There are gamers out there who claim that you can judge how interactive a game is based on it’s restrooms. It’s an interesting theory. Level designers can, after all, put in as much or as little thought and effort as they want to design a game restroom. After asking a few questions, it’s easy to see how restrooms could be used to measure the interactivity and realism of a game.
For example: Are there urinals in the men’s rooms (not found in every establishment, but most)? Can you flush the toilets and urinals? Can you open and close the stalls? Are there toilet paper dispensers? Can you run the faucets in the sinks? Is there a soap dispenser? Is there a hand dryer or paper towel dispenser you can use? Can you see yourself in the mirrors? Are there waste receptacles? Can you actually USE the toilet or urinal?
All of these things (with the exception of urinals) are required by law in most publicly accessible establishments, and people expect them to be there. And these are only the basics. What about condom machines and baby-changing tables? What about the “For a great time…” messages in the stalls? It just seems to me that game designers often overlook how seemingly trivial details can be so effective at maintaining the “suspension of disbelief” required for player immersion.
We all know it’s not uncommon to see “ultra-realistic” or something to that effect on the back of a game box. Isn’t it time we expected more from the games that make these kinds of claims?
I suppose this brings up an interesting question: How real is too real? We don’t, after all, want a susceptible gamer to lose a grip on his (or her! We are living in a new age of gaming!) own reality because the games he or she plays may very well be TOO realistic. I’ll save that digression for another post.
Unfortunately, though there are no limits on imagination, there are limits on resources. Who has the time and budget to model and texture all those little objects when it’s difficult enough to ship the game without them? This collection of toilets illustrates an important fact: In almost every game, someone is paid to design a toilet. How many object modelers spend valuable project time creating mundane objects like pay phones, desks, toilets, and other such things when their time could be better spend creating art for the proprietary elements of the game, such as the character models.
Is it too ambitious to think some talented modelers out there could create libraries of common object models that could be purchased for a nominal fee by game developers? Or perhaps I am just misinformed and it’s already been done. But if not, I think a decent modeler could make a good chunk of money by doing the grunt work of modeling common objects so that game artists can focus their creative talents on something more productive. It seems pointless to reinvent the wheel – or in this case, toilet.
*BTW, I would strongly advise you not to watch the lol.swf video in the parent directory. It’s quite offensive. Perhaps it serves as proof positive that the owner of this collection is not as eccentric as I first suspected, but simply disturbed. You have been warned.