Non-photorealistic-graphics: a GDC panel by the Guilty Gear Xrd developers

Dreiko_v1legacy

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Are you tired of photorealism being considered the ultimate graphical style? So are these awesome Japanese fighting game developers. That's why they made this:




They went to GDC and did a panel on graphics and how not everything has to be realistic. About how other visual styles are completely unexplored due to this mania with photorealism in modern gaming and how it is an unexplored frontier brimming with new discoveries.

If this sounds interesting to you, here's the full panel:
http://gdcvault.com/play/1022031/GuiltyGearXrd-s-Art-Style-The

Enjoy!
 

Mutant1988

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I'm just stunned by what an impressive technical achievement the graphics of Xrd are. It's 3D, but it's indistinguishable from 2D.

Now if only it actually was released here (Europe), I could show my appreciation by buying it.
 

Timeless Lavender

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Thanks. I am also a person who prefer unique art style rather than realistic ones and I am quite interested in this game.


Then again, I am also interested in the fighting genre in general so maybe this is a good start.
 

Mutant1988

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You know, I actually bought Time and Eternity on release based on the merit of it's art style alone.

http://consol-games.net/uploads/posts/2013-07/1374606108_8528804453_2b43edba9f_z.jpg

It's high resolution 2D sprites in a 3D environment.

It's not a very good game. :D But I really like it's graphical design, however half baked it might be in the actual game. I'd love for someone else to do something similar - But you know, good this time around.

Someone making a 3rd person shooter with 3D environments and gameplay, yet 2D sprites for characters, would be amazing. Alternatively, just a shooter using the same rendering techniques as Guilty Gear Xrd. 2D art is just gorgeous.
 

Dirty Hipsters

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Mutant1988 said:
I'm just stunned by what an impressive technical achievement the graphics of Xrd are. It's 3D, but it's indistinguishable from 2D.

Now if only it actually was released here (Europe), I could show my appreciation by buying it.
Not exactly sure how that's an impressive technical achievement or what the point of it is. If you're making a 2D game then what's the point of making 3D that's indistinguishable from 2D? Just seems like making extra work for yourself just because.

Xrd is a beautiful game though, no denying that.
 

Mutant1988

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Dirty Hipsters said:
Mutant1988 said:
I'm just stunned by what an impressive technical achievement the graphics of Xrd are. It's 3D, but it's indistinguishable from 2D.

Now if only it actually was released here (Europe), I could show my appreciation by buying it.
Not exactly sure how that's an impressive technical achievement or what the point of it is. If you're making a 2D game then what's the point of making 3D that's indistinguishable from 2D? Just seems like making extra work for yourself just because.

Xrd is a beautiful game though, no denying that.
3D that looks like 2D is in fact a lot easier to work with than high definition 2D. Because with 3D you don't need to manually draw every single frame of animation.

Once you have a model textured and rigged, you can add or remove moves without having to draw anything more, you just animate the skeleton.

The issue with it up until now is that 3D just haven't looked as nice and crisp as 2D (Especially for fighting games). Or rather, there has not existed a rendering method that looks like 2D.

Xrd is in fact the very first time I've ever seen any 3D that looks exactly like 2D. Toon shaders exist, yes, but none of those have looked like 2D. It has always been obvious that you're looking at a 3D model.
 

Dreiko_v1legacy

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Actually no, they still have to do it frame by frame. If you watch the panel the guy explains as much. He is specifically asked which is harder or takes more work to do, BB or Xrd style, and he said Xrd style is harder and takes longer. Watch the panel! lol

Dirty Hipsters said:
Mutant1988 said:
I'm just stunned by what an impressive technical achievement the graphics of Xrd are. It's 3D, but it's indistinguishable from 2D.

Now if only it actually was released here (Europe), I could show my appreciation by buying it.
Not exactly sure how that's an impressive technical achievement or what the point of it is. If you're making a 2D game then what's the point of making 3D that's indistinguishable from 2D? Just seems like making extra work for yourself just because.

Xrd is a beautiful game though, no denying that.

