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Computer Game Realism

By enneff in News
Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 03:53:42 PM EST
Tags: Hardware (all tags)
Hardware

If you've ever played games such as Thief, or the recently released Deus Ex, it might have occured to you the level of realism and detail that computer games have achieved. While this is all well and good, there is still a psychological barrier created the keyboard/mouse/monitor interface that prevents a player from being fully immersed in the game. Can anyone suggest, or give examples of, better gaming interfaces?


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Computer Game Realism | 42 comments (38 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
sensory clothing (none / 0) (#1)
by pope nihil on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 01:14:17 PM EST

goggles are a must have...

sensory gloves would be great.

after that you can work on the full force-feedback suit.

I voted.

Re: sensory clothing (none / 0) (#11)
by Eldritch on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 03:41:07 PM EST

Mmmmm - Force Feedback suits.....

Just think of the uproar if people could hook these babies upto xxx rated sites? With webcams?

[ Parent ]
Re: sensory clothing (none / 0) (#12)
by Eldritch on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 03:41:28 PM EST

Mmmmm - Force Feedback suits.....

Just think of the uproar if people could hook these babies upto xxx rated sites? With webcams?

[ Parent ]
Re: sensory clothing (none / 0) (#28)
by Cryptnotic on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 10:06:59 PM EST

It'd be yet another killer app for the internet.

[ Parent ]
Coupla things.. (1.50 / 2) (#3)
by Pelorat on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 01:25:02 PM EST

No, I've never played Theif, but I *have* played Thief... izzat mebbe what you mean? =)

Also, the keyboard/mouse/monitor interface is definitely more of a physical barrier than psychological. How many of you remember craning your neck around trying to look around a corner or over a wall while playing any pre-Thief game? That's psychologically immersive. Having to use keys and a mouse to rummage through a backpack is a physical deficiency.

How I'm handling it (4.50 / 4) (#4)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 01:33:44 PM EST

In Solace, I'm actually going the opposite approach - instead of tackling the "dismounted soldier" problem by trying to make you more directly "there," I'm making it so that you're further detached, which tends to draw me in better. I find that MUCKs, text adventures, and reading books are much more realistic than "immersive" things. Then again, I also prefer a high-level approach to things as well.

Here's the interface I'm going to use if I ever get around to implementing more than just the renderer. :) Instead of directly moving your character, you give commands for motion and interaction and the like (just like in a MUD/MUCK/text adventure). In RL, you don't think about every single footstep you're taking, you simply approach a goal, like, "Okay, walk there, then walk there, then walk there, then pick up the orange." You only think about the low-level motions when you're learning how to make them, and to me, simulating footsteps and head movement and the like is just an expression of the low-level movements.

This command-oriented mechanism is also how I'm planning on defeating lag and the like - rather than require hideous amounts of bandwidth by expressing the low level, the (high-level) actions which are to be performed are broadcast within the room instead, and it's up to the clients to interpret the actions (through a client-side IK engine, or through the user's imagination if they prefer to just use a text-adventure client, or whatever). No, Solace isn't for FPSes. :) Also, all state is stored server-side, and can only be modified through relatively-abstract primitives (yay, implicit security model).

In any case. I feel that for more immersion (short of a braintap), you need less direct involvement, drawing the mind in, rather than trying to simulate the senses directly. The imagination is very powerful if you only let it thrive.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Re: How I'm handling it (none / 0) (#7)
by Alhazred on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 01:57:11 PM EST

I'm not sure I totally agree with you. Go play paintball a few times...

Most of what your thinking about is "how can I get over that wall without being hit? Hmmm, maybe I could jump and hit the ground rolling..." Thats tactical thinking, and its pretty low-level, and thats really mostly what your thinking about. Sure you also consider higher level stuff like "Maybe Fred can cover me while I..." but still, its a mix, and its really mostly very conscious. Sure you don't think about every foot step, but you don't do that in any FPS I know of either. Plus there is a factor of skill and coordination. If I want to play a purely mental strategy game, then I play a strategy game, like Diplomacy or chess.
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
[ Parent ]
Re: How I'm handling it (none / 0) (#18)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 04:41:21 PM EST

Um, to me, tactical stuff is very HIGH-level. Again, you're *not* thinking about every single muscle movement, you're thinking about your overall short-term goals. So we're in agreement. ;)

