Elemental Graphics and Art Direction

Looking at current and past sights of the game

By on November 19, 2008 1:02:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Megajames75

Join Date 07/2007
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A while ago this was mentioned about Elemental, this was way before it was officaly anouced however.

'You can zoom out and see a cloth map of the world - and these are randomly generated worlds that look as if someone painstakingly created it with a sophisticated map editor, which the game does have built-in, too - and then zoom all the way in to a leaf on an individual tree in a forest in one smooth loop, where the ground and trees look as good as you’d expect in a high-end first-person shooter. '

Now the curent scren shots don't show any where near this level of detail, is this a cut feature, and if so how close can you zoom now, and what will it look like when zoomed in very close? I am loving the current art style, so I was wondering what the LoD close up is now.

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November 19, 2008 2:24:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, the way the game looks isn't final yet. There is some more tightening up that they'll do, but I seriously doubt a Stardock game will ever look like a high-end fps (not a knock on Stardock).

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November 19, 2008 3:45:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh I dunno, this image looks pretty good. I don't think one should say "high-end first-person shooter" and jump to the conclusion that it will have the same art style as, say, Far Cry 2 (after all, the whole game is cell shaded - that's a whole different style of detail). I think lighting, shadows, details, smoothness of animation, anti-aliasing, etc. would be where that statement would apply.

That's not to say I believe that the current screenshots compare to a game like Far Cry 2 in terms of overall graphic fidelity, but then, the level of AI 'smarts' in "high-end" FPSes generally sucks. I'll take that trade-off.

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November 19, 2008 4:20:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Isn't that in the battle view however, also, don't get me wrong I love the way the game looks, and I am sure the high end FPS is not quite what they ment, but how close do you think we can now zoom, smothly, from the cloth map?

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November 19, 2008 5:14:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love the way the zoomed out map looks.  Open the first page on most fantasy books and that's what you'll see. 

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November 19, 2008 5:24:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Megajames75,
[...]
but how close do you think we can now zoom, smothly, from the cloth map?
Well, if they said that "You can zoom out and see a cloth map of the world - and these are randomly generated worlds that look as if someone painstakingly created it with a sophisticated map editor, which the game does have built-in, too - and then zoom all the way in to a leaf on an individual tree in a forest in one smooth loop, where the ground and trees look as good as you’d expect in a high-end first-person shooter", then I assume that "You can zoom out and see a cloth map of the world - and these are randomly generated worlds that look as if someone painstakingly created it with a sophisticated map editor, which the game does have built-in, too - and then zoom all the way in to a leaf on an individual tree in a forest in one smooth loop, where the ground and trees look as good as you’d expect in a high-end first-person shooter".

As previously mentioned, the graphics are far from done. As an oft-mentioned example taken from the top of my head, nothing even has shadows, yes. The only thing the current screenshots really give a feeling for at the moment, is the general art direction - which I love, by the way.

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November 19, 2008 5:57:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Megajames75,
Isn't that in the battle view however, also, don't get me wrong I love the way the game looks, and I am sure the high end FPS is not quite what they ment, but how close do you think we can now zoom, smothly, from the cloth map?

Ooooooooohh, gotcha. No clue, but I would assume pretty close. At the very least something comparable to GalCiv and Sins, so pretty much all the way down.

Perhaps we need to wait for some gameplay vids to surface because I doubt they're gonna take a screenshot of a single tree.

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November 19, 2008 6:26:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Megajames75,
Isn't that in the battle view however, also, don't get me wrong I love the way the game looks, and I am sure the high end FPS is not quite what they ment, but how close do you think we can now zoom, smothly, from the cloth map?

It is, but  my point was just that the engine is capable of a lot more detail than what's shown at those mid-zoom levels.

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November 19, 2008 7:56:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The game is still in the alpha version yet; give it some time. To the best of my knowledge SD has never lied to us yet. So it seems to me it is deserving the benefit of the doubt.

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November 20, 2008 7:09:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My guess and hope is that the street-version answer to this question will reflect Stardock's past strength in supporting a very wide range of hardware configurations and play styles. For hardware-rich, animation-hungry players, hopefully the Elemental engine will be able to do some amazing things. For those of us who might still be interested in playing this game through a pre-GUI interface, I trust there will also be more than sufficient fun to be had.

