1. This. Idk why but Bioshock 2 was lagging on PS3 in cutscenes and other games were giving it a hard time, I could only play New Vegas for 45 minutes then it'd freeze. I know it's engine was not optimized and it was a PC first game probabaly but that was it.

  2. I'm often impressed by a lot of retro games' programming. There's a beauty in turning math into art. Sweeping patterns and geometric motions, bending images, and moving individual pixels to create effects. And most of these guys did it with little aid or reference.

  3. Exactly. Very little aid and no reference other than some vague art concepts they had to translate to code. And not just any code. They worked with some really rough code. Legends. I always wonder what those developers are doing these days. If they haven't imploded already due to their gigantic talent.

  4. Dwarf Fortress. Always. The sheer depth and breadth of features in that game makes my head spin when I imagine trying to do anything similar

  5. I both really, really want to see that codebase, and at the same time I'm afraid to out of a fear my eyes will be set aflame

  6. I feel the same way about DF as I do about people setting up 1 million dominos; the dedication to the monumental task is impressive, but I don't think any step of the process is that impressive on its own. I certainly wouldn't recommend trying something like DF as a first game, but I think it's one of those things you could eventually accomplish if you stuck with it for long enough. I think it is more a testament to passion for the project and the amount of work that has gone into it than a demonstration of skill.

  7. As someone who doesn't have a ton of experience with optimization, I actually find their blog to be rather educational at times, especially their post on pathfinding

  8. RuneScape. Was commenting on another thread the other day and realized that it was a pure browser based 3D mmorpg that runs in the browser and load ridiculous fast even on ancient machines

  9. RuneScape was so addicting and it really helped that I could log into my account and play from the PC at my grandparents' house without downloading anything. I remember the library PC's being occupied by groups of teenagers playing RuneScape together.

  10. Really explains the sheer amount of glitches and errors that game has. Half of the spells don't do anything or do the opposite of what they're supposed to.

  11. All of them. Even my own at times. Half surprised it actually works consistently, lol. Took so much effort.

  12. I haven't worked on a game in years and it was always just a hobby for me but I still like to just sit in a random room in a game and just look at each little model because most people consciously never looked at whatever model is sitting there but I know someone spent however many hours on it and I want to make sure that it gets direct appreciation

  13. Every... single... game. Like the amount of effort, it takes to envision how the underlying code in your game works is impressive.

  14. Yeah, this one was my first thought. Would still be an impressive game from a solo dev if made on modern hardware using modern dev tools, but made to work on ancient single-core processors in assembly language? Absolutely nuts.

  15. Glad someone mentioned this one! Got to replay it this year and it’s outrageous how it all works

  16. Majora's mask. The time and effort to make everything run perfectly in conjunction with a 3 day time limit is staggering to me.

  17. I really think they created stuff and adapted the time frame accordingly after multiple iterations for what to keep and what to drop.

  18. Some guy on the Factorio subreddit made his own clone of Factorio with even better performance. He did it because he was playing a very large mod (Py) and reached a point where Factorio slowed down, so he recreated the engine with multithreading from the ground up. It missed some features (biters for instance) and wasn't as polished, but it was playable.

  19. Every game. Literally so many assets. Art, music, level design, user interfaces, network play...there's just so much that goes into a game, I'm surprised any games come together at all. Even with a big studio.

  20. 100% like even 5 years ago "skyrim but on your phone and anime" would have seemed silly but genshins out here being a genuinely console quality rpg that's actually decent on phones. Yeah it's gatcha but jesus its genuinely a cut above a lot of the competition in mobile.

  21. Yeah, making anything as complex as a simple arcade game with just assembly is a little mind boggling to me.

  22. Assembly is crazy you're right and I still cant wrap my head around orogramming games on it. But I'm pretty sure these days there's C compilers that are very smart for developing for hardware like NES/GB. I only bring it up because while the 8bit limitations are there and you gotta work around them it makes learning to develop for those old systems much more manageable and dare I say fun.

  23. Recently probably Dyson Sphere Program. They rolled their own entity component system for Unity since Unity was taking too long with theirs. It's pretty simplistic visually on the surface until you start building dyson spheres and travelling between stars and see everything continuing to operate in realtime. Really relaxing game too.

  24. I was most impressed by their game loop and the fact they made this HUGE game in Unity (which so many professional game devs seem to hate) - AND they launched it in the west via Steam. (They are a tiny Chinese game dev studio of 5 people).

