If it ain't broke...

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AriadnesLayer
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If it ain't broke...

Post by AriadnesLayer » Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:53 pm

I know there's a lot of (divided) opinion over whether it was a good thing to expand the dungeon into the outdoors (series 4,5,6,7) or keep it inside the dungeon (series 1,2,3 and 8).

But no-one seems to comment on one of the things that annoys me most and it's the difference between the dungeon in the first few years compared to the final year.

In series 8 it didn't feel like a dungeon at all. It felt like the dungeoneers were inside a computer game. The graphics were awful. I know they used the best computer graphics they could for the time, but just because they can do something doesn't mean they should.

The original dungeon - which I believed used paintings by an artist - really felt like an old dungeon full of spooky atmospheric ruined rooms. The series 8 dungeon - the rooms all looked the same, every brick in every wall was identical. It was like the castle levels in Super Mario Bros 1. There was no creativity or atmosphere there. Most of all - it looked cartoony.

These rooms look awesome, imaginative, and realistic:
Image Image Image

They feel like they have a deep, dark history and there is a sinister feel to them.

These rooms don't:
Image
Image
Image

The rooms are all boring, non-interesting, and obviously computer generated. When watching this as a child I was really disappointed that the imagination had been lost in the later series. I still feel the same now.

Anyone agree?

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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by Fidjit » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:34 pm

Very true, the CGI graphics could never amount to an artists work :)
Last edited by Anonymous on Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by HStorm » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:43 pm

Yes, I agree as well. I've often stated that there was something far more 'other-worldly' about the Dave Rowe hand-paintings in the early years. They were more varied and sometimes they were also more 'alive'.

I do prefer season 8's architecture to most of the outdoor locations in seasons 4-7, mind.
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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by sozboz » Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:24 pm

Yes, i know what you mean spiderman. I think the obsession with up to date computer graphics may have been a pitfall for Knightmare, because they date so quickly. The Timegate trailer, its clearly gone mad for what was the latest graphics, but it looks horribly dated, much more so than anything from Knightmare. Design is so much more important than the technology that's being used - I'm a big fan of some early computer graphics because even though they were crude they were imaginatively designed.

There is a timeless quality to Rowe's paintings when mixed with more understated computer effects.
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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by Fidjit » Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:10 am

I'd bet everybody would go back to the original artwork for rooms and kept the CGI graphics for other things ie. Smirkenorff and death sequences etc.
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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by Naitch » Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:37 am

While I loved series 7 & 8, I would agree, there is nothing like the series 1-3 dungeons.

They ARE timeless, and they DID seem dark, and other worldly, and really made me want to be in them and quest for myself.

Don't get me wrong, I LIKE the dungeon in series 7 & 8, but 1-3 are miles better.
Last edited by Naitch on Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by Fidjit » Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:09 am

I found that going out the dungeon into the outside world was rather time consuming... The eyeshield sequences took ages, that probably took up a 1/3 of the fourth and fifth series alone

Although the Eyeshield was a noble addition to the game, Series 1-3 was far better in the way of time...
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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by Mystara » Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:40 pm

I remember thinking exactly the same thing actually. That the early dungeons were somehow more dungeon-y.

Then I went on a marathon Knightmare watching session about a month ago...

It seemed to me that the dungeon-y quality was removed. Knightmare attributed this to the dungeon dimension expanding beyond its original borders (encompassing the woods, and later Lord Fear's new domains).

But that the quality of the graphics improved. That is to say that it didn't look hand drawn, and perhaps even looked a little more realistic. Smoother, with better lighting and a much 'grander' appearance.

Beauty, of course is all in the eye of the beer holder. Which of these two is 'better' is subjective.
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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by Fidjit » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:44 am

Mind you I have to eat my words on that one, as Dickons quest was rather entertaining.

The first death music clip did somehow boost the dungeons mystery and fear. It suprised me that they didn't use it as often as they should...

