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the future of computer games? - mark_battista - Mar 26, 2003 05:07 PM

Hi, I'm doing a report and some research into the future of computer games. I am currently a student studying computer games at degree level and would like to ask a few questions to get the general view on the future of games.



What do you consider the future of games will be?
What do you in general want to see in the future?
Does anyone know of any places where I can collate research?
What genres are expected to become big and what genres are expected to be scrapped, are genres merging?

You get the idea, If you could help me in anyway it would be much appreciated. Thank you

Mark Battista


the future of computer games? - Joseph Duchesne - Mar 26, 2003 05:23 PM

Hmm...

ïFrom what I see 2.5d games(ray casters) are already obsolete.
ïTop down games may make a comeback.
ïSidescrollers are like dimonds, forever

That's all of the top of my head. I'll think of more later.


the future of computer games? - Justin Brimm - Mar 26, 2003 05:25 PM

To answer your questions in order...

1) How far in the future? Ten, fifteen years, we'll probably be playing better looking and more elaborate games, but the only likely interaction improvement will be your ability to talk directly to characters, and have them respond back in a way you would expect a human to react (can already be done on large military training simulations). If your talking a hundred or two years down the future though, we might have something like the holodeck in StarTrek.

2) I want to see the death of cut and paste games, even more than I want to see the death of cut and paste movies. You all know what I'm talking about, the game that is essentially the exact same thing as many other games, only the graphics are a little different. For instance, Marathon to Halo is good sized step towards improved gaming (with some exceptions, going backwards, ok, more than a few)... Unreal to Quake or vice versa is cut and paste. Even Unreal Tournament to Unreal 2003 is cut and paste.

3) Look in the links section.

4) While cut and paste games just rehash popular genres, I think the games that take steps forward are beginning to merge genres. Genres are a funny thing, they evolve over time, and it's rare you can even imagine a new genre ahead of time. Sadly, some genres die out because technological advances just push them out of the spotlight, but sadder still, are the genres that were pushed out because the majority of gamers wanted something that didn't require thinking. One currently dead genre which I would like to see revived (and I wish to play a part in it's resurrection), is the graphic adventure, that included games like The Dig, Full Throttle, and Sam & Max.

I hope I could be of some help.


the future of computer games? - skyhawk - Mar 26, 2003 05:34 PM

Quote:Originally posted by mark_battista

What do you consider the future of games will be?

I would hope computer games would get away from the "everything must be 3D and HYPER realistic, but that isn't going to happen. The current trend is to make everything as realistic as possible. I also see There being quite popular. It definitely looks.... interesting.
Quote:
What do you in general want to see in the future?
I personally want to see an advancement made in the 2D department. Now that graphics cards are all powerful, it would be nice to see some old school RPGs (chrono trigger, shining force 2, Phantasy Star 4) with much higher resolution graphics (see 1024x768) I am frankly tired of the 3D scene and will more than likely by a fun 2D game than a 3D game. I would also would like to see more FUN games out there and not just generic games (Serious Sam2, Unreal 2k3, Battlefield 1942, Ghost Recon). All those games are boring as hell because they have been done so many time. Another trend I would like to see die is The Sims. Say what you will about it, but I refuse to play anymore of that game (stopped playing after the first expansion) until they get a better plugin system that doesn't BLOW HORRIBLY like the current one does (install all expansions and patches in the correct order or your computer will blow up!) Worst Programming Ever!
Quote:
What genres are expected to become big and what genres are expected to be scrapped, are genres merging?

Whether I want it to or not, the Massively Multiplayer Online Games are taking off. (I rather see Massively Single player games but oh well). There aren't many well done MMOG, but companies still see it as the bandwagon to jump on to. 2D games are becoming rarer and rarer now adays except on possibly the portable system (GBA, GBASP, cell phones *shudders*). This is quite sad. The main Genres merging at the time are Online and EVERYTHING! I wouldn't be surprised if they had an online mario game or an online snood game. It's crazy how almost every game now a days needs an internet connection. Game designers have all but given up on AIs (except in the bot designing market) and have decided that PEOPLE make better AIs.