The point, as explained in the panel in the link above (in the top post) is that they wanted to make a game that surpasses the look of their Blazblue sprites but it is impossible to surpass Blazblue sprites due to them being amazing so they looked for a different look that stands out in some way.

The main benefit to 3D used to imitate a 2D look, as explained by the artist, is that it allows for more dynamic camera angles that pan around the model of the character and it allows for more zoom-in/face-closeup moments than sprites do without ever looking even a "little" pixelated.


I'm explaining it plainly so watch the panel to figure out the extra details.
 

josemlopes

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Dirty Hipsters said:
Mutant1988 said:
I'm just stunned by what an impressive technical achievement the graphics of Xrd are. It's 3D, but it's indistinguishable from 2D.

Now if only it actually was released here (Europe), I could show my appreciation by buying it.
Not exactly sure how that's an impressive technical achievement or what the point of it is. If you're making a 2D game then what's the point of making 3D that's indistinguishable from 2D? Just seems like making extra work for yourself just because.

Xrd is a beautiful game though, no denying that.
Not at all, imagine that you are only making 200 frames of animation, maybe just doing it in 2D is better since in 3D you have to work a lot to achieve the look and you still need to make the characters, rig them and then animate them. But if you are making a game with a lot of variables that would mean a shitload more drawings then that entire preparation phase will save a lot of work later on.

In here most of the work is the camera, the characters barely move, yet to do this in 2D you waste a lot more time, and in 3D you dont even loose quality and can quickly fix any mistake.
 

Neverhoodian

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I've always gravitated more towards stylized visuals in games than straight-up photorealism. It allows for a far greater degree of expression, and it tends to age better.

Take Team Fortress 2 for example. The game is almost eight years old, yet it looks far more appealing to me than most "realistic" games of the time. It positively oozes style with its J.C. Leyendecker inspired visuals.[footnote]Or at least it does when people don't ruin said style with atrocious cosmetic/paint combos [https://teamfortressnerd.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/440_screenshots_2013-01-24_00002.jpg].[/footnote]




Besides, if I want realistic visuals I can look at photos, watch a live action movie or go outside.
 

AtomChicken

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As an Xrd fan, the visuals alone we're enough for me to get it at after devs posted previews and trailers on Polycount.

I'm fine with devs challenging the current "rush" of idiots trying to imitate movies and Ubisoft's brand of cinematic realism (heh).

The problem with "realism" and "cinematic" is that we gamers kinda figured out its codewords for bullshit, drab palettes, and excuses for 30 fps on consoles.

Shaddup and gimme Style. Journey, Guilty Gear Xrd, and even Zelda: Windwaker were great games built on their own takes on style. Personality persists, attempting mere imitation begets a field of mediocrity.
 

Fappy

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Thanks for the link, watched the whole thing. Really interesting panel. I didn't know Arc System Works had someone so fluent in English on staff, he gave a good talk. I'm a big BB fan, but have never played GG. I don't really have the constitution to get good at a fighting game right now, but I may check it out anyway. Got a brand new PS4, after all :p
 

Gigano

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While I'm on the "artistic design choices and stylistic flair over technical photo realism" side of things, I see Guilty Gear Xrd as a game that's technically proficient at making 2D graphics look great with a 3D rendering engine. How is a technically innovative game an example of superior manga style art direction?!

Sure, it has a sense of depth of field seldom seen in anime; but the actual art direction of the animation is hardly on par with most offerings on that front. Character designs are generally innovative, but hardly the best thing you've seen out of Japan ever. A western game like God of War 2 arguably had better, if more subdued, art direction overall, so it's not really an exclusively Japanese thing either.

And if you're watching anime stuff to begin with, then "photorealism" is hardly going to be your golden standard on how to evaluate the quality of a multimedia product anyway, so they're sort of preaching to the choir.

Mutant1988 said:
...
Now if only it actually was released here (Europe), I could show my appreciation by buying it.
Why not import it?

The cost of buying a US copy off Ebay is largely equivalent to the MSRP of a brand new console game in most of Western Europe. You're cut off from the DLC (i.e. 2 additional characters), but otherwise it plays just fine on a European Playstation.