It is currently Thu Nov 26, 2020 4:56 am

All times are UTC




Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 24 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Uru's Shortfall: Avatars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:00 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 3:54 am
Posts: 1816
Location: Right behind you.
The graphics of Uru are very old. They are still impressive in spite of their age; the quality and detail put into them remains apparent even after 7+ years, yet the rougher edges of the modeling are beginning to show harsher and harsher. For example, the 'low sky' in Eder Kemo, or the painfully 2-D trees outside Gahreesen. These things looked bad to begin with, but they grow more unpleasant as new graphics develop.

Even still, in spite of these shortcomings the vast majority of Uru's locales are still very impressive in their level of detail. The texturing gets more impressive with each Age.

Avatars in Uru tend to be one of the weakest links in the graphics area. I'm not talking about customization, although that is a whole 'nother can of worms. I'm talking about the level of graphical quality of the avatars themselves. Unlike most other MMO's, our avatars aren't fanciful. We are not elves, ogres, robots or superheroes; we are ordinary plain human beings, and this is of course done to preserve a sense of 'reality' in the game, i.e. we are playing ourselves. However, with this concept also comes the important need for these more average-looking avatars to appear more realistic. An ogre avatar in a magical forest full of wandering hordes of demons can get away with a lot more imperfections because the environment is unfamiliar and thus flaws are less important to recognize. A dude with a hat on standing in a room, however, tends to show flaws more easily because this is a human form we are far more familiar with and have certain expectations of. What expectations, you ask? Having discernible hair, and not a helmet with hair-like decals on it, for example.

Quite frankly I have always felt that they drag down the overall aesthetics of Uru. It's hard to concentrate on the beautiful parts of an Age when you are staring at the back of your head plastered with a lame hair texture 90% of the game. I actually realize that this is less of an issue for female avatars because they had a slightly larger variety of hair, however most of the male avatar hair-textures absolutely sucked beyond belief. Frankly this was the biggest problem. Bad hair for men. Not only that, but nearly every male had the same hair style, so if someone had a light-skinned, slightly-built avatar with blond hair, it looked exactly like 40% of the avatars in the game.

There are other things that contribute to the ugly avatar problem; sparse clothing options. Generic 'idle mode' avatar animations, and no option to change them (although the idle avatar movement was greatly improved in MO:UL). There is of course the issue of height, but that is also a limitation of the game engine itself (i.e. ladders). It was always a bit odd to see 100's of avatars all the same exact height, alas that is a problem unlikely to be fixed.

Basically what I'm saying is this... If/when/somehow we get a shot at OpenUru, and hopefully the shiny plugins along with it, I think we should place a very high priority on fixing some of these certain avatar flaws in any way we can. Just having fresh, more realistic-looking avatars will greatly improve the overall look and feel of the game. Uru's textures and models are already impressive. Having an avatar that matches the caliber of realism of its environment would go a long way in updating the game's look.

Some suggestions that would make a large impact:
Improved hair. We see the back of the avatar's head every time we go in 3rd person (with a few exceptions) so it shocks me that the hairstyles and textures were so poorly done to begin with. If you play in 3rd person with any regularity, you see the back of your head more often than anything else in the game. Therefore this is extremely important for overall impressions!!!

Dare I suggest putting hair in other places, like arms and legs for men? Naturally this is not a very appealing thought, especially if it's done poorly... but is it not worth a try? The eye notices when things are amiss even if the brain doesn't register it, and let me tell you, hordes of hairless males is not something you see in the real world. Producing realism is akin to working in Photoshop: it may be an imperceptibly small flaw you're skipping, such as perspective being slightly off, but it contributes to the overall picture and people do notice flaws even if they can't explain them or point them out. At least to me, hairless bodies is something that gets picked up by my unconscious brain.

