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Why Capcom will not go back to pre-rendered backgrounds

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  • Why Capcom will not go back to pre-rendered backgrounds

    Back in the late '90s Resident Evil 2&3 had some of the best rendered backgrounds in video games. REmake and Resident Evil 0 had risen the bar to the max with their photo realistic and full-motion-video environments.

    And after that the era of real-time polygonal 3D has come. Nothing against it. But it pains me a little to see how much of potential is not used with current technology being able to deliver crispy clear HD visuals.

    It did take a lot of effort and talent back in a day to come up with all that atmospheric scenery, and surely would take a lot more to render it in high resolution today, but I think if they wanted to they surely could do it. Probably the amount of work would equal to creating a full CGI motion picture ala Biohazard Degeneration, but once again if Capcom gave it a go - they could definitely put a budget and man power into production of such project.

    So why not? My guess is that it's too risky for them. By today's standards an action-adventure game should have a fully 3D engine with as much freedom of exploration and movement as possible. Basically this is what [majority of] gamers want and this is what sells. Maybe Capcom thinks that players will be scared off by fixed camera angles and no 'over the shoulder' view. Maybe.

    It would be interesting to see what others think on the subject.
    Does anyone miss pre-rendered BGs?
    Can we hope for an HD re-release of REmake & RE0 Collection on current consoles?
    What if Capcom remade RE2&3 - would you want to see them in full 3D or with HD animated/pre-rendered like in Resident Evil 0?
    Last edited by MiLØ; 06-23-2012, 07:16 PM.

  • #2
    Fair enough. I'd welcome the return of classic elements, but I'm coming to the realization it'll likely never return. Revelations was Capcom's game for the old school fans, and it shows what Capcom considers a return to form in contrast to the new games.

    At this rate you just have to accept Capcom's decision and hope the game for all it aims to accomplish, turns out well. There's a lot of scarier games to play. But there's also much worse out there than what they have to offer.

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    • #3
      We don't live in the 90s anymore.
      PROJECT Umbrella - The BIOHAZARD/RESIDENT EVIL Compendium

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      • #4
        http://www.cgtantra.com/index.php?op...=203&Itemid=33

        Current generation games use some tricks, knows as Normal mapping, Displacement mapping and others, if you look at the wireframes:



        Is not that highpoly, but when all the textures are applied:



        To create some normal maps you have to use an extremely highpoly mesh to then transfer the details to a model that can be used ingame.


        For me it looks more expensive to do modern games than render a static picture, and if you take a look at the Resident Evil 3 wireframes you can see that the models have almost the same amount of geometry (expect the objects like cars that need to be more smooth), but for the environment there's no much difference.

        The static cameras and the prerendered backgrounds with BH crated a genre, like Metal Gear on the MSX, the limitations sometimes make you do smart things, but with the more demand of action by the CoD addicted transformed BH in a FPS, the funny thing is that the tank controls (which I like) have being ported to BH4 and 5, where the full 3D make them look like you are controlling a tank, the people hated this kind of controls on the old games, but with the new one they enjoyed playing with, LOL.

        We will not see them ever, except for some point and click adventure.

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        • #5
          I'd be interested in seeing what method Mikami uses on Project Zwei. Prerendered really is wonderful in some ways because it allows the majority of a system's power to be focused on higher quality models and characters and much better lighting.

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          • #6
            They won't go back for a simple reason:
            Pre-Rendered Graphics were a good way of increasing old-gen graphics.
            We're not in the old generation anymore, graphics got better, Pre-Rendered Graphics today is something pointless.

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            • #7
              ^What he says. We don't use them because we don't need them anymore.

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              • #8
                Going off what SonicBlue said, and some others, the advent of higher resolutions (and they'll get even higher) meant that developers could get the detail and quality they wanted in a 3D environment. As has been mentioned, pre-rendered backgrounds were a "trick" used to make the backgrounds in a game more detailed than 3D would normally allow on that console platform. On that same note, polygons don't have a "resolution", it truly was the ability of new consoles to render things at higher resolutions that created the illusion of more detailed or complex environments. Even with a relatively low polygon count, you could get some great, detailed and realistic looking backgrounds utilizing high resolution textures.

                Vagrant Story, for the Playstation, still looks amazing today. Low-poly count, but great textures. Imagine if it were true HD:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L6W3u1nGPw

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by alinhoalisson View Post
                  They won't go back for a simple reason:
                  Pre-Rendered Graphics were a good way of increasing old-gen graphics.
                  We're not in the old generation anymore, graphics got better, Pre-Rendered Graphics today is something pointless.
                  That's like saying we didn't need them post-PS1. Prerendered is useful because whatever point you're at with graphics on a system, prerendered can jump that gap by arguably another generation. Think of the backgrounds of the Playstation Resident Evil and Dino Crisis games; you would have been lucky to have games looking that good in realtime on the Playstation 2. The same for REmake/Zero; you'd be lucky to get a game that looked that good in realtime on the current gen systems. Consider, for example, how outstanding REmake still looks ten years later compared to the impressive by atmospherically lacking Resident Evil 5 Lost in Nightmares DLC, even with the bonus placed camera mode. Prerendered allows for an almost infinite amount of detail strewn about spaces, something that just isn't viably possible in realtime without diverting a ton of system power to what can be boiled down as atmosphere and set dressing, never mind the fact that consoles are usually stuck with limited RAM space that will always reduce your texture quality to a disappointing level that, while at the time may not be super noticable, with age will always stand out. Anyone who has played the Outbreak games recently or Code: Veronica HD will know what I'm talking about. The textures are the most damning thing that has aged in those games.