Also, as I said earlier, Solace isn't for FPSes. It's for interactive roleplaying and the like. It's basically a graphical MUCK. At least, the way I have the architecture setup in my head. I just need to get some time and energy to code the damned thing, aside from the renderer. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: How I'm handling it (none / 0) (#13)
by fvw on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 03:41:37 PM EST

I'm both a mudder (Plug: OuterSpace, great mud, see http://mud.stack.nl) and an UT-er, and Imho while the goals and strategies in the game are wildly different, the level on which you're thinking really isn't. When you begin with UT you'll be doing 'ok, I want to move forward, left, left, forward, right, jump', just like when you're learning to walk (well, more or less). However, as soon as you get accustomed to the game, it's as natural as walking, you just think 'I want to go to the top of the red base and shoot that sniper', and you move over there, without having to think about the little things (except for the guy with the rocketlauncher who's right behind you).

[ Parent ]
Re: How I'm handling it (none / 0) (#23)
by nuntius on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 06:16:48 PM EST

What type of commands would/does your system allow the user? What is a good, reduced instruction set which is not too abstract set of commands for interaction with an environment?

I think that this question affects not only gaming, but also my area of interest: robotics. Now that I think of it, most users would want a robot to respond to _at least_ MUD-level commands. "Head North" is much more believable than "rotate until angle=0, move 5 meters or until first obstruction"...

What level of instructions can computers currently handle without getting beyond processing and into interpretation? In other words, where's the fine line between "take five steps," and "create world peace" --what would be a good "real world" equivalent of, say, C?

[ Parent ]
But - is more realism a good thing? (5.00 / 2) (#5)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 01:44:47 PM EST

Personally, the amount of gore in some games really creeps me out. The sound of babies crying in Heretic II bothered me, and some of Thief's monsters (and the cut-scene where he loses an eye) also got a little on my nerves. If the game had been any more realistic, I probably wouldn't have played it.

I mean, heck, I play these games for the rush, not so I can find out if I have what it takes to slaughter people by the 30-round clip full.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
Re: But - is more realism a good thing? (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by Demona on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 02:17:53 PM EST

Well, there's always Nethack :) To each their own, said the lady as she kissed the cow. I don't like very many games, and the few I do enjoy tend to be at extreme ends of the spectrum -- Unreal Tournament, to Adventure/Zork/Nethack. Oh, and unclassifiable beasts like classic Tempest.

I love the levels of realism that have been achieved, and would just like to see a greater variety of experiences offered -- the Hell/SciFi/Fantasy themes are starting to get old, and I think we're about due for something really fresh that transcends the old paradigms while milking the cliches for everything they're worth.

-dj

still likes Quake 1 better than 2 or 3

(although those clouds of blood mist in 3 are really nifty :)

[ Parent ]

Re: But - is more realism a good thing? (none / 0) (#16)
by sugarman on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 04:17:29 PM EST

I agree. I noticed I got a lot more violent, and vocal when playing System Shock 2 just so I could shut those damn things up~!

That is without a doubt the most disturbing game I've ever played. Ick.

Good fun though. Damn you, John Romero, damn you to hell!
--sugarman--
[ Parent ]

Plugh (3.50 / 4) (#8)
by End on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 02:10:18 PM EST

I say everyone should get back into text-adventures and interactive fiction :-) Writing it as well as playing it. It's more imaginative, extremely portable, doesn't need a lot of hardware, and it's fun. They're not hard to program, either. Head on over to rec.arts.int-fiction or rec.games.int-fiction, you'll see that the interactive fiction world is still very much alive.

-JD

Re: Plugh (none / 0) (#40)
by rainbowfyre on Thu Jun 29, 2000 at 03:00:15 PM EST

I agree! I'm a big fan of adventure gaming, and as I was searching the other day, I found a little gem called "Worlds Apart." It blew me away. I grew up with fairly high powered computers, and text interface also seemed so tedious. This game, though, is a more realistic than even Grim Fandango could ever be.
The text style lets you create the world. It draws you in completely. I planning on trying more as soon as I can.
Vericon is coming!
[ Parent ]
Winning the benchmark (2.00 / 1) (#14)
by Neuromancer on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 04:06:36 PM EST

I think that part of it is that everyone wants super-high framerates. Add more detail, the frame rate drops. Thing is, there's nothing wrong with that, I'd rather have detail than 80 frames a second in excess to what my eye can percieve anyways.

