Can hardware limitation ever be good?

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Posted by uninspiredcup (26445 posts) 3 years, 9 months ago

Poll: Can hardware limitation ever be good? (39 votes)

Yes 36%
No 64%

My friends, replaying the masterpiece that is Planescape Torment something occurred.

I was being drawn into the game, which has shitty 2d spites and no voice work more so than Mass Effect or Last Of Us. It would appear, since a gap occurs, the game requires (you) to put input in to fill that void. Imagination. The game uses highly creative linguistics to suggest these images much like a book.

Playing Mass Effects or Last Of Us, aside from being nowhere near the depth or complexity of text, The technology available is used instead. No void to be filled by the player, no imagination is required, it's all spelt out in an obviose and contrived manner. It's not interesting at all.

Has the rise of powerful hardware in consoles created lazy games more interested in being movies? Can hardware limited platforms like the NintendoDS, tablets, mobiles and low end pc's actually be a good thing?

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#1 Edited by KHAndAnime (17565 posts) -

Art through adversity

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#2 Posted by Salt_The_Fries (12480 posts) -

If it instills discipline on developers, developers, developers, thus keeping them on their toes to optimize the best possible version for that platform then yes.

BTW did you see what I did here?

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#3 Edited by HalcyonScarlet (8111 posts) -

What has one to do with the other? Developers are free to use the hardware as much as they need to, to meet their vision.

Not to mention there's nothing 'lazy' about utilizing hardware these days, it's fuckin hard I imagine. Developers don't just wake up and pull something like Arkham City out their ass. Your question should be closer to 'do developers feel pressured to utilize hardware more than they need to?' and the answer is, probably if they work for big publishers who want certain results and a possible yearly release of everything. Which is probably why Indie developers are a little more likely to only use what they need.

However it's worth noting that developers have a lot of meetings before they start work where they discuss the direction they want to go and what effects they want to achieve.

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#4 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

I have a decent imagination but I can play just about anygame regardless of what it asks from my imagination. As long as I don't have to fill mechanical voids then I should be fine.

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#5 Posted by l34052 (3778 posts) -

Hardware limitation a good thing or not, lets just say i'd rather play GT6 than Pole Position.

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#6 Posted by intotheminx (2590 posts) -

It has nothing to do with hardware, but everything to do with the developer. The majority of games these days have no mystery and tell you everything flat out.

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#7 Edited by MirkoS77 (12981 posts) -

TLoU does require imagination. The ending is largely ambiguous. That's what makes it so great.

However, it's required to actually play it to realize and understand this.

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#8 Posted by thehig1 (6502 posts) -

No its not a good thing, a lazy developer will be a lazy developer.

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#9 Edited by adamosmaki (10579 posts) -

Like others said what one has to do with the other ? Just because some devs put more emphasis into graphics and presentation instead of storytelling its not the result of hardware improvement. Also there a lot of "deep" games and in fact some games today have story telling and deep gameplay that 15-20 years ago was not possible thanks to video game programmers becoming more experienced and better through the years

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#10 Posted by uninspiredcup (26445 posts) -

@adamosmaki said:

Just because some devs put more emphasis into graphics and presentation instead of storytelling its not the result of hardware improvement

It is.

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#11 Edited by uninspiredcup (26445 posts) -
@MirkoS77 said:

TLoU does require imagination. The ending is largely ambiguous. That's what makes it so great.

However, it's required to actually play it to realize and understand this.

My friend, the ending (and entire plotline) is a ripoff of children of men. While a masterpiece such as Planscape Torement had a unique setting, unique characters and intricate meaningful story-telling, nothing about this is present in Naughty Dog titles.

@adamosmaki said:

Just because some devs put more emphasis into graphics and presentation instead of storytelling its not the result of hardware improvement

Technology and expectations change design. This makes me right.

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#12 Edited by adamosmaki (10579 posts) -

@uninspiredcup said:
@MirkoS77 said:

TLoU does require imagination. The ending is largely ambiguous. That's what makes it so great.

However, it's required to actually play it to realize and understand this.

My friend, the ending (and entire plotline) is a ripoff of children of men. While a masterpiece such as Planscape Torement had a unique setting, unique characters and intricate meaningful story-telling, nothing about this is present in Naughty Dog titles.

@adamosmaki said:

Just because some devs put more emphasis into graphics and presentation instead of storytelling its not the result of hardware improvement

Technology and expectations change design. This makes me right.

You sound like a child you know when someone does not agree with you.

Find me a 20 year old game with the complex gameplay of crusader kings or Sins of a solar empire. Also alot of games offer a deep and complex storyline. Games such as mass effect or the Witcher or Cryostasis.

