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Blodium Extrizer
15th Aug 2010, 06:21
Hey all,

So what does everyone envision the future of video gaming being like? I'm talking for the next decade. What kind of innovations and ideas do you foresee revolutionizing video games as we know it?

Do you think it will be a matter of prettier and prettier graphics? Do you think it will be about ever more realistic physics in the game world? Perhaps more advanced and far more realistic AI? What do you see as the most important improvements that could be made to video games?

Share with me what you "hope" will happen and then perhaps tell me what you think will "actually" happen.

Do you think that the new Deus Ex has the potential to make a big impact? Or at least introduce elements that will be copied and emulated by many games to follow? If you could, what fresh new idea would you include in the new Deus Ex? Or maybe what new take on an old idea would you add? Any and all responses are very much welcome and appreciated.

Senka
15th Aug 2010, 07:18
I hope game design will improve and branch out into new exciting areas.

What will actually happen is activision will reach a point (somewhere between Call of Duty 13 and Guitar Hero (insert band here)) where the consumer is happy not only to pay for fragments of a game and every second spent in game, but are convinced that what they're playing is better than all the other games out there.

Pretentious Old Man.
15th Aug 2010, 15:23
...what was wrong with the other thread?

Irate_Iguana
15th Aug 2010, 16:08
...what was wrong with the other thread?

Not futuristic enough.

Pretentious Old Man.
15th Aug 2010, 17:49
Not futuristic enough.

Te-he. This is a cyberpunk website, II! :)

JCpies
19th Aug 2010, 20:31
A clip from the future of video gaming;

Jeff: Hey pete, I completed level 3 on Call of Duty 13 Ninja Special ops cybernetic physical warfare, I'm gonna have to download the next mission off the Playstation store, can I borrow $30. (to himself) Man Activision are really giving away maps at a baargain these days.

_________________________

Pete: Hey I remember those ancient games I used to play, twenty years or so ago. Man they were pretty good but way too complicated, I mean what the heck is up with having multiple pathways on games, that's a waste of time, you can just play games like this shoot 'em up it's really simple and fun!

Audio from game: Clear this straight five mile road, savagely murdering anyone who stands in your way. Good luck.

Rindill the Red
19th Aug 2010, 21:53
So I just finished playing Red Dead Redemption.

It's a good game.

Of course, I can't play a game now-a-days without comparing it to Deus Ex, the gold standard.

The storyline and story telling was absolutely amazing. Especially the ending... blew me away.

It's an extremely polished game.

So where am I going with this?

Euphoria (simulated motion):
One of the things I found awesome about the game were the animations. The face, actor, everything. Euphoria is amazing... the real future of gaming. See... the thing about next-gen graphics is... the better the graphics get, the better the animation (general motion in game world) needs to become.

Case in point: Alpha Protocol... technically speaking, it was a decent looking game (model, texture, effect)-wise, in the sense that a screenshot would be really good looking. But the animations were and that really showed in the game.
Oblivion also was affected by bad animation... just compare Oblivion horse movement to Red Dead horse movement...

It's also not just about the animations, but the character control and movement as well. When you walk around in a R.A.G.E. powered game, the character is "actually" walking, not just gliding with foot animations, and with the better graphics... this really shows.

Granted, euphoria isn't perfect: I once tried to slide into cover and somehow my character got thrown really high up in the air (then I fell and died). Also, when you stumble into people or things the character reaction isn't quite perfectly human (not enough use of the hands for support (character doesn't maintain center of gravity well enough either)).

Another game, which had the best control system ever (Mirror's Edge), did something similar. They used the concept of momentum and free movement to make for the best first person experience ever. If you get running fast :: you can't stop right away, your kicks have more power, you jump farther :: you go up against a wall you use your hands for support (push off), "body awareness" in first person (similar to this new SMART Brink system).

Run-time simulations:
I think the real future of gaming as far as technological improvements go... is we are going to see a lot more detailed "run-time simulation" of the game world rather than patched pre-defined "hacks". What do I mean?

Euphoria vs. stored animations

Wide-spread middle-ware specializations:
Another thing I see changing the scape of the future video game market is... the use of third-parties in game development.

Third-party middle-ware systems are already quite wide spread... Havok, Bullet, Euphoria, Speed Tree...

As development costs continue to rise and game worlds continue to become more "life-like", I see these specialized middle-ware solutions becoming an industry standard as they begin to further specialize and provide greater levels support to the developers.

