The following images show the development of the characters with which you share your screen life. Let’s kick off in 1997; Diablo counts as something of a milestone because it was here that the character changed his or her appearance based on armor and weapons used. In terms of 3D graphics, Morrowind makes a large step forward also. The naked character still looks cheap, but when he or she pulls on the complex and multi-part armor, the level of detail changes dramatically. There are shoes, pants, shirts, cloaks, coats, bracers, leg armor, chest plates, shoulder pieces, helmets, weapons, and shields.
The level of detail of real-time games or action adventures can’t quite keep up. In 2004, Half Life 2 set new standards for facial expressions and the animation of characters. At this point, Nvidia’s shader campaign started to take hold with realistic skin tones and individual facial characteristics. In 2006, strategy games and action role plays were so detailed that, even close up, you couldn’t tell the difference between these and real 3D games.
As the follow-up to Morrowind, Oblivion also sets new milestones when it comes to graphics. For the first time, modern HDR rendering (Shader Model 3) is used, and armor and swords really start to shine. The complexity of the faces of the characters is very impressive; the many slide regulators enable the form and color of the eyes, lips, chin. mouth, nose and head to be influenced, resulting in an individual appearance for the figure. This wide range of options has no effect on the game. In Oblivion, you only act as a single player and the computer controlled players (NPCs) are not interested in the appearance of the figure.
Newer games like Hellgate London would profit from this complexity, as the characters also meet on the Internet and a more individual appearance would be necessary. The differences are limited to body size, hair, and skin color and the various pieces of equipment used by the characters to stand out from the crowd. If you look at the developments made between Oblivion and Drakensang, you can see the current standstill situation. The environment effects are improving, but the character details remain the same.
The following images show additional characters and the differences caused by the lighting used. Doom 3 does a lot with light and shadows which makes the graphics look more detailed. Gothic 3 and Oblivion both came onto the market in 2006. But while Gothic 3 continued to use the older bloom dazzle and shine effects, Oblivion used the new HDR rendering, which lights shiny spots and lighter colored surfaces in a softer and more colorful way. The leap to DirectX 10 can be seen in both Assassin’s Creed and Mass Effect. The improved HDR rendering (Shader 4) makes the graphics appear more realistic.