Friday, July 27, 2007

Game Mechanics Developing Over The Next Few Years

Below is an article I have written on my views of how the industry and game mechanics of today are progressing into the future and what the future will present for us as developers and gamers.

Looking at the present design in the games industry I can see already there are some technological achievements already shown in some current games which we will hopefully begin to see advance in the future. For example freedom within games will become a big thing. Online games seem to scratch the surface but many fail. Many designers look at pushing technology to its limits, space within levels are maxed. Dark & Light (MMORPG) was classed as the worlds biggest MMORPG, but had its disadvantages on how to fill all that space. Already MMO’s are using computer generated Locations, Quests and NPCs as it would take the artist/designer more time to hand create/place objects, quests etc. More or less new design ideas such as different ways of interacting with the game interface will start to play a big part in the next generation. Touch and speech will play a big part in players interacting with the game. There’s already a prototype by Meta Mersion where the player actions appear on the screen. These include; Crouching, Ducking, Leaning, 360 viewing movement, crawling and standing up). These are demonstrated using Valves prodigy Half Life.

Technology we can relate to which will play a big part in the future of game mechanics would be Sony’s successful eye toy. The player can use their actions to interact with the mini games presented on the eye toy. Players can wash windows and even do karate in real life which is then processed on screen to the game through the eye toy. Another big player which is the Nintendo Wii has already started to journey into interactive game play. Design aspects of motion sensors put into the controller allowing actions such as Swings, Slashes and even punches. Increasing interactivity is already number one on the list for the future of game mechanics. Players find it more enjoyable to interact with the game full on, instead of through buttons/keys. It won’t be long until we see MMO’s adventuring into the interactive side of game play. Soon we will be able to play World of War craft virtually using headsets which set the player into the world of Azeroth, interacting with players by reaching out and virtually tapping them. Communicating via microphones and battling them from sensors placed in the player’s gloves.

Games which relate to Gears of war in the same layout and game play will become more life like in the next few years. Cry tech’s Crysis is already producing photorealistic screenshots and showing off the huge environment technology they have developed into the game. It won’t be long until game graphics become life like as well as key fundamentals in game design. Imagine Sims in a few years. Will players be able to design there home they live in real life and then walk around it in virtual space?

At the moment there is a MMO that has drawn in many players and business people to the virtual frenzy. Second Life offers virtual reality where players can create a world from scratch using the building tools integrated into the games engine. Many businesses hold meetings on this virtual space and even create virtual offices. Some universities in America are currently holding lectures for students who can’t attend lectures in real life. Is this an advantage? Could the future of our life style (Education, Work and even politics) be played out in a virtual space such as second life?

Games will get better in graphical terms but it isn’t always about the graphics, game play is the key in any game. The future withholds many wonderful things for the games industry. Designers now should start thinking of the future game play; instead of recreating the same idea over and over for games, which are around 10-20 hours fun then the player gets bored. Designers need to get the next generation of games in the pipeline, instead of relying on old ways to get them through. New ways need to be created in order to expand into the future.

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