as re the final option - I'm assuming that you're discounting efforts like D2X or DooMLeGacy to hack older games into modern environments...but are you looking specifically for self-consciously low-poly 3D games, or are you including 2D sprite games in your analysis?
I'm thinking about new, commercially-developed games that use deliberately and obviously low-poly models to create an artificial retro feel.
(There are a number of games out there today which use low-poly models to compensate for model density or world size. That's working within engine limitations, not an artistic statement.)
If that's your criteria, I'd have to go with "never" - or, more accurately, "it won't happen unless and until the games industry fundamentally changes the way they do business." Even the recent remakes of classic arcaders put out by Hasbro did everything they could to update the look to what was then the cutting edge that their casual consumer market could be reasonably expected to have. Commercial games have always been about biggerbetterfasternow since the dawn of the industry - hell, as far back as 1979 Activision was distinguishing itself by having the most complex graphics on the 2600. There's a possible exception to this trend with some of the Sim games, but even those would never have been possible without the runaway success of the biggerbetterfasternow iterations of SimCity. Or consider Sid Meyer, who basically perfected his game with Civ II - everything that's come out since has just been about packing more stuff and higher-res pictures into it.
As long as gaming is driven by the hardcore (whether it actually is or the decision makers simply assume it is makes no functional difference) retro will never be an aesthetic consideration among the major commercial manufacturers. Except perhaps as a novelty add-in after the fact of an already successful sale of a host game (ala the commercial X-Men mod for Quake - not as an example of same, but as an example of the sort of product class I'd expect it to occupy).
(edited for clarity and avatar selection)
Well, I was also thinking about things like cell shading that's shown up. As texture rendering and lighting became more realistic, people started to get deliberately non-realistic as an artistic statement. Cell shading creates the look of flat animated art though it actually requires pretty sophisticated hardware features.
I was thinking about extending the same principle to poly counts. Uck and Harlequeen pointed out Darwinia
, which looks to be along the lines I was thinking: a deliberately retro look. Agreeing with your comment, though, I don't expect this sort of thing to be more than a niche/gimmick for a few games.
...aside from not exactly being a commercial development. ;) If you're going to include hand grown games, you might as well toss in Torus Trooper
- it's rendered as vectors, but it's built from polys.
there's also another game on that site called TUMIKI Fighters that's unquestionably low polycount graphics.
Yeah... "along the lines" of what I was thinking, anyhow.
Oh, yes, and I have seen and tried Torus Trooper. Too many dang things flying around for me to figure out what the heck was going on! :)
you're overthinking it. you're the thing at the bottom. hold the ctrl key down and shoot all the other things. :)
I almost consider Katamari Damacy in this category. There's been one for GameCube where you played various simple shapes as well. Can't remember the name, tho'
i'd rather imagine KD would fall more under nic's description of engine limitation above - most games don't have to keep constant track of all of its objects on the screen at the same time. I'd imaigne that necessity imbues KD with a larger operational overhead than most other GC efforts.
granted this is all speculation, but...
Check a couple entrys back on my LJ. The technology used for Unreal3 is even better. wait till you see these guys in action! Granted Q4 looks BEUTIFULL but already they are simply using a modded DOOM3 engine. Unreal3 uses an all new graphic engine that allows models to be constructed of MILLIONS of 'polys' with minimal impact on performance. But yeah ill be gettin q4 and U3 seeing as how im a bigtime gaming geek :)
No, the creation of new games with an artificial retro look is what I'm thinking of.
I know, I know. Just joshin'.
I guess I should have read this first. :)
Good game though, would be playing it more were it not for the vampiric lifestealer WOW
Mmmmm... yeah. That's the sort of thing I was thinking of. Some of the screenshots look pretty crowded, but it does appear that they're going low-poly and custom-shaded deliberately to create an old-school Tron-ish look. Cool!
Nicodemus: Boldly predicting present trends!
There have been intentionally low-rez graphics games... often as jokes, or as web pages. I remember that someone updated Pong with lots of sparkles... but I can't remember the name of the game.
A year or so, but cel-shaded games sometimes go for that 'retro' feel sometimes too.
Yeah... I was thinking along those lines but applying the concept to polygons. Getting so high-poly that people use low-poly as an artistic statement.
I've been playing this really neat bedroom written game called Darwinia
Looks very retro.
< sings > This is your birthday song. It's not very long. < /sings >