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Games Entertainment

Extrapolating the Near Future of Gaming 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-duke-nukem-forever-jokes dept.
Sci-fi author Charlie Stross gave a keynote address at the recent LOGIN 2009 conference about what we can reasonably expect from games and game-related technology over the next 10 to 20 years. He takes a realistic look at the limitations we'll face with regard to processing power and bandwidth, and goes on to talk about how augmented reality software and aging gamers will affect future titles. Quoting: "But the sixty-something gamers of 2020 are not the same as the sixty-somethings you know today. They're you, only twenty years older. By then, you'll have a forty year history of gaming; you won't take kindly to being patronised, or given in-game tasks calibrated for today's sixty-somethings. The codgergamers of 2030 will be comfortable with the narrative flow of games. They're much more likely to be bored by trite plotting and cliched dialog than todays gamers. They're going to need less twitchy user interfaces — ones compatible with aging reflexes and presbyopic eyes — but better plot, character, and narrative development. And they're going to be playing on these exotic gizmos descended from the iPhone and its clones: gadgets that don't so much provide access to the internet as smear the internet all over the meatspace world around their owners."
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Extrapolating the Near Future of Gaming

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  • by sanborn's man (687059) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:28PM (#27987799)
    we will be still waiting for DNF!
  • by aepervius (535155) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:31PM (#27987827)
    Those 60+ years old gamer will be a minority market in comparison to the 14-20 years old. Which is why today despite having 40 years old demographic, we still have a majority of game geared toward a less mature audience as a whole. And yes, I don't need to be 60 years old to recognize a trite story already made 100 times. I could already recognized that at 25. We don't get wisdom suddenly at 60 years old you know...
    • by ouimetch (1433125) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:47PM (#27987929)
      Nostalgia is also a very big part of growing older, so I imagine it would be very wise to develop games with a more "classical" set-up that will appeal to these older users. Either re-releasing old goodies like various NES, SNES, Genesis titles etc, or developing titles with a familiar playstyle(who wouldn't want to play a sweet new side-scroller) would probly be the way to go.
      • by bluesatin (1350681) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:51PM (#27987965)

        If you haven't heard of a game called Braid, I'd recommend it to anyone.

        The main creator has a very strong view on gaming ethics, things like achievements shouldn't really exist.

        People will endure a long time of unenjoyable playtime just to get an achievement, the creator of Braid thinks players should just be having fun at every moment of the game just from game mechanics.

        Another great game I'd recommend is World of Goo, everyone that I've introduced to it has fell in love with it.

        • There is nothing wrong with achievements. They are not unethical at all.

          They are part of gaming experience that many players find enjoyable. Gamers are not required to complete achievements, so as long as the player can choose whether he will pursue or not the achievements and still gets an enjoyable experience for doing or while not doing so, it is fine.

          If there is still a sizable amount of game content and/or other games to satisfy the unsatisfied player, there is no need to complain.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by bluesatin (1350681)

            But a vast majority of people I know feel the urge to complete every single last achievement, even if it means them sitting there getting more and more stressed out because they can't get it.

            People are easily compelled to try and "compete" against things to beat them, it's the same mechanic that leaves people playing games like World of Warcraft for hours upon hours even if they're not enjoying it.

            Most people on Slashdot will probably have not experienced this, I expect other people here are like me and wil

            • But a vast majority of people I know feel the urge to complete every single last achievement, even if it means them sitting there getting more and more stressed out because they can't get it.

              Where I come from, we call people like that "idiots". Getting stressed out over a game defeats the purpose of a game.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by sortius_nod (1080919)

                I agree, but you should really clarify "stress".

                Negative emotion stress is, of course, not good. The adrenaline, edge of your seat, put you in the zone stress is great.

                It's one reason I find some games totally miss the mark be it via controls, atmosphere, achievements, or even gameplay. They can pull out either of these stresses depending on if they do it right. You need that feeling of urgency and distress to get your mind into the game, for that suspension of disbelief. Negative emotion stress is quite di

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Bodrius (191265)

              Does that have much to do with achievements and scoring systems per se, or rather with just game houses using this (or any method) to compensate for Bad Game Design?

              Like it or not, many people find a lot of the entertainment in the process of finishing every quest, scoring every point and finding every hidden level in a game. This predates 'achievements', and for that matter video games in general.

