Sign in to follow this  
Shpoonj

The Real Future of Gaming

Recommended Posts

I've read a lot of posts about what's wrong with the games we play and how the next generation will bring a few changes but not as many as we're hopinh for. To be honest, I don't think all the possibilities have been discussed. Does anyone remember when Lionhead and BBB were working on growing trees and aging villagers for Fable? Wouldn't it be amazing if a game was filled with towns and people who looked different each time you played? Where is a combat system that doesn't use the same three animations for attacks over and over? Why hasn't someone done the math and calculated which angles compliment each other and made a system where you can choose what angle you attack from and had impromptu animations each time? Where's the AI that knows how to learn from you? You know, the one we've been promised countless times. The one that watches your best moves, and implements them flawlessly. Maybe the technology isn't at this point yet, but I have a feeling it will be soon. If you won't make these games, I will, but it's giving me a headache. Let me know how you feel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Shpoonj
Does anyone remember when Lionhead and BBB were working on growing trees and aging villagers for Fable? Wouldn't it be amazing if a game was filled with towns and people who looked different each time you played?

I like the idea of being able to have a character’s in game age, etc. I think that you shouldn't make it so that the player can no longer recognize the characters, especially if you are dealing with a game that uses quests as a main part of the game.
Quote:
Original post by Shpoonj
Where is a combat system that doesn't use the same three animations for attacks over and over? Why hasn't someone done the math and calculated which angles compliment each other and made a system where you can choose what angle you attack from and had impromptu animations each time?

Again, this is not a bad idea. I've thought of this a fair bit myself. But, there is a problem. How much control do you give the user?

If it is too much, the game will become overly complicated and only the truly hard-core players will want to play it. Even then that might be pushing it.

It might work if don't give the player all that much control, because then you can program the algorithm to decide how to attack. The only problem that I can think of occurs when the player disagrees with what the game decides to do.
Quote:
Original post by Shpoonj
Where's the AI that knows how to learn from you? You know, the one we've been promised countless times. The one that watches your best moves, and implements them flawlessly.

This might be a bit harder than you think. I don't know how far along any of these projects are, but does anyone remember Dodo Dada and the other "AI"s that were learning to construct English sentences?

The last time I checked on any of these projects was about 4 years ago, and almost all of these projects required supercomputers just to run. It might be a while before we can implement a truly learning AI.

Also, you don't want the AI to become to difficult to play that the player decides to discard your game. So there might have to be a limit. Like a maximum amount of information that it can hold.
Quote:
Original post by Shpoonj
Maybe the technology isn't at this point yet, but I have a feeling it will be soon.

I don't know exactly all of the information about this, but it was mentioned by one of my professors. He was mentioning that computer technology is currently "slowing down" in terms of advancement. This is mainly due to the fact that information can only travel so fast along the circuits, and we are currently getting close to that limit.

--Ter'Lenth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Village Different Each Time/Changing World - This idea always seemed like a lot of work for not much payoff. I don't care about the village changing so much unless it is MY character affecting the change. Some time triggered events could raise immersion and I see this in RPGs often. It's a good effect and great for showing time passing or the player's impact on the world, but I wouldn't call it revolutionary or brilliant.

Angles of attack, etc. - Closest thing to this might be "The Way of the Samurai". In that game you get a ton of swords with different sword styles. The weight of swords affected swing speed and sword styles varied angles of attack. Additionally, where you were in a combo or certain button presses could further change the angle of attack. Additonally, although ripostes were difficult to pull off, you could press buttons to deflect an enemy's attack and open their guard.

AI that learns from the player - Most fighter games have this in them and it isn't lauded as a big feature anymore. If you remember fighter AI in some early games, it was either very predictable and easy or it knew exactly the "best" attacks to make in every situation and instantly pulled them off whenever it needed (unlike players who had to do fancy button presses for harder moves). Newer games learn how players play and change their tactics over time even if you play on the same difficulty setting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I invented an algorithm/structure that enabled possiblity of dynamicaly changing world with reasonable computing power and memory allocation demands.

Of course majority of computer programmers weren't teached to try something wastly different, and marketing department would scold them if they'd do it.

It's also much more nice AI that learns its tactic itself than AI that mindlesly copies player action. BTW how did it know what should be copied?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know how to use the quote function on these boards, so this might be a little rough.

