Heroes 5 graphics

The new Heroes games produced by Ubisoft. Please specify which game you are referring to in your post.

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Kalah
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Heroes 5 graphics

Postby Kalah » Apr 19 2006, 0:01

I am one of those who remain divided as far as the graphics in the new game is concerned. I think some things are good and other things bad, and most of you will probably agree with me on some points and disagree on others. Here is my view, based on what we have seen so far:

What's good
I like the graphics of the adventure maps. The trees look nice, terrain and grass and rivers look better than in the previous games, and this was to be expected. Especially true for pre-H4 games is the fact that the adventure map was largely a scetch; a map, not a true depiction of the world. H4 took a step towards making the adventure map look more real, with the trees and the birds and the flowing waterfalls... H5 - it seems - takes this even further. The world is now three dimensional, and although the increased use of camera movement and zoom increases the demand for a higher accuracy in its depiction, it looks like they've actually pulled it off. I look forward to exploring the matter further.

What's bad
Well, the heroes, obviously. And by that I don't mean those hiding behind a mask or a helm. Also, I don't mean heroes on the adventure map. I am talking about the videos in-game and after scenarios. It annoys me that the humans don't look the least bit human. It seems that after years and years of development, computer generated animation rendering technology has gotten nowhere. Forget "Ice Age". Forget "Shrek". This is Final Fantasy 7. Just look at Nicolai's face! I mean, have you ever seen a more square-shaped chin? It wasn't possible to create a round curve on a computer? We could send a guy to the moon but we can't make a character look human even with a million times the computer power? I disagree with Mullich here, even though I don't know JVC half as well as he does, no animator in his right mind would look at Nicolai's sortie and smile.
Another thing I don't like (yes, there's more), is the creature animations. Granted, some of them are quite good - a few are excellent - but the majority I have seen so far are no more than mediocre. I'd say about half of them could do with some improvement. I was impressed by the colossus/titan (it looked very real indeed), but disappointed by the mounted cavalier/paladin. Those in between I won't bother mentioning here. Now, don't get me wrong, the battle animations are fine (mostly). The problem shows itself whenever you zoom in, and in video sequences.
What I propose is something radical: Ditch the computer animations altogether. When it comes it making in-game videos, nothing can beat the good 'ol drawing board. I suggest the game designers should call in a division of animators from Disney. Either that, or spend a couple of billion on creating proper animated vids.
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Postby Derek » Apr 19 2006, 1:15

Yeah, the ingame cinemas actually made me embarassed to look at them. No game that is asking us to have over 256 mb graphic cards should look shameful, and that is how those cutscenes look. Shameful.
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Postby Arpanet » Apr 19 2006, 2:25

Are you serious? HoMM5 has some of the most stunning artwork I've seen in a video game. What a ridiculous gripe.

[edit] I will admit, however, that simple paintings or drawings - a la Homeworld or Neverwinter Nights - do make for great cutscenes. I just don't think that a minor storytelling device that occupies maybe 1% of your total HoMM playing time is worth complaining about.

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Postby Morannon » Apr 19 2006, 6:20

I don't like the over use of "magical effects". It looks silly when a normal physical swordblow results in an explosion of "magical energy". Less is more, save it for the spells.

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Postby trailMix » Apr 19 2006, 6:35

Don't know... I think its on par with AoE3. In 1280x1024 at highest quality settings, it doesn't look too bad all. But then again, I only have 19" LCD, so things do look kinda smallish.

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Postby frozd » Apr 19 2006, 8:42

I agree with Kalah. I would also like to point out, that i don't like the fancy graphics very much i prefer a fun gameplay. I mean isn't this what it's all about a game that's fun to play. I don't care if waves hit the shores, leaves fall off trees and so on. That's just burning up your ram, processor and the graphic card. I'm so fed up with this fancy graphics and so called 3d crap. I just want to play a legendary game that focuses on gameplay instead of all the fancy stuff no one cares about when they're focusing on a ingame task.