Avatar animations. As I mentioned before, a greater variety of 'idling' animation loops would be nice. These sorts of things appear in other MMO/RPGs. The ability to change your avatar's standing behavior with commands like /bored or /energetic. These things are very minor but they make for much greater variety of idle behavior when large groups of avatars are standing around together. One guy might be more hyper-looking, tapping feet, folding arms, drumming fingers on thighs... While someone else might have their shoulders slumped, looked more relaxed, tired, hands in their pockets, and generally bored. Some other avatar would be running through the default 'idle' loop. The differences would have to be subtle to avoid everybody looking like they're either on speed or tranquilizers, but it could be done. The general impression is that, like real life, everyone is acting different when they're standing still. These nearly-imperceptible variations go a long way. Sitting postures could also be added; legs in front with arms back. Cross-legged. Knees to chest. etc.

Greater facial variety. Obviously revamping the customization screen and options would be a much bigger job, but that can be avoided by simply changing the possible variations for faces: i.e. for men, more facial hair options; for women, more jewelry options; better skin textures for both, etc.


I'm sure there are a few other small thing that can be added to/improved like clothing, but those are even less important than the more blaring problems I mentioned above. I do not suggest these things because I think any of them are "easy" or that I expect all of them to even be possible; I only suggest them because the general suckiness of avatars needs to be thought out in great detail if we ever want Uru to keep from further aging itself as improved graphics pass it by.

_________________
I miss my old signature.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:57 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:28 am
Posts: 687
Location: Bevin Field Office - KI: 01350736
Glad to know I'm not the only one who is peeved by Elder Chemo's low sky (I've pointed it out before).

I agree about avatars being the make-or-break point for the game - I think that Cyan put as much attention into it as they could on originally creating the game back around 2002 but there's better available now. That said, it's not free or easy to create better character creation tools...ideally something like Bethesda Software's face and character gen tools (first seen in TES IV: Oblivion), but good luck getting a license for that. I'm not sure the fan community can really replace this - I am hopeful though.

An alternative that's now possible, since bandwidth and storage are cheaper now than they once were, is the possibility of having face-mapped characters in the game. That's been possible longer than the game has been out, but again it would probably be somewhat expensive (less so than the first option though).

Ultimately I think we may squeak by with better / more diverse texture maps for blending into faces, and some tweaks to the character models / accessories.

Honestly, I spent most of my time looking at the surroundings, and not much at my player...kind of like playing an arcade spaceship shooter. Hats helped a bit. But yeah, somebody was WAY too fond of the mullet. It's much easier to make a character that looks like Rand or an ambulatory skunk (not to say the two are similar at all!) than me, for instance, and I'm not exotic looking or anything.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:18 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:14 pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Israel
Completely agreed. Cyan Worlds did wonderful job with the graphics of Uru. The graphics are very impressive- but 2003 is long gone. Uru needs a big graphics update. Not only for avatar, but for the environment aswell. I agree with everything you said, and I'll add up several more things:

- in case we add dynamic hair and clothing, I would like to see wind. The cavern itself isn't a very windy place, but the ages may very well be. I imagined in my mind, more than once, my avatar standing in the warshroom courtyard, with his hair and clothes moving with the breeze, or the avatar's hair and clothes violently sucked into the star fissure in relto. Awsome :D .

- different random walking and running animations. You walk in a certain way (certain animation), and you stop. Next time you walk, a slightly different animation is activated (same for running).

- better lighting.

- better controls. The crusor should work like the Myst games: it's stuck in the middle of the screen, left mouse button to release it. In 3D it works the same, and when you move you mouse you tilt around you avatar (the avatar is also looking around). Also, in 3D there won't be cinematic views anymore (stuck camera, you could call it. Usually appears in rooms). What will happen in rooms in you camera zooming and moving away of your avatar. Yet it still follows you.

- autojump. Jumping can still be done. Yet in places you *must* jump (like gahreesen ourcrops and so on), you avatar will automatically aim.

- motion blur when looking around.

- sun blur.

- not really about grahics but I would love to see day and night cycle in every age (well, except those which have a story reason for staying at day or night, or a puzzle reason or something).

