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  • Bigger games

    With the coming of Lock On and the soon to be released soldner, are PC games developers finally getting what they always wanted?

    Bugs aside Lock On still looks impressive with its graphics turned up full, but you'll need a high-end machine to run it at this level. Soldner is another game that is looking to be preocessor intensive.

    With the advent of power PC's (that is home users pc's with ram, G/cards and P4's) developers can now start putting into games what we've always wanted. Larger areas of exploration, better graphics, surround sound and generally more bells and whistles. Take Soldners 'everything can be destroyed' modelling. None of this could have been realistically implemented a few years ago but now that processors, ram and graphics cards are getting faster and faster there are less and less limits imposed on developers - apart from costs.

    Will games of the future be limited not because of the system quality but because of funding? All these additional parts will cost time and money to develope and incorporate into games and may ultyimately be the deciding factor when it comes to what goes into a game.

    Moores' law states that every 18 months computer processor speed doubles. In 3 years time can we expect 12 Ghz P6's with 10 Gb Ram and an ATI Radeon 11700 5 Gb G/card running at 2 Ghz with 'real life' aliasing? With a system such as this games can take on larger depths than ever before.

    The film industry has accomplished real life effects (at last). We no longer have to go and watch crummy aliens, unrealistic laser beams and crappily inserted, super-imposed actors. How long will it be before PC games are getting the benefit of close to life graphics and effects?

    According to moore - sometime in 2012 ;)

    Jex.
    Jex.


  • #2
    Submit this as a news item, Jex!

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    • #3
      Yes.. Please do.. Go click on that "Submit News" button in the main menu.

      :-)
      Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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      • #4
        will do... thanks guys! :)
        Jex.

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        • #5
          We won't have to worry about funding. Developers will get better at modularizing game engines. They'll start developing games for multiple platforms and reap the benefits of a larger audience. I believe DX2 was a horrible multi-platform development but it'll get better as consoles get beefier hardware and developers familiarize themselves with multiple platforms.

          There will also be developers that solely create game engines like id Software. They'll get their funding from licensing a newly created engine that takes advantage of the latest hardware. Even if Doom 3 or HL2 barely recovers in sales, it'll make up in engine licenses to other developers. How many games have we seen on the Q3 engine? Too many.

          - It's who you game with.

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          • #6
            Carmack himself has said that he will no longer have a job after his next engine due to "nothing left to do" in the graphics realm. What developers are looking to now is making games more realistic, and I don't mean visually. As you pointed out we have come pretty close in that respect. The next hurdle to overcome is AI.

            AI is a largely untapped area of computer gaming due to lack of horsepower. I think a lot of R&D over the next couple of years will be spent making the game react in a way we would expect it to in real life now that we have the ability to really flex this aspect of virtual worlds.

            Also if you are talking about making the visual world more realistic, there is an area that hasn't even hit the mainstream yet, Virtual Reality. You will not have "close to life graphics" without some form of stereo display. That means better hardware than what we have now. Not just from CPU speed but in fidelity of components, form factor, weight...

            Sure in the way we currently do games we will hit a ceiling, but there are technologies out there we haven't seen in the consumer market due to mainstream acceptance caused by price and a need. These new technologies will start surfacing as we demand them, bringing a whole new gaming experience.

            I for one am so excited about what is to come I went back to school to get my Masters in Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality. There is still a lot of research to be done. And when these technologies start making their way to games you'll be waiting for the terabyte cpu to come out so you can play HalfLife 5.
            flux
            [tg-c1]

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            • #7
              I can't wait for the day when we get to put on virtual suits with virtual rifles. I guess it'd be like paintball without the hassle of leaving your home. Although, this equipment could take up a large amount of space and you'd have to leave your house anyway. :D

              I'll have to dig up the title of this book I read a few years ago about a computer with circuits made out of lasers. It was almost analog since information could be transmitted using the intensity of light. It powered a VR land that seemed spectacular. The VR rooms deformed to give you the feel of running around on different types of terrain. It's not as cool as a holodeck but it's better than what we have now.