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Postby Orfinn » Apr 19 2006, 10:12

Well done is done, awww so sad it cant be fixed....yet First you guys complain about sucky graphics in the cinematics, then complaining it looks too fancy in battles and on the adventure map, I agree it would look better with cinematics ala those from H3 ofcourse but since they are using this in-game cinematics we have to live with it and if those square humans and other creatures should have been fixed up, smooth natural looks, wouldnt that use even more ram?

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Postby innokenti » Apr 19 2006, 10:29

I agree with Kalah on both points.

The really disappointing thing with in-game cinematics is that... well, the actions is really pretty awful. You can have a couple of characters stand around and talk, maybe some units run around, have a basic fight.

What every cutscene should be like is the background thingy you have on the menu with the priest and devil. That would be shiny.


And I'd also probably change the style of the creatures/heroes but there's no point complaining about that.

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Postby Orfinn » Apr 19 2006, 11:03

innokenti wrote:What every cutscene should be like is the background thingy you have on the menu with the priest and devil. That would be shiny.


Agree. That is a good example on how cintematics should have been.

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Re: Heroes 5 graphics

Postby Sir Alock » Apr 19 2006, 11:57

Kalah: First...You do lose that "something" when 2nd pixels are no longer used. At this point, I rather not nit-pick with the graphics questions. Let's face it...We could find plenty of things wrong with just about anything!

Instead...Let's focus in on the real positive here. It really looks like we have another great HoMM series again. This is what we all of been waiting for after the HoMMIV slide. If you want to really give something your time it's the AI & a Map Editor! This is what makes a game IMHO. We have yet to really see either or @ least on a broad scale.

I myself I'm so pleased with the way the game looks! Yes...Some things could be better, but it's still it's the BEST looking HoMM game we have played. I just hope for a Map Editor..Which there has been no official news on this which bums me out.

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Postby Kalah » Apr 19 2006, 12:59

I agree that the game seems very good overall so far, but is that any reason not to discuss the graphics? Should one stop of short of giving any critic comment because one is impressed with other aspects of the game? I for one do not think so. Also, contrary to what might be the impression from this thread, I didn't start this discussion - it eminated from the Demo thread.

Arpanet wrote:HoMM5 has some of the most stunning artwork I've seen in a video game.


Agreed. But then it starts moving. And becomes South Park.

Arpanet wrote:I just don't think that a minor storytelling device that occupies maybe 1% of your total HoMM playing time is worth complaining about.


I do. The fact that I don't like the interludes won't stop me from buying the game though.

Orfinn wrote:...if those square humans and other creatures should have been fixed up, smooth natural looks, wouldnt that use even more ram?


Not if you use a normal movie instead, preferrably hand-drawn animation. It's the computer animated stuff that sucks your RAM chips dry.
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Postby ThunderTitan » Apr 19 2006, 13:10

I don't really care for the graphics, but they don't really take away from the gameplay, so i'm fine with it. Heck, I finished Warcraft 3 (after getting a better graphic card, the last mission was impossible with the old one), and atleast HoMMV is shinier.
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Postby innokenti » Apr 19 2006, 13:25

Warcraft 3 has Blizzard's super-awesome movies. Thinking about it just makes me grin.

Having just played it again I do feel more and more convinced that the map view looks stunning and detailed and yet feels so much like Heroes. Yet the battles somehow don't feel on the same level. I'm not really sure it has anything to do with animation, but it feels a lot less stylish and stunning. In comparison to the map. In comparison to previous Heroes battles, well, it really is better!

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Postby infael » Apr 19 2006, 13:33

Ubi is not creating terrible art - they're using an art style. Not my preferred style but looks good enough.

As I understand it, the fancy graphics help bring in gamers who've never played Heroes. Profit is king.

I've played King's Bounty through H5 (the demo) and loved them all. H3 and H4 were different. I enjoyed the differences. Games are supposed to be fun. :)

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Postby Caradoc » Apr 19 2006, 17:31

For me, the graphics are a big waste of effort, budget, and processing cycles.

