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Analysis Review Hype Baldur's Gate 3: A Next-Gen Graphical Showcase

VFXVeteran

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I wanted to give it a few days of playing this game and studying all the graphics work that Larian Studios put into the Divinity 4.0 before finding it worthy of creating a thread about the game. While it's still in Early Access and there are bugs/optimizations that need to be worked out (as you'll see in the 2nd video with the framedrops when animated textures are first loaded), the presentation of the game's visuals is nothing short of stunning!

From their previous games, you can tell that Larian Studios' latest iteration of their Divinity 4.0 has some massive tweaks to it. The character rendering is pretty much some of the best rendering we've seen and they meticulously hand-craft each and every character that you talk to. The PBR shaders are simply astounding in this game. Rivaling some of the best PBR shaders from recent videogames like Marvel's Avengers, Detroit: Become Human and my old favorite The Order 1866. The skin shading is very clean and they use high resolution textures abundantly showing pores and great special FX for eye rendering of characters.

One of the most influential showcases of this game is the tremendous detail in the terrain and objects while exploring the world. Once I reached the Druid's Grove in the game and explored the caves and taverns, I literally was reminded of the UE5 demo recently shown by Epic that showcased the Lumen and Nanite technology. While this game doesn't support those technologies, their attention to detail with what they do show is simply stunning! They use tessellation to the maximum - rendering rounded curves on literally all geometry. You can barely notice any polygonal edges on any of the geometry. While the lighting is still pre-baked GI, they've found a way to use it very smartly as to not blow out shadowed areas. Dynamic lighting is in full display here with dynamic shadows. The shadow resolution is so accurate that it will capture pine leaves on pine trees. Something only ray-tracing could do with any degree of accuracy.

One last things to note is the FX. I've never seen such highly detailed FX in a game put to excellent use. No longer is there just a slick puddle of water, fluid on the ground with very little bump detail. Larian Studios takes it to the next level by having the fluid be absorbed by the ground and they modify the normal mapping for the ground as a whole while changing the shader's lighting to compensate for that.

As I progress through the game, I will record raw 4k video footage of what I find to be excellent presentation of visuals. I know that many of you don't have a PC so you can't really play the game up close and personal. I hope to remedy that. In the meantime, enjoy the two videos I put up showing off what I've described:


 
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GymWolf

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I'm gonna play this one when it's finished with a 3080.

Some of the rocks textures in the first video are not exactly top tier material...we are still pretty far from ue5 engine in term of uniformity.

I think the most impressive thing remain the characters that are outstanding for the genre.
 
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VFXVeteran

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I'm gonna play this one when it's finished with a 3080.

Some of the rocks textures in the first video are not exactly top tier material...we are still pretty far from ue5 engine in term of uniformity.

I think the most impressive thing remain the characters that are outstanding for the genre.

Can you give some rock textures with tessellation that have better detail? We already know that this game doesn't support UE5's nanite tech, so not a fair comparison.
 
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VFXVeteran

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It looks nice, but I don't think there's anything next-gen about it.

I've stated very clearly what is next-gen about it. Compared to all the other claims about 'next-gen' visuals on these threads, this game meets that in spades. Can you give any clear concise examples of what isn't next-gen about it? Like not just "it doesn't look like it"?
 
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Stuart360

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Played the game myself and its certainly a gorgeous game for these kind of games. It looks even better than Wolcen, which was the current leader in graphics for these kind of games.
 
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GymWolf

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Can you give some rock textures with tessellation that have better detail? We already know that this game doesn't support UE5's nanite tech, so not a fair comparison.
I was comparing to ue5 only because you cited it.

Now i'm on a tablet so i'm not gonna search for games with better rock textures, but in the first video the quality of the rocks is not homogeneous, some are great, some are the usual rock texture you see in many games.
Around 1:30-35 you can see what i'm talking about.
 

VFXVeteran

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I was comparing to ue5 only because you cited it.

I cited that it reminds me of UE5's demo. The overall presentation looks very similar. Not the up close and personal geometry aspect of the UE5 demo.

Now i'm on a tablet so i'm not gonna search for games with better rock textures, but in the first video the quality of the rocks is not homogeneous, some are great, some are the usual rock texture you see in many games.
Around 1:30-35 you can see what i'm talking about.
Yea, it would be best to come up with a game first to compare. Every aspect of the game isn't perfect. No game is. I'm talking about overall presentation. Anyone can nitpick an asset here or there and then immediately claim "that's not next-gen". But that would be very disingenuous.
 
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Skifi28

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I've stated very clearly what is next-gen about it. Compared to all the other claims about 'next-gen' visuals on these threads, this game meets that in spades. Can you give any clear concise examples of what isn't next-gen about it? Like not just "it doesn't look like it"?

