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Top Technologies of Next-Gen Gaming

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the lcars-dot-net dept.

Programming 77

SlappingOysters writes "Gameplayer is running an article that examines the key technology developments of the next-generation of gaming. They go into plenty of detail as to why they believe each piece of technology is helping to take gaming on the PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii to more spectacular heights. They also have a related story which takes a look at the best game engines of next-generation games."

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Mind Control? (3, Funny)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24880565)

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.

Re:Mind Control? (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881075)

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:Mind Control? (2, Interesting)

Singularitarian2048 (1068276) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881411)

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:Mind Control? (2, Interesting)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#24886555)

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.

Re:Mind Control? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#24886915)

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.

Re:Mind Control? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#24894039)

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

Re:Mind Control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24882631)

By the time we perfect mind-controlled games, we will be able to craft synthetic bodies. Until then, imagine trying to play quake while suffering from cerebral palsy and you'll get some idea about how well they control. ... As a matter of fact, I wonder if you can play games with a BCI when you suffer from cerebral palsy. Hmm. Time to hit a medical book or something. *C

Re:Mind Control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883151)

Don't see why CP would affect mind control - it doesn't affect your head, just your body.

Re:Mind Control? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24887183)

a little wand we could wave around

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

Wait.... (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24880567)

...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:Wait.... (1, Redundant)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24880599)

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.... (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24880715)

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!

Re:Wait.... (0)

orta (786013) | more than 6 years ago | (#24880883)

Mod up AKAIImBatman, it's a really annoying trait. Same goes for anyoe that says Game 3.0 or web 3.0. and I guess web 2.0.

Re:Wait.... (1)

StrahdVZ (1027852) | more than 6 years ago | (#24882575)

Despite the stupidly made-for-moron marketing terms that Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 are, and despite the fact that they don't actually exist, at least they have a definitive attempt at a label. Unlike "next" which is a term based purely on situational perspective.

The "next train" is no longer the next train once it arrives, but the "3.45pm train" is still the 3.45pm train after it departs the platform - even if it wasn't a train and didn't arrive at 3:45pm (as in Web 2.0, which is not the Web and is not version 2.0).

Re:Wait.... (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24880941)

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.

Re:Wait.... (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881397)

Mostly I agree with you. However, do you not understand the meaning of a hyphen between nouns means?

Re:Wait.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24881429)

Clearly, using hyphens went out of style a) long before he was born or b) they're such a new invention that someone so old shouldn't be forced to learn new things.

Re:Wait.... (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 6 years ago | (#24884265)

Clearly, using hyphens went out of style a) long before he was born or b) they're such a new invention that someone so old shouldn't be forced to learn new things.

Please, enlighten us.

I assume you are referring to this [wikipedia.org] . However, there is no need for a hyphen in "next generation" because it is clear to which noun "next" refers. To quote Wikipedia (not exactly an authoritative source, of course):

Hyphens should not normally be used in adverbâ"adjective modifiers such as wholly owned subsidiary and quickly moving vehicle (because the adverbs clearly modify the adjectives; "quickly" does not apply to "vehicle" as "quickly vehicle" would be meaningless). However, if the adverb can also function as an adjective, then a hyphen may be required for clarity.

If anything, (mis)use of hyphens is growing in popularity. They should only be used where absolutely essential - unfortunately, they are often used in PHB-type office gibberish when they are completely superfluous.

In any event, be careful shooting your mouth off about hyphenation: entire countries [wikipedia.org] have been destroyed before now for that precise reason.

Re:Wait.... (4, Funny)

chromatic (9471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881573)

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

Subtraction?

Re:Wait.... (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881615)

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 :-)

Re:Wait.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24885851)

#24880715's understanding of hyphenation seems more correct than yours.

Another possibility is that you have failed to understand his post, as your question would make no sense if you had.

Please also refrain from misusing the term "OP." You may be new here, but it is time that you learned.

Re:Wait.... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24884693)

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.

Re:Wait.... (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#24888809)

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 article, which fails to mention NeXT anywhere other than the title.

Re:Wait.... (1)

StrahdVZ (1027852) | more than 6 years ago | (#24882463)

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:Wait.... (2, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883575)

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 next one.

Not necessarily (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883601)

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.

Re:Wait.... (1)

Cocoa Radix (983980) | more than 6 years ago | (#24889099)

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.

Re:Wait.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24880649)

I thought current generation systems were the playstation 2, gamecube, and original xbox. The reason I say this is, because, they are still making new games (I.E. Mercs 2) [amazon.com] for the old next generation system (playstation 2).

Clearly the playstation 2 was the next generation of the playstation, therefore the playstation 4 will be the next next-next generation console. Still with me? Good.

Re:Wait.... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24880747)

The reason I say this is, because, they are still making new games (I.E. Mercs 2) for the old next generation system (playstation 2).

New games are still being made for the Atari 2600. Does that make it the current generation? In which case is the PS2 the next, next, next, next, next generation system?

Gah! My head hurts.