Frame Rates (none / 0) (#26)
by enneff on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 09:25:00 PM EST

"I'd rather have detail than 80 frames a second in excess to what my eye can percieve anyways"

I find it amazing the number of people who honestly believe that they can't tell the difference between 40fps and 120fps. Sure, your eye may not physically be able to see at over 40fps, but your brain can certainly tell the difference between a smooth animation and a rough one.

To me, there is a massive difference in the fluidity of the image, and higher frame rates generally lead to a better gaming experience. For instance, I play Quake regularly for a number of reasons, one of which is that I get some 150+fps. When I recently got Deus Ex, the level of detail caused it to run at a pitiful 20-30fps, and the difference was massive. I found it almost unbearable to play, like trying to walk through a big pool of honey or something. :)

nf

[ Parent ]

Re: Frame Rates (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by KindBud on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 11:40:49 PM EST

TV gets by with 30fps (25fps for PAL) when computers don't for three reasons (that I can think of):

  1. TV is little more than half the resolution of the lowliest gaming computer at 640x480.
  2. The frames are interlaced, so it's really 60(or 50) Fields/sec. The cheapest modern gaming PC will be non-interlaced at 640x480, and usually at resolutions much higher than that.
  3. TV tubes use long persistence phosphors, whereas even the crappiest monitor uses phosphors with very short persistence compared to a TV.

All this conspires to raise the bar for minimal acceptable visual quality on a PC as compared to TV, in terms of frame rate. You can perceive the progression of frames at 50fps or higher on a reasonably modern PC monitor. The effect I notice is similar to what you see with those flip-card cartoons - you know what I'm talking about?

The difference in image quality and frame rate between a PC and a movie projected on a theater screen are even greater. The frame rate of 70mm projectors is a mere 24fps. The resolution is usually higher than TV, but the image is stretched so large that the effective dot pitch is horrendous. I don't have the greatest eyesight, but I can definitely see the graininess at even the best movie theatres. I think there's also something going on with the bright images projected in a dark room, and the response of the pigments in the retina, which mimics the effect of long persistence phosphors on TV screens, that helps to smear the frames together to create the effect of smooth motion.

You definitely want to seek the highest frame rate you can get, based on what's reported by the vendor, in reviews, and so on, because whatever number you read, you're going to get lower than that in practice, sometimes a lot lower. The best gaming PCs produce a motion image that is almost hyper-real (1024x768 and 60fps or more on most scenes), but it still looks like a hyper-real air-brushed plywood movie set. ;) But that's OK, a virtual plywood set that looks as good as a real plywood set is pretty cool for a PC at this stage. Added detail will come soon enough.

--
just roll a fatty

[ Parent ]

movie theaters (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 29, 2000 at 12:54:39 AM EST

Movie theaters actualy flash each frame twice to you get 48 impressions per second. Try looking for the typical shot in scifi movies where you pan across a starfield. Track the stars with your eyes. You will see a distinct double image for each star. This is due to the double flashing--the star flashes twice in the same location while your eye pans smoothly.

There have been double-blind studies done where people have been sat down in front of two monitors side-by-side, one set at 75Hz and the other at 100Hz refresh rate. Subjects claimed there was no apparent difference between the two. Then they were timed in a reading task. Subjects generally read the same text 20% faster on the monitor with the higher refresh rate.

[ Parent ]

Yes, but... (none / 0) (#41)
by Neuromancer on Fri Jun 30, 2000 at 08:20:02 AM EST

I would prefer to knock the frame rate to about 40 and up the detail. Quake looked fine on my p75, and it wasn't at all choppy IMHO. Detail is AT LEAST as important as frame rate once you're above 50 frames a sec.

[ Parent ]
Realism... (none / 0) (#15)
by farlukar on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 04:15:56 PM EST

Some kind of contact lenses that burn the images right on your retina and neural implants to control your character (force feedback might become a bit painful in shot-em-ups, but hey, that's just like real)

(btw I still like a C64 game better than some supermegawow3d thingy.)
______________________
$ make install not war

More realism good? (none / 0) (#17)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 04:29:33 PM EST

The screen, the mouse, and the keyboard make it easier to keep the game a harmless fantasy. As long as Quake stays on the screen, it's a cartoon. If I felt like I were actually there, it would probably mess with my head.