On a side note, if I'm quoted anywhere, please tell me so that I may read whatever article I'm put into.


the future of computer games? - David - Mar 26, 2003 06:09 PM

Maybe I'm just overly optimistic but I think the virtual reality thing is closer to the 10-15 years mark than 100-200


the future of computer games? - Carlos Camacho - Mar 26, 2003 08:06 PM

VR in 10-20 years? I recall when Lawnmower man came out. How long was that? Still some time off. But I suppose it depends on what you consider VR. Do you mean goggles on the head, and strapped into some device. Or do you mean eletronics connected into the brain and feeding all the senses things... err... like you are watching a dream unfold.

>What do you consider the future of games will be?
I think if you search Goggle, you will find many articles on this..

>What do you in general want to see in the future?
* Games that allow for people to engage in a world at all levels. For example, one person could be playing at a soldier level (FPS), while another on a general's level (RTS)
* Games that push the boundaries of the game world. For example in a space game, most of them have some limit on how far you can go. I want to do like the Enterprise people did and go beyond the known-universe, but I don't want to land on every planet that looks the same, except for the rock that was moved on the set. There is a good book (expensive) on making infinite game worlds.
* Games that are rewarding and don't just require body-count stats

>Does anyone know of any places where I can collate research?
There is thing called the Internet which I hear has some info. Read stuff by Sid M., Peter M., Mr. Wright and so on.

>What genres are expected to become big and what genres are expected to be scrapped, are
>genres merging?
* Massive (like 500,000 or more) gaming worlds
* more in game advertising
* gaming everywhere... like on cereal boxes, cell phones, Burger Kings tray mats

that's it for now...


the future of computer games? - OneSadCookie - Mar 26, 2003 08:16 PM

Quote:Originally posted by Camacho
Sid M., Peter M., Mr. Wright


That'd be Meier, Molyneux and Will Smile


the future of computer games? - macboy - Mar 26, 2003 08:59 PM

Quote:Originally posted by Camacho
* Games that allow for people to engage in a world at all levels. For example, one person could be playing at a soldier level (FPS), while another on a general's level (RTS)
There's a not-very-popular-but-very-cool commercial game called Dogs of War that has that in it. You can control your units like from an RTS or jump in a helicopter or whatever and fly around. But it's Windoze-only. Sad


the future of computer games? - Darkgold - Mar 26, 2003 11:33 PM

Quote:Originally posted by macboy
There's a not-very-popular-but-very-cool commercial game called Dogs of War that has that in it. You can control your units like from an RTS or jump in a helicopter or whatever and fly around. But it's Windoze-only. Sad

I think Camacho means from more of a MMOG stand point.


the future of computer games? - Carlos Camacho - Mar 26, 2003 11:40 PM

Yes that is right. I think online games now are focused on one genre. I think as technology gets better, different genres will mesh together to offer huge gaming worlds to people from all over.

Other trend I see in the short term (let us say for the next 2 years) is the addition of "Embedded reporters" in FPS. ha ha


the future of computer games? - rmanger - Mar 27, 2003 02:16 AM

This will be the first of a series of replies, as they got quite long as I was typing them!

Quote:Originally posted by mark_battista
What genres are expected to become big and what genres are expected to be scrapped, are genres merging?

Mass Multiplayer RPG is definitely big and will stay big for quite some time. I mean, we have Everquest and The Sims Online. Blizzard has World of WarCraft coming. Due to the addicting nature of the genre (EverCRACK, anyone?), companies are guaranteed to make more of these games in the future.

In the near future ( < 10 years), we'll find microphone chatting in addition to the normal keyboard chatting. Force feedback will be standard in all games. We may even see gaming gloves akin to the old NES gaming glove, except with full force feedback where you can feel an imaginary solid object in the game. An outworldly guesstimate would be that people would have video goggles where the monitor's image is routed to the goggles for direct viewing.

The key to all these new gadgets is player interaction with the world. Players will find themselves in more realistic 3D worlds, where players can interact more fully with the environment instead of just enemies and other players. Instead of just killing enemies and trading items with other players, players can use their battleaxes (normally it's just a weapon for killing your enemies and nothing more) to chop down trees and build fortifications wherever they choose.

Or let's take a school RPG! Another player could be walking down the hall by your locker. You don't see him coming, so you accidently open the locker door in his face. Normally, the CPU would figure that a collision occured, and the other guy would stop walking. The pathfinder would find a way around the door, and he would continue on down the hall. In the future, that locker door would actually hit him, actually leaving a mark on his face. The other player could opt to let it go, or take it personally and pound YOUR face in!

