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Why do you want slick graphics in iPad/iPhone games?

04-12-2010, 11:47 AM
#1
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 233
Why do you want slick graphics in iPad/iPhone games?

Isn't that kind of like demanding formal wear at work?

Isn't it more important that the employee gets the job done well?

Isn't it more important that a game is original and fun?

Demanding slick graphics in games really hurts individual developers. I've been frustrated with this criticism for my DropZap game.

http://dropzap.com
04-12-2010, 11:52 AM
#2
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 286
People have to look at the App or game to play it, so you have to make it pleasing to the eyes. The graphics are what immerses you into the game and in certain games, it's important to make you care about progressing. If Darth Vader was some 3ft guy, then people wouldn't have thought he was a badass for example.

They don't have to be 3D but just make the art style look really nice. World of Warcraft put the art before the tech and came out a winner. The art makes you proud to use that app and you're much more likely to want to use one that looks nice. If you saw two Clocks on the app store, you're more likely gonna go for the one with the best looking graphics/art.

Everyone knows someone who is good at art, Doodle games are all the rage and you can scan them from paper if they don't have a tablet.

04-12-2010, 11:56 AM
#3
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scaramoosh View Post
People have to look at the App or game to play it, so you have to make it pleasing to the eyes. The graphics are what immerses you into the game and in certain games, it's important to make you care about progressing. If Darth Vader was some 3ft guy, then people wouldn't have thought he was a badass for example.

They don't have to be 3D but just make the art style look really nice. World of Warcraft put the art before the tech and came out a winner. The art makes you proud to use that app and you're much more likely to want to use one that looks nice. If you saw two Clocks on the app store, you're more likely gonna go for the one with the best looking graphics/art.

Everyone knows someone who is good at art, Doodle games are all the rage and you can scan them from paper if they don't have a tablet.
DropZap doesn't have art. It's very plain. But at least that's better than bad art...

BTW, Doodle games are all the rage because developers want to put "Doodle" in the name, so people searching for "Doodle Jump" end up seeing their game in the search results.
04-12-2010, 01:50 PM
#4
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Secret Mountain Laboratory, Helsinki, Finland
Posts: 57
for a while i was wondering whether the OP was a troll, that's how absurd the question seems.

i want good graphics in games because it adds to the user experience; speaking professionally, i believe good graphics do, most of the time, and wouldn't like to be caught doing a crappy looking game myself. also, with good graphics usually come a couple of things, namely good information/interaction design and a part of that, a proper UI.

now, back to my amazement at the OP: why do you think iphone games should have anything less than good graphics? "because there's so many of them" doesn't cut it, nor does the fact that some teenag ... people actually think that a buck can buy them a great game with endless updates. those are properties of the marketplace, not of ideal games.

just because there are tons of crappy looking stick figure games done by a lone coder in his PJs doesn't make that particular tendency right. we're not talking about freeware linux sysadmin software here but games ... and usually good games come with good graphics, there's really no way around it. speaking professionally, shitty graphics and, far worse, shitty UI can't be explained away easily - if you ask for people to pay for your game, you'd better have invested in a proper graphic designer, too. and no, "i didn't have the money" won't do either, you're either in or out, if you want someone to pay for your work, make your work good.

Last edited by polyfonken; 04-12-2010 at 01:52 PM.
04-12-2010, 01:58 PM
#5
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by polyfonken View Post
for a while i was wondering whether the OP was a troll, that's how absurd the question seems.

i want good graphics in games because it adds to the user experience; speaking professionally, i believe good graphics do, most of the time, and wouldn't like to be caught doing a crappy looking game myself. also, with good graphics usually come a couple of things, namely good information/interaction design and a part of that, a proper UI.
I think the issue here is that you are not valuing the effort and skill that go into coming up with novel and fun gameplay and programming the game.

If you did, then why would you be reluctant to pay for a novel fun game with very plain graphics?

To put this into another context, imagine rejecting a scientific breakthrough because the research paper did not have fancy graphics.