- and not to forget, these little poofs when the rain hits the ground! I love it so much! :P

This joins what you mentioned: better textures for avatars and environment, and more options and all that.

I got some more suggestion, but I don't wanna get too off topic, as they aren't really about graphics and more about interactives and a more living world.

I hope that someday in the future (and that day *will* come), we can update Uru's graphics into something like Myst IV :wink: .

_________________
Previously known as "The stranger"


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:46 pm 
Offline
Obduction Backer

Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 2:18 am
Posts: 1420
This is an interesting discussion, and I can't disagree with your points, but suggesting the improvements noted above is sort of like asking General Motors to update your 2003 Chevrolet because it's not as cool as your neighbor's new Camaro.

Basically, that was then and this is now. And "now" is a little late for a new Uru to rock the MMO world, IMHO. Appearance or not, one thing we learned from the Uru saga is that a puzzle-based MMO, even one from a legendary developer, and built around a solid backstory, doesn't draw the crowds like everyone had hoped. Face it, Uru was one of a kind then, and it's STILL one of a kind - meaning, nobody else could make the concept work either, as far as I know.

Yeah, there were technical and financial issues, but even when Uru was at its peak, the product proved very difficult to sustain. And now that Cyan knows that, wish lists will most likely remain just that... wish lists.

I think it's okay to mention that I've been involved with the open beta for Blue Mars, which is built using the Crysis engine, and looks absolutely fabulous. The avvies are quite lifelike, and even though the project is still young, you can see the potential. BTW, Blue Mars runs pretty slow on my PC, which has run all instances of Uru smoothly with all settings maxed. Cyan's desire to make Uru accessible to the average PC owner needs to be taken into account.

But I can't see Cyan moving to a different engine for a new, up to date Uru. In fact, I don't see them moving to a new Uru at all, if Open Uru comes to be as promised. It will all be up to us, and if the Writers can make the current engine do what you've suggested above, fantastic. If not, we'll just have to accept the reality that Uru, love it as we do, is dated and will always look that way without a complete rebuild using current tools.

Just my two cents,

Mowog

_________________
MOUL KI: 174162

Image


Last edited by Mowog on Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:40 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 18, 2006 11:08 pm
Posts: 3847
Location: In the Cleft
in spite of more modern avatar creation in other places, the overall effect of URU MOUL avatars is well within resonance with the rest of the world..ie beautiful and believable and immersive. I love them all.

_________________
URU MOUL Lives
Admin
3D World and Game Developers Group Linkedin
"We Build Worlds"


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:37 pm 
Offline
Obduction Backer

Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 2:18 am
Posts: 1420
Quote:
in spite of more modern avatar creation in other places, the overall effect of URU MOUL avatars is well within resonance with the rest of the world..ie beautiful and believable and immersive. I love them all.


Oh, I definitely agree! Really, the main thing about Uru was always the story, and the cast and theatre sets (i.e., avvies and Ages) were carefully designed to tell that story, not to be an end in themselves. There was a nice balance there. The difficulty always seemed to be that when the story dried up, we tended to fall back on the existing content and dwell on it exhaustively, which was never the intent. IMHO, the original concept would have had the original Ages such as Teledahn, the Eders, Gahreesen, Kadish, etc. becoming "old news" once we'd uncovered their secrets and new Ages came along to take their places. We could always go back if we wanted, but there would be many compelling reasons to keep moving forward.

I'm just saying that there's little point in wanting to take Uru avvie realism, etc., beyond what we have now. Bells and whistles are nice in their way, but Uru was always about the bigger picture. The trick with Open Uru, if it ever happens, will be to use the existing tools and tech to further Cyan's original dream of letting us work together to discover the D'ni, tell their story, visit their Ages, and perhaps - someday - restore their Cities.

