I was recently pointed at this article in The Escapist, which argues convincingly that as computer graphics lurch ahead through the Uncanny Valley, this increasingly creates cognitive dissonance in two ways: once because things that look almost real still behave like a handful of bits, and twice because the simulated violence is starting to look too real for comfort.

I wrote about this myself repeatedly, both on this blog and others, but I was only thinking of resource allocation as being an issue. Now I realize that it's one thing to shoot cardboard cutouts with cartoonish demons painted on, and another entirely to off a virtual human whom you could see talking and emoting (however falsely) just moments before. Especially for someone who doesn't know much about the real world.

As an interesting coincidence, an article about the MUD ancestry of MMORPGs [dead link as of May 2022] published the very next day tackles the same problem at one point, and with essentially the same arguments.

I see a consensus forming here. Do you suppose anyone's listening?



I’ve been preaching this for a /very/ long time. I’m listening!



Well, really we just need to remember to make the gameplay more realistic along with the graphics. So obviously the ultimate game will be a painstakingly-detailed incredibly-realistic simulation of going to the laundromat.




I am no fan of realistic graphics – I never were, actually. “Realistic” graphics age badly, mostly because at some point tech moves on, and when you look back at some games you get that “eeew” moment. Unless the graphics doesn’t matter (either gameplay or story is superior), or the graphics itself has a certain artistic direction which overcomes other areas where it falls short.

I still am a fan of the original World of Warcraft gfx (I know, shoot me 😊) from back in 2005. When you compare that to Everquest 2, the latter one feels like a loser in this area.