GDC Video Game Graphics

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This Presentation Was Delivered at the Game Developer Conference (GDC) 2003

Who The Hell Is Jason Rubin?: 

'Hard Core' Gamer since 1979 Co-Founded Naughty Dog 1985 NDog Created 'Crash Bandicoot' For PlayStation Developed Crash1, Crash2, Crash3, and CTR Won Many 'Best Graphics' awards from press Total Sales Over 23 Million Units (Worldwide) #6, #2, #4 Top Selling Lifetime PSX Titles (USA) Large Part Of Success From Graphical Edge NDog Created 'Jak and Daxter' For PlayStation2 First Next Generation HW 'Mascot' Pushes the Graphic Limits of the PS2 Hardware Sales of Over 2.5 million World Wide NDog Acquired By SCEA Jan, 2000 Who The Hell Is Jason Rubin?

THE POINT:: 

THE POINT: Naughty Dog’s 'Secret' Has Been To Create FUN Titles That Are GRAPHICALLY SUPERIOR To The Competition… …That Strategy May Be Dated!!!

DISCLAIMERS, ETC.: 

DISCLAIMERS, ETC. My Intention With Game Examples Is To Show The Pattern Of Progression Not To Point Out Specific Firsts, Highpoints, Or Turning Points The Games I Have Selected are Just a Sampling… Apologies for the Quality of the Screenshots… Dates are Approximate… Skipping 'Vector' Graphics, 3d Glasses, and Other Branches… Focus on US Games And Gaming… Focus on Consoles… Thanks To: Mark Cerny of Cerny Games

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Pong 1972 Super Tennis 1991 Tennis (Intellivision) 1980 Tennis Arena 1998 All Star Tennis 1999 Sega Sports Tennis 2002 Vs. Tennis 1984

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Night Driver 1976 Daytona USA 1994 Gran Tourismo 1999 GT3 2001 Auto Racing 1980 Pole Position 1982 OutRun 1986

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THE GRAPHICS TIMELINE: 

THE GRAPHICS TIMELINE Dawn- Blips andamp; Pixels Early 2d- Struggle To Express Sprites- Character Identity 2d Heyday- Best 2d Has To Offer Pre 3d- Too Much andamp; Too Little Early 3d- 3Dimensional Euphoria 3d Heyday- 3d Comes Into Its Own Adv 3d- Reality And Beauty Post 3d- WHAT NOW? 2d 3d ?

GRAPHICS HAVE DRIVEN GAME SALES: 

GRAPHICS HAVE DRIVEN GAME SALES New Games Both LOOKED Better And Giving Gamers A Reason To Upgrade And Keep Playing… PLAYED BETTER

THE BIG QUESTION:: 

THE BIG QUESTION: WILL GRAPHICS CONTINUE TO BE THE DRIVING FORCE FOR 'MASS MARKET' SALES SUCCESS IN EACH GENRE?

CASE STUDY: 

CASE STUDY Daxter From 'Jak andamp; Daxter'

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What Was The Jump PSX To PS2?: 

What Was The Jump PSX To PS2? There Was NOT a 250x Jump In Perceived Graphic Quality!!!!!

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THE “QUALITY OF DEVELOPER” EFFECT: 

THE 'QUALITY OF DEVELOPER' EFFECT PSX: 1000 vs. 3000 Polys/Frame (30,000 vs. 100,000 Polys/Sec @ 30fps) PS2: 50,000 vs 150,000 P/F (3,000,000 vs. 10,000,000 Polys/Sec @ 60fps) Next: 3,000,000 vs 9,000,000 P/F (180,000,000 vs. 500,000,000 Polys/Sec @ 60fps) FUTURE: Beyond Polygons Different Styles andamp; Rendering Techniques

WHERE ARE WE RIGHT NOW?: 

WHERE ARE WE RIGHT NOW? CAN ANYONE ESCAPE? ARE GRAPHIC IMPROVEMENTS GOING TO DRIVE SALES IN ANY GENRE?

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THE SIMPLE, CONSTRAINED GAME VS THE COMPLEX, UNCONSTRAINED GAME

GIVE ME A GRAPH!: 

GIVE ME A GRAPH! How Can We Express This?

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Incremental Improvement Of Graphics Resulting Improvement In Gameplay BETTER PONG- 2600- NES- SNES- Coleco- 3D0- PSX- PS2- Next- Etc.-

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?: 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Most Future Titles Will Be Able To Compete On GRAPHIC PROWESS Alone!!!

IF GRAPHICS WON’T DRIVE SALES, WHAT WILL?: 

IF GRAPHICS WON’T DRIVE SALES, WHAT WILL? Novel Gameplay New Genres 'INNOVATION' Licenses Sequels 'ATTACHMENT'

BUT INNOVATION IS RISKER THAN ATTACHMENT: 

BUT INNOVATION IS RISKER THAN ATTACHMENT 'INNOVATION' Unproven Gameplay New Property Risk Increased Development Cost Decreased Development Cost Proven Property Proven Gameplay 'ATTACHMENT'

GIVE ME PROOF!: 

GIVE ME PROOF! Is This Happening Now?

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'Socom: U.S. Navy Seals', 'State Of Emergency', 'Stuntman', 'Animal Crossing', 'Ratchet And Clank', 'Mech Assault', 'Dead To Rights', 'Street Hoops', 'Conflict: Desert Storm', 'Wreckless: Yakuza', 'Sly Cooper andamp; The Thevius Racoonus', 'Eternal Darkness', 'Hunter: The Reckoning' *Not A Sequel Or License ONLY OF THE BEST SELLING CONSOLE TITLES RELEASED IN 2002 WERE 'UNATTACHED'*!!! ( USA, TRSTS) 13 100

THE ISSUE: 

THE ISSUE The 'Average' Big Budget Title Needs To Sell +-300,000 Units To Reach 'Critical Mass', Break Even… And Set The Property Up For Sequels 100-200 Titles Tried In 2002 Only A Handful Of Them Reach 'Critical Mass' These Become 'Attached' Sequels Next Year IS THIS A HEALTHY RATIO?

WHAT TO DO?: 

WHAT TO DO? How Does This Affect My Future Projects?

SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: 

SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT You can’t beat Madden on Graphics Alone Few will get to work on Big Budget 'Original' titles, and they will be forced to accept the 90+% failure rate. If you pride yourself on creativity then you will probably end up revitalizing an old franchise or going 'off script' with someone else's property. Bottom Line: Its Going To Be Harder To Get A Reaction From The Consumer

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CONCLUSION

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Most Future Titles Will Be Able To Compete On GRAPHIC PROWESS Alone!!! We Must Find New Ways To Attract Gamers To Games

CONCLUSIONS: 

Video Game Graphics Have Come A Long Way In A Short Time Video Game Graphics Will Continue To Improve The Perceived Gain In Graphics Will Not Keep Pace With the Real Gain – Games Graphics Will Chase Movies Some Genres, Such As Those That Attempt To Simulate Very Complex Systems And Visuals Will Continue To Fight The Graphics Battle -- Eventually, All Genres Will Follow The Balance Of Import Between 'Graphic Quality' And Other Attractors Such As 'Attachment' And 'Innovation' Will Shift Away From Graphics The Lure Of 'Attachment' Reduces The Number Of New Properties andamp; Ideas That Reach The Market CONCLUSIONS

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QUESTIONS?

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