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Recommended Display Settings for Optimal Gameplay Realism?

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  12:48:57  4 June 2007
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FredericErk
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On forum: 06/04/2007
Messages: 6
Recommended Display Settings for Optimal Gameplay Realism?

I am playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. on a calibrated display and it makes a huge difference in terms of gameplay difficulty and realism. In general it is assumed that games are developed

_ for 9300° K colour temperature, i.e. for CAD or gamers favouring high contrast and vivid colours, or alternatively for
_ for sRGB

High-end and mid-range displays provide for sRGB presets, as well as default 9300°K. I have found both settings disappointing for gameplay, because shadows are unrealistic and colours too bright.

Calibrating a display with ColorEyes (or basICColor display) will ensure that your display will be coherent with sRGB at D65, and playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. at this setting is a whole new experience. Shadows are deep, and you must reconsider all your tactics accordingly.

Hence my question: what is the recommended display setting for playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. "realistically"?

Best regards
Frederic
  14:18:26  5 June 2007
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FredericErk
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On forum: 06/04/2007
Messages: 6
More about Colors and Realism

I understand that my question may appear sterile, if not irrelevant, but I believe that developers should consider this issue, and not only during the development phase.

Stanley Kubrick and Akira Kurosawa went to great lenght to ensure that their work would appear in accordance with their qualitative objectives and requirements.

It is quite evident that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developers have taken any and all measures to ensure that their work would appear extremely appealing to the public.

The problem is that beyond the debate of performance in terms of frames per second there is far less emphasis on the aspect of visual rendering, even if ATI or nVIDIA boast upon their respective flagship visual capabilities.

I understand that some developers would hesitate pointing out a specific technology in order to avoid business retaliation and respective fanatics crying for such a technical bravado.

One truly crucial aspect to graphics is the rendering of colours. Playing a game like HALO or S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with badly calibrated displays will eventually diminish the realism and even the intensity of the gaming experience.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is thriving on exceptional outdoor environmental graphics, and a good part of the game is played in conditions of low visibility. I think that the developers should definitely issue a kind of set of regulations to promote correct colours and shadows.

In multiplayer it is very difficult to ensure that everyone is following this set of rules, because really deep shadows would favour infiltration, but nonetheless I think that the real aficionado would appreciate to know that yes, his representation of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is correct according to the developers' wishes.

Best regards,
Frederic
  19:16:43  5 June 2007
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On forum: 05/30/2007
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There are so many gfx tweaks available for STALKER, and MODs that change lighting, shaders and such that I don't think default recommended color and brightness levels would stand long.
By default, I found the game a little to bland for my liking (something reviewers pinpointed), even though it makes sense in a post-apocalyptic environement. I also found nights too bright. I tweaked all these settings in my user.ltx file, but they wouldn't necessarily appeal to others.
  19:42:37  6 June 2007
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FredericErk
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On forum: 06/04/2007
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---QUOTATION---
There are so many gfx tweaks available for STALKER, and MODs that change lighting, shaders and such that I don't think default recommended color and brightness levels would stand long.
By default, I found the game a little to bland for my liking (something reviewers pinpointed), even though it makes sense in a post-apocalyptic environement. I also found nights too bright. I tweaked all these settings in my user.ltx file, but they wouldn't necessarily appeal to others.
---END QUOTATION---



Graphic tweaks and mods engage the creativity of their respective authors, and has by essence little to do with the original software. Thus I think that your point is somewhat misleading and does not justify the lack of color guidance.

Now regarding hardware there are colour presets for specific activities, like photography or CAD, and why not for gaming? Graphic designers are colour litterate and know how to make graphics according to the expected hardware rendering.

Calibrating the display to D65 with sRGB will literally transform the way you are playing the game. At this setting my CRT will achieve dE of 0,19 with 90 cd/m2 and 1:890. Colors are bright and shadows really deep. You cannot fight without infra-red or similar equipment. AI eventually provides realistic reaction time, according to graphic environment.

At 9300 K it is another story.

Best regards,
Frederic.
  20:20:21  6 June 2007
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On forum: 05/30/2007
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---QUOTATION---

Now regarding hardware there are colour presets for specific activities, like photography or CAD, and why not for gaming? Graphic designers are colour litterate and know how to make graphics according to the expected hardware rendering.


---END QUOTATION---


I understand your point, working in the digital graphic industry myself, although my knowledge about color calibration is way beyond yours. But just to add to the discussion, if we consider all the layers that have an impact on color rendering from game designing to actual rendering on a user display, it would be an unworthy effort in my opinion, unless their target audience would mainly be people who care about these details (like people in CAD). Let's say that all their production process is normalized during all layers, end user still have different types of dispays, adjustments, graphic cards, drivers, etc. However, I do hope game developpers calibrate on a wide range of hardware and find an acceptable compromize.
  22:17:31  6 June 2007
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On forum: 05/30/2007
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Still to add to the discussion, it wouldn't be a bad idea though to provide gamers with a basic wizard-like calibration tool to at least ensure we get the correct brightness and color balance levels. I remember seeing something about brightness calibration in a game (FEAR ?, I'm not sure).
'Cause like I said, nights are too bright for my liking in STALKER. Is it on purpose, is it my display ? At least with such a basic calibration tool we would experience the game closer to the vision of the developpers. But GSC are not even consistent with themselves. Just take their promo pics... They boosted HDR, lighting, gloss, etc. to give an edge to the game. Marketing purposes probably... but stilll...
  11:43:04  7 June 2007
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FredericErk
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On forum: 06/04/2007
 

Message edited by:
FredericErk
06/07/2007 11:44:49
Messages: 6

---QUOTATION---

I understand your point, working in the digital graphic industry myself, although my knowledge about color calibration is way beyond yours.
---END QUOTATION---



Could you please elaborate on this rather wild assumption of yours? I have used Color Eyes preset with X-Rite DTP94 for multi media and web creative content. If you have another approach, I would be glad to hear about it, without entering into a personal debate of competence or conversely, of incompetence.