The far future is obvious. Either we will see holodecks ala Star Trek, or we will see direct mind links ala the Matrix. Or maybe both.

For a holodeck, we would need to develop a technology to emulate the attributes of real matter, while using up much less energy than real matter takes to actually exist. Why? I'll explain it shortly, but keep in mind that this will be a heavy physics explanation based on my gimpy knowledge of what I learned back in high school.

Anyway, the attributes of matter that must be emulated are the electromagnetic force, gravity, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force. The fundamental need of all games is graphics for the overall look of the game world, and collision detection for all interaction with the game world. Translated into physics, graphics would be taken care of my manipulating light, and collision detection would be handled by the electromagnetic repulsion between atoms. "Electromagnetic repulsion between atoms?" WTF is that?

Imagine two regular magnets. When the poles are the same, they repel each other. This property is the same with the electrons in atoms. Remember that atoms are mostly composed of empty space. If there were no EM repulsion between atoms, atoms would just go through each other. Imagine your ass sinking right through the chair your sitting in. That doesn't happen because your ass and the chair electromagnetically oppose each other, keeping you from sinking through. As you can see, EM repulsion is very important.

Anyways, light and EM repulsion are taken care of by the electromagnetic force of matter. At bare minimum, a holodeck must support this attribute.

Handling light is easy. Light waves can easily be manipulated by today's sciences. A standard CRT monitor uses a light gun to shoot colors onto your screen, making up the image of your character kicking the computer AI's ass. Better yet, generating light takes very little energy relative to doing other things. Light manipulation is not a problem.

It's EM repulsion that is holding holodeck technology back. A holodeck can't exist without it. Just like you would get pissed about your sword not hitting an enemy due to bad collision detection, imagine how pissed you would be if your sword went right through an enemy in the holodeck. Not good.

The major problem with emulating EM repulsion is the huge amount of energy it consumes. (This is the major reason why the containment fields in today's nuclear fusion reactors drain more energy than is generated, BTW.) To emulate EM repulsion today, we would need to approach energy levels that of matter itself. How much energy does matter take up, do you ask?

Remember Einstein's equation for energy and matter, E=mc^2. This is the equation that makes nuclear fission work. Fission a heavy atom into two smaller, but lighter, atoms, and release a whole load of energy in the fission. If you add the weight of the two lighter atoms together, they won't equal the weight of the one heavy atom. The energy released was the energy of the matter itself. The sucky thing is that the two lighter atoms ALMOST equal the weight of the heavy atom, showing how much energy even a tiny bit of matter holds.

Surely there must be a better way to energy-efficient EM repulsion, but until we find it, no holodecks for us! But trust me, once we have holodecks, it will be guaranteed to be around FOREVER.

The other far future thing to think about is the direct mind link. Instead of using your computer to hook up to the internet and interacting with the keyboard and mouse, people will be able to link up their minds and interact with thought.

I don't know much about neural biology. Most of this stuff is just guesses and is not guaranteed to be correct, or even accurate. All I know is that the brain functions by firing off electrical synapeses on a need-to-fire basis. This is why sleepy people are slower than one whose been up all night on caffeine. The synapses are what are responsible for manipulating the flow of thought. A stronger electrical charge will change the flow of thought more quickly, but will have a more adverse effect on the mind. To make a mind link, scientists will need to control which synapse fires, how often it fires, and how strong it fires. This is just a guess, but since the flow of thought is controlled electrically, a programmer can theoretically program a series of electrical pulses to manipulate the synapses of the brain, and thus, make the player feel as if they were in the game.

Word of warning though: to do what I'm describing above, scientists will need to experiement on many test subjects, many who will become mentally deranged until the technology is tuned and perfected to the point where their minds can be fixed. Only through this extreme effort of the human patience and will to research, coupled with enormous sacrifice, will a mind link game become a reality. Once mind linking comes to be, we will think that the EverCrack of today was nothing. EverCrack MindLink will be much more addicting than ever imagined! Probably as addicting as the Matrix was.

That's the end of the future of gaming. I think I've wrote enough for that part. Time to discuss which games are phasing out.

Everyone knows that 2D games are phasing out, quickly being replaced by 3D games. The only 2D games I can think of that are still produced commercially are Capcom's 2D fighters (like Marvel vs. Capcom 2).

