Love and death - a very slow death: Part one in a series
Jun 11, 2009 03:32:03

By Julie Whitefeather

“…my own father,a handsome and generous man. In addition to our summer and winter estate, he owned a valuable piece of land.

True, it was a small piece. But he carried it with him wherever he went.” - Woody Allen in “Love and Death”

In the beginning of the movie Love and Death, by Woody Allen, Dimitri Pietrovich is said to own “a small piece of land”. In the movie he presents a small piece of “land” the size of a golfer's divot and declares promptly…

“This land is not for sale. Some day, I hope to build on it.”

For me Fallout 3 has come to be like that. It is a small piece of land with which I have come to have a love/hate relationship.

Although Fallout 3 has been out a while yet it constantly comes to mind whenever I fire up a new MMO. The reason or this is simple. Even all that has occurred in the MMO industry in the past few years there are still developers who have not learned the lessons that devs at Activision/Blizzard have tried to teach us all. While some developers in both the single player and mmo market were busy “pushing the graphics envelope” in an effort to make a game that looked fantastic, there are damned few computers that can run the fantastic game once it is done.

While some devs are busy “pushing the envelope” the most successful company is busy making sure their product, World of Warcraft, runs on the five year old machine that the sons and daughters of America have in the bedrooms of their parent's house.

Recently I have seen and played a few MMOs, not “triple A” mmos to be sure, that looked like the graphics had been done with a crayon. This I can deal with as long as the game play grabs my attention - one particular mmo comes to mind (I will save which one for a later article). I expected the game to run smooth as silk considering the simple graphics. But that is not at all what happened. So while I was busy chugging along across the virtual landscape a thought crossed my mind.

“Why doesn't this game run like Fallout 3?”

Yes, I do understand there is a good deal of difference between the way Bethesda does Fallout 3 and the way some mmos are done. Still the fact is that Fallout 3 looks fantastic and runs as smooth as silk, even on my laptop. Perhaps it is the modular way the terrain and buildings are constructed in the virtual environment.. The end result, however, is not only a game that looks great, but is easy to mod - at least to a point. And THAT is a story for next time. It is also the source of the “slow death” part of his article.

At least for the time being I have placed Bethesda up there on that same pedestal where Rob Pardo and Blizzard now sit. They too have become part of my measuring stick against which other games get measured. They too are the source of the “love” half of the equation that constitutes my love/hate relationship with games. But there is a darker side of that relationship I will right about next time.

See you online,

- Julie Whitefeather

Submitted by Brent on Jun 11, 2009 03:32:03 CST (comments: 4)


'An MMO is running more than just graphics...' by Beauturkey
Submitted on 2009-06-14 12:48:46 CST
...when you are playing one, your pc is keeping up with rendering all the other stuff on the fly, as in other avatars and the like.

Granted, your PC has all that stuff already ON your PC, but there is a lot more to an MMO's engine and how it runs than with a single player game. That's why instances work so well, because it can be a controlled graphical environment.

If you walk into Dalaran, for example, in WoW, your PC is loading all the people that are there, along with all the people that are coming in, and it's keeping in constant contact with the server through several electronic channels. It's actually pretty amazing.

Also, MMO's want to keep their graphics requirements low to reach as many people as possible.


'And the point is...' by Julie
Submitted on 2009-06-14 17:34:12 CST
And the point is Kudos to companies who can uses "low end" graphics (read graphics that run on computers that are five year old computer) and still look good.

'True Dat..' by Beauturkey
Submitted on 2009-06-14 18:37:09 CST
...I feel sorry for companies when trying to decide where to go with an engine. It could have issues, look dated..hard to say.

But I agree, it's tough, makes ya appreciate all the ones that do it right.


'same same' by dan
Submitted on 2009-06-15 18:39:26 CST
I understand exactly where you are coming from. I have had Oblivion for quite some time now on the PC, and rescently got Mass Effect. Oblivion runs great and looks amazing, but ill pop in Mass Effect and runs like a stick in the mud. To me they look about the same, i just dont understand why they don't run the same way.

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