

Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display all 29 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 2 Hide
    lucuis , November 12, 2008 7:25 AM
    It can only get better :) 
  • 3 Hide
    roynaldi , November 12, 2008 11:36 AM
    Wasser -1, Wasser -3, -5, Wasserfall, Bewegungsunscharfe*.....

    German Tab names for the pics... Very Nice guys!
    *movementSharpness!?!?
  • 1 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , November 12, 2008 12:13 PM
    Part 1 had german names for the images too. I don't see how that is of any importance though as the titles for the respective pages were translated. Some of the games were in german too in case you missed it btw (bioshock amongst others)

    Anyway. I read the article and can't help to somehow be disappointed. Sure it's well written and explained, but somehow there's something missing! it seems to be more of the first part and not enough hollywood somehow. There are like 85% gaming screenshots, 8% reallife and the remaining 7% are hollywood. Also the article only covers stuff hollywood uses and games do too - nothing mentioned of stuff that pc's cant do yet other than visual enhancements that aren't treated as manipulatable objects - but then hollywood doesn't really supply that either, as all their stuff is static each time it's displayed.

    In short : not enough hollywood, and too much pc tech.
  • 0 Hide
    thr3ddy , November 12, 2008 12:46 PM
    roynaldiWasser -1, Wasser -3, -5, Wasserfall, Bewegungsunscharfe*..... German Tab names for the pics... Very Nice guys!*movementSharpness!?!?

    Bewegungsunscharfe
  • 1 Hide
    thr3ddy , November 12, 2008 12:47 PM
    Crap sorry about the double post. Bewegungsunscharfe = Motion blur.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 12, 2008 12:52 PM
    Why are there no examples of the Source engine in these articles? The physics is unparalleled in a lot of ways. The new cinematic physics engine? Hello? What they do with characters alone (mostly in animation/facial animation) is amazing. I also don't notice any Gears/UT3 examples, which is just weird.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 12, 2008 1:16 PM
    Tis a shame you mention water graphics and have no references to Uncharted.

    @Anony-Guy the first example was UT3 engine (stranglehold. I must admit though gears 2 had better water graphics.
  • 1 Hide
    hellwig , November 12, 2008 2:29 PM
    I remember a cool water effect in Giants. If you ran through a body of water, the water would appear to react to your legs, and waves of water would rush up against the them. Of course, this wasn't really the water reacting, it was just a secondary effect being drawn at the point where the legs met the water. It still looked cool for a game from 8 years ago.

    I'm surprised there were no examples of water from Serious Sam. SS had transparent water, shadows cast underneath by the ripples on the water surface, etc..., and again, all back in 2000/2001. The Serious Engine was so impressive when it came out, far better than Quake III and UT, the other options at that time.
  • 4 Hide
    cruiseoveride , November 12, 2008 3:19 PM
    Where is the Playboy Mansion PC vs Real life comparison????
  • 3 Hide
    JonnyDough , November 12, 2008 5:36 PM
    What they need is better ripple effects now. When you walk through water, your character needs to slow and teeter more. Each stride should make noise, not just a general noise of sploshing. When you drop a gun in water, it needs come out dripping wet. When you swim, you need to do it in lunges, not smoothly. When the tide rolls in, the sand needs to change a bit over time. Your footprints need to disappear with each wave, etc. These little things aren't that hard to implement, and should not be taking up much system resources. I think it's just laziness on the part of most developers. There's always this "time limit" and "budget" that interfere as well...but then you have a monster giant corporation like EA who is spending money on stupid things like SecuRom instead of producing great games that will make sales.
  • 0 Hide
    bounty , November 12, 2008 5:40 PM
    BTW just want to mention, I enjoy many of the listed effects when used properly. However, HDR, Motion Blur and Depth of Field are overused. Motion Blur and Depth of field basically work natuarlly when playing video games, no need to spend CPU cycles on it, or break the realism when I try to see the facial expression of someone not in the games specified focus. HDR is also over used. Rocks don't shine. You shouldn't see god rays if there are no particles in the air etc.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 12, 2008 5:55 PM
    This article missing something. Splinter Cell Chaos theory came out years ago, and it has rain that bounces when it hits surfaces, makes things wet, puts out fires, on and on.