              Quite frankly, the same principle persistence of being "compelled to try and compete against things to beat the

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Keill (920526)

          He's missing the point of achievements - although, TBH, some of their current implementations miss the point too:

          Games are about writing stories - achievements are merely the record of the story that's been written.

          Now, the main thing left to do, is to enable the player to write a unique story with unique achievements...

          The biggest problem I see in games atm, is that too many people are focused on them purely as a story TELLING device, rather than story writing - which, in a way, kind-of defeats the purpose

          • Games are about writing stories

            Never has their been a more absurd statement.

            Games are about entertainment. Story-based gaming is one possible aspect. But when you're playing, say, Simon; what's the story there?

            The answer is: NOTHING. There is not story. There's not even a flimsy plot to setup why you're pressing the lighted buttons. You just are. And it's fun.

            Same reason why I don't need an excuse to blast aliens in Galaga. It's just FUN.

            Story is a way of adding depth to a game. However, it is not a requirement for a game.

          • The problem with achievements is that they make the game designer think that real goals with well-constructed challenges don't have to go into the game. Why spend time making better levels when you can program in an achievement for taking out the hardest enemy with the crappiest gun?

    • by mdwh2 (535323) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @02:01PM (#27988041) Journal

      Unless there's going to be a population boom (unlikely in western countries), I don't see how. It may happen if people lose interesting in games as they get older, but I guess the premise is here that that won't happen. Okay, 60+ gamers won't be a majority, but it's plausible to say they'll be a significant part of the market. Certainly far more so than now, where elderly people mostly don't play games, because they never grew up with them.

      And unlike middle aged people, they'll have a lot more time on their hands. And unlike 14-20 year olds, they are more likely to have the money.

      We've already seen a shift in games marketing already - up until the mid 1990s, games were still mainly seen as "for kids", and I noticed that with the Playstation, there was a shift in advertising towards young adults. Makes sense really: firstly kids of the 80s were now in their 20s; secondly, they had more disposable income (especially important considering the increasing costs of games production). The last thing games companies wanted then was to have the image stick that games were something only children played.

    • Well, not in Germany [bib-demographie.de]. ^^

    • by malkavian (9512) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @02:27PM (#27988211) Homepage

      The 'aged' sector of the population is an ever increasing one. With the increases in med-tech over the next 20 years, 60 will still be quite spry.
      The sector of growth that's slowing down in the younger generation, as especially in areas of Europe, the land is becoming increasingly overcrowded.
      Most likely, the 14 year old sector of the market will be smaller by dint of being a smaller segment of the population as a whole.
      The majority of games aren't directed at 14-20 anymore. The casual market is exploding, and that covers all ages, and is of marked interest to the older. The 'hardcore' 14-20 something is decreasing, although still released with hype and ceremony; That sector probably isn't going to go away, as there'll always be good money in it, however the larger electronic gaming market will take over a lot of places that are currently occupied by older games (card games etc.) in society.. That's what the article seems to be predicting, and has a stab at seeing how the games companies are likely to adapt to bring in this ever growing segment. After all, it'll have a lot more disposable income than the 14-20 segment. A LOT more.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Which is why today despite having 40 years old demographic, we still have a majority of game geared toward a less mature audience as a whole.

      This has more to do with outdated notions of what market demand there is, rather than actual market demographics. "Gamer" is a label that now constitutes way more than the stereotypical teenage boy image. There are now much older gamers, and much more women playing games. But the industry has yet to catch up, partially because of those outdated notions that still prevail in marketing departments, and also because industry composition hasn't changed nearly as much as its audience.

  • Presbyopic eyes? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:32PM (#27987829)

    More like bionic eyes. It should be easy as long as they're connected to your blue tooth.

    And wtf is it with the iPhone reference, sure these future devices will be descendents of the iPhone in the same way they'll be descendents of Nokia 5110 or the original Gameboy. Srsly, the iPhone is nothing more than a portable touchscreen device with a rather childish looking interface. To put a reference to it in your article is only an attempt to freeload off it's hype.

    • Re:Presbyopic eyes? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mdwh2 (535323) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:55PM (#27987989) Journal

      I thought entirely the same thing - can't we get through a story without an irrelevant Apple slashvertisement?

      Handheld gaming was hardly invented by the Iphone, nor was Internet access in phones. Apple are long playing catch up here. And they didn't "popularise" it, either - the Iphone is no Ipod, both in terms of features and market share. To suggest that the other devices are clones is ludicrous, and insulting to those companies that worked hard to bring those devices, often long before Apple thought of doing so. As you say, the Gameboy is the obvious popular reference.

