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Why all Bethesda games and assets are so generic and ugly and boring looking ?

Frozen

Arcane
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
7,626
How do they do it? It truly is remarkable that visually all their games suck the joy out of life when you just look at them from an aesthetic perspective.

Why they cant make nothing to look cool and authentic or pretty? Even 20yo Korean MMO can make some stuff looking cute or pretty in a retarded way but never nothing in a Bethesda game.

In every fucking game all looks like just one big giant blob.

Is it just 30yo shitty outdated engine still running on DOS or lack of talent in art/programing department?

Looking at Starfield it reminds me of a bowl of porridge. All their games are monochromatic and just dreadful visually.

I would bet if you give Bethesda the coolest setting and universe ever they will make a game out of it that has a 9 to 5 accountant vision that would make you want to commit suicide. (oops they already did it!- Fallout lel)

It really is a feat to be so gross. Liking a Bethesda game is like a litmus test of knowing a person has no taste (aka-bots using Pip-Boy avatars)
 

Konjad

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Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Daggerfall had different architectures. Yes, the cities weren't spectacular because they were generated,but it still looked differently across provinces.
Morrowind had an entirely unique island. Yeah, the grasslands on the northern east were kinda generic, but that hardly makes the rest generic. Bloodlines adds another fairly unique to RPGs frozen land.
Oblivion vanilla was extremely generic, fortunately expansion added another unique land (Sheogorath it was called?)
Skyrim is generic Nordic area, shown in hundreds of games by now, so this one along with vanilla Oblivion can be considered generic.
TES: Online is like Daggerfall - multiple different provices with architectural changes, but this time they are pre-made so more unique.
 

Zarniwoop

TESTOSTERONIC As Fuck™
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Shadorwun: Hong Kong
What do you mean, all 5 the dialogues in Oblivion were extremely unique.
 

Quillon

Arcane
Joined
Dec 15, 2016
Messages
5,028
would take generic bethesda any day over eye melting purple haze TOW for instance, at least you don't need to outline items around to spot them in a bethesda game
 

Yosharian

Magister
Joined
May 28, 2018
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Hammerfell
Yeah Starfield looks painfully generic, totally agree.

Their other games have their moments, though.

Let's judge Starfield when it comes out. Too early to write it off completely.
 

luj1

You're all shills
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if ure talking about assets, all their games have a low production standard (not production VALUE)

their engines were always dogshit, and particularly programming is the worst in the industry

if ure talking about aesthetics, everything after Morrowind was painfully generic and unimaginative

Todd hated the weirdness of Morrowind because according to him it wasnt marketable, he often told Kirkbride to tone it down but he wouldn't listen (which ended up awesome)
 

Morpheus Kitami

Liturgist
Joined
May 14, 2020
Messages
2,169
If I had to guess, I'd wager there's some kind of technical issue under the hood of their engine that causes things to look off. Like there's something that they just can't fix there.
Although, thinking about it more, don't nearly all the games on the engine after Morrowind have some ugly ass visual filter applied? Like, Oblivion has bloom, Fallout 3 is green and washed out, and Skyrim has low saturation going on. I wonder if the art director on each of these games saw some film and copied what he saw without understanding why it worked in film?
 

Monocause

Arcane
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
3,644
If I had to guess, I'd wager there's some kind of technical issue under the hood of their engine that causes things to look off. Like there's something that they just can't fix there.
Although, thinking about it more, don't nearly all the games on the engine after Morrowind have some ugly ass visual filter applied? Like, Oblivion has bloom, Fallout 3 is green and washed out, and Skyrim has low saturation going on. I wonder if the art director on each of these games saw some film and copied what he saw without understanding why it worked in film?

There's no issue. Their games rely on what they call"construction kits" - basically using what in principle is an evolved form of tilesets.

This helps you to handcraft lots of areas quick, is absolutely outstanding for the modders, is probably a prerequisite to how beth games can handle multiple unique objects on the screen with physics without going insane and generally enables Bethesda to concoct huge gameworlds in a relatively short timespan - but carries obvious drawbacks as well. It introduces rigid rules to how the game works and renders, and kinda restricts what is possible aesthetically. You can sidestep these limitations, but at a significant cost. FO4 made a great leap from FO3 in the aesthetics department and yet still doesn't hold a candle to a lot of 'regular' titles - and that is because, I wager, the assets had to work within the engine and be able to be seamlessly introduced in a number of contexts; be easily reusable.

In other words, I think that the engine itself and the tileset-esque approach is a big part of what drives the art direction.

A good example is how regular buildings and building corridors are in Bethesda games. Part of what makes Bethesa interiors uncanny and weird after a while is how the dimensions become stupidly predictable. In the FO series they try to sidestep it by introducing lots of clutter which may or may not restrict your movement a bit, but overall when you've been in one building in FO4, it feels like you've been in all of them. And a lot of other assets like objects, weapons, character models etc must somehow fit aesthetically into this uncannily regular universe.

