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The Future of Video Games The Future of Video Games In this course, we have looked at both the history of video games, and its current state of affairs. To conclude this course, we take a brief look at the future of video games and the industry itself. Changes in the way games are made.

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the future of video games2
The Future of Video Games
  • In this course, we have looked at both the history of video games, and its current state of affairs.
  • To conclude this course, we take a brief look at the future of video games and the industry itself.
    • Changes in the way games are made.
    • Changes in the technologies used in games.
    • Changes in the types of games made.
development changes separation and reuse
Development Changes:Separation and Reuse
  • We have already seen the beginnings of this, in separating core content and logic of a game from its engine.
  • This trend will only continue in the future:
    • Further separation of game engines, supporting a wider variety of game genres.
    • More reusable components, character behaviours, game logic, and game assets.
  • More and more game developers will move towards developing content on top of one of many fundamental game engines.
development changes separation and reuse4
Development Changes:Separation and Reuse

Screen shot from Crytek’s Cryengine game engine editor.

development changes games as platforms
Development Changes:Games as Platforms
  • In essence, many of today’s games are platforms unto themselves.
    • The games consist of core logic and content layered on top of software code.
    • Editors and tools come with the games to support user-edited content as well.
    • In essence, the game software has become an “operating system” on which new productions can be created professionally by other developers.
  • This trend will only continue to increase.
development changes games as platforms6
Development Changes:Games as Platforms

Screen shot from Counter Strike. It was spawned from Half Life,which in turn was derived from Id Software’s Quake series of games.

development changes online distribution
Development Changes:Online Distribution
  • Online distribution used to only be the realm of shareware or freeware games.
  • Many games today, however, provide supplemental content through some form of online distribution mechanism.
  • Recently, a few sites have appeared to provide complete games online.
    • While the selection of games is usually limited to only slightly older titles, there is a move towards more recent games.
  • In the future, more games will be available through online distribution mechanisms.
development changes online distribution8
Development Changes:Online Distribution

The GamesMania website. For different fees, players can have either limitedor unlimited access to the over 100 titles offered through their service.

development changes continuous development
Development Changes:Continuous Development
  • In the future, certain popular titles will undergo continuous development.
    • After an initial installment, there will be an uninterrupted series of improvements and extensions to the games.
  • The life cycle for such a game would span a number of versions, add-ons, extensions, and user developed content.
  • Some products would die off as popularity fades, but many will see a large and extended life cycle of many years.
development changes continuous development10
Development Changes:Continuous Development

Screen shot from Mech Assault. It is under more-or-less continuousdevelopment with new mechs, maps, and missions being releasedperiodically using Microsoft’s Xbox Live service.

development changes simultaneous releases
Development Changes:Simultaneous Releases
  • As cross platform game engines and development tools mature, there will be an increase in simultaneous releases of video games:
    • Multiple target platforms.
    • Multiple languages.
    • Multiple types of media (movies, television,books, comics, and so on).
  • While this is done with some games today, this trend will increase.
development changes simultaneous releases12
Development Changes:Simultaneous Releases

Screen shot from Spider-Man. Games were released on multiple platformsin sync with the launch of the hit movie. Different ports of the game haddifferent features though … like the Kraven levels only on the Xbox version.

development changes fourth party developers
Development Changes:Fourth-Party Developers
  • In the past, developers tended to be:
    • First-party: The system maker itself.
    • Second-party: A subsidiary of the system maker.
    • Third-party: A wholly independent company.
  • Fourth-party developers are the end users of games themselves.
    • Using developer provided tools and editors, or other independent software, end users provide additional game content.
    • In some cases, fourth-party developers produce an entirely new and different game.
development changes fourth party developers14
Development Changes:Fourth-Party Developers

Screen shot from Counter Strike. It has been the most popularand successful fourth-party game developed to date.

game technology changes auto generated content
Game Technology Changes:Auto-Generated Content
  • It is already becoming too costly and too difficult to create and animate polygonal models used in games.
    • The sheer number of polygons requires a ridiculous number of people to create, edit, and animate.
  • In the future, auto-generation tools will be needed to create models with higher polygon counts, and simulation will be needed to properly animate them.
game technology changes auto generated content16
Game Technology Changes:Auto-Generated Content

Screen shot from Doom III. Source models in Doom III have nearly 1,000,000polygons, which are rendered down to 5,000 polygon models for in game use,along with bump maps for textures. We cannot go much higher than this!