  25. I bought it, loved it at first, then when I figured out you couldn't turn off some building, I stopped.I'm sure it's not a big deal when you start to grasp everything and when you are further in the tech trees, but at the beginning.. sigh.

  26. I haven't played the game yet but I was super impressed with the foliage in Ghost of Tsushima, I don't think I've seen any game have as realistic foliage as they did. The GDC talk they gave about it was pretty good

  27. One part thats really cool is thier image compression (theres video's on it). Something however that I really liked albiet not the most high tech thing in the world was the scaled sprites of the pokemon "backs" when in battle. Completly ignored this originally but once I got into developing for GB I realized how perfect it was for giving a sense of depth but also probably compressing the image data to be much less then the front side sprites.

  28. A lot of AAA titles excite me but I wouldn’t say they “blow my mind”; the sheer size and brilliance of their development team justifies the technical and creative feats these studios achieve.

  29. To this discussion I'd like to add: Any game with multiple programmers working on it at the same time. I can't even understand my own code, let alone somebody else's, let alone handle the organization required to develop alongside them.

  30. We have A LOT of tools and coding standards that make all the code look and feel the same. Also, we review the codes of others to make sure it is up to standards. And you can always ask the other person for clarification.

  31. That game is the only game I've personally seen that is actually a moving painting - due to the sheer quality of execution, it manages to transcend being a video game to some extent.

  32. Dyson Sphere Program. Here you have a tiny Chinese studio of 5 people who made a huge space game with an incredible game loop and minimal content - and it was done in Unity and launched in the west via Steam. That is a grand achievement in every way possible.

  33. What remains of Edith Finch - The ungodly amount of assets, different mechanics for each story, sound design and voice acting, story.

  34. Stardew Valley. I legit cannot fathom the amount of anguish, mental suffering, and sheer fucking willpower it took for one man to complete it.

  35. Why is this so far down? I realise that there are a lot of other games perhaps more technically impressive being developed solo. But Stardew Valley is the whole package. The art, music, gameplay design, pacing, story, characters - everything is perfect.

  36. Frontier: Elite 2. Made by one person in assembly code, fits on a single floppy disk, loads into RAM all at once on the Amiga.

  37. The game that pops into my head is no man's sky, even though the procedurally generated animals look goofy most of the time, the planets with the cave systems, rivers, seas and the seemingly infinite universe boggles my mind.

  38. We certainly have some struggles with Unity 😅. But this is nice to hear. A lot of great work was done by the Facepunch team to make Rust run well, most of it before I joined. 200,000+ entities per map sometimes.

  39. Control is an amazing game to me. Remedy did a great job at ray tracing on there for the most part. It’s hard to really get your game at optimal performance when ray tracing is so expensive

  40. Well, I found the game to be like a SCP foundation rip off but I was surprised that raytracing worked on highest settings with my 1080

  41. Arkham Knight. Download some ripped characters from that game and you'll see what I mean. The lighting, particles, and environment art still holds up today, which is especially neat for a 2015 game running on UE3.

  42. Honestly? The first super mario on nes. The programming and the designs are impeccable, even for today standards, especially considering the era

  43. Immersive Sims, like Deus Ex games and Prey 2017, they are so well designed it's both brilliant and scary

  44. On my first day as a game dev with 0 experience I was tasked to do the following:Create a FPS world.

  45. Genshin impact, the graphics, animations, cutscenes, and world design are amazing. Hotoverse were able to push unity to a whole other level

  46. Any game that is small gig wise but a full fledged adventure with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. Valheim being under a gig shocked me. Also recently redownloaded Skyrim just to mess around and it was only 8 gigs I believe. I swear that couldn’t be right but I remember be shocked at how small it was in scale. Also dishonored one was like 3 gigs I think and then the second was like 40?? Idk optimization is cool

  47. Alot of game file size goes to 4k maps and uncompressed audio. If you add language options more audio to include in the file.

  48. PC gaming can really obscure some of the generational differences but those were PS3-era games, and PS3 games could get away with much lower resolution textures and sound files. The PS3 had about 40-80gb of memory at launch!

  49. This was my thought. Not the technical aspects. Not the scale of the world or anything, or even how many different minigames they came up with.

  50. Terraria 100%. The gameplay, visuals, art work. Even the bugs! There are plenty of bugs but they are fun and can even contribute to the gameplay.

