I have no feet and I must scream

Warning: A mini-rant about videogames is approaching, please fasten your seatbelts, say goodbye to your pet brontosaurus and hold on tight because I’m going to write a blog post on the internet while being very very angry and filled with rage and stuff.

Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one that notices these things, especially when I see the same glaring design flaw over and over and over AND OVER again.

What am I talking about? Simple: When the camera is in first person, I should be able to see my feet when I look down.

There. That’s the whole post.

*sigh* Alright, alright:

I know it’s a cosmetic issue, I know it’s almost never done for budget reasons, I know it’s a pain to make it look right. I know all of that, and yet, it keeps bothering me that apparently I’m not playing as a human being, just a floating camera with a pair of arms attached to it.

To put it in tweet size: Look down. No feet. I can see the zipper on the monster’s back. The illusion is shattered.

No amount of shaders, voxel octrees, shadow volumes, blooming, bump mapping, mipmapping or whathaveyou is going to immerse me back into the game once I can see the seams. In fact, the better quality the graphics are, the worse my anger becomes because I can’t think of a single reason why would a company spend so much money on graphics and not even consider giving the player a body.

Sure, Deus Ex suffers from an acute lack of feet (and legs for that matter), but one would expect such a shortcut from an eleven-year-old game.

No, the problem is that games that look as good as Bioshock still suffer from having a floating “camera with arms” as the player’s avatar.

And it’s just silly now.

This issue appears to be omitted in every opinion piece out there, and that unsettles me. Nobody complains about the lack of physicality of the player’s avatar, even professional game reviewers that are supposed to nitpick the sh*t out of these games.

What gives? Am I alone in this?

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2 thoughts on “I have no feet and I must scream

  1. You’re probably the first one to vocalize it, but not think it. Lol!

    Maybe it’s not simulating the avatar’s eyes but a camera strapped in front of the avatar’s face. In WoW for example, you can zoom in until u get a “first person” view. But you can’t see limbs either. If you start zooming out inch-by-inch, the minute you can see the back of your head, limbs are visible.

  2. Diego Doumecq

    Heh, yeah, that could be a possibility, but I REALLY doubt it’s true for most first person games for two reasons:
    1) If there’s an actual body there, it should cast shadows … which it never does.
    2) If you can’t actually see your own feet why the hell would you render the whole body? I mean, isn’t the job of the graphics programmer to design algorithms that don’t render what can’t be seen?
    After all, if I remember correctly, when someone hacked mirror’s edge just to add a third person camera, Faith turned out to be a pair of legs without a torso. Why? Because the torso is impossible to see at any viewing angle in that game and so, it could be entirely ignored with the player never knowing if it’s actually there or not.
    The illusion is never broken because of that, and that’s what matters to me.

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