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Bizarre size screw-ups in games

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It must be a tough job being a videogame artist. Tight deadlines, long hours, trying to replicate intricate concept art within strict technological limitations... and of course those pesky laws of real life. You see, for some reason people have this crazy notion that cars are smaller than houses. Yeah, what's all that about? We say to hell with it - these games certainly did.

MotorStorm: Pacific Rift
The original Motostorm did a great job of making a convincingly large game world to zip about in. The rocks looked huge, yet the lorries still looked like lorries. Sadly, the new game's scale looks a bit off. Look - this is surely an RC racing game:

 

So what's making the cars look so small? Could it be because that scaffolding is as thick as a wheel's diameter? Or that the graffiti is as big as a lorry? Or that there are steps with a handrail that's way above the audience's height? Or the way that giant tree is at least 30m high yet forks right down at ground level like the object model's been pushed into the ground to make the canopy appear bigger? It's all kinds of wrong.

OutRun: 8-bit version
It's common practice to give the player's car more detail than the computer-controlled cars in racing games, as you'll see them for much longer and they're usually closer to the screen. But to make it physically bigger by half again?

Last time we checked, Ferrari Testarossas weren't taller than VW Beetles. Although seeing as this Ferrari-alike is an unlicensed likeness, it doesn't have to be like a real Ferrari at all. Still, at least this solves the problem of sportscars having little boot space:

Road Rash
Graphical issues like this were everywhere in the late 1980s and early 1990s as developers tried to scale sprites on hardware that couldn't really manage it. Trying to make a Game Boy run Road Rash was a very bad idea (although the 3D effect multi-scrolling sky was amazing). Need a 'for instance'?

Omigod! It's giant biker and his ant rider minion! This isn't a clever screenshot taken on a jump - the bike ahead really is on the same plane as that lamp post.

Things got a little better on Game Boy Color. But not much.


Above: Get on a motorbike and you'll be taller than a house

Let's go back to the present. How about some Killzone 2?

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35 comments

  • BertTheTurtle - February 5, 2010 9:05 p.m.

    As much as I love BioShock, I couldn't help but notice that I was about eye-level with toilets.
  • FanofSaiyan - December 4, 2009 11:33 p.m.

    The mario mushroom size difference was slightly obvious, given a keen eye and sense of scale.
  • wraith509 - March 3, 2009 11:58 p.m.

    the same thing in farcry 2 happens in cod:waw if you lay down and crawl up to a dead body real slow your gun is like an action figure weapon to their head
  • cladboy2 - February 21, 2009 2:59 p.m.

    in gears of war 1 and 2 theyre all very big
  • xXHaloKillerXx - February 17, 2009 8:29 p.m.

    What about Halo 3 and the Grunts.The Grunts are almost as big the marines.
  • Mr_PsychoCypher - February 17, 2009 9:22 a.m.

    Roughly the same goes for Halo in coop. Aim at eachother dead in the face and look at your buddys screen and see where you seem to aim.. Damn nice and fun topic none the less.
  • legionary125 - February 16, 2009 7:25 p.m.

    how about Rome: Total War? A tree is about the size of the Sears Tower. Epic fail.
  • lolerz - February 15, 2009 6:03 a.m.

    ha that mario pictue is so loling
  • tyeatsairplane - February 15, 2009 3:30 a.m.

    oh wait nvm you guys i remember what a stopcock is but the countdown thing, still hilarious lololol not really you guys jk
  • tyeatsairplane - February 15, 2009 3:27 a.m.

    Just a question and all and it might be some UK thing idk but in the far cry 2 one, it says stop-cock. haha i may be wrong but yeah but lolzzzzz i said farcry 2 one aka 2,1. im so funny. like i was counting down LMAO LMAO LMAO LMAO
  • Furyspittles - February 15, 2009 1:50 a.m.

    Im suprised Civilization games didnt get in there. Has anyone ever noticed that your soldiers a bigger than towns? reCAPTCHA: They're ignorant
  • swizzler - February 13, 2009 7:34 p.m.

    the door thing isn't new, look at counter strike, people are roughly 64 units standing up, and some doors in that game are 128 units! twice the size of the person, and no, they aren't those big showy doors, they're like... office doors.
  • AnonymouZ - February 13, 2009 1:39 a.m.

    everyone notices this kind of crap everywhere... but only gr makes it so fucking hilarious i just wake up the neighbors with my awesomely loud laughter and deep breaths that precludes its continuation. nice one justin. anonymouz approves!
  • MacGyver1138 - February 12, 2009 8:44 p.m.

    A lot of FPS games seem to have this problem. I'm looking out of my character's eyes and staring someone square in the shoulder. The size scaling is also sometimes screwy in your ability to jump. The COD games stick clearly in my mind as games where you can jump vertically all of about 6 inches, getting stuck on curbs and the like.
  • RonnyLive19881 - February 12, 2009 8:38 p.m.

    Haha midgets are funny in a sad way.
  • MUSH-RUME - February 12, 2009 6:27 p.m.

    Another example is Turok:Evolution (if any one has played it) cos u seem about 1 ft off the ground.
  • Montag - February 12, 2009 6:04 p.m.

    I've got a girlfriend so I don't have to shout first!! Seriously I thought that about Far Cry 2, it bugged me for ages
  • BodyDamage - February 12, 2009 5:57 p.m.

    that KZ2 entry is very interesting.
  • SandroTheMaster - June 11, 2009 8 p.m.

    Strategy games usually can't have the luxury of depicting a correct scale. Specially true in Warcraft 3, Starcraft and even Sins of a Solar Empire, which actually gives a huge sense of scale, still have relatively midgets as planets and stars compared to the (albeit acknowledgedly enormous, but not that much) ships (lack of moons is also a bit of a downer). Civilization and the Total Wars series are even more representative, but I must agree that in-battle, Total War is a bit fucked up in scale. Gigantic trees aside, simple houses have doors the size of five men on top of each other... Come to think about it, Supreme Commander is the only Strategy games with a somewhat accurate scale, if not only because the units are already gigantic robots and tanks already to scale with the buildings and mountains.
  • camo510 - February 16, 2009 5:19 p.m.

    that 60hertz guy wasnt being a fanboy.. he never mentioned any game.

Showing 1-20 of 35 comments

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