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Queen's Wish graphics

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I recently watched the trailer for Queen's Wish (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkRdCWmBh2k) and can't help but wonder why Jeff chose this perspective and overall art style. I much preferred the isometric graphics of Avadon and Avernum, rather than the top down style of Queen's Wish. Some of the models and character portraits also look a bit off. Now obviously, story and game mechanics are more important in an indie RPG like this, but I feel like Jeff could really have stepped things up a notch, given that it's a new engine etc. What do you guys think about the graphics overall? If any of you are playing the beta, how does it compare to previous games in other series?

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From Jeff's Twitter account:

 

"For people wondering why we're switching back to the square tiles view for this game: 1. People have been asking me for it for 20 years and we thought it'd make a fun change. 2. It makes an iPhone port way way easier and I always wanted to make an iPhone game."

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I'm cool with them, the isometric style had the problem of not being able to see behind that "wall" all the time, and maybe secret doors will go back, instead of being more of a "Where's Waldo" sorta search.

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On 4/18/2019 at 2:30 PM, Randomizer said:

From Jeff's Twitter account:

 

"For people wondering why we're switching back to the square tiles view for this game: 1. People have been asking me for it for 20 years and we thought it'd make a fun change. 2. It makes an iPhone port way way easier and I always wanted to make an iPhone game."

 

Huh... how would an isometric view be detrimental to iPhone development? Scale, I guess?

 

In any case, I'm all for the change, and the new series.

 

My only regret is I hadn't been keeping tabs on Spiderweb so missed the kickstarter entirely. =/

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"Clicking" on things with a tiny touchscreen is tricky.  It's a lot easier if you're just clicking on squares rather than an isometric figure.  Think about the issues that even PC versions of Geneforge had, from time to time, where you thought you were clicking to move somewhere, but instead you clicked on yourself and passed your turn...

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It also has problems with screen size and scaling the graphics to fit on different sizes. This was the limiting factor when they made a port for Avadon: The Black Fortress to Android pad computers. The team working on it made a limit number of different size versions and only guaranteed that the game would work on those few size screens.

 

There were complaints on how hard it was to click on screen because of resolution problems on some machines.

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I hate to be a downer, and it certainly seems like everyone is onboard with the graphics so I feel like the odd one out here...but from my perspective it looks truly appalling. As in, I'm blown away and thought to myself when looking at the various updates that "eww, those placeholder graphics are ugly". Turns out those are the actual graphics and graphical style and not placeholders. Maybe it is my aversion to the Avernum style of things and due to my introduction to Spiderweb through Geneforge. I still think that the Geneforge series has vastly better graphical style. In fact, everything bar original Avernum 1/2/3 is better.

 

Anyway, I don't want to be 'that guy' but I just felt the need to throw in my two cents. I have no doubt I could be eviscerated in the replies and I probably deserve that. Couldn't pass it by though.

 

Ewww.

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No, you're not the only one.  I understand why the switch to top-down was made.  In general I even prefer top-down.  I just think this is a really unfortunate incarnation of top-down.  It looks so much like Realmz: high-res images shrunk to fit the available space, placed on top of tiles where the art or the finishing doesn't quite match up.  It feels like a collage.  Less immersive.  But I guess we'll see.  It's hard to know what the actual experience will be like just from screenshots.

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No, put me in the "huh?" graphics camp too.  Watching the trailer, all I could think was that I'd been teleported back in time to the late 80s (remind me to pick up some Apple, Microsoft, & WalMart stock...).  I understand the severe limitations that Jeff is working under (compared with most any other release from big game companies) & why the decision to do this was made, but am concerned that someone new to Spiderweb (not realizing that the game is story rather than graphic driven) & think "eww" & move on.

 

I am really looking forward to the new game, but...

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I could be wrong but I think some of these sprites are still holdover from the isometric games. I fully intend to replace the image files for this game with stuff from the classic Exile series. I've stated before that I like the low res graphics of that era because it gives your imagination more freedom.
A blurred image that vaguely looks like a tree can be any tree you can imagine. But seeing the same detailed image of a pine tree over and over again is just that.

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3 hours ago, GiantFriendlyTalkingSpiderman said:

A blurred image that vaguely looks like a tree can be any tree you can imagine. But seeing the same detailed image of a pine tree over and over again is just that.

