Vanguard Forums: Realism vs. Immersion

Realism is really just consistent, believable sets of laws and conditions that govern the particular virtual world that you are inhabiting. Let’s say you are playing a game that is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. You enter Hobbiton and there is a Disneyworld there complete with all of the modern attractions. Of course Disneyworld is fun and entertaining. But, wouldn’t you feel that something is wrong seeing something so horribly out of place like that in Tolkien’s world? There was no electricity, nor mechanization in Middle-earth, etc. Ergo realism *is* important.

Originally Posted by injijo / black coat
I think it’s important to seperate realism from immersion. Immersion is becoming your character and feeling as though you are truly a part of the game world. Realism is not important to immersion. Making my character use the toilet or sleep or eat 3 meals a day is tedium not immersion. I don’t think that watch my character suffer through diarrhea is important to immersion, maybe to realism, but if I wanted realism I wouldn’t be playing a fantasy based MMORPG anyhow.

I agree with you as I said basically the same thing in the above quote just a few months ago regarding this very issue. What happens in many cases is devs take shortcuts in the name of expediency and threaten the very essence of suspension of disbelief which is central to creating an immersive world. They can’t see the big picture and choose to chip away at the consistency of the game because they either lack resources, time or imagination.If only online game designers would adopt the concept of continuity with regard to consistency the same way film makers have done so with an actual person in charge of it, I’d wager it would make for far more believable virtual worlds. Online game designers have much to learn from a more established arts & entertainment mediums like the film industry. I’m sure at some point both will converge.

Continuity The degree to which a movie is self-consistent. For example, a scene where an actor is wearing a hat when seen from one camera angle and not from another would lack continuity. A person is often employed to check that continuity is maintained since reshooting embarrassing lapses in continuity can be prohibitively expensive. In modern times, some continuity errors can be corrected through digital compositing.