There are such game projects and even entire franchises that capture the spirit of the players and do not let go until the final credits. There may be a lot of reasons why this happens, but most often this is due to the original interesting graphics and original recognizable style.
It is noteworthy that entire gaming generations replace each other and the quality of graphics has almost reached its ceiling. For developers, this is a real problem, since it becomes much more difficult to lure the player with a high-quality picture. Therefore, igrodely come up with other ways to make their projects both interesting and enticing, experimenting with graphics and the way it is presented.
There are many different styles of graphics in the gaming industry that are used to create a unique visual atmosphere and mood in games . Each of them has some pronounced properties and features:
- Realistic . This style aims to make game objects and environments look as realistic as possible. 3D modeling and texturing technologies are used to create photorealistic objects and environments that are literally mesmerizing. A striking example is the well-known series of games from Microsoft Gran Turismo .
- Comic . It uses bright and saturated colors , as well as painterly outlines, to create a comic book-like visual style. Characteristic is the presence of bright, large sprites and frames. The game Wolf Among Us is considered the standard of this style.
- Cardboard . In this case, flat and simple shapes are used to give the appearance that game objects and environments are made from cardboard cutouts. Colors are usually bright and contrasting .
- Pixel art . This style uses small pixelated images to create a visual effect reminiscent of games on old video game consoles. A limited color palette and low resolution are used to achieve a unique visual style. The most sensational recent project in this style is a game created by one person, Vampire Survivors .
- Cubic . Here, the focus is on geometric shapes such as cubes and rectangles to create environments and objects in the game. Usually simple textures and colors are used. It is unlikely that someone has not heard about the game Minecraft and now we are talking about it.
- Fantasy. This style is characterized by visual elements of fantasy worlds such as elves, dwarves, dragons and other mythical creatures to create a magical and mystical atmosphere. The huge popularity in this segment belongs to the Genshin Impact project.
- neon . It’s even simpler here – bright neon colors and glowing textures , creating a visual style reminiscent of neon signs and billboards. An example of an approach to creating graphics is the Polish hit – Cyberpunk 2077 .
These are just some of the more popular graphics styles in games, and there are many other variations that can be used to create a unique visual atmosphere.
How is a graphic component created?
The graphic component of games requires a multi-level development process , which involves a large number of different specialists, from scriptwriters to testers . That is why it is worth considering each of the stages in more detail to get a general understanding of how complex and lengthy the process is. It looks like this:
- Concept and design . This stage includes the creation of the overall concept of the game and its visual style. Developers can create concept art, level diagrams, and other concept materials to set the visual direction of the game.
- Modeling and texturing . At this stage, artists create 3D models of objects , characters, levels and other elements of the game. Textures are then added to the models to give them visual style and detail .
- Lighting . An important moment for the overall atmosphere is when the artists add light sources and lighting effects to the levels, objects and characters of the game. The standard set is the creation of shadows, mirror reflections, sunlight and other effects. Ray Tracing technology or its analogues significantly helps modern developers in this.
- And nimation . During this stage, the artists create animations for the characters , objects, and other elements of the game. The list should include running, jumping, attacking, falling, and other activities.
- Game integration . The generated graphics are integrated into the game engine so that they can be used in the game. This includes setting models, textures, lighting effects, and animations to the appropriate elements of the game.
- Testing . After the graphics have been integrated into the game, they need to be tested to make sure that they work correctly and meet the stated requirements. Particular emphasis is placed on checking visual artifacts such as graphical errors, delays , etc.
- Optimization . At this stage, the graphics are optimized to run on different platforms such as PC, consoles or mobile devices. Often includes reducing the number of polygons on models , using more efficient textures, etc.
Each of these steps can be very complex and demanding in terms of time and resources. However, modern tools and technologies make it possible to speed up this process in many ways, especially if they are used competently and expediently, as well as if there is an experienced team.
Game Character Rendering Mechanics
Game character rendering mechanics include 3D modeling, texturing, animation, effects, and lighting . The development of each of these elements requires the involvement of specialized specialists who, during the production process, must cooperate with each other, correct the results obtained and, in parallel, optimize the graphics in accordance with the initially invented concept. Each item has its own basic features:
- Creation of a 3D model . The key part of visualization. This is the process of creating a 3D object that can be used to represent a character in a game. The model must be created with detail, topology, and animation capabilities in mind.
