Bioshock

I’m playing Bioshock on the Xbox 360 (which doesn’t seem to have any of the issues PC users are reporting regarding stability), and I’m loving it, but it does have its flaws.

I think the main flaw I have with it, and this is probably just misplaced expectations, is the quality of the graphics.

For all the hype about how great the Xbox 360 and this generation of games is, there are still limits to the algorithms we use for some things, and one of them is water. When you build a game in an underground city, you’ve got to expect to see a lot of water.

Unfortunately sometimes they end up doing the waterfall-as-a-texture-on-a-polygon trick where you walk beside it and you see an incredibly thin view of the waterfall. And although everything looks incredible when you’re standing in the middle of a room, walk right up to a wall and look at the textures and sometimes, they’re obviously blotchy or scaled up a lot.

I’m not blaming Bioshock at all – this is as good as it gets on the 360 (or the PS3 for that matter), and it’s probably as good as it gets on the PC as well.

The problem is we’re using graphics technology where everything you see is based on triangles, not on solid volumes. Everything you see in any game you’re playing is a 2d image mapped onto a 3d surface. This is why you see things like smoke clouds clipping at walls instead of doing something to seemingly wrap around the wall. You can fake it with triangles, but it’s hard and maybe processors still just aren’t fast enough to do it in real time.

I hope we don’t start the *next* generation of consoles until we’ve come up with some new ways of rendering. Raytracing hardware acceleration, perhaps?