The other day I was hit with an epiphany. It was a pretty bad bitch slap of a realization too. While I sat in front of my PC and mowed through yet another horde of mindless neck-biters in Left 4 Dead, I thought to myself, how much more can our gaming experiences improve?
What is beyond this? What does the future hold for us? Most of us have been walking the gaming line for a long, long time now and the majority of us have been working on our controller calyces since before our knees were fully functional. If we look back on how much things have changed, what do you guys think is the future? Virtual Reality? GPS gaming (online gaming points readily available anywhereâ€¦Musica, Woolworths even Nandos?) Or will graphics and realism simply keep improving? Improving? In which ways?
I read something the other day about a new technology called 4D. It runs on the basis that everything in the world is expendable. I don’t mean like Battlefield, where you can lock and load and evaporate anything with a grenade launcher. I’m talking about a light bulb slowly dimming over time if it is left on. Wood rotting if it is exposed to continuous rain. Things like that.
Now that is pretty damn realistic. But is it SO much different than what we are experiencing right now. With the near arrival of engines like the CryEngine 3 and the now slightly improved Unreal Engine 3â€¦the question remainsâ€¦can it get any better than this? And if it can, how?
The new CryEngine 3 prides itself on its insane realism (water ripples and tiny water explosions if bullets hit aqua, trees getting moved down by explosions and bullet fire and realistic environment destruction thanks to fire, lighting, cold, etc. are only a few of the mind-blowing features) and the Crytek boys are definitely taking the console gaming experience into a new age. But like I said before, what’s after that? Take a game like Uncharted, where Sony reportedly said:
â€œWe haven’t even begun to push the boundaries. There hasn’t been a game to date that uses more than 30% of the PS3’s potentialâ€.
So if you all remember how mind-numbingly great Uncharted was, then think about that statement for a secondâ€¦not more than 30%? That means, take Uncharted, times it by 3, and you’re still not at the full potential that the PS3 could expel out of it’s glossy-black bodice.
Once again, don’t get me wrong, I’m not PS3 fanboying. Just to prove it, let’s go to PC arena with one of my favourite titlesâ€¦Crysis. A game which required a mini-jumbo jet of a PC simply to run. I mean, the specs for Crysis to perform at full potential without lagging were ridiculous. However, Crytek did what they came to doâ€¦they pushed some boundaries. And now they’re doing it again. But where is the finish line?
I’m just wondering if we’re now reaching that plateau of gaming, where games become so realistic, that the developers kind of hit that middle ground where all they can do is tweak instead of revolutionizing. Are we now going to simply see additions to games, much like EA Sports does with all their yearly franchise additions? Will the leap from Uncharted 2 to Uncharted 3 simply be an improved aiming system? Will Gears of War 3 feature a new characterâ€¦and nothing more? What is our end point?
I ask these questions, because as gamers I believe it is a question that all of us face? As fathers, what will our children be playing? As boyfriends, when will our girlfriends start kicking our ass at Call of Duty? And as fellow gamers, when will we lust for more? When will we silence the void and finally be satisfied? As a game reviewer, I constantly find myself slashing games based upon what they, The Developers, did wrong. And even with the most brilliant of games, we constantly find fault. So what is the finish line? What is that Holy Grail that you all as gamers are striving towards?
For me, I think mine would probably be a FPS shooter (much like one of my new favourites, Left 4 Deadâ€¦I just love wasting zombies) with a set of gaming peripherals which allow me to use virtual reality. I’m talking virtual reality glasses which actually make things feel realistic, with built in surround earphones (almost like a helmet from those old-school films like Back to the Future) and an entire set of weapons that I can carry on me.
Rifle on my back, and two pistols on my sides. But then I think to myself: say good ol’ girlfriend comes walking inâ€¦how ridiculous would I look? I already got a pretty stunned look, almost as if she caught me with another woman, when she walked in on me the other day: shirt off, tiny plastic guitar, spinning around like the guitarist from Fall Out Boy, while I rocked away at Rise Against on Guitar Hero.
So all I can ask myself, and ask you all as fellow gamers, is when will enough truly be enough? When will our lust for digital mastery finally be fulfilled and our insatiable hunger for improvement be quenched? Will only time tell, or has the watch now finally stopped ticking? I don’t hear the tiny grind of the clock’s gears anymore, do you?
I thought I’d throw in some of these â€œridiculousâ€ yet pretty cool future devices I was talking aboutâ€¦tell me if you think this is our future, or if our digital future is looking pretty grim?
â€œVirtuSphere takes gaming to a whole new level, allowing users to walk inside a virtual space “while being totally immersed” — through the head-mounted display system. Built-in sensors detect movement and transmit that information to a linked computer. A special platform inside the sphere allows it to rotate in any direction as the user walks.
The VirtuSphere is currently the only technology in the world, which permits the user to move about in virtual space through the most natural movement of all by walking.â€
MetaMersion is a “cutting-edge gaming platform designed to let you play your favorite PC-based game titles in a fully immersive, virtual reality environment.”
You “step inside” the game and move through the virtual landscape — just as you would do in the real world. You can: physically walk around; crouch and take cover behind virtual objects; shoot around corners; look up, down, and even behind you.
Here’s even some videos of the technology at work:Â Techeblog
Now as a gamer, I look at this image above, and think to myselfâ€¦seriously? Seriously? Have I now gotten to that point that I will stand in my room with a Time-Crisis looking plastic gun and a device that, pretty much resembles a microwave from the 50’s after it got into a fight with JJ Abrahams, stuck to my head? Probablyâ€¦probably not.
Last Updated: May 18, 2009