Friday, 8 January 2010

I find it pretty painful to play ps2 games now unless its a puzzle game because the textures are so blurry! Did you know FFX is 9 years old? Its hard to believe that much time has passed since I was drawing knockoff Nomura characters in my bedroom. Anyway, emulated FFX and XII look amazing, it really shows how ahead of their time the graphics and art direction were, only it wasn't obvious at the time because of the limitations of the ps2. Maybe that was the reason it had prerendered cutscenes as well as in-game cutscenes? I didn't really like the graphics in FFX so much at the time because I was still in love with sprites and prerendered backgrounds like in ps1 era. All this 3d crap just didn't have the same charm to it. It was that time when most games looked like utter crap because 3d was fashionable and no one knew how to use it properly yet. Recently I've been playing Dragon Age a lot and made this little comparison image, using Morrigan and Lulu, because they're both spooky witchy characters who walk around in skirts made out of belts with their assets on show. They're both supposed to be beautiful, but I can't help but think Morrigan is hideous, despite being an awesome character. In concept art I prefer Morrigan's design, she looks like a witch of the wilds who makes her own clothes out of scraps, whereas Tetsuya Nomura tends to pull things out of his ass and stick belts and zippers on it to make it look cool, so Lulu looks a bit like a teenage boy fantasy who doesn't really fit into her setting at all. Why do so many people think he's a good characer designer? Also, just add glasses to Lulu and you have Bayonetta, ooops.

Morrigan probably has more tris in her face than Lulu does in her whole body, but Lulu looks exactly like her concept art and still looks fabulous 9 years on. Morrigan looks nothing like the concept art facially and there's tons of face mods for her which try and match it. Isn't that a little strange? FFX artists made the most out of what they had, I find it quite amazing. To be fair, Bioware used a facegen for all the humanoids, and it was originally meant to be played from above Baldur's Gate style. But none of the characters look anything like their concept art. Morrigan has so many polys in her face because it needed to animate way more than FFX characers did, but in prerendered scene Morrigan still looks ugly, what? [Even though I'm happy Bioware made one of these videos because hardly anyone seems to do it anymore.] I know they were going for 'realism', but its said in the game that Morrigan's supposed to be beautiful, and the artists kind of failed at that. Also, the environments are underwhelming. [Its still a really immersive game and I've lost many hours to it] Since ps1, FF has always been about graphics, and western RPGs don't really care as much. I still love those old isometric rpgs ~ graphics aren' that important to me, but from a Game Art POV its really intesting to look at the current standard. We're supposed to be making things superior to ps2, but given the same technical limitations I don't think I'd be able to make something as good as the ffx models.