The most direct replacement of 2D games is where the 2D sprite is replaced by a 3D model in a 3D game where the view is third-person. For example, Mario in the original Super Mario Bros. for NES ran around, stomped on top of enemies, and kicked turtle shells. In Mario 64 for N64, Mario STILL ran around, stomped on top of enemies, and kicked turtle shells. The only difference is that one was 2D and the other was 3D. The game concept is generally the same!

Another shame is that puzzle games are going away. People think that the awesome power of a 3D graphics engine would be wasted on a "simple" puzzle game. Well, game makers, innovate and MAKE a good puzzle game really work those 3D graphics! Back in the day, Capcom pushed their CPS-2 2D graphics engine to make Puzzle Fighter (okay, not pushed to the limit like Marvel vs. Capcom, but still pushed pretty hard for the time), and IT was a puzzle game! Why can't anyone else push their hardware for a puzzle game??!!!! It doesn't have to be pushed to the limit, just as long as the graphics look like the programmers actually used a decent amount of power of the 3D engine. Not everyone likes playing HALO everyday, believe or not. I like a little variety now and then, and playing a few puzzle games adds some of that variety. Sokoban is a good game! Tetris is still fun! Please, game makers, make more puzzle games!

Sorry for the long post. I always feel discussing future and unforeseen events is very difficult, so it requires very difficult answers. I hope my discussion on the physics of making a holodeck game wasn't too confusing! Many people find me too hard to understand, so I end up explaining things and sounding condescending while I'm at it...


the future of computer games? - DoG - Mar 27, 2003 02:51 AM

I am sorry to interrupt, rmanger, but you need to have another go at physics. Maybe I had too much of this crap pounded into myself, and thats why I am picky.

1) EM repulsion doesn't exist as such. There exists a magnetic field, an electric field, and electromagnetic waves. Moving electric fields create and interact with magnetic fields, and periodic change of such results in an EM wave. The repulsion of two atoms is mostly due to electric field effects, I find your comparison to magnets outraging. But, the inner workings of atoms and molecules are not as simple as that. Quantom mechanics is a little of and counter-intuitive to anything else.

2) Electric and magnetic forces are not the only things holding our world together. There are sub-atomic forces like the weak and strong nuclear force. And don't forget gravity. Those can harldy be emulated, contrary to your suggestion. Electric and magnetic forces are only a part of the equation, and until somebody finds the GUT, we can't relate all these forces.

3) A CRT in your monitor is a "cathode ray tube", it is shooting electrons bundled by magnetic lenses, not light. Light is emitted when the electrons hit the phosphors on the screen, which are excited and emit light.

4) Light manipulation is a HUGE problem. Light generation is terribly inefficient, and once its sent out, it is hardly changeable, except for redirecting it with solid matter, like lenses and mirrors. And light taken as an EM wave, is very hard to generally manipulate. Most devices only work for certain wavelengths, eg. radar with microwaves, lenses with visible and IR light, X-ray devices with x-rays (aka Rˆntgen waves). An optical lens is not transparent to wavelengths other than visible light.

Quote:The major problem with emulating EM repulsion is the huge amount of energy it consumes. (This is the major reason why the containment fields in today's nuclear fusion reactors drain more energy than is generated, BTW.)


"EM repulsion" is not used in fusion reactors. A strong magnetic field is built up to exploit the fact that the positively charged nuclei in the plasma are forced into a circular path by the magnetic field, which means they won't touch the sides of the container. The energy is drained only because of the resistance of the coils generating the magnetic fields. Sever hundred or thousand ampere are need, so even small resistances will cause large energy dissipation. But this is only minor, the energy is lost mostly because the fusion cannot be kept going, and it takes horrendous amounts to start it up. So, basically, they pump a lot of energy to get fusion going, but the cannot keep it up long enough to regain that energy.

As I see it, the only way to generate holodecks would be to somehow exploit the wave nature of matter, and generate virtual words by generating waves in such a way that their interference pattern results in solid matter. Basically, nothing else is happening in the spontanious generation/destruction of sub-atomic particles in vacuum. Its time to roll out an ether theory again, but then again, I am no physicist. Rasp


the future of computer games? - mark_battista - Mar 27, 2003 09:04 AM

wow, this is excellent people. Its always interesting to find out what other people think. Please keeep this thread going, some fantastic theory and ideas are coming through, if I quote anyone in my article, I will contact you first for permission and credit it to the appropriate source. You will then be given a copy of the article via e-mail so you can read it.