"This might be a bit harder than you think. I don't know how far along any of these projects are, but does anyone remember Dodo Dada and the other "AI"s that were learning to construct English sentences?

I tried making a program that could learn english from me, and although it's not impossible, every step of the way ten new things would pop into my head and I wouldn't know which ones were needed and which ones weren't. But, it seems, a computer that can learn is a needed technological advancement, and it would greatly benefit all technical industries. So much for pet projects.

"It's also much more nice AI that learns its tactic itself than AI that mindlesly copies player action. BTW how did it know what should be copied?"

It would copy what worked... what led to a point. Have you ever played a sports game where you can score nearly everytime by doing the same thing over and over? That's what I'm talking about. The AI needs to know if it's not working well enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Shpoonj
Where is a combat system that doesn't use the same three animations for attacks over and over? Why hasn't someone done the math and calculated which angles compliment each other and made a system where you can choose what angle you attack from and had impromptu animations each time?

There is a somewhat older game called 'Die By The Sword' which implemented something similar to this. Essentially it let the player directly control the game character's arm using the mouse or the keyboard. The system might not have been very refined, but it would probably be a good place to start if someone was looking to implement a more dynamic combat system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Shpoonj
Does anyone remember when Lionhead and BBB were working on growing trees and aging villagers for Fable? Wouldn't it be amazing if a game was filled with towns and people who looked different each time you played?


Because you're suggesting a visual change that has no impact on gameplay, I think it would be a huge waste of a limited budget. What does it matter if the town crier has more gray hair if the gameplay is the same as any other game in the genre? While company A would be spending time putting in old people, company B would be spending time putting in more monsters, items, spells, quests, etc. I think players might get excited by company A's game when seeing it touted in the mags and on G4, but company B's game will have more and likely stay with them longer.

Now, if you're a group I've learned of that believes that gameplay is graphics, then we have no argument-- because you want a type of game that I wouldn't buy.


Quote:

Where is a combat system that doesn't use the same three animations for attacks over and over?


How many animations should an attack have?

Quote:

Why hasn't someone done the math and calculated which angles compliment each other and made a system where you can choose what angle you attack from and had impromptu animations each time?


You're talking about procedural animation? If so, that's an emerging field, and like all new technology will take a great deal of stumbling before perfected.

Quote:

Where's the AI that knows how to learn from you? You know, the one we've been promised countless times. The one that watches your best moves, and implements them flawlessly.


What about AI that uses a wide range of combat and non-combat actions to take you down? Rather than an AI that mimics my tactics, I'd rather have an AI that surprises me with a wide variety of approaches. Maybe he starts rumors behind my back that get me kicked out of my guild? Maybe she poisons my most trusted ally, who was supposed to prove to the king that I was innocent?

Quote:

If you won't make these games, I will, but it's giving me a headache.


I think that you're urging us to think not outside of the box, but inside of the box you're in. It sounds as if you'd be perfectly happy with games as they are, as long as they showed more graphical variety. But game companies are already moving in that direction. Oblivion is coming with procedural forests rendered right down to ferns and shrubs. There's some zombie game in the pipeline that has different body types for each zombie. Several MMOs customize characters right down to the width between the bridge of their noses. Fable already showed us an (abruptly) aging character.

So except for the wish for AI that mimics or counters your moves, we already have what you're talking about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Shpoonj
I think it's safe to say that graphics provide an enormous amount of immersion... Maybe I'm wrong to think that, but I'd rather play Splinter Cell than Mine Sweeper.


This is a bit of a silly response, don't you think? People are saying to you "we don't want games that are beautiful only to hide uninspired gameplay." It's pretty off the mark to characterize that as "people want to play Mine Sweeper."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A game in its entirety is defined by rules. You can immerse the player as much as you want, you can change the presentation to be as beautiful as heaven, but those things do not change the rules of the game. You can change animation sequences, you can beef up the AI, you can age fictional characters, but these do not change the rules of the game.

All of the things mentioned help the story the game happens to contain. A good story though is worthless with terrible gameplay. Good gameplay is fun, good story, bad story, or no story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Shpoonj
I've read a lot of posts about what's wrong with the games we play and how the next generation will bring a few changes but not as many as we're hopinh for. To be honest, I don't think all the possibilities have been discussed.

Does anyone remember when Lionhead and BBB were working on growing trees and aging villagers for Fable? Wouldn't it be amazing if a game was filled with towns and people who looked different each time you played?