              - It's who you game with.

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              • #8
                Many universities have been working on photonic computers for a while now. HIT Labs at Washington even has a Virtual Retinal Display that shoots a laser onto the eye to create a stereo display of a virtual environment. One of the cool things about this device is it is a passive display. Imagine a virtual world overlaid on the real world :shock:
                flux
                [tg-c1]

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                • #9
                  I think I remember seeing something about the overlaid virtual world. Didn't they recreate a Quake 1 level with that? I saw some screenshots reproducing what it would look like and it was pretty cool.

                  - It's who you game with.

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                  • #10
                    pc games are no where these days... Playstation takes up most of the shelf space.... Seems to me, PC's arnt the things to have these days... Hopefully HL2 will make another 1997 in the gaming world come (back) to pcs........

                    (1997-1999 being very special years)
                    From Adam Webb

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by =Sarc=
                      I think I remember seeing something about the overlaid virtual world. Didn't they recreate a Quake 1 level with that? I saw some screenshots reproducing what it would look like and it was pretty cool.
                      ARQuake is what you are referring to. They actually have some vids of it on their site.
                      flux
                      [tg-c1]

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                      • #12
                        Stability. That is a big issue that PCs need to work on. Not saying it's easy, but it is important to bring in the non-technical gamers that consoles own.
                        [volun]

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by H-Hour
                          Stability. That is a big issue that PCs need to work on. Not saying it's easy, but it is important to bring in the non-technical gamers that consoles own.
                          I don't think that's even an issue anymore... With WinXP and modern hardware (think about all the Dell/Gateway/Alienware preconfigured PCs), stability is rock solid now...
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                          • #14
                            I agree that stability has increased a lot with WinXP and modern hardware. However, there are so many different PC configs that compatibility becomes an issue. Non-technical gamers don't want to deal with that crap. For them, it's stick the disc in and press Power. Developers don't have to work so hard to get a game working perfectly on a console because there's only one system to test it on. What's the ratio of console game crashes to PC crashes? It's got to be pretty darn low.

                            - It's who you game with.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Overlag
                              pc games are no where these days... Playstation takes up most of the shelf space.... Seems to me, PC's arnt the things to have these days... Hopefully HL2 will make another 1997 in the gaming world come (back) to pcs........

                              (1997-1999 being very special years)
                              I don't understand this or your posted comment on the article itself? I'm not saying anything about PC sales, just what PC's are now becomming capable of.

                              You base your comment on 1 store in your area. Have you done any other research into PC gaming sales? I have 2 Game stores in my local town, Woking and they have a huge PC section - in fact 1 of the 2 stores has an entire side dedicated to PC gaming - around 30x8 ft, but that doesn't mean PC sales are beating consoles :)

                              As to graphics that someone commented on here - I disagree that they are on the cutting edge. Granted graphics are good but until they can be rendered at real life levels (i.e. 9x9 million resolution - roughly the amount the human eye can take in) we'll still have to make sacrifices somewhere. AI is one aspect that is behind the scenes that isn't noticed so much but takes up a lot of processing power.

                              In a review for Delta Force: Land Warrior, the author commented that they were stretching the AI to the limits of current processing power. Not necessarily intelligent AI but the scale of all the AI in the game. Having crowds of AI run around, some civillians, some soldiers puts a strain on processing. I wish I'd read your comment before this went up lol - I totally forgot to include AI :P - maybe an edit is in order...

                              We are still of course waiting for people to catch up. Games are not made for today's top end machines. More likely they are being developed for lower end systems as people do not upgrade their PC every 6 months. As time goes by and minimum spec becomes a 2ghz PC with 512 ram and a 128 G/card, pc games will be able to handle a lot more.

                              Going back to moores law, if processor speed doubles every 18 months then perhaps minimum specs will double every couple of years. So in 4 years time we'll see 3.2ghz as minimum! Makes me wonder what games will be capable of then.

                              Why can't moores law be every 6 months?

                              Thanks,

                              J.
                              Jex.

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