Better interfaces = yes, Practical = no. (5.00 / 1) (#19)
by sugarman on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 04:45:03 PM EST

I voted down this question mostly because of the lack of meat to the topic.
Are there better interfaces ? Yes.
Are any of them possible with current tech? Not really.

For some decent examples, of better interfaces, go to the source: Gibson, Sterling, and Cadigan. Of particular interest might be Cadigan's "Mindplayers" and "Synners".

But as for right here, right now? I don't really find immersion to be a problem, whether it be Quake3 or a Steve Jackson text adventure on a PDA. As long as the game's interface is intuitive, and doesn't require the user to remove themselves from the game, then the barrier will eventually melt away. EQ still sucks hard in this, IMO. But UT / Q3 are so effortless I don't even think about it.

As for the personal requirements? I have a short list:

  • Big monitor (19" +)
  • Wheel mouse
  • solid keyboard (those old IBM ones rock)
  • comfy chair

    If you have a setup where you are comfy, and the game is designed intuitively, the immersion shouldn't be a problem. It's part of the way the mind works: we will screen out distractions and fill in missing details to help create the world, even to the point where we can visualize realms from simple text descriptions. Just sit back and let your mind do the work for you, and try not to think about it to much.
    --sugarman--

  • Re: Better interfaces = yes, Practical = no. (1.00 / 1) (#32)
    by duxup on Thu Jun 29, 2000 at 04:22:01 AM EST

    YAY comfy chair!!

    I was going to post but you pretty much summed it up there and I'm glad to see comfy chair and lack of distractions listed. While hardware has something to do with it. I think the user is more important of how "real" things are.

    I work at night and often have some free time in-between work. Since the office is deserted except for a few of us we often turn out the lights. Without fail I'll lose myself in the game (forget I'm at work or what time it is) and it becomes much more real. That happens away from home, where at home I've got other things too do and stuff on my mind more often than at work.

    Music can help too, playing appropriate music for the game helps too. When I'm making a massive assault on an enemy in an RTS it always makes it a bit more exciting if I'm playing something like The Imperial March to put me in the right mood :-)

    [ Parent ]
    plenty immersive now, thanks (none / 0) (#20)
    by luminous on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 05:15:33 PM EST

    i don't think games need to become more realistic. i'd like to see game development focus on storylines, smoothe play and *creativity*. if the room is dimly lit and you're wearing headphones, you're plenty immersed as it is. engaging gameplay doesn't require the latest 3d whatsit or nasty, squooshy images of mayhem.

    Application Interfaces (none / 0) (#21)
    by baka_boy on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 05:45:40 PM EST

    Game interface technology has already made leaps and bounds. Compared to, say, your average business productivity application or file manager, a good game engine might as well be jacked directly into your brain. I also have little doubt that continuing innovations will push the envelope even further. Why not extend some of that amazing tech trickling down to the more mundane aspects of human-computer interaction? File management, object-oriented software designs, and network communications all work on data that could be represented in visually rich terms. I, for one, would love to get my adrenaline rush ripping the legs off some script kiddie's rootkit than attacking some first-person shooter's best AI.

    Realism or consistency (4.00 / 1) (#22)
    by vrp on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 06:10:51 PM EST

    I do not care for realism. Most attempts at realism are laughable due to the hardware limitations, and destroy the illusion of immersion. What matters far more is consistency. When I do something or something happens to my character it should make sense within the rules of that world. When I try something new it should work as I predict based on my understanding of the rules so far. If something unexpected does happen, I expect to be able to understand why it happened. The great games get this right and they're often the least realistic, eg Quake, SSF2T, Super Mario... In this context the interface doesn't really matter as long as it allows you to operate in the world without hinderance, I don't need to hold a gun to play Q3A, a mouse if just fine (and preferable) if less realistic. There is such a wide range of control options I'm sure I could find a suitable one for each game I play. Most times I settle for mouse and keyboard.

    Re: Realism or consistency (none / 0) (#29)
    by KindBud on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 11:07:53 PM EST

    I'm with you on that. After playing a game for a short while, the controls become second nature, like riding a bike. I no longer think "click the right mouse button to fire", I just think "fire!" and my finger clicks the right mouse button. The same thing happens with the rest of the controls, even the keyboard. One of the most important things a game design can do is permit any control assignment at all - whatever the player is comfortable with. If I prefer all keyboard controls, I should never be forced to use the mouse.

