[MUD-Dev] Re: Room descriptions

ApplePiMan at aol.com ApplePiMan at aol.com
Thu Oct 1 20:12:21 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

At 10/1/98 1:09 PM Adam Wiggins (adam at angel.com) altered the fabric of 
reality by uttering:

>Nods.  Well, I'm of the oppinion that emphasis on graphics has dragged down
>the game industry in recent years.  It takes *so* *much* work just to get
>what people consider "acceptable" graphics nowadays, and it's easy to forget
>that what really counts is whether the game is fun or not.

<snipped a whole bunch of really good stuff that doesn't pertain to my 

>I guess considering characters in a virtual world to be other people worthy
>of the same respect you give them in real life is a learned skill.  I never
>recalled having this problem; does text somehow make it easier to learn?

One problem I often see these days is that the emphasis on striving for 
total realism in a game's graphics works against the "believability" of 
the characters (whether PCs or NPCs) in the game. (I'm using 
"believability" in the literary sense of helping the viewer suspend his 
or her disbelief in the existence of the character, without seeking to 
comment at all on whether the character's words or actions are in any 
other sense "truthful" or "believable".) It's well-nigh impossible to 
accord respect to someone you don't see as "real".

There's a reason animators continue to render their creations as a much 
simplified version of "reality": ironically, this departure from reality 
greatly helps to "sell" the believability of the character (anyone care 
to argue that Bugs Bunny isn't 'real'? -- yet he looks very little like a 
'real' rabbit, his creator instead doing the bare visual minimum to 
capture his "rabbit-ness"). Fine control over a limited visual palette 
does more to express emotion and generally make a character "believable" 
than coarse control of a rich, photo-realistic palette.

I'm not advocating we should all be doing games that look like something 
from a Disney animation (though I don't think that option should be 
dismissed out of hand, either). What I *am* saying is that rather than 
placing an emphasis on total realism in our graphics, perhaps we should 
be more concerned with *selective* realism to display the essence, rather 
than the "photo-reality", of a character. Writers and artists in other 
media have been doing this since time immemorial; we in the game industry 
just seem to have lost track of that...


Rick Buck, President and CEO  <mailto:rlb at big-i.com>
Beyond Infinity Games, Inc.
See you in The Metaverse! <http://www.big-i.com>

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