    Furthermore, this article is just plain wrong about monsters. In the monsters category, they go on and on about how monsters aren't scary and how no video game has achieved this yet. Hello? Way back when, resident evil had people peeing in their pants. But since this is a graphics comparison, think of dead space. Dead space pulls "The Thing" off but ten times better. And it has a fear factor that is, well, it sets a new standard. This article is missing so much!
  • 0 Hide
    Tanquen , November 12, 2008 6:17 PM
    How do I get the indirect lighting on in Far Cry 2? Mine looks all washed out. :( 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 12, 2008 6:34 PM
    These articles while interesting, have a major problem with terminology. These articles are about "visual effects" or "visual FX", not "special effects" which these days refers to on-set, mechanical and in-camera effects. Visual effects are CGI, post, digital processing, 3D etc.
  • 0 Hide
    Primus462 , November 12, 2008 7:44 PM
    Interesting, but not enough on what to expect in the future. What about ray tracing? When GPUs for consumer PCs are able to use ray tracing, won't it bring dramatic improvements to rendering? Everything has a shine to it now in computer graphics on PCs and consoles. It's hard to convey matte surfaces.

    Also, no mention of Fallout 3? I know it is new, but I am very impressed with the look of the environment as it changes from night to day and vice versa. It's very believable. And, finally, what about Uncharted? Drake's clothes get wet and the dry out. It, too, was very convincing.
  • 0 Hide
    atrain , November 12, 2008 8:17 PM
    JonnyDoughThese little things aren't that hard to implement, and should not be taking up much system resources. I think it's just laziness on the part of most developers. There's always this "time limit" and "budget" that interfere as well...but then you have a monster giant corporation like EA who is spending money on stupid things like SecuRom instead of producing great games that will make sales.


    That stuff sounds hard and CPU\GPU expensive if you ask me. I totally agree about the "it's all about profit, who give a **** about the customer" mentality of EA, but I think the sand kind of stuff you're talking about is still a ways off due to hardware/software limitations.
  • 0 Hide
    GAZZOO , November 12, 2008 9:07 PM
    I thought the article was well written explaining and compairing alot of special afects
    I think it is easer for Holleywood they only have to project the afect up onto a flat screen wjhere as in a game you have to be able to walk,fly or swim ,throuh over or around
    amd like the old graghic days where more wall paper was used now days they are trying to render computer games with more realizm
    In other articles on tomshardware you have stated that we have the hardware and now we have the soft whare but its the developers that are holding us back with more life like seans and proper mosion movement and reaction phisics in games
    Although I think it is big buisness and large big brother componies holding back and manipulating the progress that we are getting in our games you only have to look at the debarcle with Open GL and DirectX
    and ofcorse all the take overs of class phisics componies to have manopoies over others that has held back our games to be more true to real life
    DirectX 10 and microsoft is anouther example to get sales to go to Vista
    ware as nvidia didnt have it in there cards opting to wait for the next verion to superseed it
    I am all for eye candy and real life gameing experieces I just wish that all the big brother and systers controling these events can get there act together so as to supply the developers and programes with the funds and resorses to produce these great games and acevts
    Gazza
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 13, 2008 12:42 AM
    "For example, Oblivion was produced for the Xbox, and thus the developers assumed a TV screen would be used. As TV screens very often have a low resolution, and the writing needs to remain readable, the menus were designed for use with a lower number of pixels."

    Oblivion was designed for the PC as well as for the Xbox 360 which ran the game at 720p
  • -2 Hide
    zodiacfml , November 13, 2008 1:51 AM
    where is DirectX 11?
  • 2 Hide
    randomizer , November 13, 2008 3:28 AM
    chzipOblivion was designed for the PC as well as for the Xbox 360 which ran the game at 720p

    Only on a HDTV. If you stick it on a SD CRT TV you're probably running 640x480 or something, and while SDTVs may not be the target market, you can't ignore them.

    zodiacfmlwhere is DirectX 11?

    A bit hard to test what doesn't exist yet.
Display more comments