the future of computer games?

macboy
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Post: #31
Quote:Originally posted by Feanor
I think they will have to finally create software which will use a camera to observe you while you are in-game.
I think that could be an invasion of privacy.
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Feanor
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Post: #32
Quote:Originally posted by applekid
New genres, you ask? I've always wondered how it would be possible to make a new genre anymore. If someone can make one, I applaud your work.

I think about this on and off. I would definitely love to see a new "genre" if such is possible, but I've re-organized my views somewhat. (I also think that "genre" is a misused word in the games context, which is confusing the issue, but that's beside the point.)

Games types seem to correspond to the skills needed to play them. Strategy is obvious. FPS is about immersive, narrow-simulation stimulus-response. Multiplayer (i.e.: competitive FPS) adds some strategy. In some ways pure FPS are an extension of arcade action games and side-scrollers: mechanically perfecting patterns of action and timing. 3D is just adding a dimension and more complex path planning.

Then you've got sports games, which probably have an infinite possibility if someone would realize that you can make sports games on a computer that are not based on "real" sports. You have an arena/field and some equipment and some way to define scoring points, you make teams of certain sizes and define rules about the roles of the players and their relation to the equipment and the field (when/how you can touch the "ball" or whatever, "offside", etc.), and go. Riffing off my ideas above, I expect a general purpose "make-your-own-sport" computer game to eventually get invented, maybe even by me. Hmmm, I hereby copywrite what I wrote in here.

Finally, there is "role playing", which is a completely infinite area of possibility which in fact has never been created on a computer. Current RPGs are not role playing any more than Super Mario or Doom is role playing (i.e.: you pretend to be some character is a very narrow, strict sense, and perform one or the other of a very restricted set of actions, and basically wander down a path, which sometimes looks bigger than a path, until you realize there is still only one entrance and only one exit).

"Real" (I mean, truly open and flexible) role playing will depend on that other input-hardware stuff I was talking about, on very flexible and versatile fictional environments (a la the Holodeck), and properly run NPCs, either using human actors or damn good synthetic characters that actually understand language within the context of the game world.

Why isn't this thread in game design? It's going there now...
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Feanor
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Post: #33
Quote:Originally posted by skyhawk
so, how 'bout those monkeys?Rasp

Don't worry. They won't be bothering you ever again. Ninja
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Feanor
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Post: #34
Quote:Originally posted by DoooG
I just want to say that, IMO, computer games are given far too much weight these days when it comes to developing new computing technology. After all, its just entertainment, and though everybody needs more or less of it, it is not what we should strive for.

Computer gaming is pushing technology, but it is not pushing it in the quite right direction, just as war is pushing technology. Sooner or later, we see some result which might improve our daily life, but if that energy would have been spent on researching something to do exactly that, to make our jobs easier, much more could be achieved.

Hey, not so glum now! Computer games will, hopefully, transform and become socializing tools again, not just whatever negative connotation you attach to "entertainment" -- as opposed to idea sharing and art, maybe? As opposed to social relationships? OK, for some people games are not as valid as hanging out with people and playing baseball or drinking beer (or both), but those aren't going anywhere fast.

The technological emphasis will continue to move toward more immersive experiences, but that will include richer social interaction and communication, not just 3D graphics and audio. Sensory stimulus is easy, compared to other stuff, because what you are measuring it against (photography, movies, TV, "real" environments) are "there" as obvious goals -- that's what I mean by "easy": imitation of other experiences vs. forging new ones. Creating responsive environments will be a much more difficult challenge, but once they can put nine million and one objects in million-polygon glory onto a virtual stage, users will clamour for things to "act right". Then the possibilities will EXPLODE.
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Feanor
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Post: #35
A last word. Consider extrapolations to six years from now:

1. Processors are sixteen times more powerful, at least, based on Moore's law.

2. Bandwidth explosion (crossing fingers): fibre to the curb, fibre in every building, terabit transmission rates. We have the tech now, we just need the demand to bring the price plummetting a la home networking gear.

3. Better bandwidth makes cell computing commonplace. Buy a cell unit for a couple of hundred dollars. Condominiums offer cell clusters and terabit storage in the basement, fibre to the unit. Put a few more cells in your condo for your own dedicated tasks.

4. GPU gives way to Environment Processing Unit: integrated 3D graphics and audio, experimental tactile surface processing and output devices. Probably 32 times more powerful than today.

5. Voice recognition and synthesis commonplace. These technologies were perfected circa 2001! Dedicated hardware performs these tasks in 2009.

6. First attempts at general purpose Knowledge Processing Unit: A.I. on a chip. Language and general symbolic logic-processing ASICs in limited production, better systems in testing phase. No, it won't be "intelligent" like you and me; yes, it will play chess better than any human alive, and every other game, too. If you can codify the rules and the number of symbols is finite, these things will master the system. They will micro-manage online virtual world economies, for example.