game technology changes more passes please
Game Technology Changes:More Passes Please
  • Until recently, most rendering engines used only two passes … one for base texturing and the other for lighting.
    • Additional details were added by increasing polygon count or by using higher resolution textures.
  • Rendering engines are moving away from these techniques and towards more rendering passes.
    • Bump mapping, environmental mapping, and other techniques are used in additional passes to produce more realistic graphics.
    • In the future, even more passes per polygon will add further graphical enhancements.
game technology changes more passes please18
Game Technology Changes:More Passes Please

Screen shot from Dead or Alive 3. Several rendering passes are used toprovide spectacular graphical effects through different lighting, bumpmapping, and environmental mapping effects.

game technology changes real time level modification
Game Technology Changes:Real-time Level Modification
  • In most video games, the game level is static and immutable, no matter what you to do it, or in it.
    • For example, you can blast a rocket launcher at a wall, and at best leave a blast mark. No hole, and no rubble are left behind.
  • In the future, more games will allow real-time modifications to the game world itself in response to player actions.
    • This adds another dimension of realism.
game technology changes real time level modification20
Game Technology Changes:Real-time Level Modification

Screen shot from Unreal Tournament 2003. You can set off a miniaturenuclear warhead, and not punch a hole in a wall or floor. All you’ll get isa blackened blast mark (temporarily) where the explosion took place.

game technology changes real time level modification21
Game Technology Changes:Real-time Level Modification

Screen shot from Red Faction. With its Geo-Mod Engine, you can havearbitrary deformations to the game levels, instead of the destruction of onlycertain designated objects, like glass windows.

game technology changes meaningful interactions
Game Technology Changes:Meaningful Interactions
  • Most modern artificial intelligence in games is restricted to combat situations or some form of scripted behaviour.
  • New efforts are being directed towards more meaningful and spontaneous interactions with non player characters.
  • There is a lot left to do, however, and such interactions are likely still years away.
game technology changes meaningful interactions23
Game Technology Changes:Meaningful Interactions

Screen shot from The Sims. The Sims brought a whole new varietyof non player character interactions to gaming … but there still isn’t a real feeling of interacting with another human being.

game technology changes learning and adaptation
Game Technology Changes:Learning and Adaptation
  • Many games in the past have boasted of the ability to learn, adapt, and react to the player’s actions and strategies.
  • What we have seen, however, has been quite primitive in comparison to what is on the way.
    • Identify patterns in player behaviour.
    • Formulate new actions and strategies.
    • Anticipate player activity and compensate.
    • Provide a different kind of enemy each time.
game technology changes learning and adaptation25
Game Technology Changes:Learning and Adaptation

Screen shot from Sin. Like many games over the years, it claims tohave reactive artificial intelligence that responds to player actions. Futuretechnology will push the boundaries much, much further.

game technology changes group tactics
Game Technology Changes:Group Tactics
  • In the future, artificial intelligence in a game will use group tactics against human players.
    • For example, they will attempt to outflank, lure, or ambush players in a variety of ways.
  • This will be difficult to coordinate, but will provide more challenge and more realistic game play.
game technology changes group tactics27
Game Technology Changes:Group Tactics

Screen shot from SOCOM: US Navy Seals. A good attempt to providegroup tactics in a game. In most cases, however, group behaviour isdictated by the player or a variety of simple rules.

game technology changes group tactics28
Game Technology Changes: Group Tactics

Movie from Far Cry, built on the Crytek Engine. It is starting show some ofwhat we are looking for in AI … better interactions, group tactics, and so on.

game technology changes positional sound
Game Technology Changes:Positional Sound
  • As the technology becomes more widely available, there will be an even bigger push for environmental and surround sound in video games.
  • This will allow positional sound and cues within a game world for an enhanced gaming experience.
    • This, however, will require more believable sound propagation models, and improved game development tools.
game technology changes positional sound30
Game Technology Changes:Positional Sound

Screen shot from Panzer Dragoon Orta. One of many recent gamesto support surround sound for positional audio effects.

game technology changes networked games
Game Technology Changes:Networked Games
  • There is already a growing trend in networked multiplayer video games.
  • With both personal computers and most modern consoles having support for high speed access to the Internet, this will only increase.
  • In the future, titles without any network play support will be much rarer and harder to find.
    • Some experts claim that the end of the single player game is at hand.
    • This is likely an exaggeration, but there is a definite shift amongst players and developers.
game technology changes networked games32
Game Technology Changes:Networked Games