But all you do when someone points out something or disagree with you is usually come up with nothing but " my friend i'm right and you know it "

But then again i expect nothing more from a troll like you. At least i will give you credit that somehow you manage to troll all major platforms

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#14 Posted by deactivated-57ad0e5285d73 (21398 posts) -

Well if you look at the gameboy that system was sold almost entirely on gameplay and word of mouth. Everybody wanted one. Sega and Atari attempted to take that market from Nintendo, with FAR better hardware(except for the unstoppable GB soundchip), and they failed. The marketing on those consoles was all about color screens and better graphics. Companies started stressing this in commercials and on boxes. Nobody gave a Fck. The industry was different back then, though, as well.

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#15 Edited by starwolf474 (983 posts) -

Given that I love 2D games and feel we don't get enough of them, I would buy a console where the hardware limited it to having only 2D games as long as it received support from developers.

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#16 Posted by AmazonAngry (968 posts) -

Definitely. It gives the devs a concrete set of what they have to work with. Open hardware is at the disadvantage of not being truely optimized, which is why we see the low quality of PC games.

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#17 Edited by Micropixel (1352 posts) -

@intotheminx said:

It has nothing to do with hardware, but everything to do with the developer. The majority of games these days have no mystery and tell you everything flat out.

This ^

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#18 Edited by uninspiredcup (26445 posts) -

My friends, after much deliberation I have decided I am right. However, other factors are involved. Such as a market mans low exception of the consumer, particularly console gamers.

As evident...

A modern console game major plotline thread.

Minor, optional Planescape Torment convo

An elderly man was sitting alone on a dark path. He wasn’t sure of which direction to go, and he’d forgotten both where he was traveling to…and who he was.

He’d sat down for a moment to rest his weary legs, and suddenly looked up to see an elderly woman before him.

She grinned toothlessly and with a cackle, spoke: “Now your third wish. What will it be?”

“Third wish?” The man was baffled. “How can it be a third wish if I haven’t had a first and second wish?”

“You’ve had two wishes already,” the hag said, “but your second wish was for me to return everything to the way it was before you had made your first wish. That’s why you remember nothing; because everything is the way it was before you made any wishes.” She cackled at the poor man. “So it is that you have one wish left.”

“All right,” he said hesitantly, “I don’t believe this, but there’s no harm in trying. I wish to know who I am.”

“Funny,” said the old woman as she granted his wish and disappeared forever. “That was your first wish…”

While the Shepard character looks like a person burn'd to death recently reconstructed with some strange plastic with dumb people wheel, PS is intellectual profound on whim.

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#19 Posted by MonsieurX (37411 posts) -

@amazonangry said:

Definitely. It gives the devs a concrete set of what they have to work with. Open hardware is at the disadvantage of not being truely optimized, which is why we see the low quality of PC games.

Low quality PC games,where?

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#20 Posted by Cloud_imperium (14406 posts) -

It's up to developers , how they use the hardware . It's not hardware's fault , instead developers failed to do justice to these old school genres/games . Look at Portal 2 , that's how you do a justice to puzzle games or when it comes to RTS , Starcraft/Total War .

It's failure on developers' end that they didn't or couldn't produce next gen version of Planescape : Torment by making use of more powerful hardware and creating something truly unique . Star Citizen will be great example of making next gen version of old school genre (space sims) without compromising its challenging gameplay . Devs/Publishers could've done the same with cRPGs but it's not a golden age of gaming .

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#22 Edited by Phreek300 (605 posts) -

Yes it can. Heres is why. You can have good graphics that don't break the bank while concentrating on great gameplay, and awesome sound design. A good case for this is Zelda a Link Between Worlds. Nintendo has decent hardware that can pump out acceptable graphics while offering great gameplay, sound design, and story.

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#23 Posted by speedfreak48t5p (12935 posts) -

@MonsieurX said:

@amazonangry said:

Definitely. It gives the devs a concrete set of what they have to work with. Open hardware is at the disadvantage of not being truely optimized, which is why we see the low quality of PC games.

Low quality PC games,where?

In his imagination.

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#24 Edited by Bread_or_Decide (25770 posts) -

@KHAndAnime said:

Art through adversity

This. Sometimes having zero obstacles can lead to major disasters. Look at the star wars prequels or M. Night Shyamalan movies.

I'm not sure if this still applies to video games...but some of my favorite games don't have gigantic budgets and don't require crazy super tech hardware.

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#25 Edited by MonsieurX (37411 posts) -

@speedfreak48t5p said:

@MonsieurX said:

@amazonangry said:

Definitely. It gives the devs a concrete set of what they have to work with. Open hardware is at the disadvantage of not being truely optimized, which is why we see the low quality of PC games.

Low quality PC games,where?

In his imagination.

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#26 Posted by YearoftheSnake5 (9118 posts) -

All hardware has its limitations. Depends on what you want to do as a developer. Better hardware doesn't necessarily equal better games or vice versa.

