In terms of PC gaming, if you look at the spectrum of where we started, there are certain upheavals that take place that in essence shake up the status quo of what is expected in terms of quality. The first video game was Pong, nothing more than a few white pixels against a black background representing two paddles and a ball programmed to keep score and show the display. A very simple game. The next upheaval was the advent of the 2D colorized game. The 2D concept was further and further developed until the dawn of the next major upheavel, the 3D game. Finally in a game there would be 3D representations of people, places, characters, scenes and environments. I think we can all agree any serious PC game MUST be 3D, its almost silly to even IMAGINE a 2009 PC game in 2D that is trying to be a good game. Other than a gimmick game that is meant to be 2D, all serious games are 3D. Even WORMS copped out and went 3D!
So what's next? I'd say the next MAJOR upheaval in games would be physics systems. What was once an insane feature when Half-Life 2 came out (HL2 may not be the first game with physics but it's the first polished one I've ever played) is quickly becoming something of an industry standard.
Blizzard games have never had physics. Now for there to be a complete system that is accelerated by our now well-developed GPU's is astounding. As more years go by, most any game involved in a moving environment will have some sort of physics system in place to simulate actual environments. Physics systems make the world so much more robust and REAL. It's amazing when in Crysis, I launch a couple of rifle-grenades into a shack where 3 guards are inside and it blows the house to smithereens and them with it. Why should a shack made of aluminum sheets withstand the blast from a grenade?
My question is, what is going to be the next paradigm shift in terms of what feature that is new (or even still in development) is the next BIG one that will eventually be instituted into all sorts of games?
WOOPS, I had two windows open for posting one in D3 and one in here... and I chose wrong one.
Yeah I mean I think the next level is something like 100% destructable environments. They could use algorithims from engineering programs that actually compute real-life physics with a variety of materials (like whether this many columns of this material can support this many tons, or in a game's case, how much explosive is needed to blow away this wall? What would the real effect be of a grenade in a closed room?
Crysis is being developed as a trilogy, with the latest Crysis: Warhead not being counted as the 2nd in the trilogy, so 2 more to go. I'd say by the third, we're going to be closer to this fully destructable environments, where I can blow away custom holes in the buildings (and not something campy like a scripted area that "opens" if an explosive goes near it). Something where metal scraps of my hummer can fly off and react with the environment (let's say a small scrap of my hood gets blown off by a blast, it should go flying very high speed, maybe slice into a tree or blow past some plants?). The Crytek 3 engine showcased at this weeks GDC even showed the force of a bullet causing the long leaves of palm trees to sway even if it didn't directly hit them.
I think the most exciting possibilites are with full 3D world RPG's as this technology continues to evolve. Shooters can only get so much more photorealistic and advanced physics while RPG's can generate all sorts of high-definition graphics through spells and other manipulations. Imagine the day when not only will grenade affect environments but also spells? Imagine when game engines and video cards will be so robust that they will be able to show events such as a fire nova spell, for example, where a ring of fire emanates from the caster in an outward ring. Now imagine if that spell, done in a field, immediately turned al the plants and grass into a yellow burnt crisp? How about when using a frost spell, and it misses, it hits the trunk of a tree and manifests as frost over the tree.
It's going to be really scary thinking of something like WoW 3 (yes, THREE) where even if Blizzard wants to make a "low end" game, by whichever year WoW 3 comes, computers will all be universally better as they always do.
Yes, I'd say this would be a logical next step. It would be cool to see the heat or cold from my fireball or ice bolt tinge the air and plants around it, it would be cool to see my meteor burst open the earth and send debris and shock waves cascading through trees and buildings. It would be nice to see ice build up from my blizzard or temporary charges cast in to a metal sword when my lightning bolt sweeps through a warrior's flesh.
I could enjoy that.
After that, I'd like to start seeing NPC and enemy AI to interact differently with damaged environments.
Well the point was just to look where it all started and where's it come to in a few decades. Since our strides in gaming are happening at an exponential rate, we are going to continue improving faster each time. Each successful revolution in gaming is going to happen sooner and sooner I think, especially as new hardware solutions are invented to support the wild ideas of the software/programming world.
The ultimate step would be to put the player inside the game, literally. Talking about virtual reality here. That's the stuff of the future. You will get a pinch when an arrow hits you, and you feel the adrenaline rush as you kill all those beasts. Imagine walking down a dungeon; how scared would you be? Virtual reality, coming to a world near you.
I think graphics will advance even further to the point where it is almost no different than reality. Don't get me wrong they have come a long, long way; but i think things like body movement, facial animations, outdoor environment, and environmental physics will all be the next thing. Granted they have a lot of this stuff already, but I think they will push it even further. As far as virtual...kind of doubt that anytime soon...unless someone has some source material to back it up?
Well... we already have games with amazing physics and all... like Crysis etc...
I think the nest huge step would be actually a step back to making games more simple. Like this guitar hero shit, why do people like it? i dont know... But its simple so every fool can play it. D3 is simple although really complicated, but you can play it just with a mouse like D2 etc...
Games with great gameplay, simple, and attractive.