Dont be selfish, if you have an opinion to add please share this with us but lets not digress too far.

Thank you for your comments so far

regards
mark battistaGrin

ps rmanger u have some fantastic ideas, although your scientific explanation was incorrect your ideas are wicked. Ideas and theories are never wrong some of the best creations come from theory. Thx


the future of computer games? - Fenris - Mar 27, 2003 09:43 AM

Quote:Other trend I see in the short term (let us say for the next 2 years) is the addition of "Embedded reporters" in FPS. ha ha


Well, whaddayaknow, the very idea of 'embedded reporters' emerged from the spectator feature of Q3 and CS...

(Ooh, that was on the border to tasteless, was it? Sorry if anyone was offended.)


the future of computer games? - rmanger - Mar 27, 2003 12:00 PM

Hey DoooG, thanks for the scientific enlightenment! I needed that. Geez, do you pounce on every inaccuracy and error you see? Rasp

Quote:1) EM repulsion doesn't exist as such. There exists a magnetic field, an electric field, and electromagnetic waves. Moving electric fields create and interact with magnetic fields, and periodic change of such results in an EM wave. The repulsion of two atoms is mostly due to electric field effects, I find your comparison to magnets outraging. But, the inner workings of atoms and molecules are not as simple as that. Quantom mechanics is a little of and counter-intuitive to anything else.


I know that atoms aren't as simple as what I talked about. I just wanted to leave out some details because it was a really long post, and that I wanted to target my post about what it means towards game development. I guess the magnets comparison was a little over the top. It's kinda like saying comparing a two-door sedan to a 18-wheeler semi-ton truck! Oh yeah, they both use wheels and operate on combustion engines, but... um... they're fundamentally the same!

Quote:2) Electric and magnetic forces are not the only things holding our world together. There are sub-atomic forces like the weak and strong nuclear force. And don't forget gravity. Those can harldy be emulated, contrary to your suggestion. Electric and magnetic forces are only a part of the equation, and until somebody finds the GUT, we can't relate all these forces.

When it comes to game development, no one gives a crap about the weak and strong nuclear force. Who cares about how atoms are held together? (Unless I'm in a WWII game where I'm dropping the A-bomb!) People just want the look and feel of an object, and are unable to easily interact with the strong and weak nuclear force. In terms of simplicity, these forces can be disregarded. Gravity can be disregarded too unless we're simulating a different gravity, like when the player is doing a man-on-the-moon game. However, I feel it would be simpler to just put a huge central gravity generator under the entire holodeck, instead of actually emulating gravity in atoms. I wish that gravity didn't hold back the GUT. Anyway, slick programming can be used to make up for most of the features provided by the other three forces (admittedly, gravity only to a certain degree). It's the EM force that is absolutely required for anything holodeck to happen.

Quote:3) A CRT in your monitor is a "cathode ray tube", it is shooting electrons bundled by magnetic lenses, not light. Light is emitted when the electrons hit the phosphors on the screen, which are excited and emit light.

4) Light manipulation is a HUGE problem. Light generation is terribly inefficient, and once its sent out, it is hardly changeable, except for redirecting it with solid matter, like lenses and mirrors. And light taken as an EM wave, is very hard to generally manipulate. Most devices only work for certain wavelengths, eg. radar with microwaves, lenses with visible and IR light, X-ray devices with x-rays (aka Rˆntgen waves). An optical lens is not transparent to wavelengths other than visible light.


You're right about the CRT thing. My bad. Sad

And as I read your post, I began to realize that light manipulation may be more of a problem than I thought! You're right about devices working for only certain wavelengths. However, all the player needs to care about is visible light (and maybe infrared light if the player can use infrared goggles). Even that can be difficult to get because the spectrum of visible light is very small, so we would need to develop equipment that is very sensitive to the changes in light. When it comes to light generation, you're right again. It is energy inefficient. We also need to accurately generate light in a single spot without it moving too much. We need more light technology and know how to make a virtual pixel. More likely, a holodeck would be using virtual polygons than virtual pixels. Virtual atoms? Too much computing power and programming effort to handle. Maybe someday.

And yes. Fusion reactors DO NOT use EM repulsion. That was just my wishful thinking getting in the way again.