WWE 2K14 Should Look Like This

What do you think about this video?

Lamar Dorsey: Did he have a damn cold

Dmitry Poot: god this looks like crap

RagingUtai: wwe games nowdays plays like crap, slow freaking gameplay with bugs and detection issues.

ya boy kirbeh: That cliff hang tho

Apex Prodigy: 2k16 looks better

Noah The Troll-Hunting Christian Spy (Infowarlord): Yukes is the reason WWE games suck so badly.

Slickhan: ps4 is out now and still doesnt look as good as that

Jane Ross: This is not graphics you are talking about. It's not even animation you're talking about. It's two other things - gameflow and camera work. Without the camera work, this would look WAYYYY worse. But still flow from move to move better than the current crop of games... which is where the series as a whole really falls down. It just looks so mechanical from one move to another. They have no ideas about how to improve it, as it's stayed the same all the way through, really.

They could put in the kind of micro-interruptions you see in other games, for one thing. Detect a foot too near the rope, for a move that goes further backwards? Then you have a few position adjustment animations. Interrupt at different points within a move, maybe? This is all a lot of extra work, but at the end of the day it will improve things. Bit of a brute force approach, however... and it doesn't come with any extra flash like if they say "we have 10 new DDTs!" or whatever. So thinking about the sales audience and how much they're enthralled by said flash and wow - rather than substance - reveals why these aspects have been ignored.

A more subtle investment would be in the way the animation engine works in the first place. So you have a bunch of keyframes, and the games basically smoothe between them. From the position and angle of each body part in the current keyframe, to the position and angle of each body part in the next one, across however many midframes they've timed from one keyframe to the next... using a system of basically 'counting up' from each first number to each next number, by increments (or decrements) of the difference divided by the number of midframes plus one. That's how it conventionally works.

An improvement upon this would be to also store 'momentum' information from one number to the next, and curve the smoothing between the numbers. So it's like a curved graph rather than a line-join graph, basically. A lot of the need for animation keyframes involves correcting the kind of mechanical motion that ordinary smoothing defaults to - for instance, in a simple arm punch, you'd want at least three keyframes at the apex of the punch, because the fist's position doesn't snap instantly backwards at the same rate as it sped forwards - it slows down just before the apex, lingers a little at the apex, and is dragged back to the body a little slower afterwards than full speed going back. It might not be very noticeable if you're punching at a good speed, but it is nevertheless the case - just a lot faster, that's all. All because of physics and the way energy is put into body parts and those body parts have to resist the direction they're already travelling in in order to go in a new one. By including a momentum direction as well as position and facing direction information on all body points, less keyframes would be needed to achieve this natural movement, because by using that momentum direction information, the computer can smoothe between frames more curvily, and mimic it automatically, rather than having the animator mimic it manually.

A reason that improvement may not have been invested in is the popularity of mo-cap over hand animation. Mo-cap systems tend to favour the traditional ways fighting move animation has been done because that's what they were built upon. You'd need to add conversion code to your mo-cap software in order to upgrade it to this advanced type of smoothing, with the momentum direction measurements involved. It'd be quite like writing a compression utility. In fact, that's the main reason for it. Compression utilities have mainly been used for hard disk space, and so have lost their utility somewhat in modern times. However, saving space on short-term memory - the memory that rather than being fetched and put back, is in the 'front' of the computer's 'mind' at the moment - the memory that is still very limited and relevant in modern times - is a big boon. We still get crappy animations in games that aren't such a showcase of character animation as a wrestling game might be, precisely because of this need to save space. Does Skyrim's unarmed finisher Death Valley Driver look as smooth or crisp as a WWE game's equivalent? Absolutely nowhere near. Do we mind? No, because that game has a lot more to it than just wrestling moves. But if a system could allow just as smooth an animation in a game where characters must do a lot more than just wrestle, would that look amazing and add to it? Absolutely! And so anything like this actually does have a profound effect, as subtle and unnecessary as it may at-first seem. And for a wrestling game? Why, your wrestlers could have a greater number of moves in their movesets - or a greater number of interruption and collision opportunities - or a greater number of wrestlers on-screen at once. WITH animations that look just as good as they did before. That's the key difference there.

However, that's not the best improvement I've thought up before for these types of games. The best one is for improving gameflow itself, and is the following:

So the normal way it works is: begin at keyframe, smoothe through midframes, arrive at next keyframe / this is now the current keyframe / eat, sleep, keyframe, repeat. But what if there were TWO engines figuring this out at the same time? One of them working on the current move, and one of them working on the latter half of the previous move, or the former half of the next move? And the game averaged between what results the two engines got, and displayed THAT. Now that would make a real difference!