                  That's the reason I think prerendered backgrounds in some games should make a resurgence, because atmosphere and graphics matter hugely in horror games. There's nothing worse than seeing something in a game that completely breaks the immersion, which is why REmake is possibly still the king of survival horror. If you can't drape your horror game in a thick atmosphere, then you've failed. That's why REmake succeeds; the visuals are so perfectly cohesive with the experience of the player that it draws you into and keeps you in that world. It's also why the most common "classic trope of horror games", emulating film by using forced camera angles, was so effective.

                  Not to say there haven't been recent examples of real time horror games that have done atmosphere well; both Amnesia and Alan Wake instantly come to mind, but they're aiming for different goals than what classic Resident Evil and Mikami were always aiming for. That's why when I hear he's returning to horror, I pray he goes prerendered. Given the current cycles, I imagine he could get the backgrounds to borderline photorealistic, and that just makes my desire to be sucked into a horror game again go wild.
                  Last edited by randomwab; 06-23-2012, 06:16 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Of course the Silent Hill games were just as successful (IMO) in creating a tense atmosphere, and those games didn't use pre-rendered backgrounds. It's really up to the developer, what they want, and how they use it, so to speak. The atmosphere in RE5 was probably the most damning thing about it, there just wasn't any. It was entirely too bland and pardon the pun, lifeless.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by randomwab View Post
                      That's like saying we didn't need them post-PS1. Prerendered is useful because whatever point you're at with graphics on a system, prerendered can jump that gap by arguably another generation. Think of the backgrounds of the Playstation Resident Evil and Dino Crisis games; you would have been lucky to have games looking that good in realtime on the Playstation 2. The same for REmake/Zero; you'd be lucky to get a game that looked that good in realtime on the current gen systems. Consider, for example, how outstanding REmake still looks ten years later compared to the impressive by atmospherically lacking Resident Evil 5 Lost in Nightmares DLC, even with the bonus placed camera mode. Prerendered allows for an almost infinite amount of detail strewn about spaces, something that just isn't viably possible in realtime without diverting a ton of system power to what can be boiled down as atmosphere and set dressing, never mind the fact that consoles are usually stuck with limited RAM space that will always reduce your texture quality to a disappointing level that, while at the time may not be super noticable, with age will always stand out. Anyone who has played the Outbreak games recently or Code: Veronica HD will know what I'm talking about. The textures are the most damning thing that has aged in those games.

                      That's the reason I think prerendered backgrounds in some games should make a resurgence, because atmosphere and graphics matter hugely in horror games. There's nothing worse than seeing something in a game that completely breaks the immersion, which is why REmake is possibly still the king of survival horror. If you can't drape your horror game in a thick atmosphere, then you've failed. That's why REmake succeeds; the visuals are so perfectly cohesive with the experience of the player that it draws you into and keeps you in that world. It's also why the most common "classic trope of horror games", emulating film by using forced camera angles, was so effective.

                      Not to say there haven't been recent examples of real time horror games that have done atmosphere well; both Amnesia and Alan Wake instantly come to mind, but they're aiming for different goals than what classic Resident Evil and Mikami were always aiming for. That's why when I hear he's returning to horror, I pray he goes prerendered. Given the current cycles, I imagine he could get the backgrounds to borderline photorealistic, and that just makes my desire to be sucked into a horror game again go wild.
                      Man, my point is:
                      The graphics got so good that Pre-Rendered stuff is not so useful anymore.
                      It would make the game look better? Yes, but it wouldn't be THAT better.
                      When you have other elements like camera movement and gameplay, the pre-rendered graphics could interfere.
                      Last edited by ; 06-24-2012, 02:47 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Maybe it's just me, but REmake's backgrounds actually look better than some PS3 level scenes of today. As much as I would like pre-rendered backgrounds to come back, they most likely won't.

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                        • #13
                          I would like to see pre-rendered backgrounds make a return in some game, in higher resolution Remake would be just as stunning as it was back when it was released. Has any of you guys played or watched Remake on the emulator and noticed things you didn't before thanks to the upscaling of the game? I sure did.

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                          • #14
                            I still rate, and defend it to this very day, that REmake is one of the best looking video games of all time. That game looks absolutely phenomenal. If those backgrounds were remastered in HD, with HD models, I stagger to think how good that game could look. With current HD tech, we could easily embrace a pre-rendered HD game, and it would look absolutely fucking amazing.
                            http://www.projectumbrella.net The BIOHAZARD/RESIDENT EVIL Compendium
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                            Review and contributor for www.thexbutton.co.uk

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                            • #15
                              Looking better than some PS3 games? I would say all together. Do not forget that they have been created between 2001-2002-ish and you are looking at them in 2012. Then take a look what renderers like V-Ray, Mental Ray and so can achieve.
                              I would love to see a game done that way. It would not really need that much computational power either, and maybe you could stream some sweet animations in. But that would likely need a BluRay so 360 and wii are out per say.
                              Last edited by anaho; 06-24-2012, 08:42 PM.

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