Poly overkill in PS4: Balancing gameplay

By Gary Johnson - Jan 26, 2012

Currently arguably one of the best console game available with regards to graphics is Uncharted 3 on the PlayStation 3. We would all have heard of the growing speculation about possible new generation consoles from both Sony and Microsoft on the horizon. The characters in the game are made up of 30,000 polygons so what would this mean for the PS4? Would the focus on graphic details led to poly overkill at the expense of gameplay?

Recently Naughty Dog had a job listing for a character artist that would involve “making million poly models game ready” for the next generation of games console. An article here is looking at games with characters with a million polygons namely Uncharted 4. The PS3 wouldn’t cope with million poly models so it is obvious the job listing was for the PS4.

Rob Redman who is 3D World’s technical editor feels the current PlayStation doesn’t have the memory or processing power to achieve such standards. Naughty Dog may have already been in the million polygon region with Uncharted 3 before slimming it down to work on the PlayStation 3.

As you can see from the image above and via the link, a million polygon character looks really impressive. Trouble is graphics are not all the story with regards to a good game, but they are obviously important. It’s all about getting that fine balance right between graphics and good gameplay that all the recent successful titles have managed.

Years ago when technology wasn’t up to today’s standards the biggest games had simple block graphics, but excellent gameplay. Some gamers feel that using over 150,000 polys, which is around five times that of Uncharted 3, into the next-gen PS4 would be overkill. In some people’s minds this would be “throwing geometry at the GPU with no benefit“.

Although we feel that having too much graphics could never happen in our opinion, unless the gameplay was affected in a negative way. Having between 100,000 to 150,000 polys in a character along with high quality normal maps should be more than good enough for next gen games. Anything after that your just throwing geometry at the GPU with no benefit to the game.

There will be many who don’t agree with this though and lust after movie like graphics in a game at all costs. With some recent titles some gamers have complained about the over doing of needless cut scenes in games, which may have outstanding graphics, but take away some of the gameplay.

Tell us your opinions on this in the comment section below.

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Also See: Uncharted 4 1.20 update for next major features