What's missing from this picture? The software architecture to manage and connect the parts of the system I am hinting at. Who will run that architecture? :ohmy: Well, I'm fear-mongering, but I am serious, too. They are at work on the distribution system already. Playstation vs X-Box is only the beginning, kids. The future is Sony vs. M$ for the computer game ¸ber-network that OWNZ JOO!. Apple doesn't even have a clue. Steve Jobs is so goddamn self-satisfied that he can't see the forest for the trees. Anyway, Sony is going to buy Apple, and Steve will be ousted again. He's not an interactive guy, anyway, he's into making art that you can appreciate.

The flip side of this is the underground, Open Source game architecture running on the retro-fitted remains of the old Internet, spliced into the various new networks wherever they can get away with it. This should be pretty kick-ass. As usual, it will be physical real estate that will be the real expense. When bandwidth costs nothing, you still have to pay somebody for a place to keep your cell cluster.
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Feanor
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Post: #36
Quote:Originally posted by macboy
I think that could be an invasion of privacy.

Well I was thinking of the user actually buying said camera by choice, purely as an input device. It wouldn't transmit pictures of you or anything, it would just interpret motions that would lead to animations for the characters. No keyboard required, no "logging" either.
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rmanger
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Post: #37
Quote:Originally posted by Feanor
Wearing VR suits is too dumb.


I agree.

Quote:GPU gives way to Environment Processing Unit...


Environment Processing Unit? EPU? Don't they have EPUs on that CG cartoon, Cubix? Does this mean our future will be like Cubix? Rasp

Quote:First attempts at general purpose Knowledge Processing Unit: A.I. on a chip. Language and general symbolic logic-processing ASICs in limited production, better systems in testing phase. No, it won't be "intelligent" like you and me;


I hope not. We all saw the Matrix. Look at what happened to all the humans when they introduced A.I.? But seriously, I really do hope that computers don't gain sentience, or else we'd really be screwed!

Games of today are becoming more realistic in terms of physics, environmental variables, etc.. If that trend were to continue (and it probably will), then games probably won't be "games" in the sense that we think of today. "Games" will probably be just real-world simulations with different environmental variables (like gravity, fog, and such), except with special rules that make the simulation a game.

An example would be to compare tennis and baseball. In tennis, you hit a tennis ball with a racket over a net. In baseball, you hit a baseball with a bat out of the ballpark. Yes, I know many of you will jump on top of me saying the HUGE differences between baseball and tennis, but look at the similarities.

- Both sports involve hitting a ball, where the force of the hit is based on how hard the player hit the ball.
- Both sports involve running, and players get tired after running a while.
- In both sports, the player's shoes can get ruined. Rasp

The similarities are all part of the natual environment. The only differences are in the goals of the game, and the pre-defined rules to get to those goals. Once an environmental standard is created, all we need is goals and rules to make a new game. Isn't that what you were getting at, Feanor?
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Feanor
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Post: #38
You are astute! It is indeed what I was getting at. Eventually the creation of specialized environments for particular games will simply be a waste of energy. Computers will be so fast that there will no reason to fine tune "engines" for certain kinds of games, because the complexity of the "simulation space" or whatever you want to call it will be about the same relative to the complexity of the hardware running it, or at least to the meagre input systems we have and expect to have for the next few years.

As for sentient machines, don't worry about that. We don't even know how to make a toaster that doesn't burn toast. (j/k, we can probably do that.) We don't know anything about general purpose intelligence, or about consciousness or sentience. We only know how to search a state space and define rules for transforming it.

The Matrix? That will never happen.
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Founder
Posts: 1,138
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #39
Sorry, but I went into a CG discussion because CG and gaming go hand in hand in my mind. Like talking about the evolution of the movie business without discussing the advancements in the delivery media or other technologies that make movies what they are today.

Anyhow, back to the subject.

I wonder if we will get to a point that gaming leagues start to encroach on real sports leagues. Some people will simply watch the games, perhaps as though they are in the stadium, while others will perform as the players. Imagine how many people watch the World Cup. Only a lucky 70,000 or so get to watch the final game in the stadium. How many would be willing to pay to feel as though they are there?

About this, many might think, with a virtual gaming league, there could be cheating. But in the real world there is cheating.

Other thing I was thinking was that MMOG will offer the chance for people from many countries to interact in their native language. So as machine translation gets better, players that speak various languages will be able to enjoy games together. I think that would be very interesting.

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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rmanger
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Post: #40
Quote:Originally posted by Camacho
Other thing I was thinking was that MMOG will offer the chance for people from many countries to interact in their native language. So as machine translation gets better, players that speak various languages will be able to enjoy games together. I think that would be very interesting.