Where is a combat system that doesn't use the same three animations for attacks over and over? Why hasn't someone done the math and calculated which angles compliment each other and made a system where you can choose what angle you attack from and had impromptu animations each time?

Where's the AI that knows how to learn from you? You know, the one we've been promised countless times. The one that watches your best moves, and implements them flawlessly.

Maybe the technology isn't at this point yet, but I have a feeling it will be soon. If you won't make these games, I will, but it's giving me a headache.

Let me know how you feel.


I think the reasons these things haven't yet been implemented in games are ones other than what might be immediately obvious.

The algorithms and techniques are already there. We know how to make amazing AIs for your FPS combatants. We have known how for quite a while. However, how long might it take to implement such complex logistics? How much money might it take to pay professional programmers (probably requiring PhDs, not just run-of-the-mill programmers) to work all that extra time? The answer to both is frankly probably too much.

But even more importantly, if you were the leading publisher, and were able to get millions of sales by secretly skimping on the AI but lying early on about it to build hype, would you? I can't answer that question for you obviously, but unfortunately 'Yes.' is the answer given by today's major publishers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Its the little things that aren't noticed. Its also the somewhat lesser known games that bring in strange innovations and ideas.

For example, for full control of your "character" in combat, I think Robot Alchemic Drive (RAD) probably went the furthest towards total control. Every limb and joint of the robot was literally mapped onto a ps2 controller. The R1/R2 and L!/L2 buttons made the robot either take a step forward or backwards with the left and/or right foot. So, walking involves alternating between pressing R1 and L1. The arms were mapped onto the two analog sticks and you swung your punches with them, which means you had somewhat of a control as to where to punch, like those arcade boxing games. Then the torso rotation was mapped to the digital pad and the 4 buttons did other stuff, like weapon selection, special attacks, etc. Just reading the manual for the controls was a daunting task as natural as the mapping seems. I can imagine actual execution would be a completely different story. So, if you want full, control, give that game a shot, though I doubt it will be extremely responsive, but will sort of bring forth the fact that full control of your character equals to somewhat of a learning curve and physical dexterity.

Good AI has always been around the corner, but it has always stayed that way. You come up with something smarter and people just want more. 30 years ago, people were in awe of the seeming intelligence of ELIZA, which in current day terms was a simple chatbot. By about 20 years ago, ELIZA just wasn't smart anymore. So, its not that AI hasn't gotten better, its just people are demanding more. I thought Virtual Fighter 4 had a pretty damn interesting AI system just because you could really "train" your own AI character from scratch. But like most good things in AI, training takes time. Most of the times, by the time the AI has gotten smart enough, you've finished the game. So, there are ups and downs to learning AI's, since time is usually involved.

Watching games evolve is kind of like watching a tree grow. If you stare at it all day, it always looks as if nothing is happening, but go away and come back in 5 years and you wouldn't even know what you're looking at.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Okay, here's my brief take on some of these ideas...

Quote:
Original post by Shpoonj
Does anyone remember when Lionhead and BBB were working on growing trees and aging villagers for Fable? Wouldn't it be amazing if a game was filled with towns and people who looked different each time you played?


Well, I agree it would be cool, but I'm not sure about earth-shattering. I mean, having people that look different is actually achievable with today's technology (such as that used in Sims 2). But the quesion is; how much more will that add to the game?

However, I am fascinated with all forms of algorithmic art, and I think this will lead to improvements in gameplay, which might be what you are talking about here. Algorithmic art is more customisable, and more customisabiliy means more flexibility to providing what the player wants, and in incorporating interactivity. Plus it would be good if a mediocre artist such as myself could get the computer to do some of my artwork for me. [smile]

Oh, and don't forget there's also a game design reason to have most of the characters look the same. If the player enters a new village and everyone is wearing the same brown peasant clothes, except for that one woman over there wearing an orange suit of chain mail, the player knows which character is the important one.

Quote:

Where is a combat system that doesn't use the same three animations for attacks over and over? Why hasn't someone done the math and calculated which angles compliment each other and made a system where you can choose what angle you attack from and had impromptu animations each time?


I'm sure that people are working on this right now, and will be in games within the next couple of years, if not already. But I'm also not sure what this will add, unless it's coupled with a realistic physics engine.