  51. Also, the dev team's philosophy and business model. 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 each pretty much doubled the size of the game, for free

  52. I’m new to game developing and idk i remember streets of rage blowing my mind so now im tryin to make games at least on mgs level

  53. Interesting answer. The new one or the original for the neogeo? Which is again interesting, because if you are talking about the original, id consider Metal Slug (for the same hardware) to be much more of a spectacle.

  54. RDR2 and BOTW set the new standard for polish in the AAA segment and both were truly a wow moment for me

  55. The grass in breath of the wild. Actually just nintendo's games in general. As far as im aware they are wizards. They have some of the most inventive solutions and systems and are just great at designing games. Its no wonder their name has been synonymous with quality for the last 40 years.

  56. Reading about the Hobbit text game from 1982 is pretty cool. It was handwritten in assembly and has some very fun features.

  57. I started programming on my father's Commodore 64 back when I was five. Most of the games on it seemed within the realm of possibility for me to recreate, albeit in a limited capacity. One game that blew me away, though, was Impossible Mission. The gameplay was phenomenal, the animations were smooth, but the craziest part of all was that it was one of the first games to feature digitized sounds. Impossible Mission was truly way ahead of its time, and I feel in a lot of ways that modern games still have yet to live up to the standard it created.

  58. Path of Exile is a big one for me. That game has some seriously insane complexity. Lot's of systems that deeply interact with each other. Their code architecture must be super tight considering how their content cycle is structured.

  59. Toodee and Topdee. Specifically because it's made in the software I'm using, Game Maker Studio. Game Maker is known to be very 2D friendly and not particularly 3D friendly, but Toodee and Topdee switches between 2D and 3D views, and actually has some 3D playing areas. Brilliant game but also impressive use of the development software

  60. Roguelikes. My attempts at replicating huge quantities of unique items with unique trigger conditions seem to end in clumsy hardcoding not even a dozen items deep, so the fact that so many games do it effortlessly mystifies me.

  61. Not a specific game but, I am a lot more impressed by small/subtle things and much less impressed by big/flashy things.

  62. Dwarf Fortress and Project Zomboid. While graphically not impressive, the amount of "things" going on in these games is absolutely insane and the emergent gameplay that can result from these complex system always has me very impressed!!

  63. The Outer Wilds. The transition from orbit to planet is so seamless. I would have no idea where to begin implementing something like that.

  64. Elite 2 was holding on 1 diskette. It was smaller than 1mo. It was sold as 2 diskettes, containing various starting points saves.

  65. Call me simple but I bow down to Cave Story. There WAS NOT an indie community in 2002. Making your own game and putting it online just wasn't happening, we were playing PS2 and Gamecube games, and Starcraft 1. This type of open-ended platformer hadn't been around for a decade, and this one guy just strikes the perfect chord in all areas and writes the rosetta stone of "indie games" in a snap and puts it up for free. To do this in such a vacuum is true confidence, dedication and a labour of love.

  66. Ghost of Tsushima has really helped me to ease up on myself and my expectations. Because it is an absolutely gorgeous game, and there are still a bunch of details I see in it that would have driven me nuts in my own game. A lot of the water and grass physics, for example. Some wonky animations here and there. Seeing those flaws and how they're perfectly acceptable in the greater context of the world around them allows me to be less stressed about similar issues in my own project.

  67. Zelda 2, from the first time I played it I LOVED the combat. It is sinple yet feels more complex, faster and satisfying then any action RPG I played afterwards. People always tell me I should play stuff like skyrim, darksouls, witcher, etc but all their battle systems feel like just tap one button and maybe dodge, I was so EXTREMLY disappointed in BotW when there were so many weapons and all of them PLAYED EXACTLY THE SAME. It feels like games hust get stuffed with content instead of focusing on making one thing good. Like give people 10 weapons that all feel the same and is way too simple. Zelda 2 was simple too bzt it gave so much control and made you think and react in battle, it wasnt just pressing the attack button until it is time to use a heal item and ocassionally push the dodge button to avoid damage. It is to this day the most satisfying and intense battle system I've had in an action RPG and I hope obe day to play more games like it

  68. Have you played Hollow Knight? The devs mentioned that they took inspiration from Zelda 2 for the combat (the most obvious being the downward sword thrust).

  69. Elden Ring. The sheer scale of the map, the number of bosses and enemies, the detail in the evironment art. Monumental efforts.