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#27 Edited by Wasdie (53522 posts) -

A lot of times hardware limitations are a driving factor in software innovation. Even on the PC, devs are often limited on what they can do based on a number of hardware limitations. Hardware limitations aren't as simple as not enough hardware to render something. They are often much more complex. The architecture of the hardware is usually a very large limiting factor that forces software engineers to develop new and often better algorithms and solutions to the problems.

Hardware limitations can be good for consumers. Limiting the hardware forces developers to keep their requirements in check. Imagine having to upgrade your GPU each year just to play the newer games. From a consumer standpoint that's not good. Turning down rendering options isn't as flexible as you may think as a lot of gameplay today is derived from certain graphical effects that simply cannot be turned off (shadows in a stealth game) or the artstyle of the entire game requires certain amounts of rendering to be done or the game looks like poo.

Also one large thing that people overlook with video games is the bottleneck of development time. The reason why a game like Mass Effect has so few dialog choices is because they completely voice over, motion capture, and animate everything. It's tons easier to just have text responses. Even The Witcher 2 had a lot less dialog choices, and a lot of it was cyclical and didn't actually go anywhere, just filled you in on some stuff.

Another big one is large, detailed levels. If you want some authentic feeling planet-sized level it's going to take several dozen people many months and man hours to develop it properly at a huge cost. That's a bottleneck that holds back games more than hardware does.

Production values are a natural bottleneck, arguably more so than hardware limitations.

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#28 Edited by Salt_The_Fries (12480 posts) -

I think Kaz said it's great PS3 isn't easy to program for right of the bat so that devs would have to learn hard in order to master it.

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#29 Edited by Gue1 (12171 posts) -

I still prefer old jrpg's to the modern ones and I think part of it is is due to that. Too much info. Although the problem really starts when is not planned well.

Good example: The Last of Us.

The Last of Us only fills you in the necessary stuff, which was mostly how the relationship between Joel and Ellie grew up. But we know nothing of what happened with Joel during the 20 years skip or his relationship with Tess or Bill's sexual orientation. The game has a lot of gaps you need to fill up by yourself while still being consistent and coherent.

Bad example: Metroid Other M.

Other M was just badly planned from start to finish. Whoever wrote that game should never be allowed to touch another pen ever again. I swear any Metroid fan without any experience would have done a much better job than that. This was the first time that Samus and its world was given an actual personality and they blew it. They give you way too much irrelevant detail, too much emotion, too much of everything and on top of it? All as badly written as humanly possible. No taste, no logic, no respect for the character.

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#32 Edited by jg4xchamp (61470 posts) -

Planescape's plot is a whole lot of up it's own ass bullshit. Fantastic and memorable yes, but let's cut some jive there are large stretches of dialogue where it's not saying anything meaningful at all, it's just jargon being said for the writer to flex the douchiest of their douchy opinions. It's the equivalent of Rust Cohle running his mouth a lot in True Detective, is the acting terrific? yes, is what he actually saying meaningful? **** no, it's ghetto philosophy giving itself way more credit than it deserves.

That's not to say either Planescape or True Detective aren't excellent (they absolutely are), but it's not some complexity that makes them memorable in their medium. Planescape's plot is more compelling in how you interact with the plot and the themes it tackles more so than what it's actually saying. Likewise True Detective's real strength aren't it's moment to moment writing, but how it characterizes its characters, how it breaks down man logic and the darker ideas presented by Rust when he's not spewing bullshit, and more specifically the vision through one singular lense. It's the part where True Detective is more of an auteur expression in contrast to the rest of television.

Point? It's not necessarily a limitation that makes either of them more thought provoking, it's their execution. The more canvas you have to work with isn't a bad thing, the problem is the writer actually needs to put in the effort and deliver on the execution. Film makers aren't make less complex films in hollywood because of any modern advancement in tech holding them down, they just choose to use it in a shitty manner. Conversely Video Game devs have gotten into shitty habits in how to convey video game stories, and all too often rely on the language of film and literature as opposed to the language of video games. It's not a lack of limitation thing, it's a matter of execution.

You can do Planescape today, and you could do it better today, but no one is willing to put in the work to do it today. For instance Xenogears tackled a bunch of subjects on PS1 era engines, and there is no reason that type of plot can't be done again, more importantly done better (some of Xenogears story telling is fucking sloppy), but instead what we get is Falcie/Lacie garbage with shitty characters and shittier game design.

As far as lack of creativity in video games and lazyness that's not hardware itself, that's the part where budgets are far too ridiculous for crazy bets. So either they stick to being safe or budget accordingly. Hence why we now have a growing independent market. Just like film and music had a growing independent market. After awhile the creative stuff can't come from the big money productions.

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#33 Posted by charizard1605 (82666 posts) -

Nintendo made an art form of making great games with limited resources, and their games are often the best in the industry, so I'd say yeah, sure.

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#34 Posted by edwardecl (2240 posts) -

If it were not for hardware limitations you would not have got things like MLAA and the variations of. So sometimes it's good for all platforms if someone finds a way of overcoming a limitation.