History Main / TheLawofConservationofDetail

2nd Dec '17 4:52:03 PM Trying2CIt
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[[RaceAgainstTheClock We have 42 minutes.]] If we give a detail, [[PlotPoint it better be important]].

to:

[[RaceAgainstTheClock We have 42 minutes.]] If we give a detail, [[PlotPoint it it'd better be important]].



This is an OmnipresentTrope. There is a fine line between good WorldBuilding, and rambling on about pointless crap -- conservation of detail is all about filtering out irrelevant information to highlight the actual plot or interesting aspects of the setting. It is rare for an author to devote thirty pages of description to a character's choice of clothing, unless those choices provide great insight into a character or are being used as a metaphor for the human condition.

to:

This is an OmnipresentTrope. There is a fine line between having good WorldBuilding, WorldBuilding and rambling on about pointless crap -- conservation of detail is all about filtering out irrelevant information to highlight the actual plot or interesting aspects of the setting. It is rare for an author to devote thirty pages of description to a character's choice of clothing, unless those choices provide great insight into a character or are being used as a metaphor for the human condition.



Video games have their own version of this law, in that any detail in the game requires a significant investment of time and manpower to develop between art asset creation, writing, programming, and insertion into the game. Details of lesser importance get economized: One-off [=NPCs=] rarely ever get anything more than a [[OnlySixFaces generic sprite or character model]], have only the most generic walking animations, and have [[NominalImportance no name]]. You can tell that a character will play some role in the plot if they have an unusually complex character model or a headshot next to their dialog (unless plenty of other characters share that same headshot). Plotwise, this serves to separate [[RoundCharacter Round]] and {{Flat Character}}s. Since artists create video game worlds from scratch, scenery also obeys the law. Say they set a level in a supermarket; a real supermarket stocks ''thousands'' of individual products in ''hundreds'' of different brands, each and every one with different label designs, and the time it would take to design (or license) all that packaging and trademarks could easily add up to several games' worth of development cycles. So they use a handful of designs over and over. And it works to their favor: We accept less detail because it is not central to the game.

to:

Video games have their own version of this law, in that any detail in the game requires a significant investment of time and manpower to develop between art asset creation, writing, programming, and insertion into the game. Details of lesser importance get economized: One-off [=NPCs=] rarely ever get anything more than a [[OnlySixFaces generic sprite or character model]], have only the most generic walking animations, and have [[NominalImportance no name]]. You can tell that a character will play some role in the plot if they have an unusually complex character model or a headshot next to their dialog (unless plenty of other characters share that same headshot). Plotwise, this serves to separate [[RoundCharacter Round]] and {{Flat Character}}s. Since artists create video game worlds from scratch, scenery also obeys the law. Say Suppose that they set a level in a supermarket; a real supermarket stocks ''thousands'' of individual products in ''hundreds'' of different brands, each and every one with different label designs, and the time it would take to design (or license) all that packaging and trademarks could easily add up to several games' worth of development cycles. So they use a handful of designs over and over. And it works to their favor: We accept less detail because it is not central to the game.
1st Dec '17 11:32:54 AM totoofze47
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** In Shabaody Archipelago, we meet Silvers Rayleigh. Mentioned initially as a man the crew needs to prepare there ship for the cottage to Fishman Island, then revealed upon his proper introduction to be c[[spoiler: the right hand of the Pirate King Gold Roger]]. If one checks carefully, however, his face had ''already been shown'' in a ''single panel'' of a ''side flashback'' in volume three, almost five hundred chapters before.

to:

** In Shabaody Sabaody Archipelago, we meet Silvers Rayleigh. Mentioned initially as a man the crew needs to prepare there ship for the cottage to Fishman Island, then revealed upon his proper introduction to be c[[spoiler: the right hand of the Pirate King Gold Roger]]. If one checks carefully, however, his face had ''already been shown'' in a ''single panel'' of a ''side flashback'' in volume three, almost five hundred chapters before.



* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'':
** Every piece of evidence in the [[ChekhovsArmoury Court Record]] -- besides the lawyer's badge, etc. -- is used in most cases every game.
** Profiles in ''Justice for All'' and ''Trials & Tribulations'', a notable case in the latter being the one time in the entire series when the character you're currently playing shows up in the profiles screen. Of course you're bound to present it at some point. The lawyer's badge gets used once or twice outside of the courtroom. You even had to present the screwdriver, which had importance exactly because it has ''no importance at all'', which throws suspicion on the suspect's reasoning for having Edgeworth personally pick it up in the first place.
** A "unique" one happens in ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigationsMilesEdgeworth''. In Case 5, "Turnabout Ablaze," which is the last and LONGEST case, Edgeworth tidies his evidence several times, removing used and useless evidence. [[InterfaceSpoiler And so you know "Samurai Dogs" are going to be used at some point because it survived the first two "evidence-sortings."]]
** ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyDualDestinies'' plays with this. Several pieces of evidence may not be used for more than reference, and characters make a point of tidying up unnecessary evidence between chapters. Some items, despite having an icon, may not actually show up in your court record, and at one point evidence previously thrown out is swapped back in when they become relevant again. In fact, a lot of evidence is kept, and ends up being used for a completely different reason that you think it's gonna be used for. One particular example coming in the DLC case, where you carry around a piece of fish for the entire case, with it never leaving the the court-record throughout despite the many "unnecessary evidence disposed off" moments. This obviously leads you into thinking the fish will be one of, if not THE big piece of evidence that'll crack the case. [[spoiler:In actual fact, you don't even use it until the episode's epilogue, and then it's just to give it to Orla the Orca as a treat.]]
** In the fourth case of ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneySpiritOfJustice'', even when it seems like everything is about to be wrapped up nicely, it's obvious a twist is coming up because you were told much earlier about a dog eating dumplings and burying the leftover in the backyard. Of course, these dumplings end up being an important clue.



[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'':
** Every piece of evidence in the [[ChekhovsArmoury Court Record]] -- besides the lawyer's badge, etc. -- is used in most cases every game.
** Profiles in ''Justice for All'' and ''Trials & Tribulations'', a notable case in the latter being the one time in the entire series when the character you're currently playing shows up in the profiles screen. Of course you're bound to present it at some point. The lawyer's badge gets used once or twice outside of the courtroom. You even had to present the screwdriver, which had importance exactly because it has ''no importance at all'', which throws suspicion on the suspect's reasoning for having Edgeworth personally pick it up in the first place.
** A "unique" one happens in ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigationsMilesEdgeworth''. In Case 5, "Turnabout Ablaze," which is the last and LONGEST case, Edgeworth tidies his evidence several times, removing used and useless evidence. [[InterfaceSpoiler And so you know "Samurai Dogs" are going to be used at some point because it survived the first two "evidence-sortings."]]
** ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyDualDestinies'' plays with this. Several pieces of evidence may not be used for more than reference, and characters make a point of tidying up unnecessary evidence between chapters. Some items, despite having an icon, may not actually show up in your court record, and at one point evidence previously thrown out is swapped back in when they become relevant again. In fact, a lot of evidence is kept, and ends up being used for a completely different reason that you think it's gonna be used for. One particular example coming in the DLC case, where you carry around a piece of fish for the entire case, with it never leaving the the court-record throughout despite the many "unnecessary evidence disposed off" moments. This obviously leads you into thinking the fish will be one of, if not THE big piece of evidence that'll crack the case. [[spoiler:In actual fact, you don't even use it until the episode's epilogue, and then it's just to give it to Orla the Orca as a treat.]]
** In the fourth case of ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneySpiritOfJustice'', even when it seems like everything is about to be wrapped up nicely, it's obvious a twist is coming up because you were told much earlier about a dog eating dumplings and burying the leftover in the backyard. Of course, these dumplings end up being an important clue.
[[/folder]]
26th Nov '17 6:44:48 PM AwesomeWaffles
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** Garnet ends the episode "Arcade Mania" with a humorous quip about the group keeping Amethyst. Yet again, half a season later, [[spoiler:and we learn that Amethyst was found abandoned in a [[BizarreAlienReproduction Kindergarten]] and was adopted by the group's previous leader.]]

to:

** Garnet ends the episode "Arcade Mania" "Stevenís Lion" with a humorous quip about the group keeping Amethyst. Yet again, half a season later, [[spoiler:and we learn that Amethyst was found abandoned in a [[BizarreAlienReproduction Kindergarten]] and was adopted by the group's previous leader.]]
21st Nov '17 7:29:39 AM BeerBaron
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* Averted in ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series, most notably the more recent offerings. The sheer amount of useless items dropped into the environment (paintbrushes, mugs, flatware, etc.) threatens to boggle the mind.
** Being on the same engine, ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' and ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' do the same. However, a shrewd player will be able to tell important items from the rest of the VendorTrash and CowTools that litter the level. The older ones had TV dinners, popcorns, nuka-colas, ''pocket lint'', and others that do nothing but take up space in your inventory. You can also examine rocks. Do it enough times and your character will ''cry out in frustration''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' and ''VideoGame/Fallout2'':
** The point-and-click aspect leads to a prevalence of "examining" objects similar to Wasteland. Therefore, even if the character sprites are the same, a player can tell the difference this way. Upon examining two men in leather jackets, you might see this:

to:

* Averted ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'': The five games in ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series, the main series are a shining example of this trope played to opposite extremes. To note:
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena Arena]]'' has a ludicrously humongous world the size of Europe, but
most notably of the villages that are not plot-significant are [[RandomlyGeneratedLevels randomly generated]] and repetitive.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'' limits the world to only part of two provinces, Hammerfell and High Rock, but makes the world a bit
more recent offerings. The sheer detailed and less repetitive as a result. It still relies are large [[ProceduralGeneration Procedurally Generated]] areas and RandomlyGeneratedLevels for the dungeons themselves.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'' scales further down to part of the eponymous province while hand-crafting the entire thing and adding all sorts of detailed features to the terrain. It also adds an incredible
amount of useless decorative and flavor items dropped into (bottles, dishware, standard clothing, etc.) that are of no real use to the environment player (most of them being of too little value to even qualify as VendorTrash) but help to fill out the game world.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'', while slightly bigger in terms of raw space than ''Morrowind'', is less detailed, as everything not related to geography is randomly generated outside of towns. It too includes enough flavor items
(paintbrushes, mugs, flatware, etc.) threatens to boggle the mind.
** Being on ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' is about the same engine, ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' and ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' do size as ''Oblivion'' in square mileage, but the same. However, a shrewd player will be able to tell important items from level of detail is noticeably higher -- the rest majority of the VendorTrash and CowTools that litter the level. The older ones had TV dinners, popcorns, nuka-colas, ''pocket lint'', and others that do nothing but take up space in your inventory. You can also examine rocks. Do it enough times and your character will ''cry out in frustration''.
locations, even random, out-of-the-way dungeons, typically have some unique features or are related to a quest.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'':
** ''VideoGame/Fallout1''
and ''VideoGame/Fallout2'':
** *** The point-and-click aspect leads to a prevalence of "examining" objects similar to Wasteland. Therefore, even if the character sprites are the same, a player can tell the difference this way. Upon examining two men in leather jackets, you might see this:



** Used hilariously for innocuous items that aren't really meant to be examined. Upon examining a pile of rocks:

to:

** *** Used hilariously for innocuous items that aren't really meant to be examined. Upon examining a pile of rocks:


Added DiffLines:

*** However, a shrewd player will be able to tell important items from the rest of the VendorTrash and CowTools that litter the level. The older ones had TV dinners, popcorns, nuka-colas, ''pocket lint'', and others that do nothing but take up space in your inventory. You can also examine rocks. Do it enough times and your character will ''cry out in frustration''.
** Being on the same engine, ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' and ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' do the same.
11th Nov '17 5:11:46 AM sgamer82
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** Lots of old characters, mainly villains, from [[spoiler:Buggy to Mr. 3 and Crocodile]], were freed from Impel Down and became decisive to plot development. To the amazement of the readers: [[spoiler:Silvers Rayleigh, the right hand of the Pirate King Gold Roger, appeared.]] If you check carefully, his face had ''already been shown'' in a ''single panel'' of a ''side flashback'' almost five hundred chapters before.

to:

** Lots of old characters, mainly villains, from [[spoiler:Buggy to Mr. 3 and Crocodile]], were freed from Impel Down and became decisive to plot development. To development.
** In Shabaody Archipelago, we meet Silvers Rayleigh. Mentioned initially as a man
the amazement of crew needs to prepare there ship for the readers: [[spoiler:Silvers Rayleigh, cottage to Fishman Island, then revealed upon his proper introduction to be c[[spoiler: the right hand of the Pirate King Gold Roger, appeared.]] Roger]]. If you check one checks carefully, however, his face had ''already been shown'' in a ''single panel'' of a ''side flashback'' in volume three, almost five hundred chapters before.
30th Sep '17 6:25:19 PM nombretomado
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* Very common in the TwoMinuteMysteries (an earlier work by the author of EncyclopediaBrown), where each mystery is only about two pages long. If the text describes a minor detail like how the wax has dribbled on a candle, or the direction of a bird's footprints, it will always be key to the solution.

to:

* Very common in the TwoMinuteMysteries (an earlier work by the author of EncyclopediaBrown), ''Literature/EncyclopediaBrown''), where each mystery is only about two pages long. If the text describes a minor detail like how the wax has dribbled on a candle, or the direction of a bird's footprints, it will always be key to the solution.
8th Sep '17 4:43:01 PM TVKoopa
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** Anna, as she's just a RunningGag. Subverted in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', where she pops up as a merchant. You then get a sidequest where she helps a village. Unlike other NPC characters, she has a unique model, color scheme, and voice not only in her lines but going so far as to have quotes for critical hits and [[SuperMovePortraitAttack a picture as well]]. This points to her being playable, even getting the option for your lord to talk to her if he moves next to her, but absolutely nothing will recruit her. [[spoiler:If she survives, you get another sidequest where she pops up again, and this time IS recruitable. Then she explains that [[InexplicablyIdenticalIndividuals there are multiple Annas and that you've never met her before]].]]\\
\\
This continues with ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemFates Fates]]'', where Anna shows up as the person in charge of the [[DownloadableContent Dragon's Gate]] and also gives out one-time gifts in two different free-of-charge DLC chapters, but does not join your party. Instead, [[spoiler:there is a separate Xenologue, Anna on the Run, where she pops up again. It is essentially identical to the aforementioned Anna the Merchant Paralogue from ''Awakening'', only Anna must survive in order to be recruited. Like before, this is yet another Anna, distinct from the ones seen previously]].
** Heimler from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAkaneia'', a Paladin who, despite getting his own portrait, has no dialogue or importance and is just a normal enemy.