Mowog

_________________
MOUL KI: 174162

Image


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:19 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 1:04 am
Posts: 4134
A couple points. In terms of every slight blond-haired male avatar looking like 40% of the game. I think this has more to do with the people using Uru and less to do with graphical deficiencies. This is no to say that avatar graphics weren't poor in several areas, just that the same-ness was more to do with a large segment of the clientele being relatively the same. I didn't have the same unpleasant experience wih watching the back of my hair all the time for two reasons. One: I wore a hat. Two: I didn't use third person much. This had to do with how I operated inside Uru. I operated in much the same way I did in the original Myst games. I was me and I didn't use third person anymore than I regularly strap a camcorder to a pipe lodged in my back and walk around watching myself.

In terms of the graphics in general. The complaint about the trees gets my eyes rolling (no offense) simply because I have yet to see a game that doesn't use "treeboards" in some shape or form.

Other than that, I pretty much agree.

_________________
-Whilyam
Cavern Link:My IC Blog


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 12:54 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:28 am
Posts: 687
Location: Bevin Field Office - KI: 01350736
Mowog wrote:
This is an interesting discussion, and I can't disagree with your points, but suggesting the improvements noted above is sort of like asking General Motors to update your 2003 Chevrolet because it's not as cool as your neighbor's new Camaro.

This analogy doesn't wash at all, sorry. For starters, we ARE still getting the Open Source part, isn't that the plan?

The reason that the request might not (probably won't) work is simply that it'll be expensive, not that it's a "fixed model" in time.

Good point on needing the game to remain accessible. At this point, I think the focus should be less on reaching "top gamers" (as the hardware requirements were rather limiting in 2003) and more on just letting people play. Maybe integrated graphics won't cut it (unless very recent) but most everybody else will be pleased by the ability to play it.

How many people are going to ditch Uru for Blue Mars simply because it's prettier? I would need a feeling that it has a gameplay component (which it well might) before I do something like that. This said, more content, more puzzles, more, and more! - else Uru is simply stale, which won't draw me back in for long even if I don't fall prey to a 'competitor.' So there the problem with Uru is more that it simply doesn't have a good flow of content (yet? We'll see), if we want to prioritize things. Of course, development in these two areas won't necessarily soak up too many resources from one or another, although I suspect at least one artist will be needed to work on an avatar facelift program.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:21 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:34 am
Posts: 250
Location: In space, gathering power...
If I know anything about open source projects, it's that textures and meshes will be updated faster than you can download them*. They're not hard to do, and it's obvious that the dedication is here. That's a relatively small matter next to coming up with compelling puzzles.

_________________
Image
I like games that blend reflexes and thinking.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:39 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:06 pm
Posts: 663
Location: Houston, Texas
Regarding avatars, personally, the avatars don't bother me too much, but then again I almost always played Uru in first-person mode.

Some better avatar textures would be nice, though, and some more options for clothing, hairstyle, etc.

Improvement of avatars is one of the things we could do that would make a substantial difference in increasing the quality of Uru, because we see avatars a lot, throughout the game. We make avatars for ourselves, we meet avatars representing all the other people playing the game, and we see our avatars every time we're in third person mode.

So the avatars are an important part of the game, and I'm all for improving them.

As for Sensei's comment that texture and mesh upgrades will happen rapidly, personally, I'm a little uncertain about that.

Firstly, I think some of the modifications will be pretty poor - not all the contributions will be of great quality. Some will be inefficiently modeled, poorly textured, or bug-ridden. We can already see the inconsistency in the quality of fan ages. Some of them look nowhere near as good as Cyan's ages. That's not an attack on anyone, just an honest assessment - some of the GoW members are inexperienced, and are just now beginning to learn and develop their skills, and aren't yet able to make great ages. They're trying, though, and I believe that in a few years, they'll be doing amazing work - and that they'll be teaching a new batch of inexperienced artists, who will, in turn, go on to produce amazing work themselves.
(The list of current newbies includes me - I'm a good modeler, but I'm a confused, inexperienced newbie when it comes to implementing interactive elements in an Uru age.)

