New graphics cards flood the market every couple of months or so and promise faster and faster performance with ever increasing clock speeds and memory performance. A lot of enthusiasts clamour for the greatest in the hope that they'll be able to play the latest games with just that little bit of greater detail than the previous generation of cards.
My question to you, dear reader, is: what should we, as gamers, be doing? Why should we have to spend hundreds of ££'s on the fastest card we can buy when we know it will almost certainly be superceded by something even 'faster' in a few months time?
"Why should we have to spend hundreds of ££'s on the fastest card we can buy?"
There are several ways to look at the dilemma facing us here. One way is to point our long fingers at developers. Should we ask why developers cannot code their games in a way that means that the games look good even at lower detail levels or on older generation cards? After all, engines like the Steam engine still look stunning on pretty much any card made in the last couple of years, even when ramped down a little bit.
What I am saying is that it CAN be done, so why is it not done more? When was the last time you opened up a game and tried it out only to see a slideshow? Then when you tuned down those lovely graphics, all you were left with was Kryton facing you and a landscape that reminded you of a low-res version of the Tellie-tubbies?
"all you were left with was Kryton facing you and a landscape that reminded you of a low-res version of the Tellie-tubbies"
Developers like Crytek have an awful lot to answer for in our search for the best and most realistic video games, but they also have a lot to answer for in terms of making gamers buy the latest kit. Did we all need DX10 cards for Crysis? No, we didn't, but the kind folks at Microsoft and Crytek made sure we thought we needed em. Could Crysis have been made to look just as nice without needing you to sell some limbs to play it? I suspect so.
That said, another way to look at this is to take a sly look in the mirror. Why DO you buy the latest graphics card? Is it for the pure enjoyment of the game? Would Crysis have been half the game it was if it hadn't looked so good? A tough one to call, but the answer is no.
It looks like I've argued myself away from the first sentence on the previous paragraph....or have I? Why is it we demand games look fantastic without too much of a focus on gameplay?
Under that sexy skin, Crysis was a decent enough FPS, but it certainly didn't break any gameplay barriers (unless it was the "how low can the frames go" barrier!).
"Crysis....certainly didn't break any gameplay barriers"
The race for the biggest "E-Peen" needs to stop and gamers need to start sending a message to devs: "Give us games that look good and play well on what is out there already". Even several months after Crysis's release I was still seeing (and saying) "it's designed for hardware that doesn't even exist yet". When you step back and think about it, that makes no sense at all and is actually ludicrous, especially from a group of people oft-criticised for their lack of long term attention.
"Even several months after Crysis's release I was still seeing (and saying) "it's designed for hardware that doesn't even exist yet"."
I am picking on Crytek, but they're not the only ones. The Industry seems packed full of companies trying to make hardware manufacturers money and gamers broke. Whilst 'pushing the limits' is an excellent thing to be doing, I would far rather see the limits of game design pushed, instead of the limits of my poor ickle graphics card.
Gamers like us need to demand excellence in gameplay as well as in graphics, wrapped up in a bundle that actually uses the hardware we've got sitting inside our PC's. Developers need to start getting their coding...and their balance right.
Let us ask not what more hardware can do for our gaming, but what our gaming can do on our harware.
Agree? Disagree? Shout at me here