Global Game Industry News Blog

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Microsoft Owns the Indian Game Scene

More gamers in India know the Xbox and Xbox 360 platforms than any other. That being said, the mobile market here seems to still be the largest, and that isn't to say that PC gaming or PS2s are nowhere to be seen. Instead what I mean is that as far as "next gen" or any "gen" for that matter, the awareness is quite fixed on the Xbox, Xbox 360, and mobile. And really, in a market where "casual" and "mobile" games thrive, you have to wonder where Nintendo is in all of this. Even though the DS costs a bit more than a moderately nice cell phone, I suspect that many folks would be interested in such a gadget, except that there hasn't been any marketing of existing games, or research into games that might thrive here.

I was struck by a conversation with an artist here just today, where he was asking me where I thought things would be going in 4-5 years (a lot of folks wonder about this ya?). He saw an inherent weakness or limitation in the constant pursuit of polygons and photorealism. He asked, "What will games do once people get tired of everything just looking good?" While I certainly have no magic answer to this, I was amazed that the DS and Wii were not readily known to him as possible futures where pushing millions of poly's wasn't your goal, where certain kinds of user interaction was a main focus. We talked about "user created content" but also what I like to think of as group or party play, social play. What is particularly interesting is that this particular artist has only been working for a year now, prior to that the game industry wasn't something that he paid attention to, yet within that year, working on assets for next gen consoles, he's recognized a fundamental change that most gamers are hungering for.

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  • Within like 5 years from now I dont think we will have reached such a level in which we can truly speak of photorealistic graphics, today still even if something looks really good, it is far for reality. Reality is just so extremely high detailed, if you work with models for that you get a massive amount of polygons for each model.

    Even though the amount on models is already increasing in games, its not quite reaching what is used in movies like LOTR and Star Wars, where you could see Gollumn and Yoda being purely realistic models.

    Technology to run such models in high speed on home machines will probably be developed over the years, but my guess would more be like 15~20 years from now. Along with that I think a lot of the aim will go over to virtual reality rooms as well, making just one room in the house being used entirely for gaming in example, where you are truly part of it.

    In essence same could also work with movies, bringing you really into the movie, whether you evolve around the movie, or the movie evolves around you, that would entirely depend on the levels of AI we could have developed by then.

    As for now my say for future game development that would be the most important thing to work on, the AI. Since currently there is not to be spoken of any real intelligence of game at all, the npc dont learn at all, adapt nothing and simply do what they are programmed to do.

    By Anonymous Stef Levolger, at 11/17/2006 04:36:00 AM  

  • Stef, I think you're probably right, that photorealism is going to a continually evasive thing. Despite that, it continues to be what so many people are pursuing. I think this tends to eclipse other kinds of goals that people could be putting time and effort into. Perhaps goals that don't cost so much time and man-power to produce.

    I think one piece of the realism puzzle that often gets left out has to do with immersion, which goes beyond the visual. You've got things like capturing people in an emotional or physical way. Or perhaps in a socially performative way.

    Think about Guitar Hero (everyone's favorite example). No where near photo realistic, and that isn't a bad thing! What they have managed to do is capture gamers socially and physically. It also matters (especially for GH1) that so much of the music was classic rock, stuff most people can really identify with and know. Immersive.

    You're also probably right that AI will have a lot to do with nice (immersive) environments. The interesting thing about that is often it wont require as much content creation for interesting behaviors. It's one of those things that can take use of the processor for generating what you see on the screen, rather than needing to create it as content.

    Thanks for the note.

    By Blogger Casey, at 11/18/2006 08:00:00 AM  

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