I guess where some see 'plenty of room for imagination', I see 'a graphical mess and lack of coherency' (again, that's only true for how it looks in DOOM 1/2, not the idea itself). I don't believe visual aspect should resort to 'imagination will fill the gaps' too much.
In my opinion the visuals are probably the only one area in games where imagination can have better results than perception as-is. Unless some revolution in graphics happens, they will never be realistic enough to be able to taken "as is" without question. A simple aspect: repeating textures. You can look at the ground, see a particuar flower or a twig or something, dramatically increasing the feeling of "being there", and then walk a meter away and it's there again, and that feeling is yanked from you violently, never to be returned. I know it sounds ridiculous but it genuinely kills immersion for me when I think about it, and I can't help thinking about it after any sort of glance directly at a texture or some model. Which one of these dozens of identical rocks in the grass in my sight right now is supposed to actually be there? So you'll never really be able to trust graphics to depict what they are trying to depict with absolute accuracy, you'll still have to believe (and unless you are half-blind, actively delude yourself into believing) that grass, trees, rocks, ground, whatever else is actually all unique in this world that you are seeing in the game. Same with polygon angles, they're pretty much always visible. Or meshes clipping through other meshes. Or decorative models. If it's a meticulously detailed model, it's just so much more blatant when it's reused for decoration repeatedly. Nobody doesn't notice that it's the same model. It only stops being a problem when the depiction is vague enough. When you walk through a corridor in a castle and every suit of armor has noticeably identical scratches on the breastplate? I'd refer pixelated sprites instead or at least models on the level of, say, half-life one. I'm aware how silly that sounds but personally for me it's true. I'm not saying everyone should feel like that, I'm just saying that people should be more open to the idea of using imagination, especially since it's mostly happening subconsciously, instead of salivating on polygon amounts and shaders. And it's not like I'm against modern graphics at all, Skyrim was still wonderfully immersive for example between these bouts of understanding that it should not have been. The point is that more realistic and complex doesn't universally mean better, although I guess you weren't really saying that...
Anyway, for me at least, all these little things that are just wrong are so much worse when the graphics are otherwise very realistic-looking. To bring the term back from some previous discussion elsewhere, it's going into uncanny valley territory. With simple graphics like Doom's though, they are more of a suggestion than an attempted faithful depiction, so all these inevidable graphics shortcuts do not have the same disastrous effect once noticed. Basically, since graphics are never absolutely true to what the artists were painting, you should not look for a perfect image of anything in them and should always apply some level of imagination, which is easier when there's actually room for it.
Sure, when the graphics are more complex it's easier to believe that whatever is being depicted is intentional and supposed to look like that, and with simple graphics it's way too easy to scrath everything down to laziness and lack of care, but I still think that's a wrong approach. You shouldn't require proof before playing that the artists weren't working blindfolded. Similiarly it shouldn't really matter whether something was intentional or not. Although I'll reserve for myself the right to say that doesn't apply to storylines, only to visuals.
I feel like I'm repeating things I've said before but nonetheless I wanted to restate this all again.
Last edited by Antroid on 01-31-14 at 09:54