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Modernist vs Romantic/Classicist 3D presentation

Modernist vs Romantic/Classicist 3D presentation
« on: July 22, 2015, 10:50:34 pm »

I don't like to talk about art theory, and I'm not good with names.

I have a classicist background in drawing. Not production art, I don't have the patience, but very quick and very classical sculpture like concept art, with mechanical pencil, mind's eye to paper, kind of like fashion drawing only with a minimalist's attention to detail, and markers for coloring.

What I mean to say is I'm very sympathetic to classicist/romantic art. But I'm not sure it's the best fit for videogames right now, or even in general, in the long term. The thread that I see running through modern art, is the question, of is this form or that form truly of esthetic value, or is it merely of sentimental value? And can we comprehend anything in purely esthetic terms or not?

I feel like modernism is a perfect fit for 3D games, for two reasons:

1) it's much more practical to make games with a modernist esthetic. This requires only simple low polygon models with rudimentary textures. Sometimes there is sheer joy in just seeing how abstract you can possibly take things. Great for rapid prototyping (asks people to make esthetic value judgements that reflect on our primitive instincts: more "graphics" please?)

2) for me I can't help anthropomorphizing my electronics. I feel like ultra realistic graphics, which are almost required for non-modernist art styles is cruel to my electronics. It requires lots of heat, every frame, lots of processing power, lots of everything, it just feels like the height of extravagance, and I'm not sure it would feel any different if every ounce of electricity was converted from sunlight right outside my door, or if the computer were passively cooled, or computed with pure light not generating heat. I could rationalize this but not being born of an age of abundance it would still feel extravagant, and I'm not extravagant by nature in the slightest. It just feels like a wrong fit to me. Inelegant.

(edited: and of course it also requires expensive electronics. I expect that most computers in the United States are not capable of playing PC games with baseline graphics. Still all new computers have integrated graphics that can technically do everything that a GPU card is able to do. But they are just optimized for HD video playback and window compositing. It seems to me like department stores only sell this kind of PC. Best Buy probably still sells gaming PCs/GPU cards.)

Realism dominates film, but that's because its functionally photography, so realism is easiest (and I think a lot of film can just be boiled down to fascination with the actors themselves, or how we see ourselves in their chance micro-behaviors.) Film loves to revel in animation, and any kind of non-realistic style they can, but it's cost prohibitive and not practical. Japan has made an art form of this in anime, the most utilitarian form of animation. Yes it's still back breaking animation, but it's special effects budget is flat, infinite even, and that gives it a niche.

Mediums have strengths and weaknesses, and at this time in history when video games so desperately need to get off the ground, and we need all hands on deck, I think it's even irresponsible to promote so thoughtlessly an esthetic style that is realistically not attainable by most people who might be able to make really brilliant 3D games.

We should come to appreciate the modernist style above all else, and then only then, treat ourselves to a bit of extravagance now and then, opting for that plain old "realistic" presentation setting. The setting that we take for granted every waking hour it is unfolding all around us.

Thoughts? Impossible beauty standards. What do you think?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2015, 11:31:08 pm by Mick P. »
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Re: Modernist vs Romantic/Classicist 3D presentation
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 05:10:05 pm »

I'm interested in experiencing realistic sensations through games. But they don't need to be visual. Maybe we should think more of dance and architecture and less of film or even literature. More than any other medium, games are about feelings, visceral effects, presence, immersion. As such the closest analog might in fact be poetry. And then I agree: let's abandon the ubiquitous classic epic poem in favor of modernist colleague and experimentation with language.
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Re: Modernist vs Romantic/Classicist 3D presentation
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2015, 06:05:57 pm »

I feel like story forms the backbone or skeleton of just about anything that is going to have a lasting impact on society at large.

You can look at a project like Proteus. I think that's a good name for it, because it looks like a wonderful platform for making worlds that are alive, and it's protean in the sense that it's only a hint of what's to come. But for me the power of a tool like Proteus is to adorn the skeleton of a story. And if there is no story, it's aimless, and all of the atmosphere in the world is directionless and almost pointless.

Dances that people watch tend to have an embedded story, same for most music and opera. Architecture is a little bit too elite an artform. I'd rather think about sculpture and landscapes. But at least videogames provide a way to experience architecture outside of the public squares. Anyway. I'd definitely describe Proteus as modernist. There isn't a medium that is such a natural fit for modernist exploration, that I consider it a crime to not explore that. I think we'd feel a lot more liberated if the artistic style was decoupled from the production, because you can do that with digital media very easily. You just have to get yourself out of the lone artist sitting in a corner mindset.
Re: Modernist vs Romantic/Classicist 3D presentation
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2015, 02:36:44 pm »

As such the closest analog might in fact be poetry. And then I agree: let's abandon the ubiquitous classic epic poem in favor of modernist colleague and experimentation with language.

I do think of some games as decorated poems (where the decoration stands on equal or greater foot to the poem). So I was drowsily nodding along with this, but then you said abandon classic epic poems and I had to spit out my coffee in shock.
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Re: Modernist vs Romantic/Classicist 3D presentation
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2015, 07:06:53 pm »

As such the closest analog might in fact be poetry. And then I agree: let's abandon the ubiquitous classic epic poem in favor of modernist colleague and experimentation with language.

I do think of some games as decorated poems (where the decoration stands on equal or greater foot to the poem). So I was drowsily nodding along with this, but then you said abandon classic epic poems and I had to spit out my coffee in shock.

I'm just going to take a guess and presume Michael is alluding to the (ubiquitous) "epic" video game program. It should be abandoned, but I'd personally liken the appropriate form of abandonment to training wheels.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 07:09:35 pm by Mick P. »
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