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Top Technologies of Next-Gen Gaming

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  • by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Thursday September 04, 2008 @05:52PM (#24880565) Journal
    Widespread use of non-standard inputs. You know, like a little wand we could wave around... or a light sabre ... Only, this time, with decent graphics.
    • Right on, about the mind control. A brain-computer interface would truly make the next console stand out without simply having the mightiest processing power, exactly what the Wii accomplished. (I keep putting off the project of setting a BCI for my home computer.) I hope Nintendo again takes the leadership role.

      Unfortunately, after I *click* *click* *click* went through TFA, it doesn't mention BCIs.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Exactly, that's what's missing from this list.

      I want a set of cameras to track my movements (in my living room) and map them onto the movements of a video game character. Eyetoy does this somewhat already, but you need multiple cameras to do it right.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by spyrochaete (707033)
        Sega licensed a third-party motion detector product for the Genesis in the 90s, but took it off shelves almost immediately. People were flailing all over the place, knocking objects and other people all around their living rooms. Profits don't outweigh the legal responsibility for a product like this. Plus, it'd be pretty exhausting to play Mario.
      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        I wouldn't, I don't know Kung-Fu, I can't rip a minotaurus head off with my bare hands, I probably can't even hit a target with an assault rifle.

      • by kalirion (728907)

        You must either have a very large living room, or play games with very small maps.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      a little wand we could wave around

      Must not make joke...Must not make joke...Must not make joke....

  • Wait.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Thursday September 04, 2008 @05:52PM (#24880567) Homepage Journal

    ...are we talking about the next generation, or this generation? Because the formerly "next-gen" systems are already here. We can stop referring to them as "next-gen" now. In fact, using that moniker is starting to get a bit confusing as consumers are beginning to look out toward what the 2011-2012 generation will bring (if anything!).

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      no no, TFA is all about 'what is up and coming' on the next gen (ps3/x360) and near future (pc) ... for SOFTWARE. *siiigh*
      • Re:Wait.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Thursday September 04, 2008 @06:04PM (#24880715) Homepage Journal

        on the next gen (ps3/x360)

        See, right there. You did it. "Next-gen" and "PS3/360" right next to each other. That's bloody confusing. PS3 and 360 cannot possibly be "next" generation as they are here today and have been here for 2-3 years. The "next" generation is whatever comes after them. Even worse, the title of the article (Top 10 Game Technologies of the Next-Generation) uses a hyphen between "Next" and "Generation". Are they referring to some generation called "Next"? Maybe the kids who grew up with "Next" magazine?

        Is there something wrong with saying, "Upcoming technologies for the latest game systems"? Or is that not hip enough for the Next magazine generation?

        Please stop the abuse of the English language!

        • I know, I was saying next gen and then connecting it to the language (and systems) of the article. I happen to think that next-gen is up and coming, current gen is current.
        • Mostly I agree with you. However, do you not understand the meaning of a hyphen between nouns means?
          • Re:Wait.... (Score:4, Funny)

            by chromatic (9471) on Thursday September 04, 2008 @07:17PM (#24881573) Homepage

            However, do you not understand the meaning of a hyphen between nouns means?

            Subtraction?

            • Probably -- that makes more sense than my poorly constructed sentence. But I still assert that the OP seems to misunderstand the semantic connotations of a hyphen :-)
          • However, do you not understand the meaning of a hyphen between nouns means?

            "Next" is an adjective. It modifies "Generation" in such a way as to identify a specific instance based on temporal meaning.

            Smooshing the two into one word using a hyphen changes "Next" into a noun. Which then raises the question: What the heck is a "Next"? Next Magazine? Generation "Next"? NeXT Computers?

            I'm sure you can appreciate my confusion.

          • by randyest (589159)
            Unless one is speaking of the old computer system, how is "Next" a noun? Generally, hyphenated words are used as a compound adjectivitvial or adverbial phrase that modifies a following noun or verb. Nothing follows "next-generation" in this context so it makes no sense, unless you assume this is a compound noun formed by "NeXT" (a computer system) and "generation" (an age.) But the capitalization is all wrong for that, and the age of the NeXT is long past, so it would make no sense as a title for this ar
        • by StrahdVZ (1027852)

          Or, if they insist on calling the current generation as next-generation then what comes after the next-generation? Uber-generation? Deep-Space-9-generation?