Re:Wait.... (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#24886585)

The PS2 is the only last-gen console that still gets games. the Xbox1 was dead the moment the Xbox360 got released and the Gamecube was pretty much dead a year before the Wii was even out.

Re:Wait.... (1)

10Neon (932006) | more than 6 years ago | (#24888497)

It's not "current gen" until some member of the next, "next gen" has been announced.

I am a bit surprised... (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#24880785)

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 (it's the first game I've _wanted_ to play more than once in single player, although it's a bit short).

Re:I am a bit surprised... (0)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881437)

You're confusing technology with design.

Re:I am a bit surprised... (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881641)

That might be true. CoD4s engine is not something to laugh at though. Is it? I thought the tech was brilliant. I might be wrong.

Re:I am a bit surprised... (0, Flamebait)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881989)

Well sure, it's a good engine... but I don't think there's anything remarkable about it (compared to Crysis for example).

I am a bit marked up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24884319)

"Remarkable" is how closely a game engine fits one's needs. If you have to pick another engine, then it's not remarkable enough.

*sigh* (3, Funny)

Knara (9377) | more than 6 years ago | (#24880809)

Still no VR total immersion interfaces =(

Also no sex droids =(((

Re:*sigh* (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883895)

Also no sex droids =(((

And there's a slot of the Wiimote and everything

Missing one key tech (1)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 6 years ago | (#24880897)

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.

Re:Missing one key tech (1)

Traze (1167415) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881011)

Well, flailing your arms about while wearing a helmet might be fun, even with a crappy game. XD

Re:Missing one key tech (1)

tukkayoot (528280) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881025)

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.

There's no one thing called "fun." (1)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881477)

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.

Re:Missing one key tech (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881713)

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.

Re:Missing one key tech (5, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 6 years ago | (#24882329)

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)

Re:Missing one key tech (1)

Beezlebub33 (1220368) | more than 6 years ago | (#24882679)

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.

Re:Missing one key tech (1)

unapersson (38207) | more than 6 years ago | (#24886287)

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?

Re:Missing one key tech (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 6 years ago | (#24890913)

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.

Re:Missing one key tech (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#24886725)

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 just as well. I don't call that next-gen, even Doom had persistent dead monster when I remember correctly. And I really haven't seen much realistic bend and deform in the engine, bending the doors looked nice, but it always looked exactly the same, no different then prescripted stuff, in fact I have no reason to think that it wasn't prescripted stuff. The animation of the enemies was clearly Euphoria, but the rest of the game just looked like every other game out there and in many places even worse.

Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (3, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881079)

#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.

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881185)

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).

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 6 years ago | (#24882387)

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.

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (1)

Azheim (1197149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24882447)

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 which notes to play. Because MIDI data is incredibly small (50kb for a 5 minute rendition of Schubert's impromptu in D that I just pulled up), you could load as much music as you wanted to compose without ever worrying about space. (Of course, quality instruments would more than compensate for that. Good VST instruments can require more than 1GB each, just for 88 notes.) Additionally and more significantly, MIDI data can be recombined on the fly, changing moods, or even adding or removing individual instruments, as much as desired. Sequencing the music by starting with a drum line, then adding strings, then a guitar, etc. would also be a possibility. This could allow for more versatility in sound; drums might drop out when you approach an NPC, a flute solo might enter in when you approach a goal, as the guitar drops out. These changes might all seem like insignificant things, but I know that after playing a game for hours, and having heard all the pre-recorded music through a few times, I start to wish that it would catch me off guard every now and again. Applying MIDI in this way could do just that. Done right, music would never again be completely predictable and ultimately the gaming experience would become even more immersive.

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (1)

GhaleonStrife (916215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883387)

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" would only be enabled in an adequately dubbed "Impossible" mode.

I know there's a way to use this in rhythm games to add a challenge without seeming horribly arbitrary, but I'm way too tired to think of it right now. I got the ball rolling. Let's see if any of you can think of something challenging, but not too punishing.

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881203)

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.

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24884799)

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 procedurally generated, for some preset value of how deformed and decrepit it can get.

Anyways, even if they are direct opposites, that doesn't mean both aren't really good, promising technologies.

True. It just seemed odd for them to both be brought up, yet there was no discussion or comparison between them.

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#24887111)

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:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (1)

TriezGamer (861238) | more than 6 years ago | (#24888287)

Proceedural generation is NOT compression.

Check out some of the things around this site, starting from this page if you're interested in more stuff like this.

http://www.scene.org/misc/best64kintros.php [scene.org]

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#24888555)

"Compression ratio" was probably the wrong choice of words. I meant to say that I was impressed with the contrast of size between the base executable and the fully fleshed-out working file.

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24881633)

Top 10 buzzwords in Next-Gen gaming (note the self reference).

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (2, Informative)

FroopY (873182) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881909)

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 extreme example check out http://www.theprodukkt.com/kkrieger [theprodukkt.com] , a game in 96k).