Secondly, some of the open-source developments will also likely be somewhat disorderly, disorganized, and poorly coordinated; we may see multiple teams creating conflicting alterations of the same asset, for instance, and other inefficiencies of that sort.
A team like our community is harder to keep organized than the team at Cyan. We all live in different places, we each have our own creative ideas, there's no single clear team leader, and there's nobody who can threaten to fire us if we go off making our own content which is not integrated into the other team members' projects.

There are individual projects, like my temple level, or Breldur, and some of those are promising. There are also group projects like Yinfara, and those are also promising. There are going to be lots of good fan creations, I'm sure - but they're not all planned out from the top-down as part of one combined effort in the way that Cyan planned their production.

But I do think that they should be organized, to some degree. We should try to make sure that there's not redundancy or contradiction in different development efforts. I think we shouldn't have, for instance, two teams separately and inefficiently adding the same feature to the game engine when they should be working together as a single team to get it done faster, or two programming teams making two contradictory mods that when both installed, cause the game to crash.

Thirdly, there's no guarantee that the Uru community or the number of people adding content to Uru will expand much beyond what it is now. I certainly hope interest in Uru grows enormously once it's open source, but the growth may be limited and frequent releases of genuinely great content may not be a realistic expectation. We might see a gradual growth in number of players and content creators, and releases of fan content that are only of moderately greater frequency and quality than what we're seeing now in Uru: Complete Chronicles.

Textures and meshes aren't hard to do, which is true, but doing them as well or better than Cyan did them - making compelling, complex, realistic, highly detailed 3d worlds - IS hard, and takes a great deal of time and thought and effort.

Making immersive worlds IS difficult and time-consuming. Cyan had 37 people working full-time for about a year, to make the worlds that were released during MO:UL. Millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours of work went into the effort of creating Delin, Tsogahl, Minkata, Jalak, and the pod ages (and porting POTS ages, K'veer, etc).

About half their team consisted of artists; the art assets - textures, models, animation - were about half the expense and effort of the project. The art required a huge amount of work. So did the programming. Neither should be dismissed as simple tasks.

So while designing good puzzles, and good gameplay, is hard - you're right about that - it's not the only difficult part of the content creation process.

We've got to face certain realities of the UCC we've seen so far - that much of our visual art, our interactivity, our game design, and our sound design, falls far below the quality of Cyan's work.

Building our skills will help. Getting the open-source content and tools from Cyan will help. Things should get better than they are now. But I think we're deluding ourselves if we think that we'll be able to make Uru catch up with the quality of the newest games. I imagine that by the time we get Uru to look like a game from 2008, it'll be 2011 - and that Uru will always lag a bit behind the curve in some ways no matter how hard we work to improve it or how many features we add to it.
We can only put so many layers of polish on what is, at its core, an old game running on an old game engine.

But I do think that we can at least keep enhancing and upgrading it enough that it doesn't become obsolete, that we can keep adding to it enough that the gameplay doesn't become stale, and that if Moore's law breaks down - some people say that's already starting to happen - and computer processors get to the point where they can't be made any smaller due to limitations of physics, and the advancement of computer technology (and thus, the increase in technical and visual quality of video games) slows to a crawl, then I think that Uru could last for a long, long time before it's considered "too outdated" and nobody wants to play it anymore.

I think once the game is open source the fanbase will have to figure out what most needs improvement in the game and focus on that. We'll have to prioritize and organize and improve the things which most need improvement.

We can accept that it'll continue to lag behind the curve and look somewhat outdated. That's okay, some degree of outdatedness makes the game more accessible to people. The key thing is not to let it fall so far behind the curve that it becomes obsolete and incompatible with most peoples' computers. In that case, its datedness reduces, rather than improves, the size of the game's potential user base.

I think it'll be a critical challenge, and a high priority, for the open source devs to make sure that Uru stays compatible with major new operating systems and computer designs. People have to be able to run the game. That aim - making sure the game still runs on peoples' computers as those computers change - is absolutely crucial to ensuring Uru's longevity.

There are people out there who still play old games, classic games, games from the 1980s or early 1990s. Even when their graphics look terrible by today's standards, people still play those games because of the gameplay, and because - and this is a key point - the games have been adapted so that they can still run on peoples' computers.

