the future of computer games?

rmanger
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Post: #16
Another reply to the questions. I swear it won't be as long as my first post...

Quote:Originally posted by mark_battista
What do you in general want to see in the future?


I like the realism that 3D games provide. I hope we will see more 3D games in the future. However, I hope that 2D sprite graphics make a comeback in 3D games. The following will build on what skyhawk was mentioning about 2D graphics.

NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE 3D!!!

3D graphics are well and good, but no matter how well lighting and textures are used, nothing beats a hand-drawn, hand-crafted 2D image. 2D images made by human artists will always look better than a 3D model simulated into existence by the computer.

Of course, this brings us into the realm of 3D sprites vs. 3D models, each with their own strengths. A hand-drawn sprite has the potential to look better than its computer-generated counterpart. However, it will only look good from certain angles-- the angles that the animators drew the sprite in. Other angles cause the sprite to face in an unrealistic direction. However, a 3D model will be facing the correct way when viewed from any angle. However, the computer-generated parts will look fake and be readily apparent.

So what is one to do?

Animators can work themselves to death hand-drawing hundreds upon hundreds of angles for one sprite, or they can try to make a 3D model look as if it were hand-drawn 2D. This will probably what animators will do, as making an algorithm is easier than drawing tons of sprite angles by hand. Zelda: Wind Waker seems to already do this. Personally, I'd like to see hand-drawn sprites.

When it comes to the background of the game world, of course 3D models are the obvious choice. Not everything should be hand-drawn, just the most important things that the player focuses on and looks at all the time. (Like the player character, the enemies, and items, to name a few.)
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Post: #17
3d models are made by artists too you know...
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Post: #18
1) Depends on how far future you want. Within 5 years, I expect the next-gen consoles to come out with a 256-bit graphics accelerator and maybe some new techniques for art. Of course there are things like wireless headsets with the screen inside, hologram displays, and etc. that we all would like to be put to good use. That might be more off, and more unpredictible, but still, it's a frontier.

2) I would like to see some games that have greater depth. Stories that have twists and turns that can be compared to a classical book. Some more interactivity besides a controller, yet not too complex to control. Maybe something that can sense movement. And I definitely want to see less games that are crap from commercial companies. There are tons of games out there on consoles and the Windows PC that have such low quality replayability, fun, graphics, and everything the player can see or feel in a game. It's a waste of technology. Arcade games and revival of classics I don't mind, but things like 3D action games that are using cheesey graphics and not fun for anyone have problems. Like Beachead for example.

New ways of creating 2D games and platformers wouldn't be too bad either. I miss those days so much.

3) Um, Time Magazine had some reports about future of gaming. It's with interviews with Microsoft I believe. It was when there still was Time Digital Magazine, so you might need to do some work to find it.

4) Well that all depends on how good these game designers are and what kind of hardware will be available around then. Online games seems to be questionable. The only online gaming I see are on computers, but it's only been frag fests and MMORPG's. Sims Online took a good game, but because of marketing problems and probably how the game plays, EA ran into problems.

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.

There are games that would be interesting to see, if they mixed genres. Then again, I think that has already begun. Once Arcade and Action were separate genres, but I see plenty of games with both of that. I always wanted a fighting game mixed with an RPG for the battle sequences. I also wanted to see a game like Oni (fighting + action) put into a more dramatic plot and full of depth. Oni didn't live up to its expectations, but the fighting system was definitely unarugably a nice one. It could use some tweaking, but if someone was to create a great Fighting-Adventure, I'll be your first customer.

I know most of the things I said were more console-relevant, but hopefully that's okay. And most comments are more about the commericial market. The small developers out there, I applaud their work and ambition, and that only fuels my wanting to learn.
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rmanger
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Post: #19
Quote:Originally posted by David
3d models are made by artists too you know...


The textures on the models are made by artists, and the animation of the models are made by artists, but the models themselves are computer generated.

I guess what I was trying to say is that the use of polygons shouldn't be so obvious. I know we've made significant advances in the area, but you can still tell polygons apart from other polygons even in the best 3D engine. (Yes, even on the XBox, you can tell!) It all still looks SOOOOOOOO computer generated...
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Post: #20
Models are made by modellers... they don't come out of thin air. You can see polygons on low-poly models if you look too close, but at least they keep their definition and don't turn into huge square pixels Rasp

Quote:I always wanted a fighting game mixed with an RPG for the battle sequences. I also wanted to see a game like Oni (fighting + action) put into a more dramatic plot and full of depth. Oni didn't live up to its expectations, but the fighting system was definitely unarugably a nice one. It could use some tweaking, but if someone was to create a great Fighting-Adventure, I'll be your first customer.