      It becomes tediously circular - people freeload off the hype as you say, and by doing so, it adds to the hype.

      It's also patronising to Slashdot readers: yes, I know that the average layperson has to be told "Ipod" instead of "mp3 player", "Windows" instead of "operating system", "Gameboy" instead of "handheld games console" or "Nokia" (the obvious realistic choice) instead of "mobile phone", but I think readers here are capable of knowing what the products are, without it having to be explained in terms of brandnames.

      ("Hey, I've got a web page you might be interested in! It's a webpage that can be read on Iphones and clones, isn't that great?")

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Huh what? The iPhone is effectively a superset of an iPod. (I say effectively because the UI is a bit different from previous iPods, but various iPod generations had differences too.) But all of the functionality is there.

        • by mdwh2 (535323)

          I'm not sure how that relates to my argument? The Ipod is successful as an mp3 player, sure. It doesn't matter whether the Iphone is a superset or not - you can't claim that because the Ipod is successful/whatever, therefore the Iphone is. And even if the submitter had said Ipod Touch instead of Iphone, it's still dubious to say that Apple were the first, or are the leader, in the market of handheld games consoles, or Internet devices. Even if we assume that all Ipod Touches were sold for these purposes, yo

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            I was refuting what you said "the Iphone is no Ipod, both in terms of features and market share.".

            While very very very technically, you are correct that the features are different since the UI is somewhat different, the UI is also different between other generations of iPod. But at a general level, an iPhone is a superset of an iPod since it does all of the high level features that iPods share (playing music, podcasts, etc.) It doesn't mount like a disk on your desktop, but I don't think all of the other

    • Re:Presbyopic eyes? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nyctopterus (717502) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:58PM (#27988011) Homepage

      I think you've failed (like a lot of the "Luddite" nerds ) to grasp what the iPhone has done. The interface is not "childish", it's good. In that, it does what you expect it to, and doesn't make me angry. It also feels more "real". Multitouch done properly is really, really nice, and no amount of elitist nerdy pouting is going to change that.

      I have never, and would never, buy a handheld gaming device. I have, however, bought an iPod touch--which I got for reading Slashdot in bed--but have actually bought quite a few games for it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Mprx (82435)
        What I expect is such basic features as "copy and paste" and "multitasking". I don't even have to try the iPhone to know that it's bad.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nyctopterus (717502)

          Perhaps the difference here is that I treat it like I would an appliance, not a handheld computer (seriously, handheld is a sucky form factor for computers--multitasking is hard to do properly technically, and the tiny interface does not lend itself to it anyway). As an appliance, it is good. Mostly reacts INSTANTLY to input, very short load times. It's not supposed to be a computer in your pocket--which is why it doesn't suck.

          • by mdwh2 (535323)

            What's an "appliance"? Something that isn't as good as a handheld computer? Not exactly a convincing sales pitch...

            This is especially amusing since it's the Iphone fans who often try to promote the Iphone as being some kind of "handheld computer", not merely a phone. Yet the reality is, it's those ordinary phones that have these basic features of a "handheld computer", and the Iphone is relegated to being a mere "appliance" :)

            which is why it doesn't suck.

            It doesn't suck because it has less features? Again,

            • An appliance is meant to denote something which does specific thing; it has specific applications and limited functionality [wikipedia.org]. I'd contrast this to a general computing device, which is supposed to be a platform for doing just about anything. Being an appliance helps to narrow the scope of possible applications, which can lead to a focus on getting what it does do right.

              So yes, in a way, it is better because it has fewer features. This is not a particularly interesting or novel argument.

              Note that I'm not argui

      • Re:Presbyopic eyes? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mdwh2 (535323) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @02:14PM (#27988129) Journal

        like a lot of the "Luddite" nerds

        An ironic accusation - it's not "luddite" when those people embraced technologies that did handheld gaming and Internet access years before the Iphone. Quite the opposite.

        The interface is not "childish", it's good. In that, it does what you expect it to, and doesn't make me angry. It also feels more "real". Multitouch done properly is really, really nice, and no amount of elitist nerdy pouting is going to change that.