NWN1 vs NWN2 is a great analogue. So NWN1 had tilesets, was great for the modders, at the same time was extremely limited in what you could do aesthetically with the game. Then came NWN2 which added a LOT more flexibility - but also introduced bugs and made modding much, much more difficult and time-consuming.
 
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Sigourn

uooh afficionado
Joined
Feb 6, 2016
Messages
5,361
May as well create a thread that makes fun of Bethesda and its fans, because I have some juicy opinions I've seen posted around the interwebs that will make more than one Codexer seethe and I really need to share my distaste of such opinions.

OT: I think that Bethesda doesn't understand that life is full of color. Their games always look dull, and their idea of "colorful" is Fallout 4's artstyle, which makes me want to gouge my eyes in.
 

anvi

Prophet
Village Idiot
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Kelethin
Because their whole purpose on Earth is to make the shittest most basic 'game' they can, strip it down to the barest bones. Don't even bother with graphics or voice actors or bug fixing or developing any decent gameplay. Just release a piece of shit that was cheap and easy to make, and then it will sell 22 million copies. Now you are hailed as the greatest business minds in history. Turning shit to gold. Goldenboy Todd and his team of cost cutting professionals.
 

CHIN00K

Literate
Joined
Jun 11, 2022
Messages
10
Maybe it's their intent to create a dreary and grim atmosphere? I'll take that over rainbow vomit look with quippy sarcastic humor featured in so many games recently.
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2017
Messages
2,890
I'd chalk it up to how they model things, because Oblivion and Skyrim have better looking concept art than what makes it into the final game. The character of basically everything gets sucked out in the jump from concept art to in-game model in Bethesda games. You look at something like the Chorrol Mage Guild in the Oblivion concept art compared to what's in the game and they're kind of similar; but in the concept art it's got this high spindly steeple like pointed roof, and this big round window, (in-game there's a big round window too, but it's also smaller than the concept art one) and then in game it kind of just looks like a normal house. Like the concept art looks like what it was meant to look like, and then the actual in-game version looks like someone tried to recreate that design in The Sims but The Sims didn't offer enough to allow a one-to-one recreation.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Because their whole purpose on Earth is to make the shittest most basic 'game' they can, strip it down to the barest bones. Don't even bother with graphics or voice actors or bug fixing or developing any decent gameplay. Just release a piece of shit that was cheap and easy to make, and then it will sell 22 million copies. Now you are hailed as the greatest business minds in history. Turning shit to gold. Goldenboy Todd and his team of cost cutting professionals.

But they do bother with graphics. In the run up to its release, and at least for a while on release, Oblivion was thought of as a good looking game. It's just also a game that visually has aged like milk left outside on a hot humid summer day. A reason they were probably more interested in showing off pictures of their games instead of videos in the past is because their animations have always been pretty shitty, but on release their stuff is largely seen as good looking. Now I would disagree with their games looking good, but people generally seem to like how their games looked when they first come out.
 

Robotigan

Learned
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Jan 18, 2022
Messages
235
There's no issue. Their games rely on what they call"construction kits" - basically using what in principle is an evolved form of tilesets.
I found their GDC Conference on modular level design be fascinating. It's a really cool programming problem to think about:


It's stuff like this that has me really intrigued to see what they do with procedural generation in Starfield. They've doubtlessly come up with some new dev tools for building huge planetary worlds.
 
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Funposter

Magister
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Oct 19, 2018
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Australia
I'd chalk it up to how they model things, because Oblivion and Skyrim have better looking concept art than what makes it into the final game.
Find me a game where this isn't the case tbh. Concept artists aren't bound by deadlines or the limitations of working in a playable space in the same way that the 3D guys are.
 

Kev Inkline

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A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Granted I haven't played much Bethesda's games besides Wayne Gretzky Hockey and F3, but I think it's the character models more than the general style. Seeing the Starfield demo gameplay, it struck me how ugly the characters were. A generic environment is not that much of a distraction to me, but a horde of butt-ugly butterfaces surely is.
 

Orud

Learned
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Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut
The engine has nothing to do with it, it's simply the way they decided to setup their development pipeline and art-direction.
 
Unwanted
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Jan 14, 2018
Messages
50,711
Codex Year of the Donut
Granted I haven't played much Bethesda's games besides Wayne Gretzky Hockey and F3, but I think it's the character models more than the general style. Seeing the Starfield demo gameplay, it struck me how ugly the characters were. A generic environment is not that much of a distraction to me, but a horde of butt-ugly butterfaces surely is.
They actually seem like a downgrade from FO4, which was their first game in years with characters that mostly didn't look terrible.
 

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