Some of the stuff you stated:

* "Rivaling some of the best PBR shaders from recent videogames like Marvel's Avengers, Detroit: Become Human and my old favorite The Order 1866 " Yes. current gen games.
* "They use tessellation to the maximum - rendering rounded curves on literally all geometry " Yes, tessellation is nice. but hardly next-gen.
* "While the lighting is still pre-baked GI, " meaning pretty much current gen.

The characters are also nice looking as you said, but you can find console games with similar or better character models. Basically they use current-gen features really well and the art style helps the game look even better than the sum of its parts, but if you look at it individually there's nothing next-gen about it, like I said. Flight sim, now that's actually next-gen.
 
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VFXVeteran

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Some of the stuff you stated:

* "Rivaling some of the best PBR shaders from recent videogames like Marvel's Avengers, Detroit: Become Human and my old favorite The Order 1866 " Yes. current gen games.

PBR shaders in games aren't all equal. Next-gen PBR shaders will be the exact same as current gen shaders. Some will look extremely well and most won't look good at all.

Show me a game that sets the standard in PBR shading for next-gen please.

* "They use tessellation to the maximum - rendering rounded curves on literally all geometry " Yes, tessellation is nice. but hardly next-gen.

What does next-gen tessellation look like? I'm curious.

* "While the lighting is still pre-baked GI, " meaning pretty much current gen.

Every single next-gen game coming out on the consoles still have pre-baked GI and yet, they are labeled next-gen. Why is that?

The characters are also nice looking as you said, but you can find console games with similar or better character models. Basically they use current-gen features really well and the art style helps the game look even better than the sum of its parts, but if you look at it individually there's nothing next-gen about it, like I said.

I'm done talking to you.. thanks for the lack of substance input.
 
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TheCockatrice

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Theres so much more to "next-gen" than just how super impressive the textures and lighting look but not many people know this and just go "i dont see anything fancy on it!" but also VFXVeteran does a poor job at explaining his thought process. Basically what he says, for a CRPG where theres so much stuff to do and so many things happening in the background, is without a doubt next-gen and something that the new Dragon Age should strive to be. It's easy to have a generic open world with fancy raytracing and cool special effects but it's hard to make a game as deep as BG3, or Divinity OS2 which is in fact underrated on gaf and one of the best games ever made, and make it look this good.
 
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VFXVeteran

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Theres so much more to "next-gen" than just how super impressive the textures and lighting look but not many people know this and just go "i dont see anything fancy on it!" but also VFXVeteran does a poor job at explaining his thought process. Basically what he says, for a CRPG where theres so much stuff to do and so many things happening in the background, is without a doubt next-gen and something that the new Dragon Age should strive to be. It's easy to have a generic open world with fancy rayt racing and cool special effects but it's hard to make a game as deep as BG3 or Divinity OS2 which is in fact underrated on gaf and one of the best games ever made,

You are right.. that's why I made the thread. Any help with explaining would be much appreciated.
 
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GymWolf

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I cited that it reminds me of UE5's demo. The overall presentation looks very similar. Not the up close and personal geometry aspect of the UE5 demo.


Yea, it would be best to come up with a game first to compare. Every aspect of the game isn't perfect. No game is. I'm talking about overall presentation. Anyone can nitpick an asset here or there and then immediately claim "that's not next-gen". But that would be very disingenuous.
I think that having more homogeneous textures everywhere is one of the thing that i expect from nextgen, so seeing a game with so many variable quality textures in a very small environment doesn't impress me that much.

Not saying that it looks bad, just not what i expect from a nextgen title.

But then again, our perception of nextgen is pretty fucked up right now.
 
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DJT123

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OP is 100% correct. I know there's a subset of "gaming enthusiasts" waiting for Sony or MS to fling them some next-gen scraps, hence the salt, but PC gamers have never seen a cRPG remotely as advanced as Baldurs Gate 3 in terms of graphics.
 
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GHG

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VFXVeteran VFXVeteran are you sure this is using unreal engine?

I thought it was the next iteration of Larian's own in house engine that they have previously used for Divinity OS. There's no unreal engine splash screen when starting the game.

Regardless, it's very good looking and a huge step forward for isometric games. Looks stunning at native 4k, lots of detail in everything from the character models to the environments, textures and elemental effects (things like the smoke that comes off fire). And there's still more to come since this is just early access.
 

GymWolf

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OP is 100% correct. I know there's a subset of "gaming enthusiasts" waiting for Sony or MS to fling them some next-gen scraps, hence the salt, but PC Gamers have never seen a cRPG remotely as advanced as Baldurs Gate 3 in terms of graphics.
What salt? The game is gonna come out on console too.
People can play the game in every platform except nintendo and i'm not even sure about that.
 
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TTOOLL

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Impressive, I would love to play this.
Will it be released on other platforms??
 