Quote:

Where's the AI that knows how to learn from you? You know, the one we've been promised countless times. The one that watches your best moves, and implements them flawlessly.


Not sure if this would be fun though. An AI opponent that is unbeatable? With AI, either it is a really hard problem to make a tough opponent, or it's riddiculously easy and just results in an unentertaining experience. Imaging a fighting game like Street Fighter where the AI opponent always blocks your every move; it's easy to implement, but just no fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Learning AI (such that it is) has been around at least since Killer Instinct. I remember it being abundantly clear that the enemy fighter was getting better at blocking particular sequences of moves. If you throw him a high-high-low combo four times in a row, he'd figure it out and block it. If you immediately performed a high-high-high combo, he'd block the first two and then block low while you socked him in the face.

If that isn't a learning AI, you need to explain to me just what you mean.

We've all read the articles about how raphics are getting too much attention and game design is going down the crapper. I think the next generation of games will have a handful of great games, a few dozen good games, a bunch of popular yet highly derivative games (Madden 2007! Now with nasal hair!), and a horde of crap titles.

I've found games at addictinggames.com that are way better than many of the big-budget games that get released.

I think David Wong was right about the impending video game crash, but I think it'll be commercialism that kills the industry, not intellectual stagnation.

These ideas are scrapped because they're not economically feasible, not because nobody is cool enough to go through with it. If great ideas were magically turned into finished projects, I'd be living on Mars with my twenty foxy clone girls right this minute.

The fact of the matter is that making a huge, detailed and innovative video game now requires an amount of effort and testing and funding and expertise comparable to a flight of the freaking space shuttle. I can't do that from my basement. Neither can you.

I think that the field of video game design benefits from innovation that takes place in the form of academic discussion on these boards just as much as when a crappy game with a really neat aging system gets released for the XBox. The simple fact that innovation != fabulous cash prizes doesn't mean it isn't happening.

I encourage you to make these games. Do it. I know funding is a problem, but if everyone on these forums contributes two cents, I'm sure you'll be okay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Where is a combat system that doesn't use the same three animations for attacks over and over? Why hasn't someone done the math and calculated which angles compliment each other and made a system where you can choose what angle you attack from and had impromptu animations each time?


That sounds sort of like reverse kinetics. I remember hearing about a game being developed along those lines a few years ago. The idea is that you can put the character's hands or feet wherever you want, and the game figures out a reasonable position for the rest of the body. They were going to try and use it to make a gymnastic fighting game, sort of like Prince of Persia.

There were a lot of problems, though. It was unpredictable, it was taking forever, and they couldn't figure out a reasonable control scheme. Eventually they ended up using the reverse kinetics as a development tool to generate static animations.

The problem isn't a lack of technology, it's that a totally unpredictable fighting game with thousands and thousands of moves would be a nightmare to create and no fun to play. Less is more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by trickster721
The problem isn't a lack of technology, it's that a totally unpredictable fighting game with thousands and thousands of moves would be a nightmare to create and no fun to play. Less is more.


I've seen a bit on inverse kinematics done in robot control theory. I don't think you would want to imlpement this as thousands of moves, but more as it's done in robotics; a robot welder knows where it wants to position the welding arc, it just has to figure out how to move the joints in the arm to get there.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As long as the "real future of games" still has room for the likes of Bangai-O and Viewtiful Joe then I'll be content. If it doesn't then I'll be spending far more of my entertainment funds elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The only thing I see here as truly innovating is the On the spur animation.

This is one of those things that could be alot of front-end work, but in the long run ends up being a boon. Especially if you want to run a game that has a lot of free-form stuff, such as combat...

Though you do see something similar to that. That's the "Rag-doll physics" in games like Unreal Tournament. I think this one could work well..

This however is one of those things where it's usefulness depends on the needs of the game...is it easier to write a code to do animations, or to make 1000 animations for each character?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In my opinion, the only future for gaming lies in virtually eliminating performance penalties. Where a traditional game would have you fail a task - die, for instance - a "new" game would have you narrowly escape, then plot an alternative, perhaps lengthier trajectory for you to accomplish the goal, or even a lesser goal. Every complete play session would end in success/victory, but at varying costs and of varying reward.