Screen shot from Halo 2. This yet-to-be-released title will have many new

features, the most anticipated of which is network play usingMicrosoft’s Xbox Live service.

game technology changes brain computer interfaces
Game Technology Changes:Brain-Computer Interfaces
  • Imagine you could control a video game directly with your mind instead of the indirect approaches currently taken.
    • Players interact with a game through controllers using their hands, feet, or other part of their body.
    • Feedback is given using video, audio, or tactile methods through various devices.
  • Direct brain interfacing would potentially open up new kinds of games, and allow games to be played by people previously unable to play due to some form of handicap.
game technology changes brain computer interfaces34
Game Technology Changes:Brain-Computer Interfaces

To the left is a screen shot of Mind Balance, a game developed as part of brain-computer interface research conducted at University College Dublin. The player

wears a special “brain cap” that non-invasively measures signals at the back ofthe head. The goal of the game is to balance the character Mawg, as hetraverses a tight rope. This is done by focusing attention on glowing and flickering orbs on the screen that trigger visual processing in the brain.

game technology changes brain computer interfaces35
Game Technology Changes:Brain-Computer Interfaces

Feedback in the Mind Balance game.

new types of games unconstrained gaming
New Types of Games:Unconstrained Gaming
  • Most games constrain the way the player can play them and overcome obstacles.
    • Restricting the types and numbers of game world objects, leaving a sparse or repetitive world.
    • Restricting the interactions possible with the different game world objects.
  • Future breeds of games will have more varied interactions possible with a wider variety of game objects.
    • This allows users to find and implement their own solutions to game obstacles and puzzles.
new types of games unconstrained gaming37
New Types of Games:Unconstrained Gaming

Screen shot from Splinter Cell. This game allows significant interactionswith objects in the game world, but there are still some things that youcannot do that would otherwise make sense.

new types of games pervasive gaming
New Types of Games:Pervasive Gaming
  • A new wave of games is on the horizon that span platforms and utilize mobile and wireless technologies to reach people wherever they are, whenever they want.
    • Computers, traditional consoles, palm computers, cell phones, and so on.
    • The game content is tuned appropriately to the capabilities of the device in question.
  • These types of games are closer than you may think!
new types of games pervasive gaming39
New Types of Games:Pervasive Gaming

Concept art for VibeForce. VibeForce is a MMORPG for the PC, Playstation 2,

and wireless devices that will make use of the Butterfly Grid network to support a single massive game world in a persistent fashion.

new types of games virtual or augmented reality
New Types of Games:Virtual or Augmented Reality
  • Virtual or augmented reality games bring a new level of immersion to gaming.
  • Virtual reality:
    • The user is immersed in a completely synthetic world, where all senses are fed from the game world.
  • Augmented reality:
    • Some portion of the real world is still available to the senses, with aspects of the game world layered over top.
new types of games virtual or augmented reality41
New Types of Games:Virtual or Augmented Reality

Some products, such as this visor, currently allow stereoscopic renderingof 3D games (typically Direct3D or OpenGL) in a way that makes them

seem almost holographic to the wearer.

new types of games virtual or augmented reality42
New Types of Games:Virtual or Augmented Reality

Concept of Augmented Reality Quake (ARQuake) from the University of South Australia. Starting at left, they model the real world in a game world map,minus textures and fine details. Game creatures and objects are then insertedinto the map for playability. The game is then rendered into specialaugmented reality goggles. Finally, at right, all walls, doors, and othergame world constructs are made transparent so the real world shows through.Position is tracked using digital compasses, GPS tracking, and so on.

new types of games virtual or augmented reality43
New Types of Games:Virtual or Augmented Reality

Photo of a player of ARQuake. A lot of extra gear must be worn, but, as thevideo shows, you get an interesting game experience.

new types of games virtual or augmented reality44
New Types of Games:Virtual or Augmented Reality

View of Human Pacman, an augmented reality game developed atthe Mixed Reality Lab of the National University of Singapore. Players usea variety of gear to help navigate through the game world.

new types of games virtual or augmented reality45
New Types of Games:Virtual or Augmented Reality

Real world view (left) and game world view (right) of playersplaying Human Pacman. I don’t know about wandering about streets with real traffic while immersed in an “augmented reality”!

new types of games virtual or augmented reality46
New Types of Games:Virtual or Augmented Reality

Images of a Human Pacmanplayer in all of the requiredgear. As geeky as this looks,I wouldn’t pass up a chanceto play it!

a final word
A Final Word

“People expect too much in one year and not enough in ten years.”

- Neil Armstrong