That's pretty much my current project Cool
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DoG
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Post: #21
Quote:Originally posted by rmanger
Hey DoooG, thanks for the scientific enlightenment! I needed that. Geez, do you pounce on every inaccuracy and error you see? Rasp
...

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.


Sorry, as I said, I got this crap painfully beaten into me.

Back to the holodeck thingy: The problem with light is that it travels in straight lines, and I have yet to see some kind of device which can generate light from empty space. If we see light as a whole, though, as an electro-magnetic wave with a certain wavelength, there is much more to it. If you have ever seen an ultrasonic cleaner, you might now what a standing wave is. I can't recall who came up with this, but there is a theory which claims that what we see as solid matter (which is of course not solid, but that's another topic) is the result of the interference of vacuum waves, eg. waves of empty space.

So in theory, if you manage to create proper vacuum (I like to call it ether) waves, you might generate matter from empty space. Of course, the law of the conservation of energy has to be obeyed, but if you destroy your spontaneously created atom, you get it back.

It is already theoretically impossible to generate a solid matter simulation with EM waves, as for them to contain enough energy to push something significantly, as solid matter would do, they would destroy the object on a sub-atomic level, similarly to gamma rays destroying molecules.

If you take into account the theories of multi-dimensional space, however, an interesting possibility comes up: if you manage to move matter between dimensions, eg move it from our 3 dimensions into other 3 and back, an observer in our space would just see it appear and disappear.

The way of creating force fields ala star trek seems far fetched, at least in the form they appear there, but a lot of research has yet to be done in the field of quantum wave mechanics.

Although it seems like we can describe our world with physics and mathematics exactly, it is only within very narrow limits. We can neither explain macroscopic phenomena such as the formation of the universe, nor microscopic phenomena, such as many of the sub-atomic particles, and their interactions. Our physics is only an approximation of the real world, a simulation if you like. Yet, we only have the technology to run a very small subset of our physics theorems in a simulation, especially in real-time. But then again, engineering is all about taking useless thoughts and things and putting them together in such a way that something useful is generated. You never know, maybe a true AI is running in someone's garage already. I recommend reading "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", it has some very interesting ideas about simulation, in an extended sense, at least. And it is one funny book.
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Post: #22
>A hand-drawn sprite has the potential to look better than its computer-generated
>counterpart.
You base that on what we see "today." Today, to make a character for a real-time 3d game, many sacrifices are made. Most of which is using models with low-count polygons. Thus, you can see "the polygons" as you put it. Using textures can help make a character/model more "rich", and in real-time 3d, it is often enough to fool the eye. Especially when an object is moving quickly. (human eye does have limitations... at least in 2003.) Example? You could model all the windows on an airplane in a flight sim. But that increases the polygon count of the model, and the more of them, the harder the engine must work. Instead, you could apply a texture(s) for the fuselage (spell?), complete with diffusion, reflection and transparency textures to make it seem the model is more detail than it really is.

Now, as time goes by, real-time engines and the hardware will keep getting better, and so we will be able to have models and worlds with are much more rich. I think of it like this.. Old games like "Chaos Engine" looked GREAT. The sprites looked good from many angles and were often made in Deluxe Paint. When compared to the 3d games of that era, they really out-shined them. This was really obvious in sports games. (ie sprite players vs low-rez 3d players) The next step in "2d games" was using 3d to pre-render the models. For example, C&C/T.A. and other RTS games. The next step (happening now) is using real-time engines for these types of genres as well. Like Myth, etc... I think over time, all games will use some sort of 3d engine. That said, what will happen is the type of rendering will be altered to fit the game's target/design. So, some games will look "realistic", while other games will use a "toon" renderer, while some games may combine the two.

Another example is to look at the animation business. Although we all love cartoons/animation, how much of the work is now done digitally? A lot of it, because it is costly to do pen-and-ink for all frames. Now, I don't mean to say that all we will see from here on out is "Toy Story"-based 3d animation. Again, depends on what they are after, as "toon" rendering is getting better and better. Do you get my flow? Summary: In the background, what is creating what you see will no doubt be based on 3d, but what you see will be dectated by the game (or movies) designer's wish.

Another example, take a cartoon-style based game. The animators would have to make as many meat-and-potatoes frames for the various character movements. Using 3d models, but rendered with a "toon" renderer, many many things are possible. Again, I want to stress that toon-rendering is not a match for the human hand yet IMHO. But it will be at some point.

Don't know if I got you off-topic. David already took most of the words from my mouth. Mad

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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rmanger
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Post: #23
"Toon Rendering" is a cool name! And what you say is exactly what I'm talking about. I like cartoons and hope that Toon Rendering will be a reality in the near future!

And it's not just the polygons that make CG art so obvious. I just saw Animatrix tonight at the theater and, as realistic as it looked, could still tell it was obviously CG. CG is a style, and it is as much a style as, say, Marvel style, or Manga style. The thing is, I personally like hand drawn art better than CG art, that's all. And that is why I want to see more hand drawn art used in 3D games!