What can I say? I hate reloading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
In my opinion, the only future for gaming lies in virtually eliminating performance penalties. Where a traditional game would have you fail a task - die, for instance - a "new" game would have you narrowly escape, then plot an alternative, perhaps lengthier trajectory for you to accomplish the goal, or even a lesser goal. Every complete play session would end in success/victory, but at varying costs and of varying reward.

What can I say? I hate reloading.


I don't think its a question of removing performance penalties but one of creating risk by adding varying degrees of success and failure that are also interesting. The only problem with this is that it would require a very different kind of game then people are used to playing in order to be effective. Otherwise you would end up with several small prescripted outcomes or a case where the player can never fail removing all risk and challenge from the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't see what the OP is presenting to us that would be the future of gaming. Right now, all those things do exist, just not in the same game. Video games get prettier all the time. If you want a prettier game, wait a year. You'll have a prettier game.

I imagine that the future of gaming would provide us with a more immersive gameplay. Take a look at games coming out in the near future. Game designers are finally starting to "go big". Where, in the past, we played games like Warcraft and commanded a few units to take over a small map, tomorrow we will tell entire armies to take over an entire world in Supreme Commander. Another example would be (go ahead everyone... start groaning) The Sims. IMO, it's a stupid game but I think it contains a very important game mechanic. The "people", which I'll refer to as units, all interact with eachother to cause interesting situations. Imagine this on a grander scale, for example, in an RPG. Interacting with a unit could cause "ripples" of events throughout the world.

I'm not too concerned about the future of gaming. Things could always be better but there's a lot happening and we're DEFINITELY moving forward. I could care less about the representation of what the player/characters are doing. I'm more interested in what they CAN do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
In my opinion, the only future for gaming lies in virtually eliminating performance penalties. Where a traditional game would have you fail a task - die, for instance - a "new" game would have you narrowly escape, then plot an alternative, perhaps lengthier trajectory for you to accomplish the goal, or even a lesser goal. Every complete play session would end in success/victory, but at varying costs and of varying reward.


I've got your back!!! [grin] I think there are a lot of interesting possibilities here.

But there are some challenging design problems, as well. One is the loss of morale from having things handed to you. I can only describe it as an experience akin to grade inflation. You succeed not because of anything to do with you, but because the system gives you a pass.

One big challenge, then, is to define what the experience of failure will be. It's difficult to figure out if failure should be fun, and if so, how to motivate the player if all things are nearly equal (varying reward, as you say). Different people are motivated different ways, so you can't take a one size fits all approach. You also must balance frustration with the burst of pleasure one gets from overcoming challenges (it can be like hunger, whetting the appetite).




Have you tried Project Eden? It's a very-combat light, environmental puzzle heavy action-adventure game. You can't permanently die in the game, if you do, the only thing that happens is that you (in the form of 4 switchable specialists) respawn at a regeneration point. It's nice because if you get fried by an electrical floor or falling off a girder, you just lose a little progress time.

What's bad, though, is that it completely cheapens combat, and can even kill some of the immersion. My friend and I were resorting to jumping off ledges and killing characters just so we wouldn't have walk all the way back to some respawn point. Your idea of having various reward "penalties" so to speak would probably have been good for this game.





Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Worms Armageddon had rewards penalties in that you could attempt a mission as many times as you wanted, but you got worse medals the more times you tried it (which directly affected the awarding of special options for custom games). As the levels were fairly short and puzzley, this had the desirable effect of making players attempt levels over and over again until they got a gold medal, but still allowing them to progress to new missions.

While this works in a based puzzle game where the players success or failure in one level doesn't affect the next, it would be much more difficult to implement in any game with character or story progression. If the player can't retry a section that they didn't get the optimal outcome for, or if not getting an optimal outcome will leave them with a weaker character or not getting the best endgame cutscene, then they will just quickload. Hell, some people quickload if the rocket they fired missed. Good luck getting them to sit through "you failed to secure the weapon plans, steal a prototype of the weapon instead" if stealing the prototype means that the weapon will cost more in the game, or be weaker or some other penalty.
On the other hand, if there was no penalty to failing the primary objective (say, if stealing the prototype had the exact same game effect as stealing the plans), then there's no real motivation to go for it.

Deus Ex dealt with this by changing dialogue and giving you minor rewards depending on your actions (such as success or failure in resolving the subway hostage situation), but generally didn't have long term game consequences (a major success, such as saving your brothers life, is only referenced a couple of times later in the game).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this