(Anyone tried drawing a map of the whole dungeon yet! ;D I tried but it seems impossible!)

What your saying mystara is that with an artists drawing you could do a load more... Like the Level Two Clue Room for instance? They did lots of lighting effects and colours whereas the CGI graphics, stayed the same? (For example: The Corridors of Goth, which looked plain and pants!) Love that word ;D
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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by HStorm » Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:05 pm

mystara wrote:it didn't look hand drawn, and perhaps even looked a little more realistic.
For me, and I daresay for others, that's part of the problem. As I said above, many of the earlier chambers had an other-worldliness that later ones lacked. A dungeoneer standing in a room of pure fantasy like the Medusa's Chamber was reality touching unreality before our eyes.

A dungeoneer standing in an-otherwise empty room with a picture of Maldame on the wall, on the other hand, is reality touching something-not-very-far-from reality before our eyes. I guess you just don't quite get the same feeling of a world of limitless possibility.

To be fair, there were a fair few hand-drawn chambers that didn't have anything very remarkable about them in the cold light of day either. But there was still that quality of someone real walking through a world that is completely removed from our own. Somehow in S8, and even more in S4-7, that feeling just isn't there.
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AriadnesLayer
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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by AriadnesLayer » Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:18 pm

HStorm wrote: But there was still that quality of someone real walking through a world that is completely removed from our own. Somehow in S8, and even more in S4-7, that feeling just isn't there.
I completely agree except for me I could tolerate s4-7 because the outdoor locations used real photographs of ruined castles so as a child you could still believe they were really standing there, whereas series 8 was undeniably fake even to a child, felt like they were in a computer game.

I'm not saying I hated it altogether though. One thing I loved about the later seasons was the tense music that played when a character was getting close to death. It really make the scene more suspenseful and sometimes they did die and sometimes they didn't. You never knew what was going to happen once that music came on!

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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by Mystara » Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:33 pm

It's rather hard to describe all of this.

The latter rooms look too artificial to me. They all look more like a palace than a dungeon, because of the bricks are done very perfectly. The walls are all maintained. Even the sewers are rat free, containing walls with perfect edges and perfect uniform brick work.

The early rooms are much more natural looking. Made with uneven bricks, damaged rooms, very few straight lines. But the wild colouring and clash with the dungeoneer just make it look a bit too fake.

So the style of the first one is better, and the quality of the latter is better (to me). I'd be curious as to what the original rooms would be like if they were made with modern technology
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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by Ben1982 » Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:32 pm

I agree with the view that 1-3 had better rooms - i'd be fascinated to hear which rooms from all 8 series ppl would have if they were to create their perfect dungeon?

AriadnesLayer
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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by AriadnesLayer » Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:00 pm

Having recently rewatched both series 8 and seasons 1-3, I think I was a bit harsh. The Series 8 graphics were actually much better than I remember them (still computer-y though). And the season 1-3 graphics were less realistic than I remembered (they are obviously standing in a painting).

Basically they were both good in different ways and both bad in different ways.

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Re:If it ain't broke...

Post by beveryafraid » Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:09 pm

I've been looking at this argument, and there is something missing.
By series 8 we were seriously under pressure to increase production values and deliver more game per studio day. that meant on-the-fly switching to close up cameras. Then you needed to apply instant close up backgrounds to characters.

That is very difficult and sometimes impossible when the only graphic reference you have for a scene is a 2d A3 painting.
However, when the scene was created in 3d, you could fast render a correct single frame viewpoint and put it behind the NPC or encounter character without stopping.

Remember - Knightmare was an expensive show in 1993 - costing £48,000 per episode. One reason for that high cost was that we seldom created more than one show's worth of game per studio Day.
Another factor - if individual games (or quests) were to protracted, even the best gamers started to lose interest and concentration. It wasn't fair for us to be slow.
And a final factor - the cost of a slow-to-make series was one of the reasons why Knightmare stopped altogether.
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