Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Games Entertainment

The Importance of New Ideas 50

Posted by Zonk
from the no-more-exploding-barrels dept.
Next Generation has up the first in a two-part article talking in-depth with members of the gaming industry about the importance of fresh ideas. Also discussed are the challenges of next-gen development costs and the impact of Hollywood/Intellectual Property on future titles. From the article: "Q: What role will original game concepts play in next generation development? A: (Todd Hollenshead) Technology is a gating factor to the experience of playing games. Whether it's visual quality or character interactions, you have to have the processing power to make more sophisticated and interesting entertainment. Certainly the next generation of consoles in the Xbox 360 and PS3 are far more powerful than their predecessors and that gives game developers broad options to do things we haven't been able to do before and provide experiences for players they haven't had before. For example, for our next generation Wolfenstein game, which uses the Xbox 360 as it's primary development platform, we are developing technology that will change the way people play First Person games by doing away with the whole concept of 'levels', which has been the primary progression mechanic every first person game has used."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Importance of New Ideas

Comments Filter:
  • Hollywood & Gaming (Score:3, Insightful)

    by devilsadvoc8 (548238) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:37PM (#14160345)
    Game Developers' willingness to suck at the teat of Hollywood for easy money, marketing and ideas will weigh the industry down until they can successfully wean themselves from it. Hollywood has already fully embraced mediocrity as a method of risk reduction. Who needs to take a chance with a novel script when we can remake King Kong, War of the Worlds, or make Rocky XX. Game Development NEEDS to take risks. Otherwise all the consoles will die on the vine.
    • by Jupiter9 (366355)
      I agree with you, but I don't think consoles will "die on the vine" by embracing mediocrity. There are too many stupid people out there who will embrace lousy games, just like they do lousy movies. They get brain washed by a flash commercial, and then they half to have.
    • it's difficult to get around because it's the publishers that are going after all of these easily marketable Hollywood licenses, and the publishers are (generally) the ones funding the game development. And you're right, Hollywood is doing the same thing with sequels. The problem, as always, is money. Decent (or even crappy) games tied to popular movies consistently outsell "better" games that are original titles. And apparently sequels make enough money to justify more of them. What we can hope for is that
    • I think that the problem may not so much lie with game developers themselves, but more with the companies hiring them, or rather with the people telling the game developers just what, exactly, to develop. I mean, in order for a game to be produced and be available for consumption by the general public, a good bit of money has to be poured into it. If the game was released strictly via the internet, the people coding/designing/etc the game would still need paid - unless it was being developed by people in t
  • Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hal2814 (725639) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:39PM (#14160358)
    "For example, for our next generation Wolfenstein game, which uses the Xbox 360 as it's primary development platform, we are developing technology that will change the way people play First Person games by doing away with the whole concept of 'levels', which has been the primary progression mechanic every first person game has used."

    Ok, who's underwhelmed by this revolutionary idea. Looks to me like they're just taking a page from the GTA series. In fact, it looks to me like they're just latching onto the latest fad of openended gaming.
    • They'll never do that. Something's gotta prevent you from just walking through the whole game to the boss.
    • Perhaps they've never played Half-Life, which uses a near-continual progression (it only leaps when the story requires it, i.e. when you get captured and knocked out and when you go to Xen). It may have loading screens, but only due to limitations of the technology of the time. From the sounds of it, these people are doing exactly the same thing, only they're making use of threading to load on the fly instead of at specific points. Loading on the fly occurs in quite a few PS2 games I can think of (Shadow of
      • Perhaps they've never played Half-Life, which uses a near-continual progression (it only leaps when the story requires it, i.e. when you get captured and knocked out and when you go to Xen). It may have loading screens, but only due to limitations of the technology of the time.

        Actually, Half-Life's 'seamless' transitions are a really basic, but rather clever extension of Quake's entirely separate maps. Essentially all that happens is that there are two similar-looking sections in the two maps, and when the
        • Yes, the HL method is fairly basic, but it's the effect that's important as to whether the idea is new, not the technique. :) I'm assuming some kind of tile-based approach (or room based?) would work well with threaded loading in an FPS. Probably using multi-level-of-detail for things you see out the window depending on how far away they are or something. It would be difficult to design map data for but is doable when you can dedicate an entire processor to loading data. I don't really care about console F
    • Revolutionary? Not anywhere near it.

