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The telltale shading style

posted by Anonymous on - last edited - Viewed by 1.9K users
Am I the only one?

One thing I've noticed is the rendering technique that telltale have used in hold-em and Bone, seems to flatten the 3d image a little and remove detail ?The way they do it, it makes the characters seem almost....translucent at times, as if they weren't tangibly opaque.

At the moment I couldn't do better, and I'm not putting it down. I'm just wondering if anyone else gets a slightly "2d washed out" feel, that's all. Especially considering SNM live in such a vibrant world, does their technique / engine allow for this vibrancy and color contrast, or is there another engine in dev, or is the one engine being constantly tweaked?

So, am I the only one who gets this impression? Maybe there just hasn't been a need to apply such color contrast or detail given the subject matter. I mean, Bone is white and smooth, not much you can say. But the Dragon for example seems...faded. Mayhaps that's just what was required.

Eep. Couldn't think of a way to word this that didn't sound like I was complaining. dammit. I'm really, really not. I'm just voicing a thought is all.

16 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
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    I just worked it out. There seem to be inconsistant real-time shadows. The characters don't seem to shadow into the environment or shadow themselves, at least not all of the time. Even when they're holding an explicit lightsource. A side-lit bone as implied by the texture, still doesn't seem to cast a shadow outwards. A top-lit bone shows shadows under tilted foot, but not under the rest of the body?

    I mean, the character and environment rendering implies light sources, but some of the shadows don't exist. This could explain why things seem flat, there's not always an implied sense of depth from shadows.

    There seem to be shadows in cutscenes though, and action-specific scenes, and a few areas. not all though. Hmmm.
    This is going from the screenshots btw, but the same seems to be true of Texas hold-em, in it's limited viewpoint.

    Maybe I'm reading too much into this. Damn my eyes.
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    Bone is not using any CEL-shading as far as I know. From what I see when looking at the screenshots, what you mean might be way the textures are done. That was also a reason for my production value post, since it seems that bone was kept low in texturing, which I guess is partially due to time and the other reason to keep the download size small.
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    YEah, I realised it wasn't really cel-shading once I looked a little closer, but I couldn't be bothered changing my rant yet again.

    Textures and time, maybe, but there are filtering and shadowing issues. I mean, the game style really does look great. Just less relative depth-perception than I would have liked.

    Not sure that larger textures would have helped what I was talking about, but I can fully appreciate needing to keep the download size small. Still, some games have 300-400mb demos..DEMOS. I'd imagine there is room for larger downloads for online content these days.

    WHO KNOWS! until they announce more I guess, we wait with bated breath.
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    Oh, bated breath...


    Btw, Im just following your foot steps, overture...
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    It's probably not just download size. You musn't forget TellTale wants to reach a wide audience and an audience which is probably outside much of the normal gaming audience. This is true with all adventure games to some extent which is why you don't generally see an adventure game which requires pixel shaders and a DX9 compliant card to run. Generally, the hardware requirements are minimal. Bone I believe is a TnL card with 900mhz processor or a non TnL card with 1.4ghz. This would reach the vast majority of those with a computer, at least in the Western world. Even the large number of people using the integrated Intel or S3 or whatever graphics on a 4 year or older computer

    The more fancy features, textures etc you add, the higher the requirements which is not what TellTale wants. Sure it may not be HL2 quality but at least everyone can play it!

    However even with the download size, I don't think you appreciate the issue. Although some demos are 300-400mb, this is not a demo and as I said, it has a different audience from the general gamign audience. A lot of these people probably have barely broadband connections such as 256k down or even dialup. Many may also have small data caps (e.g. 1gb/month). Especially for those overseas. Large downloads will be a big turn off...

    Personally I have a A64 and 6600GT and a fast connection and a fairly large data cap so I wouldn't mind a big download (although I hate unnecessary traffic) so none of what I said really applies but still, I'm quite sure it does to a fair proportion of the likely Bone audience
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    Yeah, they can't really have real-time shadows totally worked in, as it would make everything much more processor-intensive. Although I suppose it could be an option in the system menu...

    Also, remember that Sam & Max is going to be for a more hardened adventure gamer market, and will look "grittier", so it would probably have better graphics (as "proper" gamers will have better PCs), and in a different art style.

    Telltale has also said that CSI will also show that they can do different art styles. No one would want CSI done in a cartoony Bone style, so Telltale's engine is obviously very flexible.
  • CSI will also be in First Person. Quite the impressive engine!

    And maybe tricks & techniques used in modelling those CSI actors will help make refinements to Bone's Thorn model, which many people believe hasn't quite nailed the look from the comics.
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    The Thorn is admittedly a little too cartoony for my tastes. Although Granma Ben is quite cartoony (at least at the start) the other characters are much more realistic looking. I really hope they find a way to get the characters to look a bit grittier and more realistic, especially in the later episodes.

    What I'm wondering is if the later ones will have blood... the comics stayed away from it for the most part, but there were some sections that definitely featured blood.
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    I dreamt about the new Sam & Max game tonight, and it kinda looked like the cancelled Freelance Police but with lower graphics, and it gave me a really bad feeling in my stomac.

    I'm not usually the person that cares much about graphics, but I can't forget how gorgeous Sam & Max looked in FP. If you get the graphics close to that quality (I know I ask about much), it would be great. I don't ask to copy the style, but I wouldn't mind something similar. Or different...
  • That's what your dreams are like?
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