Technical Issues: Graphics Technical Issues: Graphics A discussion of modern video games is incomplete without mention of graphics technology. Some game developers focus on these issues to such an extent that others suffer as a result.
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Screen shot from Unreal Tournament 2003. This game is known for great
graphics in its visual effects. It is hard to imagine what itwould be like without them.
Screen shot from the original Zork (left) and Return to Zork (right), one of theearly PC CD-ROM games. In the opening sequence of Return to Zork, we finally get to visualize the original white house. It was definitely
a totally different gaming experience from the original.
Screen shot from Rune. The stunning visuals in this game go a long
way towards immersing the player. You can easily lose hours in a gameworld like this!
Screen shot from the Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. Visuals such asthis one from the introduction establish setting and a foreboding mood. Therepresentation of Ganondorf clearly casts him as the game’s villain.
Screen shot from Oni. Oni provides good visual feedback to the user. Everyaction has a visible result. Useful information is also conveyed; for example,the colour of an attack’s impact indicates an enemy’s remaining health.
Screen shot from Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza. The graphics are decent, butthere is an extraordinary lack of variety in opponents. You shoot someone,round the corner, and there he is again … such consistency is inconsistent!
Screen shot from Splinter Cell. A very impressive game, but some people
find they spend as much time moving the viewpoint as moving their character.
Screen shot from Unreal Tournament 2003. There are a lot of
graphics features that can be tuned by the user, both interms of basic display options, and details as well.
Screen shot from Halo. The stunning visuals in this game can make ahuge impact. With scenes like this, you just want to sit back anddrink it all in.
Screen shot from Jet Set Radio Future. With its cartoon-style cel-shading,
there is a very definite look and feel to the game. It would be hard toimagine the game any differently.
Screen shots from Pac-Man (left) and Donkey Kong (right). Both made use oftwo dimensional graphics, like most early video games.
Bitmap of Mario from Donkey Kong. Mario was composed of pixels of three colours. Mario was also a sprite in the game … the black area aroundMario in the above picture was transparent in the game.
Screen shot from Metal Slug. All four games from the Metal Slug series, published from 1996 to 2000, have been two dimensional games. All are stillquite popular, even though they appear more cartoonish than realistic.
Screen shots from Battlezone (left) and I, Robot (right). In 1980, Battlezonebecame one of the first three dimensional games, albeit in wireframe only.In 1983, I, Robot became the first video game to use three dimensionalfilled polygons, instead of just a wireframe mesh.
Polygonal model from Oni. This model shows a wireframe representation
of the main character Konoko.
Model from Heretic II. On the left is a wireframe version of the model;
on the right is the skinned version.
The Utah Teapot represented by bicubic parametric patches. Part a)depicts a single shaded patch. Part b) depicts the patch edges. Part c)depicts a wireframe of the control points of the mesh.
Example of constructive solidgeometry. By using union, differenceand intersection operators inparts a), b), and c) respectively,
complex objects can be modeledaccurately and precisely.
An octree showing the parent cube, and its 8 subcubes.
Screen shot from Quake II. Many games, including the Quake series use
BSP trees for representing elements of game levels.
Screen shot from Scorched3D. It uses fractal geometry to generate its
terrain, water, clouds, and fog effects in a natural way. Becauseterrain is generated and not stored, you get a different game each time.
Screen shot from Diablo II. The game engine is two dimensional, but mostgraphics came from prerendered three dimensional models.
Screen shot from Double Dragon. Sprites representing the various combatantsmust be place onto the screen in front of the background. They are alsoprioritized, according to their depth on the screen. Further, since the game only shows part of a level at a time, the game world must be clipped to the screen.
Three of these images were produced usingray tracing, and one was not.Can you tell which one?
After Culling andHidden Surface Removal
Screen shots from Virtua Fighter (left) and Viruta Fighter 4 (right). Theoriginal primarily used flat shading with some lighting effects … very little wasdone to smooth seams between polygons. Virtua Fighter 4 uses much more
advanced techniques for a highly polished look.
Screen shot from Jet Set Radio Future. As opposed to traditional shading
models for providing realistic graphics, cel shading is an increasingly popularapproach for a cartoonish look and feel.
Bump mapping can produce some really interesting effects, as
shown in this screen shot and demo.
By enclosing objects in a sphere or cube of environment maps, interesting
effects can be achieved as shown in this screen shot and demo.
Screen shot from Splinter Cell. Splinter Cell is widely considered to havesome of the best lighting and shadow effects in a video game to date.
A sample lens flare. It is interesting that game developers strive to createrealistic lens flare effects, while at the same time, photographers doeverything they can to avoid them!
Particle effects can add greatly to the lighting in a game, as shown in
this image and demo.