My professional experience with colour calibration is founded on the development of a PC simulation, and as a "tank diver" in many museums worldwide.

Again I am always happy to learn, but please spare me with such derogatory remarks, which are useless. Competence is demonstrated by acts, not words.

Best regards
Frederic
  13:19:27  7 June 2007
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On forum: 05/30/2007
Messages: 402

---QUOTATION---

I understand your point, working in the digital graphic industry myself, although my knowledge about color calibration is way beyond yours.

Could you please elaborate on this rather wild assumption of yours? I have used Color Eyes preset with X-Rite DTP94 for multi media and web creative content. If you have another approach, I would be glad to hear about it, without entering into a personal debate of competence or conversely, of incompetence.

My professional experience with colour calibration is founded on the development of a PC simulation, and as a "tank diver" in many museums worldwide.

Again I am always happy to learn, but please spare me with such derogatory remarks, which are useless. Competence is demonstrated by acts, not words.

Best regards
Frederic
---END QUOTATION---



LOL! I was totally jawdropped, wondering why your post was so rude to me while I'm just trying to discuss. "my knowledge about color calibration is way beyond yours" should have read "my knowledge about color calibration is way below yours".
I'm just a bit familiar with the tech specs you're sporting here, obviously. I'm just talking common sense. I'm sorry if I upset you. It was a mere typo, never meant to undermine your expertise.
  16:47:04  7 June 2007
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FredericErk
(Novice)
 
On forum: 06/04/2007
Messages: 6
More about Enhancing the Visual Experience of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.


---QUOTATION---

I'm sorry if I upset you. It was a mere typo, never meant to undermine your expertise.
---END QUOTATION---



Please accept my humble apologies if I did upset you, because I was! Forums are a great tool for exchanging information, but my experience with them is quite mixed. It is quite a tribute for S.T.A.L.K.E.R to have me quit from my forum "retirement" period, this being said candidly.

Thank you for sharing your thought about a basic tool for calibrating displays. I did toy around with the nVidia color checker, which is delivered in the Forceware package and the result was not conclusive to me, when I tested the settings on a GeForce FX5950 Ultra, which is known for its excellent analog output.

It is true that colorimeters are quite expensive, but I believe that the recent trend and drop in price make them really attractive to the enthusiast gamer with some cash to spend.

For your information you can buy the X-Rite DTP94 and basiCColor Display 4 for about 280 EUR, if not less.

This being said, it would be nice to be able to illustrate this graphical difference, because a visual example would be more telling than mere words.

For example on a calibrated display shadows are so deep that playing the night period in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. becomes a real challenge. I understood why some NPC reacted so strange to visual detection, as I could approach them by the side without being detected. You really need to get a suit with I.R. capabilities.

The advantage of calibration over mere luminosity setting on your display is that a preset for multimedia content will provide good luminosity and contrast, while preserving color balance. This translates into realistic and vivid day light colors, while shadows remain deep.

I am not sure, though, about the desired settings used by S.T.A.L.K.E.R. graphists, so that I may be quite wrong about the preset I am using.

It would be nice also to know if other S.T.A.L.K.E.R aficionados would be interested by this experiment.

Best regards
Frederic
  18:42:33  7 June 2007
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Savat
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On forum: 05/30/2007
Messages: 402

---QUOTATION---

For your information you can buy the X-Rite DTP94 and basiCColor Display 4 for about 280 EUR, if not less.

---END QUOTATION---



Those, plus a few others I don't recall showed in my search results when I was shopping for a calibration tool. My screen on my lappy is really bad and I was trying to get the most out of it. I tried one, Spyder or something if I recall, and it didn't make things better. My lappy screen didn't have the potential : white wouldn't look white, black was even worse. My new 22'' is good for my home needs though.
Moreover, I find these calibrating tools quite expensive for home usage. At work, we rely on the old Adobe Gamma tool, which is better than nothing. We had negative experience with quite calibrated material on screen, but totally screwed up by the printing shop. For applications, we try to find a compromise in between a range of uncalibrated displays, since our applications are targetted at Mr. Everybody.

May I make use of your vast knowledge and ask you what you recommend for home theater display ? The only thing I found is made by Avia. I tried it and it looks quite dated. It was made in 98-99. Plasma and LCD weren't really there then. Perhaps there's a way to get the most out of them, or perhaps this tool is still actual. Their color settings are very limited (I'm referring to wide commerical release products like Sony Bravia, Panasonic Viera, etc)

Best regards
 
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