"Myst" came out in 1993. People still play it today, in 2009. People are playing Myst, on desktop computers and on the iPhone. It's old, yes, and technologically outdated, but people still value it. If Myst is still being played today, perhaps Uru, a game which first appeared in 2003, will still be played in 2019 in some form and regarded by players a decade from now as a "classic" PC game. Maybe some people in 2019 will even be playing it for the first time - ported onto some type of handheld device.

We want to update Uru, and expand it, and make it better. We have to figure out how we can best do that given the size, resources, and skill level of our fanbase. We're going to confront the same challenge Cyan did with MO:UL - how do we build this online game, as a group, most effectively, given the limited team we have working on it?

We'll try to make a good stream of improvements and fresh content, but not everyone will be happy with what we're doing, some people will gripe and get bored, and so on, just like they did in MO:UL.

Our team is bigger than Cyan's was, but we don't have the same consistently high skill levels, and our GoW team consists of part-time hobbyists - not people who are working on Uru content full-time.

That's the reality. It's not a bad situation, of course, as we can improve Uru, and since the game will be freeware, expectations from players may not be as high. We can expect that because the game will be free, it'll be easier to draw in new players and that fewer people will be complaining and leaving when the releases of content are few and far between (or of poor quality).

I know the Ahra Pahts team figured out a way to dynamically load/unload pieces of a level, making truly vast worlds possible in Uru for the first time.

That was a feature that fans added to the game, not Cyan - and I hope that the fans will be able to add more features to Uru beyond that, especially with Cyan open-sourcing the game. We can't make it look like a brand-new game, of course, but we can at least improve it somewhat over time.

As for detailed environments, we'll need to start pushing the levels of quality in our worlds higher, while still trying not to alienate people with older computers.

In my temple level, I'm actually developing two versions - one designed for current high-end computers, and one with reduced detail which should run better on older PCs. This idea - multiple levels of detail in each age - is one for fan age developers to consider.

It allows us to push the boundaries of Uru into higher polygon counts, more organic surfaces, higher-resolution textures, and so on, to meet modern game standards, without making our worlds inaccessible to players with older computers.

On the other hand, doing this - making a high-quality age, then a reduced-detail version, takes a lot of work. It may often be easier to make one version, designed to push Uru quality standards up gradually. Beyond a certain point, almost nobody in this fanbase will have computers from 2004 or 2005 anymore, and it will make no sense to keep our standards low to accommodate a tiny and dwindling minority of players who have very old computers.

We can begin to make worlds that (for that minority) will run with serious lag even on the lowest graphics settings, and that may be hard for them to deal with, but it will benefit everyone else - the 90% of players who have or will soon have computers well above Uru's minimum system requirements, and who would appreciate having some larger, higher quality worlds.

We may, over the course of the next few years, begin to make worlds with 2048x2048 textures, loads of normal maps for dynamic lighting, over 200,000 polygons of modelling detail, etc, because by around 2011 or 2012, I imagine that nearly everyone in the fanbase will be able to play ages with those levels of detail.

I'm not advocating high polygon counts or high-res textures for the sake of it, mind you - models should remain efficient and make optimal use of every texture and every polygon - but the point is to make everything in these future Uru ages look more rich, more detailed, and more realistic, and to raise the overall quality of the game slightly with each batch of new ages we release.

When designing content and new features, we'll have to take into consideration what will be best balance for the largest number of players.

Advanced graphics features like bloom are nice - I'd love to see that in Uru - but I think they should, like most of the game's graphics settings, be implemented as optional, toggleable features that can be turned on or off by players as needed.

We've got to try to make Uru a great game for everyone - both people with brand-new PCs and people with old ones - and that - scalability - is one of the big challenges we'll have to face when improving Uru.

We need to strike the balance between improving existing content, and adding new content - and find a way to direct our efforts towards whatever additions will most effectively improve the game for players. We need to figure out how to keep this game fresh and fun and nice-looking for the community, with whatever GoW team and whatever production limitations we have when working on the game.