But then again, Toon Rendering would be easier to do, and cheaper for companies to implement. And the concept is just cool!
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Post: #24
>CG is a style, and it is as much a style as, say
I don't agree with that. I think you really need to look at more CG galleries/films. Without going into great detail, I think the "common Joe" has seen a few types of 3d CG and considers them all that there is. Most likely because the common Joe is only looking at big-budget (or at the terrible terrible movie D&D, low-budget) 3D CG. I see that there is a "Pixar" (Renderman etc) look, a 3D Studio/Lightwave/EI look, Maya/SoftImage look, and custom tools look (ie the studio creates their own tools.) All these "looks" are very different. As different to me as Disney vs Hanna-Barbarra vs Anime of the 2d form. It's interesting that in-house tools like Weta is using is in my mind, truly making CG "disappear." What do I mean? In early movies with CG we could spot one element and say, "That is CG." Later, more elements were CG, but we could still pick them out. Some scenes in "Two Towers" have pushed CG to the point that it doesn't stick out and say "look I am CG!", which is the true goal of CG in my mind. Instead, our minds should see a seamless image, CG, minature, real, etc..

BTW... "shader" technology is getting very very good, and is allowing CG to have much better surfaces. What I mean is this, if "Shriek" was made made about 4 years ago, his skin, etc would be a "plastic-like surface" but if you look close in Shriek or Monster's Inc, you will see many nice surfaces.

Many short-feature CG films use interesting styles, like duo-tone, or "roughness/grain", and various toon-like renderers. Its CG, but the common Joe wouldn't even know. Sorry I don't have any links to show you.

Cheers

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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mark_battista
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Post: #25
how off topic are we??
Please remember this thread is about the future of computer games, digressions about CG can be posted in other threads please. I know lots about CG but it aint gonna help me with research for my report on the future of computer games, is it? Sorry to sound snotty, just wanted to get a point across.

regards

Mark Battista
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Post: #26
yeah, after a while in this community you understand that the main point for which people replie in threads is to take the subject as far as possible from the original topic...Wink
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Post: #27
Quote:Originally posted by Najdorf
yeah, after a while in this community you understand that the main point for which people replie in threads is to take the subject as far as possible from the original topic...Wink


so, how 'bout those monkeys?Rasp
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DoG
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Post: #28
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.

With many things in computing, there is a harsh barrier between consumer products and professional products, and this barrier usually results in a steep price jump. In the end, you end up paying a lot for some marginal functionality that makes your day, or waste time on working around a missing feature. It comes down to wasting energy.

But what the heck, fun is fun, and I know it is more enjoyable to program a game than some command line tool, even if I know that that tool might take 1 hour and save me 10 hours of time within the next week alone. I guess that is a bad engineering compromise. Bored
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Post: #29
while the game you spent 200 hours to make will make you lose 10 hours of time (playing) within the next week alone...
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Feanor
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Post: #30
Quote:Originally posted by mark_battista
What do you consider the future of games will be?
Well, it's sure to be darn big. Games are growing exponentially as an industry. I can't think of anything else to say that is not equally obvious, however. Lots and lots of articles on the Web.
Quote:What do you in general want to see in the future?
I want more multi-user immersive environments where it will be possible for players to make up games on their own, starting with a set of meta-rules, which they can simplify. This won't involve programming, but mostly role-playing or other things that kids do before they go online (or before we had online, at any rate). So you open up a big playground with all sorts of stuff, and they can make their own game areas, and arrange things in them, and choose the balls and bats and gloves, as it were.

The cool thing then would be to work out a way to codify the rules so that the game could be refereed by the system in some way. Right now, programming and/or scripting is the only way to do that, but maybe the computer could learn by observing the players or something equally far out and magical. Or if better natural language ever goes mainstream, users could just tell the equipment what it was supposed to be in the game, how it would work, and how the game referee should determine what was and was not allowed and how to calculate the score. Then they could tweak as they play.
Quote:Does anyone know of any places where I can collate research?
Greg Costikyan's website and blog
The Designer's Notebook
Salon.com
Quote:What genres are expected to become big and what genres are expected to be scrapped, are genres merging?
I expect more of a blurring to continue, but also the classic genres to stick around because they have such dedicated followings and because they each require a focussed skill. Strategy, FPS, and scrollers will always exist. But I expect role playing to continue to evolve as the equipment needed to allow better, richer communication improves.

I think a big invention will be a gesture-recognition product which maps your facial and body expressions (probably exaggerated from subtle to overt) onto your character. The need for new means of input is so overwhelming on the horizon I can feel it. I think they will have to finally create software which will use a camera to observe you while you are in-game. Wearing VR suits is too dumb.
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