All About James00715
The Game Industry Intelligence Files is my general blog about the game industry. I had big plans for it initially but got busy and then had other interests. In the mean time I made an RPG focused blog specifically about RPGs and character builds for them. Join me on my external blog, Slash 'n Blast ( http://slashnblast.wordpress.com ), where I analyze RPG mechanics and make character builds. I try to post a new build each Monday. Here on Gamespot, I post the occasional article about the game industry in general. I also may cross-post an article from time to time if it has relevance on both blogs.
People tend to organize the game consoles into generations based on periods when a large number of consoles were released in a short time span, but if we abstract things even more, we can reduce everything down to just a few revolutionary technologies. Each time this happens future developers can't help but use these revolutionary technologies to make the latest cutting edge games.
Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
2D graphics were introduced with the first consoles, starting in 1972 with the Magnavox Oddysey. Popular consoles in this period were the Magnavox Odyssey, Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Sega Genesis, and Super NES. There were some games made that used sort of psuedo-3D vector graphics, but the vast majority of games were 2D.
With two dimensions game developers only had height and width in the image. There was no depth, so you pretty much saw everything from just one viewpoint. For example, if you saw a building, you couldn't really walk around to see the other side unless the programmers specifically programmed another 2D viewpoint for that side. 2D graphics were usually hand drawn on paper, and then a pixel artist would convert it to a low resolution image that could be displayed on the TV. All TVs were just standard definition in those days, so the max resolution in most cases was only 640x480. Many times it was less than that due to limitations in the console hardware.
Goldeneye 007 (N64)
The next major advance in gaming was full 3D graphics in 1994 with the Sega Saturn. Popular consoles in this era were the Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64. Some previous game consoles were capable of some basic 3D environments with 2D sprites, but starting in this period game consoles were capable of producing full 3D graphics for everything in th egame. There also started to appear some industry standards for how to do 3D graphics. This meant developers for one console could make games for other consoles without having to relearn everything for the new console. This made it easier to port games to other game systems as well.
With 3D graphics developers were no longer restricted to just a few viewpoints. Most games would let you move the viewpoint around with buttons or through the movement of your character. The camera wasn't just stuck in one direction. All of the graphics were now made up of polygons with textures rather than the traditional 2D hand drawn sprites. This era still continues to this day, just with much higher polygon counts and texture sizes.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)
Well there's nothing really better than 3D for graphics, so developers had to come up with something else for the new game consoles. They turned their attention to inventing new control interfaces. The first was introducing the touchscreen to gaming with the Nintendo DS in 2004. While touchscreen control causes fatigue in long periods, it suits a handheld gaming device well. The Nintendo DS touchscreen only detects one touch at a time, but newer touchscreens have multi-touch capability.
While touchscreen control will never become a primary interface for games you can expect to see it more often as new game systems come out. With home consoles touchscreen could possibly be employed on future controller designs. Also, the iPhone and iPad have become extremely popular devices for touchscreen games lately even though they are not primarily gaming systems. It remains to be see how far touchscreen control will go, but it is sure to stick around in some form or another.
We are getting to the more recent years now, so you can probably predict what the major advances are from this point forward. Motion control started with the Nintendo Wii in 2006. The Wii had this technology exclusively until September 2010 when Sony released the Playstation Move. Microsoft also released their own motion control system with the Kinect yesterday November 4.
Instead of using buttons the player uses body motion to control the game. This can be achieved with a special motion sensing controller (Wii, PS3) or with body motion alone (Kinect). The first Wii controller was more of a sophisticated pointing device than true motion control mainly sensing height and width of the controller. Over the years Nintendo has released new controllers to add some sense of depth. The Move controller adds higher precision depth sensing to the picture. The Kinect also senses these things, but does not require acontroller. We will have to wait and see how far motion control can go. Just like touchscreen control, I don't know if motion control will ever be the way to play hardcore games; however, it should be around in some form in every future console.
In addition to new motion control devices, 2010 also brought 3D visuals to consumers. This is kind of confusing when it comes to games, because we already have 3D in the form of graphics. This new 3D technology I call 3D visuals, because it has to do with how we view the graphics, not how the console simulates a 3D space.
The Playstation 3 is at the leading edge right now with full 3D Blu-ray support and 3D game support. I believe the Xbox 360 and Wii can support 3D, but may not have the performance to do it well. Current 3D games render two images per frame, one for each eye. That means it pretty much requires twice the processing power to do 3D graphics. Only the PS3 has the power to do this and draw high end graphics at the same time. Coming in 2011 is the new 3D Nintendo DS (3DS). It will be the first gaming system to have 3D visuals without requiring the player to wear 3D glasses.
Now a lot of gamers say 3D visuals is just a fad like every time before. On the other hand, I think it will be staying around. TVs are getting to a high enough resolution that you won't simply buy a TV for that reason. The only way manufacturers can keep people buying is by adding new features in other ways. 3D is a feature they can add. I do think it will take some time for 3D to be mainstream, though. It won't be until 3D is available in most every movie and game. The recession slowed things down a bit, but it's over now. Consumer confidence should go up a little bit each year.