Hopefully, those Universal Translators from Star Trek will become a reality. And they will be better than AltaVista's BabelFish engine. Rasp Geez, reading BabelFish translated webpages is like reading the subtitles of a bootlegged anime! You have to translate the translation!

If we can do good machine translation (in conjunction with faster, less laggy connections), then we won't have to have specialized language servers like the ones that exist on battle.net. That way, everyone around the world can use trash talk with each other!

And still, machine translation from spoken English to written English (ala speech-to-text dictation) is pretty difficult. I was wondering, is the difficulty in the fact that our programming isn't sophisticated enough, or that the hardware simply isn't fast enough for sophisticated programming?
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Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #41
The problem with text-to-speech (in English) is that a lot of contextual information is required to get it right. To a large extent, the program actually has to understand the text to tell which of two identically-spelled words is meant, to tell whether the word is being used as a noun or a verb (and hence has different pronunciation), where the stress should go on the word, &c.

Speech-to-text is even harder, since the string of sounds will in general be even more ambiguous than a string of letters, and the same contextual information is required to make choices of words -- was that "there", "their" or "they're"?

I don't think we'll see automatic translation until we have hardware neural networks equivalent in power to the human brain, and I think by that stage there'll be more interesting applications for the technology!
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Member
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Joined: 2005.06
Post: #42
Actually, the US military has military training simulators which can generate voices in real-time, matter of fact, the big thing about it is, except for the graphics (which are actually pretty good), you can't really tell the people aren't real. Everything from the facial animations, how they act and how well they understand things; you can give almost any command in almost any way and the AI knows what your saying and can generate a voice and speech back to you in real time. I remember seeing something to this effect.

Real Soldier talking to a virtual Sergeant: Sergeant!
<Sergeant comes running up>
Virtual Seargeant: Yes Sir!
RS: Sergeant, I need you to send three men down to secure a LZ. We have two civilians up here who need immediate evacuation; make sure they send a chopper up here to retrieve them.
VS: Yes Sir!
<The VS heads towards a group of virtual marines, picks three out of the group and orders them to secure a LZ further down the road. They head down the road to secure the LZ>

If I remember correctly, the soldier in training failed that mission, because he had failed to secure an LZ by the time the chopper arrived, because enemy resistance was tougher than they expected, and they were shot to hell or something of that nature.

I could be wrong though; I don't remember where I saw that (might be TechTV) and I think it was a month or so ago.

[added:] One thing I noticed they mentioned was that the soldiers reacted like real people; they experienced fatique, and in the training, you have to watch the mental condition of your troops, lest one can't handle battle situations.

On an interesting note, I came up with a way to do a much simpler version of this for games. Assign a pre-made personality to NPCs that has variables like bravery and loyalty and such (the different personalities ranging from brave and reckless, to cowardl], add a little randomness to the variables, then let them run their course. They act depending on outside factors, such as enemy numbers, their strength (i.e. What weapons and armor each side has), how many enemies killed, how many friendlies killed, ect.

These outside factors are basically modifiers that affect the personality attributes of the NPC, and depending on what they do to the personality attributes, the NPC makes decisions, like whether they should fall back, disobey orders, or go in guns blazing.
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mark_battista
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Post: #43
excellent points discussed so far. So, is there a discernable or foreseeable trend in the development of games and if so what might this be.
thx
regards
mark battista
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ThrottleMonkey
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Post: #44
Personally, I think all we need to do is push what we have just a bit further. Maybe even combine some stuff that's already been done in the past with stuff just coming out.

Let me explain... no, there isn't much time... let me sum up.

FPS's would rock so much harder in multi-player if you could do something beside shooting. Sure, grab a briefcase here, blow up something there... there are so many bank levels in games now... but you can't even try to crack the safe or take hostages or any number of other things.

Right now, FPS's lean too heavily into HUGE weapons, when all the fun comes from in-your-face fighting. Everyone loves knife fights and pistol whipping... and everyone complains when it comes to shotguns doing too much damage and rockets flying everywhere.

So hey... make a game where there's BRAWLING! A bar level where you can pick up and throw and bash glass bottles and chairs over your buddy's head. Have a grappling system (jedi knight II has a sabre-lock system that just needs a bit of tweaking) where you click fast to overpower the opponent. Throw in some action moves like diving and rolling. It just frustrates me to no end to see a perfectly good FPS get stupid by adding too-powerful weapons, etc.

I'm going to stop now.
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mark_battista
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Post: #45
well this link seems to have died, thank you everyone for your responses there's some amazing ideas and commentds in this thread. You've all been very helpful. Thx

regards
mark battista
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