    --
    just roll a fatty

    [ Parent ]
    BIG SCREENS (none / 0) (#24)
    by Anonymous Hero on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 06:37:17 PM EST

    Ever tried the reality centre at SGI? Try a flight simulator on that! You might not be on a hydraulically driven room or gimbals but you sure as hell feel like you do. The reason is the big screen. Once you get motion into your peripheral vision you really feel like you are there - even if the CG quality isn't quite there. It's quite uncanny. This is the whole principle behind VR of course but it works better on a big screen than with those silly goggles!

    immersion. it's just a game. (none / 0) (#25)
    by goosedaemon on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 07:34:45 PM EST

    Dunno what it means, but for some reason the more realistic a game is, the more it permeates my mind that "it's just a game", while the less realistic the more I get frustrated. Both immerse me, I just remain calm with games like System Shock 2 or Half-life (albeit with some heart thumps ), while with, say, Soul Blazer or Super Mario World I begin to get enraged.

    Realism vs. fun (3.50 / 2) (#27)
    by Anonymous Hero on Wed Jun 28, 2000 at 10:03:09 PM EST

    It's important to remember that the more realistic a game becomes, the more difficult it will be to play. A feew years ago, and ultra-realistic fighter jet sim was released. It was amazing, right down to every knob and dial. But it sucked, because the player had to micromanage an entire F-16 fighter jet. More time was spent making sure everything was setup right than dogfighting.

    On the other hand, my favorite airplane game ever, ATAC, had almost no realism. You could steer the plane, adjust your flaps, raise/lower the landing gear, and shoot stuff. That was about it. And it was fun because you could play all day without getting bored, and a new player could jump in and get the hang of it in minutes. I spent several hours working on the "realistic" fighter sim and never shot anyhting.

    The best games are not the most realistic, they are the ones that are fun and bring you back for more, over and over again. I still have a DOS box setup for playing ATAC.

    --
    Brian Martin
    indyz@megsinet.net

    Re: Realism vs. fun (none / 0) (#33)
    by duxup on Thu Jun 29, 2000 at 04:40:24 AM EST

    A few Jane's fighter sims remind me of that tedious work you reefer to. Fortunately Jane's has began to release sims that are somewhat easier to manage but often when reading reviews of their software the reviewers have to address their reputation for micro-management.

    Some people liked it but many people were turned off by the complexity. I still think "oh man I don't have 3 weeks to learn how to get my plane in the air by using a 400 page manual."

    [ Parent ]
    On games and user interfaces. (none / 0) (#34)
    by current on Thu Jun 29, 2000 at 06:20:41 AM EST

    The thing that i most often miss in all games is good and easy UI. That is the reason why Quake&CO are so good games. Their interface is intuitive.

    We already seem to have all neccessary widgets (pedals etc) to get as much we need... exept for virtual light (gibson) or virtual reality.

    If i start to like a game it has to have two of three things:
    1. easy to learn.
    2. good plot.
    3. lots of interaction.

    If these can be reached by our means today, we need no more widgets that cost money.

    Then again why do i have to learn GUI every time again when i chance game. Why cant there be somekind of general rule how to make good game interface,

    and if there is, please tell me

    --
    The Eternal Meta-Discussion


    it's not about the interface & graphics (none / 0) (#36)
    by sarin on Thu Jun 29, 2000 at 08:53:46 AM EST

    When I play a game it's not about the interface nor the graphics. It's about the concept and the depth of which this concept is worked out in the game.
    Worked out text games can be more fun than fully worked out 3d rendered spinal interfaced holographic games that lack depth.
    Most companies these days seem to think that by stealing a concept and putting a lot of effort in the graphics, while keeping the psx-port in mind, they can create a revolutionary new game... that's really annoying, they seem to lack the courage to come up with something new instead they're basicly just changing some settings and the sprites of an existing "mega-hit", people will buy it though, because it feels familiar or something. Yeah ok, they can do it as long as they have something to exiting add to a concept instead of cloning a game and mutilating it into boredom. Same annoying thing happens in a lot of fields for example in the "music"-industry.
    I want something fresh when I play a game, something I never experienced before. The interface can be a crappy keyboard and the graphics can be simple, but the satisfaction of mastering a totally new mindtwist, loosing the feeling of time, is the reason I like to play games.

    btw I'm working on a concept right now for a new company called cultgames there's nothing on the site yet, but maybe you should bookmark it and come back there in say 6 months

    regards,
    Sarin.
    - only death fish go with the stream
    How I plan on doing it (none / 0) (#37)
    by sludge on Thu Jun 29, 2000 at 09:02:00 AM EST

    I don't have any new hardware suggestions, or realism suggestions, but I thought I might throw my .2 cents in, for what would make an intuitive interface for a Legend Of Zelda type overhead perspective game.