What do you think? Are 3D visuals and motion control here to stay? Or what is the next great technology in the future? And what about touchscreen control? Sound off in the comments below.
On a day to day basis, I always seem to notice the General Game Discussion and other forums on Gamespot have a lot of the same stuff every few days. The same topics are brought up; the same types of posts are made. It all gets kind of boring. Sometimes there is something interesting to read and discuss, but usually it is the same old stuff. I think there are some interesting game issues and questions that people just don't seem to bring up. A few times I have seen an interesting topic, but it seems like people approached the discussion from the wrong angles. I decided I would write a blog that focuses on these interesting topics.
Each week I will look at what's going on in the game industry and come up with a new topic or a fresh idea on an old topic. While I can just post my ideas on the forums, it will be easier for me to follow a weekly schedule if I make all the posts part of my blog instead. It makes it feel a little more formal, where I might disappoint readers if I don't make new posts in a timely fasion. Also, I will try to put a little bit more work into a blog post compared to a forum post. For example, I usually don't check grammar or spelling much in forum posts, but I do try to read over my blog posts a little bit before posting.
I named the blog the Game Industry Intelligence Files or GIIF, for short. I recently changed my whole theme to fit my Gamespot username, and I think this title fits it nicely. The way I see it is I will look at the Game Industry, gather Intelligence, and then File it away for anyone interested. All of my blog posts in the Editorial category are going to be a GIIF article.
For the schedule, I am hoping I can get a new blog post out every Friday evening. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are too early in the week for me since I usually would start writing the article for the week on Monday. Thursday is a pretty busy day for me, so that left Friday. I think Friday will be good because it covers the weekend time. Gamespot doesn't usually post news or do any features on the weekends. They need time off after all. A lot of times I check Gamespot in between gaming sessions, but on the weekends there's rarely ever anything new. My blog will maybe keep the site more interesting on those days.
Now for the interesting topics each week, I have collected a small list of good topics over the past few weeks. Each week I will be checking the forums and the news for interesting topics. I won't just copy what's there, though. I will only use a topic if I feel I can add something new to it, something no one in the forums thought about or addressed. I will also take ideas from any comments people post. If there's some idea you thought about but haven't seen on the forums, definitely let me know about it. That is, if you don't want to talk about it on your own blog. I will of course give you credit if I use your idea.
Beginning next Friday, November 5, 2010, every Friday I will write a new GIIF article. I will try to let everyone know if I am taking a day off for holidays and such. I hope you will find my topics interesting and fun to read. See you next week, and Happy Halloween!
I thought it would be nice to have a fitting theme for my username on Gamespot. While my first console was the NES, I didn't get all that into gaming until the N64 and Goldeneye. From the moment I heard about it, I new I had to have it. Besides the new 3D graphics and the darker environment (compared to Nintendo games), I really got hooked on the whole multiplayer aspect. Goldeneye 4 player split screen multiplayer was really popular at all parties at the time. I played the game off and on for probably 5 years until Perfect Dark came out. Around those times is when I discovered Videogames.com (now Gamespot) and N64.com (now IGN). I was a lurker for many years, but finally created an account in 2000.
In the years since Goldeneye there have been quite a few James Bond games and even movies. For the games I only focus on the shooter games here. The other spinoff games have usually been pretty subpar. The first three Bond games were completely based on the movies, usually involving the same story, but with a few extra missions and character cameos. The next three Bond games veered off into original stories and also added new types of gameplay like car racing. Finally, we get to the most recent Bond games based on the new Bond, Daniel Craig. That's quite a bit of change in the Bond franchise. The games have been very different over the years, and even the Bond star has changed. It was only fitting if I made some reference to that.
For the banner, I put a head shot of Bond from all 10 shooter games since Goldeneye 64. The exception is Goldeneye: Rogue Agent which didn't have James Bond himself in it. From left to right the games are, Goldeneye 007 N64, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, 007: Agent Under Fire, 007: Nightfire, 007: Everything or Nothing, From Russia With Love, Quantum of Solace, Blood Stone, and Goldeneye 007 Wii. Then, I put the 007 logo above it. For the avatar picture I used a similar idea, but put the James Bond gun barrel behind the 007 logo.
It's kind of funny really. I'm not a big fan of any of the recent games. I haven't even played most of them, but I still like the spy-theme. I wish the newer Bond games were better. It would also be nice if a company came up with an original spy-themed game with original story, original characters, etc.
To go along with this new theme, I have named the blog the Game Industry Intelligence Files. Basically, I am going towrite a series of editorials released once a week about interesting topics in the game industry. I will give more details about this in my next blog post.
Apr 2, 2013 6:09 am GMTJames00715 posted in the topic Torchlight 2 Editor Released / Steam Workshop Integration Added on the PC & Mac Games board