I'm also a little bit curious about how the shop-talk graphics arguments I've noticed so far might apply to the potential depth of 'sub-spec support' for Elemental. I played GC2 from pretty close to launch-time; a big chunk of that playing was on a machine that did not meet 'recommened' requirements. That worked well enough for me for a long while, and despite being in a better position lately to indulge in buying more PC than I neeed to do my job, I hope Elemental will have a deep 'bottome end' of viable, if slower and less pretty, functionality.

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November 24, 2008 10:52:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm hoping that we're looking at a very early version of the art because it currently looks laughable.  I'm honestly sorry to say that because I was hoping for the best and really looking forward to this game...but honestly the graphics pull me out of the immersion and environment and are distractingly cartoony. They honestly look like some out of a freeware game made in the 80's or very early 90's. 

In fact the graphics remind me of 'Dragons Lair' and Dirk the Daring, which is not a compliment for a game being made 25 years later. (Look it up...)

I can understand the novelty look that someone might be going for...but I think that it really fails the immersion and function test. Now we haven't seen the game in action and I hope that video proves to be redeeming but honestly, it looks really bad right now.  I'm saying that as someone who isn't a fanboy but probably represents the average audience that would buy this type of game given that I enjoy SMAC, MOM, CIV, FFH2 etc...but I couldn't put up with those graphics for the length of time I typically play these games.

Sorry guys...wanted to like it.

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November 25, 2008 3:27:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Torynn,
I'm hoping that we're looking at a very early version of the art because it currently looks laughable.  I'm honestly sorry to say that because I was hoping for the best and really looking forward to this game...but honestly the graphics pull me out of the immersion and environment and are distractingly cartoony. They honestly look like some out of a freeware game made in the 80's or very early 90's. 

In fact the graphics remind me of 'Dragons Lair' and Dirk the Daring, which is not a compliment for a game being made 25 years later. (Look it up...)
[...]
Get it straight. What are you talking about? Art, or graphics?

Because that art is, to my understanding, final. And that's fine, because it's the old classic fantasy style which I absolutely love, aiming for beauty instead of lens flare. The graphics, however, is in an early alpha stage and doesn't even have shadows yet.

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November 25, 2008 7:39:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You're attempting to argue over semantics and it's not worth my time. As echoed by others, my point is clear.

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November 25, 2008 12:26:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm sort of inbetween on the graphics. I like the look close up in that battle scene, if that is how combat will look i'm then 100% happy. I really enjoy the sort of anime/cartoon look in games. I am huge fans of say Tales of Vesperia's art, or Fire Emblem's (GC + WII ones) look and feel. I think also this graphic style should hopefullly lend more to being able to customize the troops with a larger variety of things. If you go really gritty and "real", it would make it next to impossible to be able to snap on crazy pieces to the units and have it look right. I think having the smoother, more cartoony look, alows for more flexibility, while still looking good. By nature you just tend to notice less "flaws" when the detail is low.

One thing that kinda irks me is the perspective, like the things are too bent for the landscape. I can't put my finger on it. After looking at the screenshots again though, I can see once they start doing some extra passes like they said for shadows and things, it will probably really link up the units and cities to the terrain. Right now they seem sort of out of place, and I think the harsh contrast with no shadows or effects in the early build are what is doing it.

But yeah, we've all seen the products these guys have released in the past, and we've all seen their ai, and I have no doubt that it'll all come together visually as it nears release.

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November 25, 2008 1:16:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Torynn,
You're attempting to argue over semantics and it's not worth my time. As echoed by others, my point is clear.

No, I'm not trying to argue over semantics. It's a very important distinction, because as I said, one (art) is more or less final, while the other (graphics) is far from finalized. Confusing art and graphics is an extremely common mistake that both sides of any argument touching the two continously make.

So again, which is it? Art, or graphics?

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November 25, 2008 2:22:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Torynn,
In fact the graphics remind me of 'Dragons Lair' and Dirk the Daring, which is not a compliment for a game being made 25 years later. (Look it up...)

This is a bit off topic, but I can't help but think Torynn doesn't know his audience here. I'd bet that just about everyone on this forum knows what Dragon's Lair is.

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November 25, 2008 3:33:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting garion333,
This is a bit off topic, but I can't help but think Torynn doesn't know his audience here. I'd bet that just about everyone on this forum knows what Dragon's Lair is.
I think it's far more perplexing that he thinks that they (EWoM & DL) look alike.

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November 25, 2008 9:58:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I forsee that many other games will start moving in the same direction as this game, in that they will start focusing on creating visual styles other than realism.  Cell-shaded is fine and all, but I see more games *in the future* trying to achieve their own style and appearance.