Or imagine requiring software developers in a company to wear formal attire.
04-12-2010, 02:09 PM
#6
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Secret Mountain Laboratory, Helsinki, Finland
Posts: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by amichail View Post
I think the issue here is that you are not valuing the effort and skill that go into coming up with novel and fun gameplay and programming the game.

If you did, then why would you be reluctant to pay for a novel fun game with very plain graphics?
as an old saying goes, an idea by itself is worth nothing in this field.

i believe in new novel game mechanics and design enough to know that if they are dressed badly enough, they will make next to nothing compared to what they would if they were properly dressed and the action emphasized with the right kind of interaction. not talking just graphics, of course, also sound and response. i would be putting down my own work if i didn't feel that stair dismount or zen bound are better for my sounds&graphics and even if i, as a sometime game designer might appreciate game design, the general public will just pass by basically good games with dull RGB blocks. no use blaming them, there are so many signals competing for their cash and interest.

actually, i believe in game design enough that it kind of makes me angry when someone works on a concept or a mechanic and then goes all limp noodle when it comes to making it enjoyable; for that is what all of this audio-visual stuff is about. a good idea or even game design isn't enough, you have to make others appreciate it too. the explosions, rising triad sounds, how the blocks move, all of that contributes to how the user experiences your design (and, speaking marketing, is a part of the fifteen seconds you have to impress them).

in other words, and to answer the question, if my friend dresses a game badly, i'll try it and tell them what they need to do before they go on releasing it and blame the consumers for "not getting it". the scientific breakthrough is worthless if the scientist isn't capable of writing it up properly (the science version of AV design, really) and the coder, for all i care he can wear a toga as long as he has people skills and coding skills.

Last edited by polyfonken; 04-12-2010 at 02:12 PM. Reason: typo
04-12-2010, 02:23 PM
#7
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 233
My plan for making DropZap look slicker is to add backgrounds -- namely NASA space images. But even this comes with a risk -- many (most?) players may not like the space theme.

One could argue that the early 80s were a better time for gaming. Competition was all about novel gameplay -- not slick graphics. The result being all sorts of cool and fun game mechanics.

Last edited by amichail; 04-12-2010 at 02:27 PM.
04-12-2010, 03:30 PM
#8
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 731
Quote:
Originally Posted by amichail View Post
My plan for making DropZap look slicker is to add backgrounds -- namely NASA space images. But even this comes with a risk -- many (most?) players may not like the space theme.

One could argue that the early 80s were a better time for gaming. Competition was all about novel gameplay -- not slick graphics. The result being all sorts of cool and fun game mechanics.
NASA images can't be used for commercial projects I believe.

As for the 80's well there were a few odd hits back then (yes I'm thinking of you Yak!) however even then graphics definitely did matter. I remember being gobsmacked seeing Andrew Braybrook's gfx for the C64 game Uridium for the first time!
04-12-2010, 03:38 PM
#9
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickFalk View Post
NASA images can't be used for commercial projects I believe.
There is no copyright on NASA images. You can use them for commercial purposes. See their terms of use.
04-12-2010, 03:45 PM
#10
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Secret Mountain Laboratory, Helsinki, Finland
Posts: 57
nasa images are okay in most cases, as long as you don't pick the mos obvious ones. which shouldn't be a problem since those would also distract the gameplay, having too much detail and "hooks". the only risk you run is losing some traditional girl gamers but keep in mind that you have to get some kind of a visual identity - any way you do it, someone is going to not like it, and space images are surprisingly suitable for everyone - just ask popcap.

the eighties were at least the golden age for auteurs in game making since then there wasn't so much saturation, all the cool game ideas were just waiting to be discovered and, especially in the early days of c-64 & co., the visual fidelity of the devices was small enough and the novelty of having stuff actually move on the tv screen big enough that you could get away with much less than you can nowadays.

that being said, it changed quickly. but luckily original game design and good production values are still being sought, those two don't in any way exclude each other, quite the opposite. the trick, there, is to be small enough a company to be flexible and enthusiastic about gaming but large enough to be able to compete in production values - as companies and projects grow and the stakes rise, novel ideas often become liabilities and decisions are made by people who don't actually like games as much as they do money or their jobs.