As a virtual reality, Heroes V (and most everything on a commodity PC) just plain sucks. Sorry, the technology is just not up to it. Compare what we see here to 'Heavy Metal' and you'll understand what I mean. That movie was made 25 years ago.

Even given the limits of the technology, there have also been some unfortunate design decisions. The lack of a light source in the underground has led to all these gaudy glowing objects. I messed around with one of the blue crystal thingies for a good while before I concluded there was nothing to it.

We still have unrealistically oversized objects and now they are crammed together closer than before. If the heroes did not take such tiny little steps, you'd feel positively claustrophobic. The spatial proportions are all out of whack.

I am still looking for a camera angle that suits me, so I will not complain about that just yet.

The fundamental problem is that Heroes was designed to play on a MAP. When the game moves to a VR, it still has to retain the basic properties of a map and these break the VR. Look at those kiddie pools that mark where the heroes are.

Having said all that, I still love the game. But not because of the graphics.
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Postby Campaigner » Apr 19 2006, 18:16

Yeah, graphics could be better for all the computer power it's sucking away.
I don't like that it hacks when I zoom out and pan (I think that's the word) the view. Thinking of getting the best graphics card on the market.

Heroes looks good (eventhough they could look better). And it's not like their art team is overloaded with work. They even had time to ruin the Treant!

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Postby Sir Alock » Apr 19 2006, 20:28

The lack of a light source in the underground has led to all these gaudy glowing objects. I messed around with one of the blue crystal thingies for a good while before I concluded there was nothing to it.

I don't understand this statement. Simply use your cursor to see if there is something there for you to check out. You'll get use to the underground, it's a HUGE leap from the Alpha/Beta.

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Postby Kalah » Apr 19 2006, 21:55

I didn't have a problem with the underground either; I realised farily quickly what those lighting thingies were, and I don't have a problem with their being there. In previous games there were no light source, only the revealing of new terrain when you got close enough to see it. Either way is fine by me, though I understand why some players are upset with the lack of a fog of war in the new game. Being able to see what you opponents are doing in areas far away is not entirely logical.

No, my biggest (only) issue was that of the closeups; when you zoom in close enough to see the white in the hero's eye, that's when you see that the graphics are worse than should be expected from a game that requires an almost new computer to run.
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Postby Derek » Apr 19 2006, 22:03

Arpanet wrote:Are you serious? HoMM5 has some of the most stunning artwork I've seen in a video game. What a ridiculous gripe.

[edit] I will admit, however, that simple paintings or drawings - a la Homeworld or Neverwinter Nights - do make for great cutscenes. I just don't think that a minor storytelling device that occupies maybe 1% of your total HoMM playing time is worth complaining about.


First of all, the art direction in Heroes V is as unoriginal as one could get. For real art in gaming try Shadow of the Colossus, Metal Gear Solid 3 and the Silent Hill series(not #4). I could get into it, but I think the design of the angel serves me right in this discussion.

It seems to me that the cutscenes are going to be a major source of the storytelling in this game and therefore they are worth talkin about. Since the average person itns't going to read the history of every faction, I haven't, the game is going to have to do son in the confines of the screen. If they are not able to make it look good, as the cutscenes have led me to think, then they are not going to be able to craft a good story. If even 1% of a game(or anything) is bad then it is worth talking about. I'd really hate already cutting Ubisoft slack on this game when it has not even been released.

And I will say that the underground did not look bad to me, it neither confused me nor amazed me. It simply was. Although I do admit that I tried taking those blue crystals on a number of occasins.

@Kalah
Yeah, it does seem a bit much for Ubisoft to ask us to have several hundred dollar graphic cards if they aren't even going to make the game look that great. Those closeups...the horror, the horror...
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Postby Gaidal Cain » Apr 19 2006, 22:08

Kalah wrote:No, my biggest (only) issue was that of the closeups; when you zoom in close enough to see the white in the hero's eye, that's when you see that the graphics are worse than should be expected from a game that requires an almost new computer to run.


Huh? My computer is close to three years old, and it runs the game just fine. Sure I can't use the most detailed settings, but what I get is more than "good enough".
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