          In 2012 what will they call the current generation next-generation when it becomes last-generation?

          I have a headache...

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          There's no generation on the horizon. PS2 still dominates the market by large numbers. The best selling of the new batch is the one most like the last generation. The 360 et al are certainly not yet the current generation by most measurements.

          I'm not trying to flame or troll or anything, but until the 360 or ps3 dominate the landscape or the generation after them is announced, they're going to be next generation. For the majority of users, the ps3 or xbox 360 are not their current consoles, they're the
        • It depends on whether what's being done is hardware-based or software base (or, at least, whether it can run on current hardware).

          While not quite as adaptable as a PC, a 360 (and I'd assume a PS3) can still adapt to anything that doesn't require a core hardware change. After all, not everything is about horsepower, sometimes it's how you use it.

        • Well said. I thought the very same thing when I saw "Next-Generation." Nothing speaks more loudly or clearly about the intelligence of the current (or "next," apparently) generation than the widespread abuse of all of that pesky English that we should've all had drilled into our skulls by now.
    • by 10Neon (932006)
      It's not "current gen" until some member of the next, "next gen" has been announced.
  • that the Call of Duty 4 engine [wikipedia.org] didn't make it onto the list. At first I thought it was because it was proprietary, but most (all?) of the other engines on the list are as well.

    For me, the games that have astounded me (in order of my seeing them and being suitably impressed) are HL2, F.E.A.R. and CoD4. HL2 was for me the first semi-realistic fps. F.E.A.R showed me what a game engine can do, and had great "startle-factor". CoD4 showed me what a game engine combined with good gameplay and replay value can do (

  • *sigh* (Score:4, Funny)

    by Knara (9377) on Thursday September 04, 2008 @06:11PM (#24880809)

    Still no VR total immersion interfaces =(

    Also no sex droids =(((

  • Nowhere on that list did I see the key technology of 'fun' mentioned. Isn't that all that really matters when it comes to games, is it fun? All the technology in the world can't make a bad game fun.

    • by Traze (1167415)
      Well, flailing your arms about while wearing a helmet might be fun, even with a crappy game. XD
    • by tukkayoot (528280)

      Nowhere on that list did I see the key technology of 'fun' mentioned.

      Maybe because you didn't RTA? The very first paragraph addresses your point.

    • One person's fun is another person's misery. I loathe action games, but love adventure games. Many people feel the opposite. You can't just say "make it fun" without discussing what that really means to your target audience. Gee-whiz technology brings the fanboys, and that used to be enough, but not any more. Enabling technology like the Wii controller, however, allows people who wouldn't otherwise play to enjoy themselves.
    • Because 'fun' is not a technology.

      'Fun' is a very subjective thing, but major advances in algorithms enabled by greater processing speed and other hardware related improvements are much less subjective.

      Those are the advances which can be projected and measured - if a new game is on the horizon using a completely different paradigm, no one would know. And if they did know, they certainly wouldn't know if it was going to be a success or failure.
    • by meta-monkey (321000) on Thursday September 04, 2008 @08:34PM (#24882329) Journal

      Uh, because this is about the technology. And new technology can make new kinds of fun.

      For instance, have you played the Star Wars: Force Unleashed demo on the 360? It's a free download, so go grab it. And it's AWESOME and FUN. And what makes it so much fun? Because you have control over everything. You can use the Force to manipulate pretty much any object in the game. For instance, I wanted to destroy a TIE fighter that was zipping around the hanger. Instead of just shooting at it like you would in any other game, I chose to use the force to rip one of the support beams for a walkway right out, and BEND IT in any way I wanted to put in the path of the flying vehicle. This isn't pre-scripted, or one of those things where it's "what you're supposed to do." You can deform most of the environment in whatever way you want. And it bends and deforms and breaks realistically, in real-time, based on the user's inputs.