For instance, take the following example. I perform two moves. First, I perform a front facelock. Then, I perform a vertical suplex from that front facelock (throw the arm over, lift and drop). Simple, right? Anyone who's used the WWE games' create-a-finisher feature knows how clunky that can feel, though. It's like you stop suddenly (for however short a time) on the point in-between the two moves, and it looks 'robotic' and unfluid. It's why the default vertical suplex move looks so much better than one made this way - basically, there is no 'stop point' from one part of the move to another.

But here's a thought - what if there were no 'stop points' between any part of the entire match? What if it ALL could flow together? That's what this system would achieve. The middle of any given move animation would be handled exclusively by 'engine A' which is working on the individual move animations. The end of one - and beginning of the next - would be handled exclusively by 'engine B' which is working on animations of transitions from one move to the next! Such as "starting grapple into front facelock" or "walk forward into irish whip grab" or "finish climbing the ropes into moonsault leap". Animations specifically made for transitions from one situation into another - only needing to go from the middle of the first situation to the middle of the next. And they can be a bit more generic, because many moves begin and end the same.

And then, the game would smoothe which set of animation results is gives more weighting between according to how close you are at the given moment between the beginning/end or the middle of something. Close to the middle? Take 80% of engine A and 20% of engine B, perhaps. A bit further on? 85% of engine A and 15% of engine B, now. So you get what I mean, right? This would effectively double the memory use; however, the above system to upgrade how smoothing between frames works could compensate for that. So you have a better result at roughly the same memory intensity.

A ton of initial work, sure. But once the system's in place, much less work from then-on to achieve a much better result. The game would flow a lot more like the FMV sequences of old many fans evidently (by the video I'm replying to) crave the flow of. I long to see such a system in place. Far less clunky, far more fluid; much more automated, much more memory-efficient with what it's doing. With no concern from the player - all in the background, and all they notice is that it "just looks better". On still photos? No. But in videos? Oh, most definitely!

Enhancements like these often fall by the wayside as console makers release more powerful machines and game makers just end up thinking "ah well, simpler to just wait until we have enough power to do it the old clunky way anyway, rather than trying to squeeze more power out of what we have". But the games suffer from it in ways that merely applying more power to the old ways won't achieve. Yes, you can put more keyframes in a move, or more moves on a wrestler, but you could have both if you worked smarter rather than harder - or you could've had one of them on the old system, back when you couldn't've had either. Yes, you can include more permutations and combinations of moves in order to mimic enhanced gameflow - like having double-move options and triple-move options that animate more sweetly than stringing together two or three ordinary ones - but with a better system, you wouldn't NEED that - stringing together two or three ordinary ones would end up looking like that ANYway. And so will the whole match. Which is something you won't ever achieve by only pumping in a more powerful console to your old clunky game engine, because combinations are not incremental but exponential.

I give all this away for nothing because I'd rather it sees the light of day than be worried about who thought it up. I have so many other ideas for systems functionality improvements to these games, too. So many. They really, really haven't done very much innovation with this series compared to what could've been. They haven't needed to - fans'll buy it anyway. That's part of the problem. I'm interested in the art, not the markets. That's a divergence of aims. I understand that, but I still love and long for sophistication in video games nonetheless (and adore pro wrestling and wish to see it better represented in video games, too). It's the WWE's mountaintop curse, basically - when there's no competition pushing you to greater heights, it's really difficult to know how to push yourself. With their TV products, they're somewhat managing to improve despite that. With their video games? Notsomuch. Tons of empty potential left untapped.

a800562: This guy gets too excited for garbage graphics lol.


Matthew Clark: Is it me or does Angle look like Tito Ortiz in this game?

Billy Daniels: These graphics would've been PERFECT for WWE 2K14!😎

Orlando Oropeza: those graphics look like crap idiot

raftake: This actually looks pretty dated. WWE 2K15 looks way better than this actually.

1.1.6 Unashamed: wwe2k15

TheFive8th: There's no way that's a trailer for SVR 07, it looks more like Day of Reckoning 2 or something. Looks really cool though, it'd be great if a video game could look and sound like that some day.

Logrimot: Hey 2k made it possible guy

The Good Decider: Its even better

Ulises Aramvula: Dude look at the graphics on wwe 2k15 on the xbox one looks freaking sick

Sx714xA: Wwe2k14 graphics i forgot that word in da comment below

WWE 2K14 Should Look Like This 5 out of 5

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WWE 2K14 Should Look Like This