        And there's not a single actual argument put there - you might as well say "Iphone rules! Nokia sucks!" It's not "childish", it's good, it does what it's supposed to, it doesn't make me angry, it "feels" more "real". It's really really really "nice", anyone who disagrees with me is just nerdy pouty! Please - let's have proper intelligent debate, and actual evidence and examples, not vague terms, assertions and childish insults. (And saying "really" a lot of times doesn't make an argument anymore convincing.)

        I have, however, bought an iPod touch--which I got for reading Slashdot in bed--but have actually bought quite a few games for it.

        So not actually an Iphone then. But good for you. And I have a Motorola V980 that I can use to read Slashdot from bed - your point?

        • Point one, I put "Luddite" in scare quotes because I am aware of the fact that most of these nerds are not really Luddites, but surely you have noticed the huge resistance among a lot of nerds to changes in technology--especially if that change has the slightest whiff of hype--to the extent that they will not admit the good points of that technology (interface changes seem to infuriate them the most).

          Point two, I did give a few reasons for liking the interface, which granted, I didn't expand on much. The "r

    • Re:Presbyopic eyes? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by donnacha (161610) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @03:33PM (#27988655) Homepage

      No, the iPhone reference was important: the keynote was about "Extrapolating the Near Future of Gaming". When you extrapolate, you pull from what is happening today. The iPhone has shown that many normal, non-techie folks will use technology in unexpected way, and to an unexpected extent, if you make it easy enough for them.

      It doesn't matter if hardcore techies think that the iPhone is "childish" or if they think it is a badge of honor to continue using their Motorola V980, it really doesn't matter at all.

      What matters is what the mass of ordinary consumers move towards and, right now, today, Apple are creating a mobile platform and eco-system that could very well remain dominant for the next couple of decades, just as MS did on the desktop.

      But the key point is that the iPhone shows that good design can pull mainstream users towards technologies that were previously adopted only by relatively small niche groups, such as /. readers - our use of technology in twenty years will depend not only upon what is possible but, also, upon the good design and implementation that packages the possible and persuades the mainstream to integrate it into their lives.

      • by mdwh2 (535323)

        When you extrapolate, you pull from what is happening today.

        Even today, describing today's market as "Iphone and clones" is nonsensical.

        It doesn't matter if hardcore techies think that the iPhone is "childish" or if they think it is a badge of honor to continue using their Motorola V980

        Eh? I am not the one trumpeting the make of my phone at every opportunity! Let's take a look at TFS - it says "Iphone", not Motorola. That's the whole point of this thread. In fact I didn't mention my Motorola V980 at all, ex

        • by donnacha (161610)

          Look, I'm not trying to get at your personally, just as I couldn't give a damn if the corporate entity known as Apple exploded into a million pieces. What I'm observing is that they have somehow integrated existing technologies into a package that becomes more useful to ordinary users over time, more useful than they thought it would be when they made the original decision to purchase. That is a pretty special achievement for any gadget and what it means is that it is changing it's users' habits. That is

  • by drmofe (523606) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:32PM (#27987833)

    1. Develop radical new gameplay idea.

    2. Get off my damn lawn!

    3. Profit.

  • Sci-fi? (Score:5, Informative)

    by gplus (985592) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:34PM (#27987843)

    I think he would probably prefer the term SF.

    Sci-fi is Hollywood entertainment with explosions, technobabble, and spaceships that make rumbling sounds as they travel through space. SF (speculative fiction) is something that might contain a bit of actual intelligence hidden inside.

    • Sci-fi is Hollywood entertainment with explosions, technobabble, and spaceships that make rumbling sounds as they travel through space.

      The near vacuum of space does not transmit sound. But it does transmit electromagnetic signatures from a spacecraft that the navigation systems in the cockpits of other craft may render as sound.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by grumbel (592662)

        The near vacuum of space does not transmit sound.

        When you have an explosion in space, the space is no longer a vacuum, as there is plenty of expanding gas from the explosion and that also happens to expand faster then the sound travels. That still doesn't give you StarWars style space battles, but I am wondering what a nearby explosion in space would sound like.

  • by TinBromide (921574) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:38PM (#27987863)
    It wasn't too long ago that I realized that in 2050 and 2060, old folks homes will be blasting metal so loud that their hard of hearing residents can hear it. By then, heavy metal will be what grandpa listens to and the young'ns will be listening to something equally infuriating and weird as linkin park is to our parents.

