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Attention to detail - all the small things that matter


Rayn
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Difficult to grab a good screen capture of this but functional cities in racing games that feel lived in. Any of the Ridge Racer games is a great example where the cites/environments feel like they came first and the race just takes place there and not the other way around. During any non-racing day I picture holiday traffic heading to the beach, arriving at the airport. Local people driving to their job at the harbour, food delivery trucks on overpasses going who-knows-where. White road markers on the tarmac, blocked off side streets that are not made for racing etc.

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Red Dead Redemption 2. 

 

There's so much little (and massive) details in the game that it feels like it's a couple of generations ahead when compared to anything else. 

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Just now, Ry said:

Red Dead Redemption 2. 

 

There's so much little (and massive) details in the game that it feels like it's a couple of generations ahead when compared to anything else. 

 

Yeah, RDR2 is actually quite the case study when it comes to attention to detail. I've seen many videos that points out the small things in RDR2 and they keep popping up still, almost four years since its release. 

 

The dynamic weather effects in RDR2 is perhaps the best I've seen in any game so far but it's not just limited to the actual weather effects either. For example, if it starts to rain puddles will emerge where you'd expect. The puddles will continue to fill over time as long as it's raining and will change shape if your ride through them with a carriage. When it stops raining, water will continue to drip from buildings and, over time, puddles will dry out gradually. 

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9 minutes ago, Ry said:

Red Dead Redemption 2. 

 

There's so much little (and massive) details in the game that it feels like it's a couple of generations ahead when compared to anything else. 


Or the two blokes you seeing messing around with dynamite in Red Dead Redemption. 😅

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This is a great idea for a thread; little touches can really elevate a game, help it stick in the mind even if they aren't part of its "core" qualities.

 

The mention of Ridge Racer's "evidence of life"* put me in mind of another racing game: I remember being really impressed by the fact that in Metropolis Street Racer, as you went through a tunnel not only would car noise reverberate (impressive enough at the time), but the in-game radio would cut out. Just a little thing, but really helped sell the idea that you were there. If I remember correctly, it even went so far as to not do that if you were using the game's virtual CD player (i.e. a custom playlist of in-game songs).

 

*something which open-world racers always lose. Burnout Paradise and the Forza Horizon series suffer from weirdly lifeless/purposeless cities; having to allow you to drive all around them and not wanting to make the games into, well, GTA rather restricts their ability to build in that sense of a lived-in, functional society I fear

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25 minutes ago, Down by Law said:

 

Similar to the melting ice cubes of MGS2, but Shenmue did it first with a candle that burns down and goes out in around 5 hours of game time.

 

On a similar note, there's a cool detail in Playdead's Inside. Early in the game, in the corn field, it is possible to find a secret darkroom room that houses one of the lamps necessary for unlocking Inside's alternate ending. There are pictures hanging from the ceiling, and if you wait in the room for awhile, one of the photos will develop.The picture is of a point later in the game, where you find a collection of the mindless creatures in a cage suspended over a gap between two buildings.

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Again with the living city in a racing game. On one of the tracks in Wipeout Omega Collection you are racing through a city and can partially see through the track, underneath it you can see cars and lorries driving around on the streets below. Despite having played the game loads it wasn’t until I played it in VR that I actually noticed this.

 

Similar to that, the way in MS flight Sim that they have traffic moving around the roads below you. Makes you wonder where they are off to.

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I really enjoy the dynamic music in Streets of Rage 4 and the thought taken to match visuals to music. My favourite part in the entire game is on Stage 8 at around 3:00 mark on the video below. As soon as the bullet sculpture appears in the foreground the music shifts to all these glock reloads and bullet sounds before swamping you in a room with grenade throwing enemies.

 

 

And if you hang around in this area (as this player does) you get treated to a sax solo, which fades out as you leave.

 

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1 hour ago, Rayn said:

 

Yeah, RDR2 is actually quite the case study when it comes to attention to detail. I've seen many videos that points out the small things in RDR2 and they keep popping up still, almost four years since its release. 

 

The dynamic weather effects in RDR2 is perhaps the best I've seen in any game so far but it's not just limited to the actual weather effects either. For example, if it starts to rain puddles will emerge where you'd expect. The puddles will continue to fill over time as long as it's raining and will change shape if your ride through them with a carriage. When it stops raining, water will continue to drip from buildings and, over time, puddles will dry out gradually. 

Not as advanced as RDR2, but Home front Revolution had puddles that would develop when it rained and dry up once it stopped. It was quite immersive. I do love me some dynamic weather.

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The castle soundtrack in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is the same as the castle soundtrack in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but backwards.

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I'm also a Peeping Tom/Curious George in games such as The Last of Us or that zombie game from Telltale, wondering what is happening at the end of that alleyway that's blocked off, who/what is behind those windows on the seventh storey of an apartment complex, what neat little story this vacated house has to tell and what other survivors are doing at the exact same time. Surely I can't be the only one alive.

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What a great thread. Sometimes you wish you could send kudos to dev teams for putting in these small details that make all the difference.

 

I know it's easy for some to dismiss as having the typical simplified Nintendo game look, but have you ever just sat and looked at Animal Crossing New Horizons? If you wear those little stars that extend off little springs from a headband so they bobble around as you walk, the light they emit reflects off other surfaces, even leaves and what not. The astonishing low level orange sunlight late afternoon streaming through the window on the correct side of the house. The moonlight reflecting off a chess board outside. How about plants getting buffeted by an oscillating indoor fan? It's also unfortunate that you might not see the detailed textures while playing it handheld, I sometimes just sit at gawp at it while playing on my TV. It is a breathtakingly pretty game and it's full of those little details.