- Texturing … After creating a 3D model of a character, artists add textures to it to give it color and style. The list includes the creation of skin, hair, clothing and other details that are added to the model.
- Animation … To create realistic character movements, artists create animations that can be applied to the model. Motion capture technology helps a lot with this, as it is used to create realistic animations of game characters. It consists in recording the movements of the actors , who are wearing a special suit with markers, using special cameras and software.
- Effects . Can be added to characters to give them extra style and expression. Sometimes includes the addition of glowing eyes, steam, and smoke that appear when attacking or using abilities.
In general, game character rendering mechanics require a lot of time and effort on the part of artists and designers. However, high-quality character visualization can greatly enhance the gaming experience and increase the appeal of the game to the players. The gamedev is filled with many game characters that have become iconic thanks to their extraordinary appearance or other interesting features .
The process of building large-scale game locations
Creating large-scale locations in computer games is still a complex and multicomponent process. Because of this, developers face a serious task – to natively attract the player, interest him and present the most attractive game world . Typically, the process consists of five steps:
- Planning . The development team determines the size and characteristics of the location , such as the environment, buildings, characters, and objects that will be included.
- Geometry Development . Specialists create location geometry using 3D models. This may include creating the objects, buildings, roads, vegetation, and other elements that make up the location. Usually, tools like Maya or Blender are used to create them.
- Creation of textures . Once the geometry is created, the art team goes to work creating textures for the location, such as the ground, walls, trees, and other elements.
- Placement of objects . Any elements and decorations are placed on the geometry of the location to create detail and improve the visual experience of the players . Recently, artificial intelligence is often used for such purposes, which generates unique objects with similar physical properties quite well.
- Work with light . The development team works with light to create the atmosphere and mood of the location . This may include the use of various types such as spot and directional, dimming and temperature control of the light.
In general, the creation of large-scale locations is a long and laborious process that requires close interaction between different disciplines, such as 3D modeling, art design, lighting engineering and optimization . Also, during the development process, it is important to synchronize all production processes, thereby preventing the appearance of “children’s” bugs and other errors.
The most extraordinary examples of graphics in games
Among the vast range of similar projects, there are real unique ones or even hits that confidently break the generally accepted standards and open up fundamentally new directions in graphics , which are then copied or improved by the world’s most famous studios.
The game is interesting and extremely popular, even though its visual style looks quite ambiguous:
- All graphics in the game are made up of blocks , giving the game a unique and recognizable visual style.
- Low resolution, which creates the feeling of immersion in a retro game from the 90s.
- The game features dynamic lights and shadows that create a more realistic atmosphere and help create a sense of volume.
- The game consists of various blocks, which allows you to create a variety of buildings and landscapes .
- Changing the time of day creates different lighting conditions and atmospheres in the game.
- Characteristic is the presence of biomes , which have their own unique features and visual style.
Despite the visual simplicity of the project, it has been leading various TOPs for several years in a row, allows especially creative gamers to earn millions, and in many cases even serves as an effective tool for training future architects or landscape designers.
Borderlands and its analogues
The graphics of Borderlands and its imitators feature a vibrant and rich style that uses a combination of realistic textures and outlines to create a unique visual effect reminiscent of comics.
One of the features of Borderlands graphics is its bright and contrasting color scheme . This creates the feeling that you are in a picturesque and exotic world, where every corner is filled with bright details. The effect is enhanced by the use of thin black outlines around characters, objects, and environments .
In addition, the graphics of Borderlands are characterized by their animation style , which gives the impression of being in a live comic. For example, characters can make unusual movements and behave a little strange to emphasize their character and personality.
Hyperrealism in computer games is a style that strives to create the most realistic and detailed representation of the world in a game. It is widely used in various genres of games, from racing and simulation to shooters and RPGs . One of the main features of hyperrealism in computer games is considered to be the maximum recreation of the real world with the help of high-quality graphics and sound . The process includes detailed textures, lighting, shadows and the interaction of objects in the game to create the most realistic atmosphere.