GHG

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To follow up on my previous post, yeh this isn't unreal engine, it's their own:

Baldur’s Gate III will not use the same game engine as the Original Sin series. “We’ve been in development on this game for several years already. It’s not the same engine as those two, but it is our own engine. It’s built on the technology that we already have,” Vincke said.

 
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vaibhavpisal

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The game looks stunning in some instances. But due to its unfinished nature, pretty average in some others.

I think Vfxveteran jumped the gun here. Let them finish it first. Am sure it will be pure eye candy.
 
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GymWolf

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His insightful post just gets summarily dismissed by the usual suspects. There are a few examples, nothing to do with robust arguments like you guys had.


100%

The full release might even be day-one.
Dude, take a good look around, literally every new crossgen or nextgen game has people saying that they look impressive and people that are not impressed, it's not something exclusive for baldur gate 3 or because vfx veteran opened the topic and people hate on him, it's how opinions works, and tbh in this topic the majority of people appeciate the graphic of this game, i was discussing with him but i still think that the game looks gorgeous.
 
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DJT123

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Dude, take a good look around, literally every new crossgen or nextgen game has people saying that they look impressive and people that are not impressed, it's not something exclusive for baldur gate 3 or because vfx veteran opened the topic and people hate on him, it's how opinions works, and tbh in this topic the majority of people appeciate the graphic of this game, i was discussing with him but i still think that the game looks gorgeous.
I think two different groups of gamers are reading OP's post through two different lenses which might explain some of the confusion. To me as a PC gamer with a history of playing cRPG's, and one who's very disconnected from console hype cycles too, his post does speak to a true next-gen visual experience.

The expectations for the more traditional console crowd (I'm not including you there by any means- I know you straddle the line) are a bit more unrealistic, now that I think about it. What they're looking for/at, is not remotely the same thing I am searching for.
 
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Thugnificient

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It looks nice, but I don't think there's anything next-gen about it.
Perhaps because "next-gen" is purely a console concept. Graphical upgrades are incremental so applying this "next-gen" logic to PC makes no sense. Games look better on a year to year basis with newer technology. Nothing on PC this year will look dramatically better than everything from the year before save for tech juggernauts like Crysis or Flight Sim.

This game would bring the next-gen consoles to their knees.
 
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Skifi28

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I think two different groups of gamers are reading OP's post through two different lenses which might explain some of the confusion. To me as a PC gamer with a history of playing cRPG's, and one who's very disconnected from console hype cycles too, his post does speak to a true next-gen visual experience.

The expectations for the more traditional console crowd are a bit more unrealistic, now that I think about it. What they're looking for/at, is not remotely the same thing I am searching for.

The whole "next-gen" thing when talking about a PC centric game is also a discussion in itself. How do you define a new generation on something that doesn't have generations? Is it just looking good? Surely many games already do, so how does it distinguish itself? Looking good with the tagline "for a crpg"? That's even worse in this particular discussion. As a cRPG fan myself it's stunning for the genre, but comparing to other games it hardly breaks any new ground.

I would argue that for a PC game to be considered "next-gen" it would have to do things no other games has done before while melting existing hardware, much like Crysis did. The only game I can think that fits that discription currenty is flight sim. Of course people are free to consider next-gen what they want and that's where the discussion lies, but the OP has been particularly dismissive of different opinions.
 

Skifi28

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Perhaps because "next-gen" is purely a console concept. Graphical upgrades are incremental so applying this "next-gen" logic to PC makes no sense. Games look better on a year to year basis with newer technology. Nothing on PC this year will look dramatically better than everything from the year before save for tech juggernauts like Crysis or Flight Sim.

This game would bring the next-gen consoles to their knees.

I saw the reply late, look at my previous post which pretty much answers that. As for the melting next-gen consoles, I doubt it. I managed to play at 1080p high settings on a 1060, I'm sure the 5700XT+ console equivalent can run the game well.
 
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Thugnificient

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I saw the reply late, look at my previous post which pretty much answers that. As for the melting next-gen consoles, I doubt it. I managed to play at 1080p high settings on a 1060, I'm sure the 5700XT+ console equivalent can run the game well.
The next-gen consoles aren't 1080p machines. Blow this game up to 4K which is their target resolution, and watch how well they run it.

I mean I'm sure a R9 280 can run this at 720p. Doesn't mean a thing in the context we're discussing.
 
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Skifi28

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The next-gen consoles aren't 1080p machines. Blow this game up to 4K which is their target resolution, and watch how well they run it.

I mean I'm sure a R9 280 can run this at 720p. Doesn't mean a thing in the context we're discussing.

All games don't have to be native 4k60. They can lock the fps at 30 which is more or less fine for turn based stuff, they go for CB/reconstructed 4k which looks great or even lock at 1440p as other games are already known to do. Point is, I'm sure the consoles can handle it "fine". I would also argue it's still in alpha and it has ways to go as far as optimisation goes.
 
