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The Future of Gaming - Are Developers and Console Makers Ready? - Next-gen Hardware brings truly next-gen Games

Based on current momentum, what does the future of gaming hold? - Where should it be heading? Anthony expresses his views on the subject.

| Editorials in Gaming | Posted: May 25, 2011 2:10 am

Next-generation hardware brings truly next-generation games

 

At the moment all that games seem to offer are different levels and different bad guys, but the same "feel" to the game. Move here, do this, shoot this person, go here. Games need more physical realism. Shoot a rocket at a brick wall; there should be individual bricks falling/exploding everywhere. Shoot a bad guy in a room and he flies through a glass window. Shoot in a room filled with gas tanks or a room with fuel/something combustible - it would make you think...if I get into a firefight in this room, I could die - I haven't had a save game in 20 minutes.

 

Making the player think of his surroundings, what does this achieve? Immersion. Immersion in games is everything. If you feel part of the game world and are constantly theorizing what is going to happen if you do something, cause and effect, it will create an entire level of immersion for the player that the developer couldn't do with even a $100 billion budget.

 

Even things like fuel or batteries in games - it shouldn't apply to all games, but more realism like this would be at least possible with a next-gen console. In the middle of a horror game and you're using a flash light to guide yourself, yet your flash light is running out of batteries - imagine being able to break into a store (or even go and purchase them from a store) and carry spares with you.

 

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Or lighters, bullets, etc - these items you could only carry certain amounts of (if the game were more realistic). You choose either to light your environment and have a few spare clips for your gun, or ditch the light and go with the box of ammo. Yet, you could go to another store or a house and look for a backpack - use the backpack as storage and take it around with you.

 

It's the things you'd think of in real life, if it were happening to you as a person. We have gotten far too used to it being "just a game". If developers want to step forward and release something that has never been done before - we need next-gen hardware.

 

Developers need to change, follow DICE's movement with PC development first priority and scale down. Scaling up does not work!

 

This has been something very close to me, console porting to PC. Development of 99.9-percent of games is on consoles and ported up to PCs. PCs have virtually unlimited power thanks to constantly changing hardware and multi-GPU, multi-screen setups and technologies. Yet, we get games that are developed with 1280x720 resolutions in mind, 512MB of VRAM, slow, old consoles which means we get very limited games in the form of small levels, crappy AI, crappy textures, DX9-level graphics and cut-down everything else.

 

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The first game to be developed on the PC first and then ported down to consoles is Battlefield 3. Do you see how everyone is getting excited for this game? I haven't seen excitement like this for a very long time and the game looks absolutely mind-blowing. This is what PC gaming should be like, excitement. Not seeing the game look great and then playing it to realise the field of view is set for consoles and TVs, the entire game is built for that.

 

Large text on the screen, large HUDs, it feels like I'm squashed up against my monitor when I'm actually sitting 2 metres away from it. I shouldn't have to change settings for my FOV, mouse, keyboard - anything, but because the game is designed from the ground up for consoles, there's nothing we can do.

 

You can't make crappy graphics better. But you can make great graphics crappier. Developing on PC first allows all assets (graphics, sound, AI, etc) to be scaled down to meet requirements for lower-powered hardware and systems. Someone with 2, 3 or 4 GPUs can enjoy their super high-end gaming, while someone on a console doesn't feel left out.

 

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Yet, creating a game for a low-end GPU in a console and trying to scale up those textures to a 1920x1080 or higher display, it just doesn't work. It's like putting a VHS movie on a brand new 55-inch LED Full HD display - it would just look craptastic. But put a Blu-ray up on that screen and you've just had an eyegasm.

 

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