The Eyes Have It

We all know how important eye contact is in real life, but how important is it in video games? Specifically, in video games that place human characters and interactions front and center? As I came to realize while writing up this post for United We Game, it matters quite a bit. This isn’t to say that meaningful dialogue and gestures don’t go a long way in helping us connect to these characters. But the eyes are windows to the soul, and when a character’s eyes “speak,” it can make all the difference between just playing a game and really engaging with it.

United We Game

Image by Flickr user Javier Domínguez FerreiroImage by Flickr user Javier Domínguez Ferreiro

A few weeks back I listened to a discussion on a “brand name” gaming site about the extreme (and wonderful) progression of graphics in games since the beginning of the last generation.  A good portion of the discussion centered around character animation and just how realistic-looking people, animals, and other moving elements in games have become over the past decade or so. During the conversation, one person made a passing remark conceding that though facial animations had so greatly improved as technology improved, to him most game characters still seemed “blank,” and it was all because of their eyes.

I dwelled on this point for a moment and I thought, “Really? Eyes?? Trivial. Facial animations in games have become so much better than ever, and a real person’s eyes can only say so much.” And I moved on as the conversation moved on.

Only, I…

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2 thoughts on “The Eyes Have It”

  1. I don’t think I ever really pay much attention to eyes in video games. Except for maybe in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. You should check out the eyes in that game, I’m not an expert on such things, but I think they look very expressive. 🙂

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    1. I’m hardly an expert on the topic either, but it’s something I couldn’t help but notice in games I had recently played. If I get a chance to check out Dream Drop Distance, I’ll have to take as look. But I really liked the character animations, eyes and all, in Kingdom Hearts, so if DDD is like that, I bet everything looks great. 🙂

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