      The game industry is putting out the exact same games every year with a few minor tweaks, usually in graphics and added guns, items, levels, etc. It's cheaper for them to do this as they can reuse a lot of code that's in working order for the most part.

      I don't really mind if they just rehash the same game and give it a face lift. If I want to play it, I'll buy it. However, don't blow smoke up my ass and tell me that you're doing something revolutionary when you real
    • That came from Todd at Id software.. Id, Epic, Monolith and Gearbox are the companies I recognize on that list. That's not a group that's known for "breaking the mold" in the industry.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr. Sketch (111112) <mister,sketch&gmail,com> on Thursday December 01, 2005 @05:46PM (#14161118)
      we are developing technology that will change the way people play First Person games by doing away with the whole concept of 'levels'

      Guess they have never played Metroid Prime or Metroid Prime: Echos. This is not a new idea and has been around for many years.

      which has been the primary progression mechanic every first person game has used.

      Maybe this is true for every first person that they have played, but certainly not every first person game in existance (see example above).
    • If it's got to be First Person, try Halo for lack of level loading. Even more ironic because it did this on the Xbox, the predecessor to the 360. And not because you have monsterous new hardware, but because you thought a little bit.

      I'm a big believer in linear games. As the Max Payne developers said, "It's better to have one good plot than an infinite number of bad ones." And the interactiveness of it can be more than just "playing a movie". It's a different medium, after all -- unless it's Stuntman o
      • Jak II is everything you liked about Jak&Daxter, enough to still have a game, plus enough more content to make a new game. Jak III did it again.

        Eh, Maybe everything YOU liked. I didn't dig the whole "Jak Theft Auto" thing in Jak II.

           
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:41PM (#14160380)
    So you want to get rid of levels. Well, we can make one big world, and only load the part immediately around you. When you get close to the edge, we load the next part in the background. To stop you from going where we don't want you to go, we can put giant walls/buildings to keep you in one area until you finish it. We can call these areas "levels".

    No reason they couldn't do this on current hardware- just noone has chosen to. Not a big change.
  • New Ideas (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SquisherX (864160)
    I was planning on saying something interesting, but Im fresh out of new Ideas :p Seriously though, to me, the elimination of levels isnt revolutionary. Getting rid of load times, changes of scenes, and getting rid of mission objectives. Thats all there is to levels. Several games get rid of a few of these three elements. All wolfenstein is planning to do is get rid of all three? It doesnt seem all that revolutionary to me.
  • by mangu (126918) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:51PM (#14160484)
    Is there an IgNobel prize or anything like that for obviousness?
  • Seen this before? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I'm pretty sure Valve did this with Half Life about 8 years ago... but that's just me.
  • I though the new consoles (I know the 360 was described as such in an Ars article) favored graphical power. That they really didn't offer any advances useable in more sophisticated AI or such? Bigger and better graphics are nice, don't get me wrong, but are we really going to actually see anything fresh and new until the hardware is capable of doing more than eye candy?
    • What are you talking about? Each of these platforms is at least twice as powerful as the previous generation in terms of IPC and the size of main memory, not to mention bus bandwidth.
    • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @08:08PM (#14162249) Homepage Journal
      "That they really didn't offer any advances useable in more sophisticated AI or such? Bigger and better graphics are nice, don't get me wrong, but are we really going to actually see anything fresh and new until the hardware is capable of doing more than eye candy?"

      Though I agree that the 360 is pretty mediochre, I think your statement is a little misleading. Yes, it has more doodads for throwing polygons and texels on the screen, but it also has a lot more number crunching power needed to have more sophisticated AI. One of the buzzwords being thrown around a lot with the next generation of games is use of the Havoc physics system so stuff falls realistically. I've also read developer statements saying they have more complex AI governing NPCs and such. In simpler terms, I would expect the next-gen GTA game to be considerably more diverse in terms of what the character can do. There's even some hints of that in the games coming up down the road.