to:

** Anna, as she's just a RunningGag. Subverted in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', where she pops up as a merchant. You then get a sidequest where she helps a village. Unlike other NPC characters, she has a unique model, color scheme, and voice not only in her lines but going so far as to have quotes for critical hits and [[SuperMovePortraitAttack a picture as well]]. This points to her being playable, even getting the option for your lord to talk to her if he moves next to her, but absolutely nothing will recruit her. [[spoiler:If she survives, you get another sidequest where she pops up again, and this time IS recruitable. Then she explains that [[InexplicablyIdenticalIndividuals there are multiple Annas and that you've never met her before]].]]\\
\\
This continues with ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemFates Fates]]'', where Anna shows up as the person
]]
** Two major examples
in charge of the [[DownloadableContent Dragon's Gate]] and also gives out one-time gifts in two different free-of-charge DLC chapters, but does not join ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'':
*** Once
your party. Instead, [[spoiler:there is a separate Xenologue, Anna Avatar returns to Hoshido, their mother makes them sit on the Run, where magic Hoshidan throne so that she pops up again. can see their true nature. It is essentially identical makes sense, since she could be worried about her child's comeback being a deceit, [[spoiler:but it was done mostly to introduce the aforementioned Anna throne's power. Around halfway the Merchant Paralogue from ''Awakening'', only Anna must survive ''Conquest'' route, making Garon sit on the throne in order to be recruited. Like before, this is yet another Anna, distinct from reveal his true nature becomes the ones Avatar and Azura's goal in the war against Hoshido.]]
*** In the ''Revelation'' route, Scarlet pins a flower onto her armor [[spoiler:before jumping into the Bottomless Canyon]], stating that doing so is tradition in her hometown. [[spoiler:Right after, it is detroyed when Scarlet is killed during the jump, and it allows the Avatar to prove that Gunter is the traitor who killed her, since [[INeverSaidItWasPoison he mentioned the flower when no one else besides Corrin and the killer had
seen previously]].
** Heimler from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAkaneia'', a Paladin who, despite getting his own portrait, has no dialogue or importance and is just a normal enemy.
it.]]]]
5th Sep '17 8:13:34 AM X2X
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* Aversion: The later games in the ''[[VideoGame/{{Ultima}}]]'' try to create a realistic world that operates regardless of the player's involvement. In addition to armor and weapon shops, towns have jewelry stores, bakeries, restaurants, and other "useless" buildings. Played with, as sometimes the next step in the Avatar's quest requires unusual materials that have to be commissioned from civilian artisans.

to:

* Aversion: The later games in the ''[[VideoGame/{{Ultima}}]]'' ''VideoGame/{{Ultima}}'' series try to create a realistic world that operates regardless of the player's involvement. In addition to armor and weapon shops, towns have jewelry stores, bakeries, restaurants, and other "useless" buildings. Played with, as sometimes the next step in the Avatar's quest requires unusual materials that have to be commissioned from civilian artisans.
2nd Sep '17 2:27:40 PM nombretomado
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* One episode of ''{{Stoked}}'' featured the Ridgemounts (minus Lo) planning a trip to Thailand and one of Lo's friends recorded on Smartphone what she thought of them for that. Later, they record evidence that Lo's big brother's girlfriend was a GoldDigger. Guess what Lo showed her family.

to:

* One episode of ''{{Stoked}}'' ''WesternAnimation/{{Stoked}}'' featured the Ridgemounts (minus Lo) planning a trip to Thailand and one of Lo's friends recorded on Smartphone what she thought of them for that. Later, they record evidence that Lo's big brother's girlfriend was a GoldDigger. Guess what Lo showed her family.
13th Aug '17 9:41:39 AM GoblinCipher
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Added DiffLines:

* Aversion: The later games in the ''[[VideoGame/{{Ultima}}]]'' try to create a realistic world that operates regardless of the player's involvement. In addition to armor and weapon shops, towns have jewelry stores, bakeries, restaurants, and other "useless" buildings. Played with, as sometimes the next step in the Avatar's quest requires unusual materials that have to be commissioned from civilian artisans.
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