Games are getting better and better looking, and as that happens, other things in the game world are going to also have to become more and more realistic... specialized things that a single developer working on one game would never be able to afford or justify in the budget, but which a third-party company, hiring and training specialists in a certain area, could provide pre-optimized and with specialized support at a reduced cost.

It's all about re-use to cut costs and improve quality--something that can only be done with information.

Case 1:

Three companies are paying three respective developers to work on three respective games using three respective different in house engines.
They are all producing games that are set in the general reality as we know it, although the gameplay and content is radically different.
They are all paying regular employees to implement independant solutions for a lot of the exact same problems or design-goals.
Some of them have to cut design-goals and/or quality because of budget and lack of expertise.
They are all paying regular employees to implement their independant solutions for their independent design-goals and problems.

Case 2:

Three companies are paying three respective Strata-0 developers to work on three respective games.
Two developers have hired the same Strata-1 Constructor to construct their engines, while the third hired a different Strata-1 Constructor.
They are all producing games that are set in the general reality as we know it, although the gameplay and content is radically different.
The Strata-1 Constructors each loan a subset of their game-engine construction specialists to the developers that hired them.
Using their pre-designed, programmed, and thoroughly tested and optimized structure mechanics, the game-engine construction specialists work with the developers closely to "draw a blueprint" of the game engine.
They decide which components to use factoring in things like budget (projected sales), and usefulness in their specific vision of the game.
The Strata-1 Constructor loaned subteams hire various Strata-2 Middleware companies and licence their software solutions. The Strata-2 middleware companies loan the Strata-1 subteams their own specialist middle-ware subteams to work closely with the Strata-1 in incorporating their solutions and expertise into the game engine.
The Strata-2 middleware companies either contain or hire various Strata-2 art/voice/motion specialist sub-teams respective to their solutions which work with the developers art-lead to produce the game's unique graphics.
The Strata-0, of course, can hire further specialist consultants for their specific games.
The gameplay mechanics are handled mainly by the Strata-1 in close conjunction with the Strata-0.

Okay so...
The developer (Strata-0) is a very small team... think the current "leads" and writers, which designs the game, gameplay, etc.
Those are the only employees the developer actually pays or maintains.
The developer pays the Strata-1 for the specialization and their current software solution, as well as the money for the Strata-2's.
The constructor (Strata-1) contains the majority of computer scientists involved with the game engine.
These are the only employees the Strata-1 pays and maintains.
The middleware (Strata-2) contains the widest variety of employees, who will specialize in various fields: everything from Body-AI to computer-generated cities to on-the-fly voice-actor voice synthesization for RPG's with a lot of dialogue.

The idea here is
1. Cut cost for individual developers by "sharing" the common tasks. (Stop re-inventing the wheel, start building space ships).
2. Improve quality of games by allowing greater expertise and specialization --testing and optimization-- of software (why do scientists specialize? because it helps them dig deeper and make more progress in every area)
3. Reduce overhead, cost, and time through greater specialization of labor (employees are experienced and already know the specific software, tools, or craft they come with).

When a Strata-0 hires a Strata-1, they don't just get the engine, they get a labor pool specifically trained and experienced not just with the engine, but also in making modifications to it (for their specific game).

When a Strata-1 hires a Strata-2, they don't just get middleware, they get a labor pool specifically trained and experienced not just with the middleware, but also in making modification to it (for the specific game), and/or producing content for use with it.

The Strata-1 and Strata-2 have a pool continuously testing, improving, tweaking, modifying their solutions, while at the same time rotating and mainting a pool of specialists "for loan".

So...
You may ask, why would publishers/developers move to this sort of structure... and why should this move be orchestrated and jointly undertaken?

Obviously, owning your own engine can give you a leg up over competitors when it does something particularly well (movement in Assassin's Creed, graphics in Crysis). Also, you don't have to share profit when everything is done by your own employees (there may also be less overhead). You can market your engine to others (Unreal, id Tech 5).

But in the end, game development will have to move this way, because it means a stabler and more profitable market.

The Strata system will provide superior games at reduced costs. Innovation, gameplay, story, interaction will become the main sell-points as the traditional money-guzzlers (graphics, physics, engine) become somewhat normalized across the board.

Capitalism hard at work... while the Strata system creates more companies which need profit, it will drive down costs and increase quality as companies in the same niches fight to deliver superior product/labor, at less cost (let's just hope corruption doesn't become widespread, and keep things strictly anti-trust).