      All that said, those idiots at Sony and Microsoft seriously dropped the ball by making their controllers virtually identical to their previous generation systems. Thanks a lump, guys. San Andreas was fun so long as I didn't actually have to aim my gun. Now you want me to play WWII games with the same hinderance. But at least it's prettier! Maybe the added AI will make my team-mates fight the battles for me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:55PM (#14160541)
    In summary:

    "New ideas are awesome! Just check our next sequel for proof!"
  • I'm kind of disappointed that they choose the 360 as the primary development platform for the next Wolfenstein game. I really like the series, but I'll be kind of disappointed if the game gets to arcadified for the console audience. New ideas or not, I sure hope their ideas still cater to the pc gaming audience.
  • by uNople (734531) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @05:34PM (#14160971)
    FTA:
    ...I once asked Mr. Miyamoto about Nintendo's strategy when it comes to making games. I was surprised when he said that Nintendo only makes games to sell hardware units


    I think this is a really good point. Nintendo's primary goal is to sell Nintendo consoles. They do this by not only having good games, but having a good console as well. They focus on what matters (selling consoles) and adjust everything else so they can acheive this goal.

    Companies like ID are already innovating, but in a different way. ID is not a game company. They are a technology company. They make engines for games which they sell to make money. They make games to sell the engine, picking up quite a profit on the way mind you. A good example of this is Doom 3/Quake 4. They used Doom 3 as a technology demo, and Raven software and Activision liked it so much that they wanted to make a game using that engine.

    Innovative things that I am exited about:
    A Metaverse [wikipedia.org] type of game, using Virtual reality.
    This guy's [pointlesswasteoftime.com] vision of Virtual reality to come true. I think it would be fantastic.
    S.T.A.L.K.E.R. [stalker-game.com] - I am really looking foward to this game. It is exactly what I want: a RPFPS Game (Role Playing First Person Shooter Game). It has the kind of fully interactive gameworld that I want out of a metaverse (only smaller). AI that reacts depending on the situation (another innovative technology?). Really good physics (watch the demo movies). And the gameplay looks good; you interact with the world in pretty much the same way that you do in real life (with obvious limitations, of course).

    I believe that the next innovation of games will be to make them as realistic as possible. We are already getting that now, with the game engines. Soon, I hope, we will change the way we interact with the games themselves (Virtual Reality). Hollywood (may) actually write good original stories (doubtful, I know), rather than re-hashing old ideas. We may get to decide how the story goes (like a choose-your-path book), and the game can go in different directions according to our choices.

    As the technology gets better, hopefully the ideas will follow.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Role Playing First Person Shooter
      and
      AI that reacts depending on the situation
      and
      We may get to decide how the story goes (like a choose-your-path book), and the game can go in different directions according to our choices.

      You mean like Deus Ex?
  • by Yoyoson (928225)
    To provide more context for the Todd Hollenshead quote in the /. post:

    For example, for our next generation Wolfenstein game, which uses the Xbox 360 as it's primary development platform, we are developing technology that will change the way people play First Person games by doing away with the whole concept of "levels", which has been the primary progression mechanic every first person game has used. The Wolfenstein game world will be one large environment that you can move freely about and explore with

    • I never encountered "loading" during Meteroid Prime I or II.
      Given, sometimes the doors would wait a second or two before opening, but loading was never anything that interferred with the gaming experience.
      • Given, sometimes the doors would wait a second or two before opening, but loading was never anything that interferred with the gaming experience.

        Except when you didn't look before you leapt and were running away from metroids or those @#$!!! turrets. ;)
    • by XMunkki (533952)
      Sure, technically, this has never been done before.

      Well actually, that sounds very much like in-game content streaming. Many console games already do this. Granted, may be there no FPS games as such, but still games with massive seamless areas into which the gameplay is fitted nicely.

      Some of them DO have fake loading screens, but they are hidden well enough (or are so far apart) thet the player rarely even notices it. One example is the Jak&Daxter game for the PS2. The game streams the next "level
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @09:00PM (#14162515) Journal
    Just for once I would like to see game companies not so much innovate as just take the best bits out of games that game before and not constantly de-evolve.

