There have been many examples of the third dimension being represented in gaming over the years. From Super Mario 64 in 1996 to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D in 2011, there have been many varieties of 3D gaming for the world to explore. However, what makes a three-dimensional game look good? Do we fall for the games that take advantage of realism or the ones that showcase an open world? The three major criteria for a 3D game to look good are whether or not the characters are detailed in 3D, how the environment is depicted, and the effectiveness of the 3D.
The first criterion for a 3D game to look good is how detailed the character is. This doesn’t mean that games made in the 90’s are to be judged at the same level as those made now. In order for a game to look good, the characters have to look good. They have to have features that are unique to them and make them recognizable. This is especially true in the main character. A main character has to be the most detailed character in a 3D game. This can mean anything from his/her belt having tiny stitches visible to a face that has fur so realistic that one could almost reach out to pet it. If a game is missing this factor, the gameplay isn’t as enjoyable and the whole game can fail.
Next, the 3D environment has to be depicted right in order for the game to look interesting.The most recent example of a 3D environment that is correctly utilized is the game Skyrim by Bethesda. In this game the grass looks like grass instead of just a skin stretched over the model of a hill. This is a small detail that can make a big difference in any game. Matt Liebl states, “The environments are larger, better sculptured, and more realistic in every way, shape, and form”1 (Liebl, 1). On top of the character details, the environmental details are vastly important. This becomes even truer when a 3D effect is put into a game.
The effectiveness of the 3D influence on a game can be greatly damaged if the first two criteria are not met. However, if the third criterion is not met, a game can be just as easily compromised. The Nintendo 3DS took a big leap forward when it came to three-dimensional gaming; however, they missed a big flaw. The 3D display is only visible comfortably from a straight angle. When the player moves their head, the images displayed become blurry or doubled. If a gaming console is capable of 3D but incapable of allowing the players to move their heads, that is ineffectiveness of the 3D platform. A player will not play a game in 3D if it causes double vision to move his/her head just slightly. The gameplay suffers if the platform is so flawed.
Without these three criteria a game can crash and burn. However, if the game showcases these criteria strongly, it will become a beloved game for generations. Creating a good 3D game is not easy, but when it plays well and looks amazing it will be worth the hard work.
1Liebl, Matt. The Graphical Advancements of Skyrim: A Comparison To Oblivion. Game Zone. Oct. 26, 2011. http://www.gamezone.com/originals/2011/10/26/the-graphical-advancements-of-skyrim-a-comparison-to-oblivion.