There's also the issue where- if one is making a game with pixel art, and one wants to add a new item or enemy type to the game, all one has to do (in addition to coding and writing it of course) is do up a simple sprite, and basically anyone can do passable pixel art if they put enough work into it. However, if one is making a game with more detailed art and animations, one must pay precious money to commission professional artists to do the spritework, and then make sure it looks passable from every angle a player might see it from, and then render it into sprites showing it doing every possible animation from every possible angle, etc etc. I think this has to be a major reason why enemy diversity (at least in terms of diversity of enemy appearance) has sort of taken a nosedive in more recent Spiderweb games, especially in the Avadon games (especially since they couldn't have grandfathered-in existing enemy designs and sprites from Avernum or Geneforge). In the first Avadon it feels like you spend 75% of the game fighting some sort of wolf or spider or goblin.

 

I don't think Queen's Wish looks great. But I am hopeful that the change in graphics style will allow for a greater amount and greater diversity of new graphics than any Spiderweb game has had in a good while.

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3 hours ago, googoogjoob said:

(especially since they couldn't have grandfathered-in existing enemy designs and sprites from Avernum or Geneforge)

 

See: the original version of Avernum 4, in which Chitrachs suddenly looked exactly like Clawbugs, in stark contrast to their appearance in all previous games.

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13 hours ago, Fate's Bulwark Against Fate said:

See: the original version of Avernum 4, in which Chitrachs suddenly looked exactly like Clawbugs, in stark contrast to their appearance in all previous games.

Avernum 2: Crystal Souls just wholesale replacing the charming hydras with the dull omnipresent hellhounds/rockhounds of the second trilogy was disheartening. The Avernum 3 remake not having any horses, and then having the Alien Beasts just be Kyshakks, was like a punch in the gut.

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As someone who has played a lot of Realmz and Civilization II, but whose gaming memories are largely from an isometric perspective, I find that Queen's Wish tugs at all kinds of half-forgotten nostalgic memories. I think Jeff has done a great job of combining the two, after all, the sprites can overlap their squares and each other (and have animations and everything, what will they think of next!).

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The Avernum 3 Ruined World alien beasts were funny.  They were definitely not furry like they used to be, but Jeff left the Burma Shave joke about them in the game.

 

I kickstarted which I assume nets me the steam version, but I'm looking forward to buying the iphone version too, so I'm all on board with the top down view.  

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Posted (edited)

I'm sure it will be fun, but this has to be the ugliest game SW has released in over a decade. The sprites all look like they were designed by 12 different artists with conflicting instructions on what the game was supposed to look like, so nothing seems to match.  The character sprites all seem like they were designed for isometric, but were forced into this top-down perspective, so they all awkwardly stand at angles.  The roofs of houses just look strange and the new character portraits look like they were created for an entirely different game circa-1997. I kept thinking that the screenshots up until now were placeholders or something, but nope. This is the game in its highest form.

I don't mind ditching isometric for top down, but they really should have taken more of a simple, board game, type aesthetic to the graphics.  Just ditch realism entirely.

 

Still can't wait, though.

Edited by Juan Carlo

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Hi !

 

I love Spiderweb games since the beginning. I bought almost all of them (Avernum, Geneforge, Avadon,  Nethergate).

But seriously, these graphics are so bad ! How can you expect from gamers to tolerate the same graphics they used 25 years ago ?

Simply, your games are just downgraded now, and I can't find any interest in them anymore.

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I kind of understand where Jeff is coming from with his cost breakdown, but at the same time, he raised almost $100K on Kickstarter for this game, so it's a little surprising he didn't take at least some of that money and put it towards improving the graphics or at least developing a more cohesive art direction. I guess he expects that the people who backed the game are already a big chunk of his fanbase and will subtract from the expected sales on Steam, etc. In any case, I look forward to playing the game in two weeks.

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On 8/26/2019 at 8:53 PM, wasbear said:

I kind of understand where Jeff is coming from with his cost breakdown, but at the same time, he raised almost $100K on Kickstarter for this game, so it's a little surprising he didn't take at least some of that money and put it towards improving the graphics or at least developing a more cohesive art direction. I guess he expects that the people who backed the game are already a big chunk of his fanbase and will subtract from the expected sales on Steam, etc. In any case, I look forward to playing the game in two weeks.

 

I mean he basically did. He said how much it costs to make these graphics, and I'm sure Queens wish will have a lot new assets which I assume he put down a lot of money for. 

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It's the top down perspective. Ive played through Avadon & Avernum, currently playing through Geneforge (hence lurking on these forums ;-) ) Even if the graphics are, ahem, the lovely shade of greeen that the Geneforge ui is, I can roll with them as long as they are 2d isometric. It's not about the aesthetics, it is simply that this top down "point of view" doesn't work for me. I guess I'll be skipping this game / series.

