A site for the casual yet serious PC gamer - best viewed in 1024 x 768 in 32 bit color
We got game.

We've successfully moved! Read the details here.

-H2H 2000 Gaming Awards

-Q3: Team Arena single review

-Kingdom Under Fire H2H Review

-2001: Our Space Odyssey

-The Games We Play: Gaming Violence


message board

email our group

staff bios and emails


sound off on vid cardz!


The Drool Factor

By Rumpy


Everyone has at least one game (or a few) that they are anxiously anticipating. For me, they are Dungeon Siege and Red Faction. But for some reason, when we finally take these home, we won't be as impressed as we are now. I think we can attribute this to being spoiled. The Internet has changed a lot, not just the technology, but the people too. It has changed the way people work, the way people search out information on just about anything. Now, before the Internet came about, the only way people would be getting information about new games would be from magazines. People would be getting a first look and then not see anything unless another magazine from a different publisher or the same magazine were to publish more info. It was 'drool and wait' until the games were out.

The Internet has made people more demanding. People run fan sites for games now and want content. They want every single detail about the game. They want screenshots. They want it all. Frankly, I liked it better when it was 'drool and wait'. I want to be surprised by what I'm playing. I don't want to know every single detail there is.

I applaud 3DRealms for going with the "When it's done!" approach. They know it's hard for people to hardly have any info these days, but they want people to be surprised like they were before the Internet arrived. It surely must be hard to keep the lid on things like the latest Duke Nukem Game. That's why they are even refusing the spotlights. Because they know that if they would accept them, information would be all over the Internet afterwards. Now I hate that people are starting to compare Duke Nukem Forever to Daikatana, solely because it's taking long. These people need to understand the nature of making games and how not much info was revealed earlier in the 90's. It's only taking as long as they need it to take. The appreciated difference here is that 3DRealms has only given a "When it's Done" date and not a specific one.

Now on the Internet, you get to see lots of screenshots of specific games. You get to see so many things that you practically know the game before you actually get to play it. No surprises. Now another thing is, by looking at those screenshots, the game might be looking impressive, but when you start to play it, it isn't so impressive anymore. Am I alone here? The drool factor is lost.

And this is despite all the advancement in technologies. Game developers should be able to impact and impress the person, but they don't do that as much anymore because of all the pictures and overly detailed info-bits on the Internet. When was the last time you opened up a game you got and started playing it after having not seeing any screenshots at all?

The second thing I want to talk about this week are the advancements in gaming-particularly visuals. More effort seems to be taken to build better looking scenery than actual character models. Now I have a Geforce 256 DDR and one of the main things they promised was that it would be able to render more polygons than other cards without a performance hit. But I have yet to see a game out there take advantage of higher polygon counts to make characters more believable. The first game that I saw that was making effort at making characters more believable was Rainbow 6. Faces were texture mapped and were lifelike while moving around. Ever since then, other companies have seemed to follow suit and make their characters slightly more lifelike as well. But is that all? Why did they stop there? I haven't seen any real kind of improvement over the years except what we may be able to expect from the upcoming Ultima Online 2. But we see improvements in the area scenery and environmental graphics every year. I guess time will only tell until we see both in one game.

So, until we get more improvements on realistic looking and moving characters, beautiful environmental graphics (like the ones we are constantly seeing developed), and certain elements of secrecy and surprise (like it was before the Internet), it might begin to get harder for a game to have a serious impact on a large number of PC gamers. This is why a game like Deus Ex is so important. It only had lots of hype at the start of the project and then the hype died down and it was forgotten until only a few months prior to its release. Then, that's when Ion Storm started divulging gameplay info along with screenshots causing everyone to drool and download a 139 meg demo, folks! And many of these are people on dialup connections! Since when did a game like this ever make an impact to have people want to download a demo this huge? It's all because there wasn't much info about the game while it was being produced.

Daikatana. You're saying what? Why is this guy wasting his time even mentioning Daikatana? Well, Daikatana was surrounded by an unsurmountable amount of hype and a certain big ego. Screenshots were also given in abundance and all of this combined killed the game even before it reached store shelves. Where was the drool factor there? There was none, except probably the drool coming from Mr. Romero himself as he rubbed his hands in anticipation of the money that would be coming in from unsuspecting suckers..

Now, I want to be able to enjoy my drool factor while playing Dungeon Siege when it gets released. Same goes with Red Faction. I'd rather not know anything about these games and have a surprise waiting. It's worth it. And so, I'll be avoiding the mass fansites like the plague. (no offense intended to people with fansites) We just need SOME surprise and we need some improvements on letting certain graphic elements catch up to others.

Until Next Week - Happy Gaming!