MegaTextures on the other hand are a way of reducing memory requirements by only loading the needed parts of a giant texture - so rather than have say 20 different ground textures loaded into memory it only grabs the part of the texture corresponding to the ground that's currently in the player's view. The texture file itself still takes up a lot of storage space. You can also use the texture to let the game know what kind of surface a player is walking on - say if you wanted to slow down movement when running over sand or something it's easy to do by checking which part of the texture you're loading.

Each has it's own benefits and applications, and it's not like using one precludes the other. They both provide ways of making textures unique and non-repeating but this is only a part of what they can do.

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24881961)

I think procedural generation can be applied to geometry and megatextures can complement that.

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#24886913)

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 getting blocky and jaggy.

Re:Procedural Generation vs Virtualized Textures? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24896999)

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 alternative method would be to generate a forest as you move through the world, which would be more like what you describe -- hopefully caching enough to make the game actually playable. Or go download .kkreiger to see a compromise -- the entire game fits in 96k, but takes over a minute to load (generating the map and textures) even on a fast CPU.

Also, it doesn't save money on artist bills, because that money now has to be spent on people who are both artists and mathematical geniuses to come up with those algorithms in the first place -- and then on artists to fine-tune the parameters wherever they're being used.

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 getting blocky and jaggy.

No, very likely it wouldn't get blocky and jaggy. It might, however, start to look weird, depending on how good the procedure was. The only part I'm not sure about is whether it could be done in realtime -- but I think so.

To me, the exciting possibilities of procedural generation are: Larger and less repetitive worlds, smaller disk space for games -- much more exciting when you consider that a game like .kkreiger could be streamable, even over dialup -- and much finer detail.

The reality of Megatexture is basically a way to throw a bunch of designers at a huge area, and have the engine be able to handle what they come up with.

I have no idea how any of the above affect video memory. I would imagine that procedural generation on the CPU would result in just as much video memory being used, and I don't think we have fast enough video cards to do procedural generation on the card.

These are the top 10? (0)

Millennium (2451) | more than 6 years ago | (#24881911)

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.

Re:These are the top 10? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#24882043)

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

Re:These are the top 10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883539)

I was actually interested in what that game was, any ideas?

Re:These are the top 10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24882173)

This article needs to be renamed to "Tech thats already in games, cause I have no idea whats coming next".

The tech that'll actually matter next gen is:

Virtualized Geometry and Voxels.

Yes, good old voxels. ATi and id are both working on nextgen versions of this and the results so far are nothing short of *astounding*. Virtualized textures were just the first step, virtualized geometry will sit you on your ass.

Theres video flythroughs of entire cities being rendered with realtime reflections on everything and unique textures/geometry everywhere.

ATi also have their light-studio capture rig thats capturing live actor performances into a voxel format that simply looks real when rendered.

Why didn't the article mention either of these? In fact how on earth did the article get away with no screenshots and no video?

Re:These are the top 10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883415)

This is like an article on the technical merits of different kinds of paint and you're complaining that you don't like the artwork created with it.

If you don't have an interest in the visual aspects of game engines (not the games themselves) then clearly this article isn't for you.

Re:These are the top 10? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#24887301)

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 gameplay.

Re:These are the top 10? (1)

Reapy (688651) | more than 6 years ago | (#24888789)

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. Great game has graphics and gameplay. I want bitchen audio/visual feedback when I play a game. I want to squeeze the trigger, here a cannon shot fire out my shotgun, and make some sort of crazy noticeable impact on something. I want to swing a sword and hack some monster's arm off and watch crazy blood spray everywhere. I want princess in another castle to be smoken hot and drawn perfectly. I want my RPG companions to have crazy flare and look compeltly badass.

I want hard action in your face over the top goodness. For the most part, games deliver that. It's the reason I don't play "real life" that often. All the excitement, none of the danger :)

Re:These are the top 10? (2, Interesting)

A Pancake (1147663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24891663)

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.

Pussy Nazi Sez (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24882111)

No pussy for YOU!

What about Star wars forced unleashed. (1)

Zosden (1303873) | more than 6 years ago | (#24882391)

This game uses Euphoria, havoc, and dmm(don't remember what it does) engines to produce almost realistic physics and AI.

Re:What about Star wars forced unleashed. (2, Insightful)

severn2j (209810) | more than 6 years ago | (#24885393)

Which is a perfect example of how you can put the latest technologies into your game and it will still be mediocre, unless you think long and hard about the gameplay..

One more engine? (1)

dr.banes (823348) | more than 6 years ago | (#24882547)

What the hell ever happened to Project Offset?

So fluffy, you can spread it on a sandwich. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24882603)

This is a bullet-list of top technologies that are being promoted in new games.

The 9th page says MIDI is making a comeback. That's great. It ends with this sentence, ". Thereâ(TM)s nothing more awesome than a technology from a bygone era stamping its foot firmly on the present, and the future of gaming."

Consider this: "Well, glad to see DRM and online activation making a comeback after dying off around the time of the Atari...."

Engine for Comps! (1)

ASMworkz (1302279) | more than 6 years ago | (#24892549)

I wonder what the next best game engine will be for computers!
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