    Anywho, instead of bridge or cribbage, there will be virtual dungeon crawls and WoW guild reunions. I think that the direction that games have been taking over the past 10 years has already pushed games to a point that they can be enjoyed by almost everybody with the proper background. While I won't be able to play quake 3 as well in 40 years as I did 8 years ago (when twitch gaming was at its peak and I was in practice), I might be a challange in 40 years in a game like bf2 that is more about resource usage, anticipation, and strategy. Granted there are narrow alley encounters where twitch wins, most of the kills (ignoring air combat) in bf2 came from having a resource (tank or apc), being in the right place, and seeing somebody before they saw you. All of that came from knowing the flow of the map and the more experienced player would most likely kill a rookie who doesn't know what's going on or how to handle the map. The experienced player will track along a hill, not make a silhouette, and watch choke points, they probably won't camp, and I will never equate camping with skill. So knowing how to traverse a map, handle your in game weapon, and not make yourself a target comes with experience and will lead to more kills than being able to whip around and headshot someone. If they can't pick you out, they can't headshot you.

    So what I'm saying is that I will probably be playing games with veeery similar mechanics to those that I am playing now. Twitch gaming, a style that favored picking out movement from a sea of chaos, fast reflexes, and precise movements hasn't been in vogue for the past 5 years. I am certain, dead certain, that playing games like COD and bf2 have killed my abilities to be competitive in games like unreal 3, but in every pick up game I drop into in u3 (for the pc), I dominate. I was pretty OK in UT when it was at its peak and was mediocre at q3. I'd say that U3 is far more twitch than UT, but not as much as Q3. The twitch players aren't the majority of the FPS community. By the time i'm old and wrinkly, Twitch will be a long forgotten relic that we will talk about like people talk about terminals and punch cards.
    • Addendum (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TinBromide (921574) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:56PM (#27987991)
      By the way, in my post I made a few assumptions that should be cleared out. I ignored single player games because I have no clue if they'll be around in 40 years. Yes, there will be a demand for them, but they're also the easiest to pirate and have less replay value than multiplayer games. So while there may be a market for them, developers may stop making them in favor of MMO's or as tutorial modes for multiplayer. They may also finally find a voice and become as established as novels and graphics and authoring tools may become so advanced that a single author can purchase something titled gameshop pro and start whipping out a game that will be marketable in a year and the single player game market may be just as expansive as a borders book store, and just as affordable due to the competition.

      I have no clue what is held for the SP market, but I did focus on the multiplayer dynamics, which is also what the summary focuses on. (I refuse to RTFA).

      By the way, what I talk about in bf2 sounds similar to map control in q3, but map control is half of victory in q3, the rest is skill, reflexes, and winning fire fights. In bf2, winning an encounter is often an instance of spotting someone first, lining them up, and killing them first, less dodging, jumping, and fast reflexes. Its a fine difference but I could imagine a 64 year old Me doing just as well as a 24 year old Me in BF2. I can't say the same of q3. I also view Q3 to be the pinnacle of twitch gaming, almost everything after that was made more "accessible" to the "casual" gamer.
      • [Single-player video games] may also finally find a voice and become as established as novels and graphics and authoring tools may become so advanced that a single author can purchase something titled gameshop pro and start whipping out a game that will be marketable in a year

        Let me fix that: "authoring tools may become so advanced that a single author can purchase something titled Multimedia Fusion or Adobe Flash and start whipping out a game that will be marketable in a year." This already happens. The real question is whether console gatekeepers such as Nintendo are willing to open themselves up to microISVs.

        • Haha, wow, I guess I made all kinds of crazy statements without clarification. While the flash game market has been around for a while, a large amount of the memorable flash games were created by people with graphic based artistic ability and an understanding of unique and compelling game mechanics. What I was thinking was more along the lines of being able to create/use advanced graphics and elements to convey a story that is both compelling and entertaining. What I was thinking was a toolset so powerful t
          • Ouch. Since when writing a novel is easy? Writing games needs talent. I understand that today you have to put together a skilled team in many areas - coders, 3D modellers, level designers, 2D artists for textures and sketches, and possibly a lot more that I may be missing. Not to mention actually good management unless you want to end up like 3DRealms. BUT, you will always need talent. Perhaps you can have a framework that may drastically reduce the need for coders, given a certain engine. But there is no w
            • Have you tried? The easy part is writing it. Granted I haven't been published yet, but the knack of it is sitting down and putting words onto pages. If you don't do that, then it is hard. I was hinting at an engine and tool set that was so easy to use that it would be near trivial to create a model/texture that matched your mental image of it. Perhaps you could scribble and tweak using general language, perhaps someone will perfect mind-reading, whatever. This is the future I'm talking about! I want my flyi
      • Actually BF2 is just as twitchy as UT2k4. There's no debating that after you've seen a sniper dolphin dive across the map dropping claymores in people's faces and instapopping them at point blank.

