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New Adventures In Hi-Fi: Some Screenshots

The Art Of Fancy Screenshots

This is the latest in the series of articles about the art technology of games, in collaboration with the particularly handsome Dead End Thrills.

Games move pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss them. The pretties this week come courtesy not of a particular game, nor indeed me, but of the Dead End Thrills Flickr group, a caravan of some 500+ 'players' who spend more time stopping games and looking around than they do actually playing. The times we live in.

With some 11,000 images in there, I wasn't sure how best to approach this. (Drunk, obviously, but how badly?) I've gone for the easy option: a round-up of games and/or users that stood out over the last few weeks. What you'll often find is that wrangling games into 'screenshot mode' has knock-on benefits for any PC gamer, so let's see if that holds true.

Because this is in part a thank-you to all the people taking part in the group, I'm going to link to profiles and Flickr pages wherever possible. Oh, and the title image is from 2003's Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, via group member Mr Roderick.

PixieGirl4's Mirror's Edge Bulge-Shots

I'm a bit ambivalent to these post-assembled panoramas and the like because the gimmick tends to obscure the subject, and you can only enjoy looking through a fun house mirror so often. What makes Joanne Harper's worthwhile is that she finds compositions that work specifically in this format.

Battlefield 3:4

The man known as jim2point0, who pops up seemingly everywhere in his pursuit of ultimate image quality, has the Battlefield 4 beta in his sights. If the Mirror's Edge 2 teaser at E3 showed a DICE that's still partial to a bit of the ol' lukewarm colour-grading, maybe Jim's black-and-white take (achieved using art sledgehammer SweetFX) is a glimpse of the future. I'd actually sooner have that than some of the 'realistic' colour mods inflicted upon Battlefield 3. Sheesh.

But what's this? It appears I can have a mono-fied Battlefield 3, and not just soon but right now via Josh Taylor. Josh is a man in permanent danger of being expelled from the Dead End Thrills group for using his goddamn cameraphone to take the shots. This fakey-shakycam look, though, makes we wonder if a game - doesn't have to be a war game - would ever dare adopt it for more than the occasional cutscene. If you like these then definitely check out his full set, as he doesn't do these things by halves.

Some bonus BF3 beautays from nbnt:

Dishonored: Framed!

So lovely they were spotted and RT'd by game designer Harvey Smith - what isn't, eh? - here are some of Stuartw_'s (that was awkward) portraits, and indeed portraits within portraits, of Dishonored and its DLC. This game has the best tobacco smoke. For those intrigued by the idea of capturing this and many other games at a stupendous 8K resolution, check out Stein3x's adventures with the apps SoftTH and D3D Looking Glass.

Park And Ride

Star Citizen's hangar module is a bittersweet taster that makes you think about all that could have been had CryEngine been more prolific. (Oh yeah, and Lichdom.) On the surface it's just a showroom for your astonishingly expensive new spaceship/s, but what it shows off even better is POV. The in-body experience as you lie in your cot and swivel in your chair - and this is very much a cot and swivel-chair simulator right now, with optional flight-stick fondling - is Riddick-good already.

Luckily for those who can't afford gaming's answer to a Virgin Galactic flight, you can unlock the entire thing through basic XML tweaking. That's all the ships and hangars for all the pledge tiers - the assets are all there in whatever pack you download - plus a little diddy cart you can't drive. The devs seem quite happy with this tinkering, too, as it's purely client-side and doesn't 'boost' your purchased account.

The shots here by Midhras, taken in the region of 4K resolution, show off some of the lighting setups at work in the hangars, in perhaps the first DX11-only, 64bit triple-A PC game. The aliasing, though, which dammit he's managed to avoid, is not so futuristic.

World In Crysis

When he's not fine-tuning a cinematic ENB series mod or producing the best Fallout shots ever under his other alias, Trillville, Anthemios likes to make CryEngine sing. What a sombre piece it can be, though. What I love about his stuff is that it doesn't panic over impact, but prefers bleak and soulful scenes that demand a closer look.

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