      And why can you do that? The brand new Euphoria engine the game runs on, which uses Digital Molecular Matter, that allows any object in the game to be defined in terms of basic properties that describe how it will break/bend/deform, etc. So now, instead of there being only certain objects in the environment you can manipulate in certain pre-scripted ways, you can do whatever you want to any object. It's fun as hell! And what makes all this fun possible? New technology, and a next-generation engine. (and yes next-gen is the correct term here, because we're talking about next-gen engines, not next-gen consoles)

      • This is the first time that I have actually wanted to have an Xbox360.

        Much as I like my games based on the PC, I have a feeling that the technology of the consoles is going to suck me in at some point.

      • by unapersson (38207)

        For instance, I wanted to destroy a TIE fighter that was zipping around the hanger. Instead of just shooting at it like you would in any other game, I chose to use the force to rip one of the support beams for a walkway right out, and BEND IT in any way I wanted to put in the path of the flying vehicle. This isn't pre-scripted, or one of those things where it's "what you're supposed to do."

        Are you sure about that? I did the same thing in the PS3 version. It might not have scripted but it was definitely designed to encourage you to do that. Notice how the tie fighter just happen to fly in a path that would cause them to hit a beam that was moved a little?

        • Hmmm, I dunno. I had to crank it around pretty good to make it hit the TIE. I thought the default way to kill it would have been to just throw a barrel at it.

      • by grumbel (592662)

        And it bends and deforms and breaks realistically, in real-time, based on the user's inputs.

        Thats 95% marketing speech and 5% fact. I have seen the Euphoria tech demos a long while ago and some of that stuff they showed was pretty impressive, but the Force Unleashed demo was pretty much a big disappointment. Sure you can throw some barrel into a Tie Fighter and it will explode, but after that it will just disappear, pop out into non-existance just like objects did back on the Atari2600. If you slice a robot into two pieces, it will fall apart at the exact same spots every time and will disappear j

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday September 04, 2008 @06:34PM (#24881079) Journal

    #5 is procedural generation -- which suggests that, rather than drawing each individual texture, we'd write algorithms and let them generate themselves.

    #7 is id's megatextures, which suggests that, rather than doing anything algorithmic, we'll just add more and more detail to a gigantic image.

    These seem to be pretty much direct opposites of each other. Are they suggesting that each will be good for different areas? Or do they just not know what they're talking about?

    Or maybe I don't know what I'm talking about.

    • Are they suggesting that each will be good for different areas? Or do they just not know what they're talking about?

      Probably a little bit of both, but I'm leaning more towards the latter after reading that bit about MIDI "composing itself." Computers can play Go better than they can write music (i.e., not as well as a determined amateur).

      • It's not about computers writing the music, but allowing for vriations depending on the game situation. Getting sad? Change to a minor scale. In a hurry? Increase tempo. Want to add an instrument by an in-game trigger? MIDI's your man.

        Actually, none of this is new. It's all been done years ago and even in the past few years many games have opted for sound synthesizers than prerecorded tracks and have achieved CD-quality sound.

      • by Azheim (1197149)
        I think that "composing" was a poor choice of words. This sounds more to me like the VST technology that Steinberg invented years ago. The computer isn't actually writing anything; it's only arranging blocks of music that a human created. Instead of loading 4 hours of music and flipping through the tracks, you load a high quality sample of every note you want to play on every instrument you intend to use. Then you input MIDI data, which designates the appropriate instruments to call up, and tells them whi
        • Imagine this technology abused... I mean, used properly in rhythm games like Guitar Hero. This would allow for a mode that changes the currently playing song on the fly, as if you were playing a real concert. Or, for the FREAKS that can 5-star everything on Expert... (I'm looking at you, Dave. >:O) Up the tempo when the guitar shows signs of button-mashing panic. When the tempo gets fast enough, have instruments drop, siphoning off your meter as you go, until the tempo returns to normal. This "feature" w
    • These seem to be pretty much direct opposites of each other.