        • Dolphin diving was removed with a patch IIRC. It was a game glitch, not an intended mechanic.
  • Ewwwww (Score:4, Funny)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:51PM (#27987957)

    Have you seen what's out there on the Internet? I'm not sure I want that stuff smeared all over my meatspace.

  • Stupid article... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:54PM (#27987979)

    ... If anything it is the OLD TIMERS in the game industry making games, Chris Taylor, will Wright, etc... hardcore gamers grow up and get jobs in the gaming industry. The so called "young gamers" will get old one day too.

    This stupid idea that all older gamers are a homogenous group vs younger gamers is stupid, there are lots of young gamers that prefer games that the older generation does because they are at HEART gamers. They aren't in gaming for the fads, they are in it for the fun.

    There is discontent among older gamers about what they best games were newer vs older, we are not a homogenous group so lets not pretend that somehow young gamers will not like anything older gamers like and vice versa.

  • But the sixty-something gamers of 2020 are not the same as the sixty-somethings you know today. They're you, only twenty years older.

    Is this a dupe from Y2K? 2020 - 20 = 2000

    And they're going to be playing on these exotic gizmos descended from the iPhone and its clones: gadgets

    ... with screens the size of a postage stamp?

    He has to be kidding. I won't play games on my phone because the screen is too small, and I'm a "young guy". My grandma uses a magnifying glass to operate her TV remote control. I have a 24 inch monitor for a reason, and its not to justify buying pants with 24 inch wide pockets. Similarly, my nice zillion watt surround sound subwoofer speaker system is not quite as portable as my phone. Without a mouse or trackball I would not be able to play FPS.

    Trying to convince me to "upgrade" from my current system to a cellphone is about as likely as convincing me to "upgrade" back to msdos 3.3, CGA graphics, and a 40 MB pre-IDE era hardcard.

  • Something like Second Life 3.x, or the virtual world in Snow Crash. Or GTA as a MMORPG.

    (I'm surprised that there isn't an online version of GTA yet. Admittedly it's tough to do well until the lag problem is solved. We need networks where you're guaranteed about 10KB/s with under 50ms of round trip delay, for the data that really has to be timely. The rest of the data (geometry updates, etc.) can have far more lag, but a fraction of the data needs priority. The QoS people need to get their act together

    • by centuren (106470)

      It seems like GTA online could be done now, as long as the implementation was such that people with high lag didn't affect the performance of other players in the same world without lag. After all, it seems like there's plenty of people who don't care enough about gameplay to let a laggy connection stop them, and I've never heard anyone with a great connection complain about being able to easily kill them.

  • Ranbow's End (Score:4, Interesting)

    by marciot (598356) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @02:41PM (#27988325)

    Reading through that article made me think of the novel "Rainbow's End" by Vernor Vinge:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbows_End [wikipedia.org]

    He spends a lot of time in that novel describing a world where augmented reality and total interconnectedness makes our day-to-day living into an ginourmous Second Life-esque, instant-messaging, avatar-riddled inferno.

    I found it to be a difficult book to get through, because I kept thinking to myself, I don't believe people will be so banal as to take such incredible technology and make it into something so frivolous and pointless.

    But, then I realize, it has already happened, and it's naive to think it won't happen again.

    -- Marcio

  • by 4D6963 (933028) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @02:52PM (#27988395)

    Games of today look great, but a couple of aspects of some of the most popular games like GTA, Call of Duty and Resident Evil are outdated and I'll take the optimistic risk to say they'll soon start to disappear.

    I'm talking about ultra linearity (yes, even GTA is very linear) and the annoying aspects that accompany it, most noticeably the "try this missing again and again and again until you succeed it", and to a lesser extent to put the player in a ultra scripted environment where you could pretty much dictate them what they have to do, and have to prevent them from doing such trivial things as jumping over a small fence. As games become ever increasingly realistic, those sorts of unrealistic limitations are becoming important threats to the player's suspension of disbelief, and game designers will I believe have to get more subtle and work their way around it.