I don't know how we'll do this. But I'm confident that we will figure things out as we move forward, and topics like this one, discussing what most needs improvement in the game, are a good step towards that goal.

_________________
Matthew L. Hornbostel, creator of Panoramic Worlds,
a Myst fansite, and
various other stuff.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:59 pm 
Offline
Obduction Backer

Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 5:28 am
Posts: 2266
One of the things about avatars that are supposed to look "contemporary" is that, if you don't update, the avatars tend to have a retro appearance. This happens even in fantasy games - styles of dress change, and what we wear today influences fantasy looks. If and when multiplayer Uru ever comes back, maybe the avatars can get different outfits.

On how the avatars look, their physical appearance, the biggest issue, as always, is that you can't make anyone look Asian, as if there was a generic "Asian", but you get the idea. It was like that back in 2003 and nothing has changed.

I think it's always been extra tough for Uru players becuase of the "you are you" thing. If you want to emphasize that feature, then avatar creation has have a whole lof of options. It seemed to me (though I'm kind of vague about it now) - that feature was deemphasized in later iterations of Uru, but I may be wrong on that.

_________________
mszv, amarez in Uru, other online games, never use mszv anymore, would like to change it
Blog - http://www.amarez.com, Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/amareze


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:51 pm 
Offline
Obduction Backer

Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:45 pm
Posts: 40
Neither here nor there, but I always play in third person view and go into first only when it is required to be able to read some sign or other. Can't stand the field of vision of first person - feels like I've got blinkers on, even with Uru's wierd lens. That and the thing with not being able to see where you are standing, unless looking straight down, at your invisible feet.. :P

Anyway, about the avatars; not the most detailed and dynamic meshes and textures, nor the most diverse animations in the world can do anything about the one true gripe I have, being the sheer spookiness surronding player interaction. You've got this bunch of uncanny valley residents just standing around, silently, while text crawls across the top of the screen as fast as the players inhibiting them can type. Sure; you've got keybound animations to perform and voicechat, which allows slightly better timing with said animation than the text communication, but still; whourr.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 3:54 am
Posts: 1816
Location: Right behind you.
It would have been nice to have that "talking" animation play in some form or another while one was typing; at least that way you would know who's about to say something, and it makes for a more realistic general environment. This was something I actually liked about SL for the two hours I played it, was that I always knew who was about to say something, and the constant "typing in the air" emote was kind of annoying, yes, but at least everybody wasn't standing around with their arms at their sides staring at each other while chat scrolled.

I'm less concerned about the clothing styles of Uru becoming outdated because I'm sure the fans will make new ones. The hair meshes though... Yeeps. For males playing in third-person, our hair looks so bad, especially on those gnarly close-ups while running through a narrow hallway. You can't even see the hair. It just looks like an amorphous mass of whatever color your hair was. You might as well have had a dyed burlap sack on your head.

_________________
I miss my old signature.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:00 am 
Offline
Obduction Backer

Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 5:28 am
Posts: 2266
Yeah - those standing avatars, it gives you that creepy "village of the darn" look, glassy eyed zombies. It makes getting shots of avatars difficult. When you are in the world, it feels alive, but the avatars standing around, so odd. I used to sit when I could. Not a lot of movement going on, but it looked more natural and the screenshots were better, if you could get a group of people sitting.

You really do need something to go on when an avatar stands around, also when there is typing.

_________________
mszv, amarez in Uru, other online games, never use mszv anymore, would like to change it
Blog - http://www.amarez.com, Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/amareze


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:21 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:14 pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Israel
I agree with matthornb. We have more to see from Uru, and I hope we can actually see that once open source is released.

Calam, maybe when the avatar talks, he will actually... talk? like, his mouth moves, like a normal person. Maybe we could somehow match it with the length of his text, so the longer the text is, the more his mouth moves.

We could still keep the moving hands though. Maybe just an emotion.

_________________
Previously known as "The stranger"


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 24 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: