Enlighten me as to how SSAO or DoF have ever made for a better game on any level other than the visual one.
You were the one making a claim it doesnt matter, shouldnt you be the one providing evidence?
ANyway, DoF is crap and is right there with motion blur in "things to turn off after installing new game".
SSAO however is useful on gameplay level. for example in a game with open enviroment it can be used to hide in dinamic shadows or spot other players from their shadow to the point of knowing which side they are looking at. it also helps a lot with gametime in games where time progression exists.
Because they are silly, their goals are directly opposite mine, and I like to shout contrary things into predictable echo chambers?
so you intentionally come here to get people angry by shouting contrary things just because they like different things? thats pretty mean of you.
a. time, money, and team members are all limited resources and they are going to be spent on what devs think people will notice and care about, which, currently is graphics.
b. Processing power is limited. Games cant be built on the expectation that everyone is going to have TotalBiscut's dual titan monstrosity, and the more power you are using on shiny crap, the less is left over for the things I want to see done.
A) in part yes. however new engines, for example UE4 have most of graphical things mapped to automatic. you create models, textures and the engine handles the rest. you do know that a person who makes textures isnt the same person who codes AI, right? their jobs are not interchangable, game devs are not some omnipotent beings.
B) processing power is limited, on consoles. PC processing power is increasing almost exponentially. it has easily surpassed the point where we can have both already at decent levels. and its going to be even higher as time goes on.
You know i want all the things you listed, reactive enviroments, persistent particles, good AI, but i realize that thats not all videogames are. And i realize we CAN do both.
TressFX is crap, no denying that, and TW2 was a disaster in how it was coded (it wasnt graphically intensive, it was just leaking all over so much it crashed on itself). few bad apples does not mean every apple is spoiled though. for example Metro games were made on what is consdered a very small budget nowadays, is one of the most graphically impressive games out and yet manages to have engaging story and AI (which reviewers praised it for).
Hachind hundreds of NPCs is easy. Seriuos Sam did it in 2001. Having hundreds of NPCs that are SMART is hard. so far no game managed that. AC:Unity claims it will, but im not willing to believe it before i see it. thing is, AI needs a lot of memory (RAM), but little processing time. the resources it uses are very different than those graphics use and in fact resources AI would use for vast majority of people stand half-idle while gaming. Gaming became so GPU heavy that most peoples CPUs go up to half load when gaming, and AI is very much a CPU beast.
Oh, i believe you have a gaming PC, i just think you underestimate it.