    But in my opinion both the problems of linearity and unrealistic limitations means that game designers and developers will enter an uphill battle to rethink the aforementioned ageing paradigms, but I think that in a way those new paradigms will be the new shiny graphics. To use the GTA series as an example, right now it's basically all centred around a long string of very scripted fixed missions cut with cinematics, with an "either succeed in all the required aspects or try again like nothing happened" system which is arguably incompatible with realism. In my opinion, the GTA of the future should be much more life-like, dynamic, one way to see how it would work would be like the Sims series, you are one person, you make encounters, create connections, obtain things from your connections such as jobs or whatever you may need, and everything you would do would have an influence of sorts. Fail a job and you have to deal with the consequences and impact on your reputation, start shooting people at random and you earn a reputation of psychopathic killer, by drugs, sell them on someone else's turf and watch things escalating with them, become a real estate agent, spend ten years in jail, join a gang, start a gang and delegate tasks, become a politician, etc, in other words, a free unscripted crime world/business world simulator.

    I'm not saying it would be easy at all to create, but I think there is lots to be done and innovated in that domain, and I think and hope that within the next few years game designers will see themselves forced to explore such solutions, and if it becomes a crucial aspect of making a successful game then great resources, talent and work will be put into it and the results will be very much worth it. Since both the market and technology push us towards realism we'll have to make things realistic in more ways than just the reflections on cars or the physics of driving.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Fail a job and you have to deal with the consequences and impact on your reputation, start shooting people at random and you earn a reputation of psychopathic killer, by drugs, sell them on someone else's turf and watch things escalating with them, become a real estate agent, spend ten years in jail, join a gang, start a gang and delegate tasks, become a politician, etc

      That sounds too much like real life. Can't I just shoot monsters in some underground bunker?

      • by 4D6963 (933028)
        You want monsters in your GTA? Also, are you a gangster/crook in real life? I don't see how else selling drugs on a rival drug dealer's turf could be too familiar an experience otherwise ;). If anything it's the Sims that should sound too much like real life, yet it sells just great.
    • by Bodrius (191265)

      I keep hearing about the bright future of non-linear gameplay taking over...

      And yet, practically all the successful forms of entertainment in human history have been about explicit excercises on linearity (I'm treating linear/non-linear as defined in the parent post, as 'scripted' vs 'non-scripted').

      Books, theatre, music, radio - even (specially) the original storytelling around the tribal fire... they're mostly about linear communication. There are greater/lesser degrees of interactivity, but the common pa

  • by westlake (615356) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @03:02PM (#27988451)

    But the sixty-something gamers of 2020 are not the same as the sixty-somethings you know today. They're you, only twenty years older. By then, you'll have a forty year history of gaming; you won't take kindly to being patronised, or given in-game tasks calibrated for today's sixty-somethings

    Today's sixty-something gamer doesn't like being patronized either.

    If you began with the PC in your thirties, you entered a game market that remarkably diverse and often explicitly "adult."

    But not as the adolescent imagines it. You can't shoot your way through a Lucas adventure or a Maxis simulation.

    For a senior, the most satisfying moments in a stealth shooter, an RPG or strategy game, come when you sense the most economical solution. You aren't role playing as 007 in his prime - you are playing the aging, wounded Batman of The Dark Night Returns or perhaps the very young Carrie Kelley.

    Without gadgets. Without armor.

    Using only her wits to survive.

  • You don't have to be in your sixties to have "presbyopic" eyes.

    And the notion that we're going to be playing our games on "exotic gizmos descended from the iPhone" sort of defies current trends.

    I especially can't imagine playing a game on any descendant of the iPhone if I'm going to have "presbyopic eyes", unless the author foresees us connecting our iPhone-descendants to large displays and HID controllers, which sort of defeats the whole purpose of using the iPhone descendant.

    Other than all of its assertio

  • Charlie's blog (Score:3, Informative)

    by w0mprat (1317953) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @03:56PM (#27988809)
  • experience under my belt. And today's games bore the crap out of me. Except World of Goo.
  • New Achievement: Style of the Time Age 60+ while wearing or talking about wearing an onion on your belt.

  • His picture of the future is an interesting one - but his grasp of the past is shaky at best. In particular, the picture of the civilian aerospace industry he paints is largely wrong.

  • We will still be landing on omaha beach.
    Zombies need to be killed. AGAIN.
    The princess will still need to be saved.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.

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