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Thugnificient

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All games don't have to be native 4k60. Thye can lock the fps at 30 which is more or less fine for turn based stuff, they go for CB 4k or even lock at 1440p as other games do. Point is, I'm sure the consoles can handle it "fine". I would also argue it's still in alpha and it has ways to go as far as optimisation goes.
Of course, they can handle it fine at 4K/30, which is exactly the point. The upcoming consoles run last-gen games at 4K/60, not next-gen ones.

That "next-gen" argument is nonsense because this game on them would perform just like a next-gen game would and wouldn't look out of place. It's as next-gen as next-gen gets.
 
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Skifi28

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Of course, they can handle it fine at 4K/30, which is exactly the point. The upcoming consoles run last-gen games at 4K/60, not next-gen ones.

That "next-gen" argument is nonsense because this game on them would perform just like a next-gen game would and wouldn't look out of place. It's as next-gen as next-gen gets.

Yes, when talking about consoles it's next-gen because it's only on a next-gen console, obviously. But it's currently not, we don't even know for sure if it's going to be. For now it's just a PC game you can run fine on your existing 4 year old hardware so we're back to how one defines generations on a PC. I believe I've already stated my definition previously.
 
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GHG

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The next-gen consoles aren't 1080p machines. Blow this game up to 4K which is their target resolution, and watch how well they run it.

I mean I'm sure a R9 280 can run this at 720p. Doesn't mean a thing in the context we're discussing.

In its current state the next gen consoles would be able to run this at 30fps @ native 4k.

Unless Larian do some substantial engine optimisations that's the best console gamers can hope for.
 
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VFXVeteran

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Yes, when talking about consoles it's next-gen because it's only on a next-gen console, obviously. But it's currently not, we don't even know for sure if it's going to be. For now it's just a PC game you can run fine on your existing 4 year old hardware so we're back to how one defines generations on a PC. I believe I've already stated my definition previously.

When I speak about next-gen graphics, I'm talking about it in the context of the start of a console generation cycle. In that regard, it is next-gen to consoles. If I go about saying it's a great looking game for PC and then hop into a next-gen thread on a console like Godfall and say it's a typical game on a PC, I get trolled. So I'm defining it in terms of the timing of said released games. Next-gen for consoles has already been around on the PC for some time now, but falling in line with games released around when the new consoles come out could be considered "next-gen" IMO.
 

Thugnificient

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In its current state the next gen consoles would be able to run this at 30fps @ native 4k.

Unless Larian do some substantial engine optimisations that's the best console gamers can hope for.
Yeah, that's my point. If it were last-gen, PS5/XSX would run it at 4K/60, like they can run most of last-gen that targeted 1080p/30. If they can only do 4K/30, just like most actual "next-gen" games will, then it's next-gen.

Yes, when talking about consoles it's next-gen because it's only on a next-gen console, obviously. But it's currently not, we don't even know for sure if it's going to be. For now it's just a PC game you can run fine on your existing 4 year old hardware so we're back to how one defines generations on a PC. I believe I've already stated my definition previously.
Take it the way you want but the devs said it couldn't run on current-gen consoles. Not sure how much truth there is to that or if they've bactracked but eh.

https://www.videogamer.com/news/bal...-the-playstation-4-and-xbox-one-x-says-larian
 
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I can't speak for the tech involved and if it is 'next-gen' but I've played a load of early access now and to me it looks fantastic and a big step up over Divinity OS 2 in terms of cinematic presentation.
 

Thugnificient

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Next-gen for consoles has already been around on the PC for some time now, but falling in line with games released around when the new consoles come out could be considered "next-gen" IMO.
Absolutely. I remember back in 2013 when Crysis 3 came out, I showed it to friends on my 50" plasma running on I think what was a GTX 670 at 1080p. They were absolutely floored by the graphics.
When next-gen hit with games like BF4 and Killzone SF they were like "huh, these games don't even look better than Crysis 3 on your PC", not realizing Crysis 3 at High settings/1080p was already a next-gen game.
It took a while for games to convincingly beat it in graphics despite the game coming out almost a year before the next-gen consoles.
 
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sobaka770

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This is where art >>>>> technology.

Larian in my opinion never made truly pretty games. They were demanding when things blew up across the whole screen but impressive they were not.
BG3 compared to DOS2 is a step up in character models, environment is enhanced, there are much better effects and shaders everywhere.

That being said the game runs very well on RTX2080 at 4k max so the actual brute force technology isn't there. No raytracing, no crazy effects, textures are painterly and not 8k sharp. However this time the use of bokeh, the colours comes together in a very nice package. I don't think it's necessarily a next gen showcase but it is an example of a great looking game not needing all the fancy effects to actually look awesome. Who needs RT in blood puddles here? Who needs advanced ragdolls if imps scripted death is still looking mighty fine?
 
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