      Huh? Isn't procedural generation about content, not texturing? Anyways, even if they are direct opposites, that doesn't mean both aren't really good, promising technologies.

      • Huh? Isn't procedural generation about content, not texturing?

        It can be about texturing. Take .kkreiger -- it packs a pretty impressive-looking FPS into 96 kilobytes -- which would seem to be smaller than some textures.

        And for that matter, texturing is content. Everything about a game can be procedurally generated -- I'd argue that textures would gain something from that. Raise your hand if you're tired of seeing a brick wall where every fifth brick looks exactly the same -- it's chipped and damaged in exactly the same way.

        Now, imagine the brick texture is procedurall

      • Check out the Debris megademo by Farbrausch. It's a music and animation demo whose executable is under 200kb but procedurally generates its textures and shadow maps (totalling almost 1GB) before playing. Artistically it's beautiful to watch, but that compression ratio is what really blows my mind.

        download Debris by Farbrausch [scene.org]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by FroopY (873182)
      Procedural generation can be used for anything from models to textures to AI. In the case of textures it gives games the ability to generate them on the fly, allowing variation each time - so you can do things like making a different pattern of spots for a creature each time one is loaded. This also saves you storage space as each texture does not need to be kept on the drive, but comes at the cost of some processing power and RAM from generating everything and storing all the information in memory (for an
    • If I'm not mistaken (and maybe I am), megatextures take more video memory (and less CPU) but ensure the player doesn't see repeating terrain tiles as they run through a level. Procedural generation takes less video memory and saves money on artist bills at the expense of CPUs, and produces non-repeating terrain and textures in real time. Procedural generation also has the potential to scale indefinitely, so theoretically (but unlikely) you could get closer and closer to a brick wall without the texture ge
      • megatextures take more video memory (and less CPU) but ensure the player doesn't see repeating terrain tiles as they run through a level.

        As long as you can fill the "level" with enough non-repeating terrain.

        In fact, procedural generation is often used to do this. There are things like forest generators -- as in, a program to generate a bunch of trees to fill an area as a forest. Technically, it's procedural generation, but they end up saving those gigabytes worth of forest to disk as part of the level.

        Procedural generation takes less video memory and saves money on artist bills at the expense of CPUs, and produces non-repeating terrain and textures in real time.

        Well, CPU only has to be spent when actually rendering the procedure to geometry -- or to textures, or whatever. Take the trees above -- an al

  • Oh, come on, people. Seven of the ten are graphical fluff, and the rest are gimmicks that make no meaningful difference to the gameplay experience. Why couldn't they have listed things that actually, you know, matter?

    Oh, wait; I know why. This is a review outlet; they like Shinies (tm) because it's easier to throw up a couple of screenshots and say "this game is pretty" than actually write a meaningful description and say "this game is entertaining." A cancer on gaming, the whole lot of them.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      What "couple of screenshots"? It's the same damn "almost upside down place" screenshot on all ten pages!

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Video games have been a going concern for 30 years. We've had real 3d rendering for over 10 years. We're at the point where we can't make "better" games by just throwing technology at them. But that's what next generation consoles are all about, just throwing more technology. So that's what this article is about.

      Anything that actually matters in terms of game design can be done on todays consoles. Hell, they could be done on the last generation of consoles. It's not about the grapics, it's about the game

    • by Reapy (688651)

      I think it's pretty common around every video game discussion to get mad about graphical improvements.

      I like them. I like them a lot. They are fun in of themselves. If a game looks crappy, I don't like it as much. But boring game play can be boring gameplay. I played through crysis once, it looked sweet as hell, but I never came back to it. I've played games with great gameplay and bad graphics (playing stronghold real late in the part), and didn't come back cause the graphics were sub par.

      Works both way. G

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by A Pancake (1147663)
      Graphical fluff works towards making a game a more immersive experience. Could Bioshock tell the same story and have the same expereince with the graphics engines of 6 years ago? Probably. Would the experience have been as immersive and therefore memorable? Probably not.
  • What the hell ever happened to Project Offset?
  • I wonder what the next best game engine will be for computers!

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