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Old 25-08-22, 16:17   #191
michaeldt
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I don't think TR3 was necessarily ahead of its time visuals-wise, but I don't think it was lagging behind, either.

Despite the blockiness, the texture-work, visual effects and the addition of triangle polygons still made it a very nice looking game.

Where TR3 excelled imo was the creativity of its level design and environments, and that the limitations of the engine were used very imaginatively to translate these ideas into environments that in the world of TR, seemed very believable.
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Old 25-08-22, 18:08   #192
Niko Todd
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IMHO, it was the free motion and the adventure movie environment that appealed to the audience after decades of spatially limited and mostly 2D games.

Moreover, TR was ahead of it's own engine as well. Lara is a wild horse () who needs vast and open spaces. So, the game with less narrow tunnels, caves, and things to constantly bump into wins. TRIII offers a variation of that - being extended all around the globe gives the perceptual illusion of a wider space, where in reality it's just the same, but in higher quantity. You know, more but the same. The improved graphics were just a distraction. Nice one, but a distraction nonetheless.
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Old 26-08-22, 23:22   #193
Caesum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sardoc View Post
But... TR was never really about the graphics, it was about a sense of adventure.
Well I agree... And disagree...

For us fans it was definitely the adventure that hooked us in. But back in TR1 days graphics played a huge winning factor.

Remember that before TR1 we mostly had games like Ultima Underworld or The Elder Scrolls Arena. Either 2.5D or very limited 3D games that took a lot from RPG and shooter genres of the early 90s. They were all very slow in controls, not cinematic at all. Only environment looked 3D (very square based), the rest was mostly sprite based. Also remember that back then most games were rendered in software

Tomb Raider 1 combined fluidity of controls from 2D platformers with freedom of movement from 3D games. It also introduced 3D person perspective with a completely dynamic camera that moved with character as opposed to static (Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil), real time cutscenes with dynamic flybys, entirely 3D characters and hardware rendering.

Also, in the times when most dungeon crawlers were literally all about walking in square shaped corridors with same textures, Tomb Raider turned its dungeons into heavily detailed spaces that used verticality a LOT (other games didn't do that as much before '96).

So not only did Tomb Raider play well, but it also looked amazing and the performance was perfect thanks to hardware acceleration. Tomb Raider 1 really was a game changer and we seem to forget that because we don't play early 1990s games anymore.

Compared to that Tomb Raider 3 was a stale installment. By the time it was released there were other, much more advanced graphically games, especially those that were platform exclusives. Especially the grid based environment got old pretty quick as even before Tomb Raider 1 there were attempts at making more natural looking 3D environments (TES Daggerfall).

Last edited by Caesum; 26-08-22 at 23:23.
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Old 29-08-22, 15:53   #194
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...Those are the main ones. I think TR3 deserves a bit more recognition for it's raw technical proficiency.
On PlayStation, Tomb Raider III is even more impressive. Sure, YouTube is filled with long-plays full of ugly (wobbly) footage, but that's how the PS1 worked, and besides, they are playing on emulators with the resolution blown all the way to 4k whereas PS1 games were designed for 240p or 480i at best (trust me, the lack of subpixel precision wasn't a concern in old tube tellies).

Anyway, would also like to add to your list:
Adaptive dithering (makes smoke look better)
Black smoke for ammunition explosions
Coloured water per location (crystal clear in Nevada, emerald colour in India, etc.)
Grenades physics (blew me away back then, pun intended)
Superior vertex effects (lighting and reflections)
Translucent raindrops
Translucent electric current and sparks (City level)
Water particles (Aldwych, Lud's Gate)

Those are the ones burned in my memory, will have to fire it up again to see if i missed any!
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