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Is This the End of Splitscreen Multiplayer, Or the Start of Its Rebirth? 126

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-little-of-column-A-and-a-little-of-column-B dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new history of splitscreen multiplayer looks at how the phenomenon went from arcade necessity to console selling point, and eventually evolved into today's online multiplayer networks like Xbox Live. The article digs up some surprising anecdotes along the way — like the fact that the seminal Goldeneye N64 deathmatch mode was very much an afterthought, given to a trainee who needed something to do. It's also interesting to think about where it's going in the future, with 4k displays on the horizon and handheld screens making inroads to living room gaming. 'I think you’ll see innovations this year that let people use their TV and mobile device in very interesting ways,' says Wipeout creator Nick Burcombe. 'It doesn't even need to be complex to recapture that social aspect – it just needs to involve more than one person in the same room. ‘Second Screen’ gaming could be multiplayer-based for sure, but it can also be used for new gameplay mechanics in single player too.'"
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Is This the End of Splitscreen Multiplayer, Or the Start of Its Rebirth?

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  • I can kinda see it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:27PM (#46544245)

    I have really fond memories of playing C&C at my friends house on PS1 via link cable, as well as a variety of other games that we played via split screen (I even remember some being 4 screen using a "multitap").

    Maybe it's just nostalgia talking, but there's definitely something about being in the same room as the people you are playing with/against, and proper lan parties are a pain.

  • by DeanCubed (814869) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:29PM (#46544259)

    While pretending like the Wii U doesn't exist. Yes, I'm sure 2014 will be the year where having a second screen off the TV is a gaming essential for the next generation of gamers. Unlike 2012/2013 when everyone hated that idea and thought Nintendo was stupid for trying it.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:30PM (#46544265)

    Okay, not really. But I was just lamenting last night how because of Xbox live/PSN, people don't get together to game as much.

    In the dreamcast/early xbox days, my friends and I would get together at one of our houses (all young adults without real adult responsibilities yet other than feeding ourselves and paying the rent) and play games all the time. A couple at a time on the couch playing while the others in the group joked, watched, BSed and did other things. My wife participated in the discussion of those games even though she never played, just because of the environment.

    Now, its net games and while 2 of us may talk about it, the 6 or so of our little click no longer has the conversation we once had. People not playing the game are simply not part of the game. And yes, my wife could pull up a console/laptop and 'watch' me play ... but thats pretty lame.

    The fun part of gaming to me was when my friends and I got together, same physical location, and played. It was really just like board games. Something cool would happen, like a cool trick in Tony Hawk, or that really smooth Top Gun like 'put on the brakes and he'll fly right by me' move you pulled off in Descent, and everyone, winner, loser, and non-players would get excited. It was like a mini sporting event.

    Hell, even finding out why you just not beat one of your friends time after time is because he kept looking at your half of the screen was 'fun' as you all laughed about it afterwords. Wall-hacks don't have the same pleasure after the fact when it comes out.

    You don't get any of that with net gaming. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE net games, but split screen, 5-6 of your friends sitting on the couch TOGETHER playing ... THEN eating together or something ... You don't see that anymore and that was just freaking awesome.

  • Re:Lower detail (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bacon Bits (926911) on Friday March 21, 2014 @03:00PM (#46545789)

    GP is right, but for the wrong reasons. It's not because the number of pixels increases. A screen has the same number of pixels whether it's a single scene or multiple.

    The simple answer is because you have two (or more) cameras, and thus, must fully render two separate scenes. That means chewing through your rendering equation [] twice. Even if the individual scenes are smaller and less detailed, you still have to determine what objects look like from completely different angles, and that means you have to repeat a lot of the work. This is why you see so many games (Halo 4, Minecraft, Serious Sam 3) that have problems with split-screen multiplayer. Even though the resulting scenes have significantly smaller resolutions and significantly reduced detail, you still have to do much of the same work to produce each smaller scene before you start filling the frame buffers.

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. -- D.E. Knuth