    So from now on every single player FPS game will have the following:

    • Quicksave, at any point unrestricted. If you feel they ruin the challenge, don't use them.
    • Grenades are not a selecteable weapon instead can be thrown with main weapon equipped like Halo/Fear.
    • NO close combat fast moving enemy takes more then 1 clip of ammo to kill. Especially melee. (Am I the only one who hates having to reload/switch with some ankle biter gnawing you?
    • No ankle biters. I want my enemies human sized. Head crabs are out.
    • No random spawns behind me when I walk into the pool of light to get an ammo resupply EVERY GODDAMN FUCKING TIME (Doom3 I am talking to you.)
    • No Ammo grab. You know it you hate it, the moment you cleared a difficult room of baddies you have to visit their twisting corpses to grab half a clip of ammo from each so you can kill the next batch. Is every video game secret army short on funds or something? Brothers in Arms and Vietcong showed how it can be done differently.
    • Give me some backup. Yeah yeah, I am the lone soldier hero who saves the day but just at 1 or 2 points in the game make it less bloody obvious that today's game all focus on graphics and not on AI. Brothers in Arms, Vietcong and Call of Duty showed the way.
    • No more trash talking bosses, co-workers without the option to beat them up. I am for one sick and tired of being the rooky who has to prove himself. Can a real writer please come up with a more original setting then your are the newbie but somehow have to do all the critical missions without any help?

    FEAR was short and the story not exactly original BUT it was beautifully executed. It simply incoorperated a lot of good design decission. The only baddie I found was that you still were alone and badly equipped. I would at least to have liked to see a couple of mission starts and ends with some real backup and not just story plot cannon-fodder. I could also have done with a better supply of ammo so I would not have to loot every damn corpse. Oh and the "hidden" health/slow-mo boosts were lame as well. Can you make it any more obvious I am playing a game then having power-ups lying around in sewers?

    I find it amazing to see wolfenstein and the word innovation linked however. Sure they were the first but the last wolfenstein to me was an extreme case of mediocore FPS design. Oh well, the punters loved it so who am I to critize.

  • For example, for our next generation Wolfenstein game, which uses the Xbox 360 as it's primary development platform, we are developing technology that will change the way people play First Person games by doing away with the whole concept of 'levels', which has been the primary progression mechanic every first person game has used.

    Sorry to quote this one more time, but WTF? Since when is getting rid of the concept of levels a new idea? I know someone said this already but did this guy not play Metroid
  • by 88NoSoup4U88 (721233) on Friday December 02, 2005 @12:25AM (#14163521) Homepage
    Q: What role will original game concepts play in next generation development? A: (Todd Hollenshead) Technology is a gating factor to the experience of playing games. Whether it's visual quality or character interactions, you have to have the processing power to make more sophisticated and interesting entertainment. Certainly the next generation of consoles in the Xbox 360 and PS3 are far more powerful than their predecessors and that gives game developers broad options to do things we haven't been able to do before and provide experiences for players they haven't had before.

    Ahyes: the expert... what about the Revolution though? Funny if you talk about the change in next gen consoles, and then leaving out the -only- company that's really trying to come forth with new ideas/experiences to play games.

    For example, for our next generation Wolfenstein game, which uses the Xbox 360 as it's primary development platform, we are developing technology that will change the way people play First Person games by doing away with the whole concept of 'levels', which has been the primary progression mechanic every first person game has used.

    You're not unique,Mr. Hollenshead. In fact, the Unreal engine announced thise feature -ages- ago (streaming level content on the fly, thus creating endless levels without loading). Nice feature nonetheless.

  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Friday December 02, 2005 @11:09AM (#14165722) Journal
    They ask about "original concepts" and in response, they get a page and a half of marketing blurb for a "Wolfenstien Meets GTA" game?!

    Geez. They're not even trying to be subtle about it anymore.

"Our vision is to speed up time, eventually eliminating it." -- Alex Schure

Working...