 

I don't know if this counts, but my son just started BotW in master mode (another proud dad moment) and I just couldn't get over how the horse's mane is animated. Like, I've ridden miles on my AS Odyssey 4k super realistic looking horse and it's nowhere near as well animated as model in Zelda.

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I put GTAV on my steamdeck and it was the first time playing it since I clocked the original PS3 release in 2013.

 

Anyway, I stole a car from the beachfront and a guy who was on the phone talking hung up his call and took a picture of me nicking the car. I thought that was pretty special.

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I thought we had one of these but maybe I saw an outside xbox video on it or some such. 

 

Feet actually connecting to steps properly when going up and down stairs is one that always sticks out when it isn't done.

 

I also always check the toilets in games, a mirror (which is always tricky) and the ability to flush the bogs is appreciated. :)

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49 minutes ago, Rayn said:

The castle soundtrack in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is the same as the castle soundtrack in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but backwards.

 

And Skyward Sword's main theme is Zelda's Lullaby backwards too.

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Funnily enough I was thinking about this very thing this morning, I started playing Guardians of the Galaxy. 13yo Peter’s bedroom is full of little details… the Gibson Flying V, the Mesa Boogie amp (would’ve expected Marshall or Fender, or something generic looking), the Piece of Mind vinyl album, the Tron poster… lots of other little Easter eggs. A lot of time and care was spent creating that room.

 

Or how about Test Drive: Le Mans on Dreamcast with the glowing brake discs. I expect that in Gran Turismo or Forza these days, but not in a little racing game from 1999ish.

 

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31 minutes ago, b00dles said:

 

I also always check the toilets in games, a mirror (which is always tricky) and the ability to flush the bogs is appreciated. :)


Ha yeah I always try to flush the toilet in games 😂

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The original Halo continued to blow me away for years with its little details. The shells rolling down the slopes after a firefight, the microscopic little creatures you could see in the water on the silent cartographer if you get the angle just right, the fact that snow flies off the trees if they get hit by Wraith fire.

 

I recall being disappointed with subsequent games where they removed most of these details - even the remastered Halo 1 misses them out.

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2 hours ago, TehStu said:

What a great thread. Sometimes you wish you could send kudos to dev teams for putting in these small details that make all the difference.

 

I know it's easy for some to dismiss as having the typical simplified Nintendo game look, but have you ever just sat and looked at Animal Crossing New Horizons? If you wear those little stars that extend off little springs from a headband so they bobble around as you walk, the light they emit reflects off other surfaces, even leaves and what not. The astonishing low level orange sunlight late afternoon streaming through the window on the correct side of the house. The moonlight reflecting off a chess board outside. How about plants getting buffeted by an oscillating indoor fan? It's also unfortunate that you might not see the detailed textures while playing it handheld, I sometimes just sit at gawp at it while playing on my TV. It is a breathtakingly pretty game and it's full of those little details.

 

I mentioned this in my Rllmuk top games of 2021, but New Horizons also has raindrops on the outside of windows and you can hear the pattering of the rain when you're inside buildings. It is full of amazing little touches which really sell the world.

 

On the subject of rain, in the Last of Us 2 when everything gets stormy, I spent ages just looking at a ruined street and even showed it to my parents who were around at the time to show them how crazy graphics in games had become. The raindrops on the cars, the water running in rivulets down the street, down the main character's face and her wet hair. Just mindblowing. What's mad is that you could easily just plough through and miss it all, but if you take the time to take it all in it's incredibly immersive.

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Speaking of rain, one of the laziest and bad details that I still see occasionally is the "raining indoors" when there's clearly some kind of filter put on to stimulate rain but they miss a hit box or whatever and you're in a building or tunnel and yet are being rained on still.

 

I realise I'm sort of posting things from the wrong end of the point of the thread so I'll stop that. :)

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TLOU2 had some bonkers details, like when you run out of ammo and the enemies start taunting you, or inventory objects getting wet if your backpack gets wet. Wasn't there one where you could knock over objects in the first act, then playing as the other character in the same environment the same objects were still knocked over? I can't find a video of it now... 

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Either you guys are trying to not go for the obvious stuff or a lot less people than anticipated has posted so far, but most of Hideo Kojima's games are filled with insane attention to detail, we could probably make an entire page for each MGS game. 

Some of my favourites are as follows: 
The Psycho Mantis boss fight from MGS1, that was the most next gen moment ever for me, it was such a meta moment. Especially cool as I had quite a few Konami game saves on one of the plugged in mem cards and when he started to talk about which games I liked and how far I'd progressed through some of them I was literally puzzled for a while. 

 

Water droplets on the screen when raining/interacting with water in MGS2. To my memory, this was the first time I saw this effect, at least as convincingly and it also blew my mind. 

 

I didn't discover this one by myself, but when I read in Edge (or some other gaming magazine) that it was possible to win the sniper battle in MGS3 Snake Eater by waiting it out and letting the old guy die of old age, well, it blew my mind. 

 

The beauty of all these is that they are actually relatively simple to pull off, but the fact that Hideo was (to my knowledge) the first to introduce them speaks volumes to his ability to remain creative and original. 

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Yeah MGS games are full of them and you only really learn through experimenting. (Apart from Mantis etc.)

 

In terms of little details, the already fantastic atmosphere in MGSV is really ramped up when you hear the '80s pop music blaring out from the boomboxes in enemy outposts. Then you nick the tapes and play them in your helicopter; the ultimate insult.

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