Video games! Right now! But shinier! That’s the essential spin behind this year’s PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles, next-gen tech powered by SSD drives that promise massive quality of life upgrades. We’re already seeing some evidence of this, as games that aren’t even optimised properly for the Xbox Series X can boot up within mere seconds.
But what does SSD technology really mean for games that know how to take advantage of them? There’s a lot going on behind the scenes of any game, with loading of assets happening all the time. You’ve seen this before, with a texture popping into place or the draw distance of a game being shrouded in mist so that it can hide any ugly pop-up on the horizon.
According to The Falconeer creator Tomas Sala, next-gen games won’t rely on “smoke and mirrors” to build a believable world. “In most video games things just stop being alive at a certain distance from the player; if they’re not on-screen they just cease to exist in the simulation, or some simplified simulation would take over,” Sala said to the Xbox Wire.
When you wanted a more complex simulation you would have to spend so much of your time optimising the simulation just to make it perform. I think that’s something the new generation offers – more complex enemies and ecologies filled with creatures and enemies all exhibiting more interesting behaviours.
The big advantage I think will be in open-world games, where we can stop using smoke and mirrors to create an illusion for players, and focus on building more simulated worlds.
And that right there is what excites me about gaming. I don’t see the industry pivoting away from traditional ideas or even that much of a bump in gameplay visuals, but being able to jump into games more easily and enjoy them without having to sit through an elevator ride loading screen? That’s the quality of life experience that I’m after. Now to see how The Falconeer takes advantage of that tech, because that open-world air combat game is looking mighty fine ahead of its November 10 launch.
Last Updated: October 2, 2020