  70. I think what's most impressive to me about Fromsoft's Soulsborne/Sekiro/ER tech is that you can tell (mostly by some of the old exploits still working) they've been iterating on what is essentially the same engine across multiple generations of platforms, and eventually have scaled it into something capable of supporting a relatively seamless open world game.

  71. For me it is the opposite. After seeing for myself how hard it is to make games i appreciate the good ones much more now.

  72. Well then, I guess it's time for you to plumb the infinite depths of procedural generation! A lot of modern methods require world class mathematicians to get working, so... Yeah

  73. Never really understood this viewpoint. Sure, enemies are "just collision" and many things boil down to "just an integer/bool change", but the deceptive simplicity behind those things is what makes them so interesting. It's easy to say nothing is unique and it's all just bools and ints; you still need a great deal of intelligence and effort to balance and implement all the various interlocking systems, then make them performant and engaging to interact with. It's like saying that drawing has lost its magic because you realised it's just making different lines on a piece of paper.

  74. Definitely agree with most people here, after starting to make games every game blows me away in some way. A recent highlight for me is Stray, specifically the environments. The ending control room was just stunning. I also want to say the horse logic in rdr2 is the single most impressive thing I've ever seen in a game, if you haven't seen the gdc talk about it, do yourself a favor and go check it out!

  75. Honestly any game with complex interactions. From Baba is You to Age Of Empires to SPORE… I don’t know if I’ll ever get how to code that stuff but dayumn it’s impressive and cool

  76. Any game made in the dark times before the year I was born (2004)... Ya'll were using floppy disks or something? That's mad

  77. 13 Sentinels by Vanillaware, they did absolutely so much with seemingly so little and for a little over a year I still haven't played a title that was nearly as impressive as that game in terms of visual, audio, story & combat balance.

  78. Everything that I have no idea how it's done. I know how to make Ghost of Tsushima (from the technical side). But I have no idea how to make Minecraft or Microsoft Flight Simulator's super-fast and ultra real world streaming.

  79. After being around AAA development it’s what smaller indie devs manage to create with vastly smaller teams.

  80. Deep Rock Galactic, The fact that basically the entire world can be mined and broken along with the fact that the AI is able to navigate around it is amazing. I could not imagine what it takes to program something like that

  81. Any game, honestly. It’s so much work after you can finally see through the matrix. Even games that I don’t like , like assassins creed or cod, i can understand how hard is to actually make a game with such lvl of polish

  82. For me it’s always L4D. A simple, niche game. The AI director punishes you for doing well, doing poor, etc. the game flow will always be different each time you play the game. A little outdated by today’s standards because it really is meant to punish the player, but still interesting.

  83. Rain World for the procedural animation but the one I hold with alot of respect is dark Wood for the lightning effect. I am trying to do the same in my game with the aid of tool and the new Unity render pipeline, but those guys did the same in 2017, holding great amount of detail.

  84. Horizon: Zero Dawn & Forbidden West - I just fell in love with its aesthetics and world setting.

  85. E.T on the Atari 2600. At first when I was studying the whole thing for a history class, I thought the devs were just flat out lazy and were banking on the movie itself to sell the product(which in some cases is true) but now after making games for college in a similar timeframe, I can see that they pulled off a lot with a small crunch time and what is essentially 1/16th of the power that we have today specs wise.

  86. Sea of Thieves. Not even my type of game, but the optimization techniques for their mechanics are straight out of a devs wet dreams. Some truly 4D Chess engineers working at that place.

  87. Gato Roboto is seriously cool. 2 bit graphics, metroid style gameplay, and satisfying boss battles that remind me a little bit of old GameBoy games like Mario Land.

  88. I gained a much great appreciation for the Kingdom Hearts series, especially with all their little flourishes, knowing just how much extra time and resources needs to go into that kind of stuff.

  89. Older games such as Pokémon Red/Yellow/Blue, The original Mario Bros, The original Legend of Zelda, ETC. they made legends out of almost literal 1’s and 0’s

  90. Super Metroid, Super Mario 1, Legend of Zelda link to the past and MegaMan X. These games just shatter my brain thinking how on earth could those devs have come up with those features during a time where game development wasn't even a thing, it was really for extremely talented computer scientists. They were genuine artists in every meaning. Today almost every game references these games in terms of progression, gameplay, and level design.

  91. None. Very few games retain my attention. I'm beginning to realize very basic and simple games are the best games, made by few developers.

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