 

As far as what was said about zooming to a high-end first person shooter level?   I imagine that was vetoed for a more stylized approch that seems like would require less resources (for develepment and user computers) and give something "new" and exciting that would make the game stand out even more amoung all the other PC game titles.  I really cannot think of any other PC titles to come out in recent years that have such a strong art style.

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November 25, 2008 10:05:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting garion333,

Quoting Torynn, reply 10In fact the graphics remind me of 'Dragons Lair' and Dirk the Daring, which is not a compliment for a game being made 25 years later. (Look it up...)
This is a bit off topic, but I can't help but think Torynn doesn't know his audience here. I'd bet that just about everyone on this forum knows what Dragon's Lair is.

No you're probably right Garion...some of the people who are interested enough take their time to look at this forum 18 odd months before the game comes out probably do know what that reference was about...the problem is that we're not really a representative audience for the vast majority that Stardock will be marketing to.

Just check out of a non-Elemental related forum like FFH's at Civfanatics...they posted up some screenshots and people were mocking Elemental before a dev stopped by and the ass-kissing started.  These are the people who are going to make the game successful...and their first reaction was to mock it.

 

 

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November 25, 2008 10:13:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Luckmann,

Quoting garion333, reply 15This is a bit off topic, but I can't help but think Torynn doesn't know his audience here. I'd bet that just about everyone on this forum knows what Dragon's Lair is.I think it's far more perplexing that he thinks that they (EWoM & DL) look alike.

QFT

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November 25, 2008 10:46:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Spartan,



QFT

 ok, bare with me here.  call me a forum newbie or something if you want, but I have never seen nor heard of an acronym that includes a Q...   I can think of a few for FT *hammer* but those are really mean.   What is QFT?

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November 26, 2008 12:28:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoted for truth...its normally used when people are hearing something that they don't like

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November 26, 2008 12:59:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Torynn,
Quoted for truth...its normally used when people are hearing something that they don't like

There are two usages for it in general. One as mention for something that they don’t like (I disagree with that usage on grounds of logic) The other is for something they agree with in general as being obviously valid and sound. There is also a third usage that is pretty much a troll version "Quit Fucking Talking". That however is rarely used.

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November 26, 2008 2:09:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Torynn,
No you're probably right Garion...some of the people who are interested enough take their time to look at this forum 18 odd months before the game comes out probably do know what that reference was about...the problem is that we're not really a representative audience for the vast majority that Stardock will be marketing to. [...]
Then you obviously don't know Stardock. The people on the forums here are more likely than not the exact people they'll market to.

Quoting Torynn,
Quoted for truth...its normally used when people are hearing something that they don't like
Wrong. It's the direct opposite. When you QFT something, you're quoting it because it deserves to be said again. You're quoting it because you agree; because it's truth.

This is, of course, outside of the "Quit Fucking Talking" sense, which I've never heard, myself.
I think it's got more to do with social spheres than anything. I've -never- heard "Quit Fucking Talking" amongst gamers, but that's of course not to say that it's extremely common in another sphere, or another actual physical place or 'culture'.

Edit: Dammit, why can't I say anything without it sounding like an insult or passive-aggressive mumbo-jumbo? What I mean to say is that Spartan is possibly right(!).

Quoting landisaurus,

"QFT"
ok, bare with me here.  call me a forum newbie or something if you want, but I have never seen nor heard of an acronym that includes a Q...   I can think of a few for FT *hammer* but those are really mean. What is QFT?
There's always "QQ", which isn't really an acronym, and something Torynn should do a whole lot less.

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November 26, 2008 10:24:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Just check out of a non-Elemental related forum like FFH's at Civfanatics...they posted up some screenshots and people were mocking Elemental before a dev stopped by and the ass-kissing started. These are the people who are going to make the game successful...and their first reaction was to mock it.

 

Most forums would mock it. Strange thing is that most of the good games that were announce way in advance usually get mocked. Because most poeple expect early alpha to be gourgeous (sp?)

 

Let's see if they will mock it once it launches. I'm prepared to bet they won't. Stardock makes great products. Look at their windows product. I'm not worried I AM SURE it will look great.

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November 28, 2008 5:16:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

PLEASE STOP!!!!

Please rethink your art concept. It looks like 'Fantasy meets My Little Pony'. Its awful!!!!

How do you expect anyone, especially serious wargamers, even serious fantasy fans to take this game seriously.

Why do you devs always take the 'fantasy' element as cute fairy tale? Lets have a game with an edge, a fantasy world that looks and feels real.

Rant over!

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