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On 8/26/2019 at 10:53 PM, wasbear said:

but at the same time, he raised almost $100K on Kickstarter for this game

 

That makes it sound like he got an extra $100K from Kickstarter that he didn't get for previous games. That's not quite right, since most of the Kickstarter backers are getting a copy of the game for the money they spent, and that means they won't be giving Jeff money after release. So really, all he did was front-load some of his revenue. Sure, there are a few people who backed at higher tiers and basically gave him money in exchange for perks like beta access, but that's probably a small fraction of his backers.

 

I'm not offended by the art. I do wish there was more consistency, like making sure shadows fall at a consistent angle. Nonetheless, it's adequate and the writing is the real reason I play Jeff's games.

 

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1 hour ago, supercow said:

Sure, there are a few people who backed at higher tiers and basically gave him money in exchange for perks like beta access, but that's probably a small fraction of his backers.

Indeed, only 71 out of 2,151 backers, or about 3.3%.

 

1 hour ago, supercow said:

the writing is the real reason I play Jeff's games.

Isn't that the case for most people?

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On 8/28/2019 at 3:14 AM, Charna said:

It's the top down perspective. Ive played through Avadon & Avernum, currently playing through Geneforge (hence lurking on these forums 😉 ) Even if the graphics are, ahem, the lovely shade of greeen that the Geneforge ui is, I can roll with them as long as they are 2d isometric. It's not about the aesthetics, it is simply that this top down "point of view" doesn't work for me. I guess I'll be skipping this game / series.

 

Like many of Jeff's games, if you read the story as it's unfolding & let your imagination run free, after the first half hour or so you don't notice the graphics/lack of them any longer.

 

And also, like all of Jeff's games, there's a big free demo area. If you try it & just can't get past the graphics, well ok.  Your loss but ok.  If you won't even try it though, that's all on you.

 

QW is an entirely new universe to go play/fight/live in.  You're going to be so busy doing the usual day to day things to keep alive & doing things that have never appeared in Jeff's games before that 'will' impact how the game moves forward that you'll quickly forget the graphics altogether.

 

If you have played Avernum, Avadon & Geneforge then you know essentially what you're going to get with Jeff's games.  If you enjoyed them then QW won't be all that different for you.

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13 hours ago, TriRodent said:

 

Like many of Jeff's games, if you read the story as it's unfolding & let your imagination run free, after the first half hour or so you don't notice the graphics/lack of them any longer.

 

And also, like all of Jeff's games, there's a big free demo area. If you try it & just can't get past the graphics, well ok.  Your loss but ok.  If you won't even try it though, that's all on you.

I've been playing games for decades, I know what works and what doesn't for me. As I wrote in my previous post, this has nothing to do with the aesthethics of the design, so stating that I won't notice the graphics after playing enough is really not helpful.

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What's up with everyone and the graphics in games nowadays??? There are even people who claim that Skyrim looks like crap. I guess it's just a sign of the times where looks and appearance count more than content.

 

Graphics are not important, gameplay and story are.

Edited by ladyonthemoon

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I have never played spiderweb games for their graphics, but even I'll admit queen's wish looks rather unappealing 😐 I hope this style doesn't become the new standard for spiderweb games.

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With the caveats that a) graphics obviously aren't the main reason I've played every Spidweb game for decades since Exile 2, all of which have neither advertised nor featured AAA visuals, and b) I've already read Jeff's entire blog post at https://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2019/08/why-all-of-our-games-look-like-crap.html, I don't understand why Jeff apparently hasn't (?) considered polling his significant loyal fanbase for artists who could work in his desired style for free (in return for being credited in the game of course) and/or very low rates. I would be very surprised if he couldn't find at least a handful of talented people this way who would be happy to contribute, if for no other reason than to work on a Spidweb game and buff their CVs. It's kind of disheartening to see Jeff threw a bunch of extra cash at QW's graphics to come up with (in my opinion) something that looks no better and maybe a bit worse overall than his earlier titles, when volunteer fan help possibly could've been a thing. Again, the writing, themes, and gameplay will always remain the biggest draws for me and probably any other fan of Jeff's games, but it would be a very nice bonus if they could be a bit less... painful on the eyes.

Edited by mikeprichard

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While yeah the initial response to it on the first screenshots was rly: "this is atrocious jeff cannot be this broke". Upon playing its like rly easy to forget about them and immerse. I have more trouble suspending disbelief in morrowind than in this tbqh. That said i do feel a bit of effort was put into the graphics particularly in how they change in certain conditions esp in forts and in the player characters based on what they are wearing. And that aside i like the monster designs for most part. I remember i had an issue with more modern avernum games because they left behind some of the traditional graphics which looked good if simple to me. For in my opinion uglier bugs. But in this case its like they are not ugly. And they're detailed too. 

My main hold up wrt the graphics atm is rly the fact that the spells lack the grandiose visual effects. Like its easy to ignore but i'd feel better with them. 

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