    Let's say we wanted to make a fast paced sword fighting game in the overhead perspective of the original Legend Of Zelda. If you can recall the original, it was stiff. You thrust your sword in one of four cardinal directions. I am interested in using a mouse/keyboard combo to control the protagonist, where the X axis on the mouse rotates the torso. The Y axis will do nothing, as height shouldn't be an issue (it would be very frustrating to try and judge the height of things in a game like this.) I would recommend perhaps a keyboard key to swing the sword, but a mouse button would do.

    The main idea here would be to swing and thrust the sword by moving the mouse, taking into account the velocity, and using that perhaps for different factors, mainly attack damage and accuracy.

    The rest of the player's controls would be the same as the Quake keyboard layout, with actual strafe buttons, and a forwards key and a backpedal key.

    I think this kind of potentially frustrating interface could be made enjoyable by having lots of easily conquerable enemies, as long drawn out wars could get fairly tedious and the error margin for the player could get too big.
    SLUDGE
    Hiring in the Vancouver, British Columbia area
    Re: Ever try Die By The Sword? (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Neo on Thu Jun 29, 2000 at 09:34:49 AM EST

    That game was just awesome IMHO... never got the recognition it deserved because reviewers just wrote the controil scheme off as awkward without ever giving it the week or so it took to get used to it. :(

    For the unaware, its control scheme was called VSIM, and it let you use the mouse to simulate a swordfighter's actual arm movements, taking into account speed of movement for force of swing and whatnot... simple a thing of beauty once you got the hang of it, and oh-so-satisfying when you chopped off someone's head. :)

    --
    NeoMail - Web-based e-mail that doesn't suck... as much.
    http://neomail.sourceforge.net
    [ Parent ]
    PONG (none / 0) (#39)
    by 3than on Thu Jun 29, 2000 at 12:36:41 PM EST

    Do you remember Pong? I know you do. Do you remember the pong paddles? Yup.
    The thing about pong is that it was an amazing system, from beginning to end, from user to screen. The paddles suited the game perfectly, and the game was all gameplay. No graphics, no story, just gameplay. Pong, in many ways, is the ideal game system.
    Games these days make gratuitous use of just about everything. Graphics are great, as is story and snazzy interface, but the thing that makes a game fun is that compelling, get-right-back into it thing that is gameplay.
    I think there are some obvious next steps-headsets with motion sensing and perhaps 3d of some sort will be very cool when they're available, even if you're still using a joystick to control the game. Real immersion is a ways off, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Think of how much time you spent on Atari and NES-those systems didn't have big graphics to hide behind. Think of the amount of time that it takes to actually get into a game these days versus the time it took to boot up the Atari and get into actual gameplay mode. Now you've got a big splash screen, maybe a full-motion intro, who knows. It just goes to show that, like almost all other software, games have gotten fluffier.
    Realism is a big deal. But it's going to be a slow process, and really, it's a one-way, technological path. I just hope that game companies start putting the same kind of artistic creation into games that use big tech as they did the ones that used old tech. Games have been genrecized into just a few big categories...it definitely wasn't that way awhile ago, and the console market is still a bit less that way.
    But then, maybe all the really good games have already been written...

    VR technology (none / 0) (#42)
    by Misagon on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 02:43:07 PM EST

    We can look at realism from two ways:
    • How real the experience is in form of sensory input: graphics, sound, etc.
    • How real the experience is in form of content, i.e. how interactive the world is and at which extent the world acts relative to our expectations. This include AI, interactive devices scattered around the world etc..
    When it comes to graphics, the best display would be a set of goggles, like the ones produced by MicroVision. The problem with videowalls surrounding the user in a CUBE is that even if a wall is rendered in a high resolution, the pixels are huge anyway compared to a CRT...

    Another way of enhancing sensory reality is to add more senses than just sound and vision. There are devices that can induce sensations of movement developed by MotionWare.

    There are also rumors about companies that supposedly have developed artificial odour generators... but do we really want that? :-)
    --
    Don't Allow Yourself To Be Programmed!

    Computer Game Realism | 42 comments (38 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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