One of the clearest examples of hyperrealism in games is still the Gran Turismo series of games, which is known for its graphics that make players feel like they are driving a real car . The game displays detailed car design, weather scenarios, as well as realistic car behavior on the road.
Another example is the game Red Dead Redemption 2 . The game depicts detailed landscapes where players can freely move around the vast world, communicate with other characters and complete tasks. Realistic interaction with the environment, animals and other characters makes the game more exciting and interesting.
Graphics in games in the style of interactive cinema has its own characteristics. This style of play means that the players can make decisions and influence the story like in the movies, but still control the characters themselves. Because of this, the graphics need to be detailed enough so that players can clearly see every change in the game caused by their decisions. Interactive movie-style games often use post-processing effects to create a brighter and more saturated image. Some games also use motion captcha technology , which allows for more realistic character movements.
Also, the graphics in interactive cinema style games can be linked to the animation style , allowing for more detailed characters and worlds that look like cartoons.
The impact of graphics on the overall feel of gameplay
Graphics in games have a significant impact on gameplay, as they reflect the player’s perception of the game world, help create mood, and also affect the efficiency of completing tasks in the game.
First, graphics affect the player’s perception of the game world . Detailed and colorful graphics can create a sense of presence in the game world, as in the same The Last of Us 2 . It depends on how effectively the player interacts with the game world, finds secrets, completes missions, etc.
Secondly, the graphics determine the mood of the game. For example, dark and gloomy graphics create a menacing and tense atmosphere. A vivid example of this is the new remake of the well-known Dead Space , which captivated gamers around the world with its atmosphere.
Finally, graphics affect the efficiency of completing tasks in the game . For example, clear and detailed graphics will help the player to better see and understand the game world , which is important for performing various tasks. On the other hand, graphics that cause a severe slowdown in the game sometimes significantly delay the gameplay and reduce the enjoyment of the game.
Prospects for the development of graphics on the Unreal Engine 5
Unreal Engine 5 is a new version of the game engine that was released by Epic Games in 2021. It has several differences from the previous generation, which make it the most promising compared to most solutions from other developers:
- New rendering . Lumen is an updated system module used in Unreal Engine 5 for real-time global dynamic illumination . It allows you to create more dynamic and realistic lighting that reacts to changes in the environment.
- Improved Nanite graphics creation tool . Designed for creating graphics, it allows the use of millions of polygons in real time , which provides a more detailed and realistic world in games.
- Improved animation system Control Rig , which allows you to create more complex animations, control the movements of objects and characters in real time.
- Improved support for DirectX 12 Ultimate, Vulkan and Metal graphics APIs .
- Multi-platform development optimization, which allows developers to make games that can be played on multiple platforms, including PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and mobile devices.
In practice, this allows you to create really next-gen graphics, as close as possible to the photorealism so desired by all gamers.
The difference between graphics on PC and consoles
Consoles and personal computers (PCs) have different specifications and technical parameters, which can affect the quality of graphics in games on each of these platforms:
- consoles usually have a fixed hardware configuration , whereas computers can be configured as desired by the user;
- game developers can create games that are optimized for a particular console , which naturally leads to better graphics and performance on the console than on the PC;
- consoles often provide better optimizations and software for dealing with the graphics card and processor , which can result in higher detail and better graphics than PCs;
- Graphics APIs that are used to display graphics in games may work differently on consoles and PCs, which contributes to differences in graphics quality.
- consoles usually have a hard limit on available memory and processing power , so graphic effects and detail in games on consoles will be limited, while, due to competent optimization, the consoles still create an optimal visual range that allows you to comfortably play using a gamepad.
In general, graphics on consoles and PC may differ depending on the configuration, optimization of the game, graphics APIs used, and other factors. The end result depends on how game developers use the available technology and hardware to achieve the best graphics and performance for their games on each specific platform.
KLONA company — development of graphics for the game
It is quite obvious that the creation of high-quality graphics , regardless of its style, is an extremely complex and multifaceted process with a large number of pitfalls. That is why we offer computer graphics development services on two of the most popular engines at once – Unreal Engine 5 and Unity .
This allows you to create not only games tailored for consoles or PCs, but also contributes to the development of cross-platform projects that work equally well on all devices, including even smartphones.