I would like to have some discussion with the community regarding the future of our beloved gaming and game making.
I really enjoy discussion based on philosophy, behaviour and thought regarding topics I enjoy. I'm going to really enjoy this discussion and the perspective that you are bringing to the front :) These discussions often feel very few and far between :P
In the past, before the advent of quick speed Internet, my friends and I have to go around, bringing, trading some cartridges or CD games around. Those days, we loved it.
ahh, yes. I remember those days. Nostalgia is powerful. Just remember that the nostalgia of one generation is not the nostalgia of the next. :(
Today, we have tablets, smartphones, Internet practically everywhere, and more. Gaming, as we know, also changed considerably. We used to hold our joysticks and those are really "joy" sticks. These days, things have changed, starting from Nintendo's Wiimote several years ago and Apple's touch screen iPhone.
Because of the change of hardware, gaming and making also change accordingly. Touch screen, motion sensor, accelerometer, GPS, etc.
We see games today make smart use of these newer technologies. For instance, We have games that make use of your location, and you have to go around the places in the real world to activate certain game events.
But what about the future? What is beyond the touch screen and these gimmicks? Will games that require joystick be a niche eventually?
The traditional gamepad design or joystick is obsolete. Has been obsolete since the Wiiremote. The Wiiremote is the bridge between natural human interactive gaming that is the future and the old classic game design and controller. However, when the new techonology, thought movement comes about it's either by storm or a slow replacement; followed by the old guard holding onto the old ways rather viciously. The gamepad/joystick has a lack of input in comparison to the Wiiremote especially with WiiMotion+. It's also the least intuitive input compared to the other controller input you mentioned(GPS, Touch...)
However, it's likely that the Wiiremote is just a rudementary entry point into the bridge controller and it will be another that becomes the standard. It's a pity that Nintendo decided to go one step forward, one step backward and one step to the side. Controller design than forwards with the WiiU.
The future will be pointer and gesture based and natural. Have you checked out the dual shock 4 :P and the Ouya Controller? do some google search on them :P
Right now, I see the golden age of some genre have already passed and perhaps we won't see them again, especially those official MMORPG games that already have their server unplugged. Fortunately, some classics have been revived and brought back to newer devices. Still, something is wrong. I've seen some bad ports of some platform games that originally use joystick and now we se touch screen. Touch screen lacks physical feedback and is not as responsive as the joystick. Thus, making the controls horrible. Still, kids from new generation sometimes prove that this is not a problem and they have fine-tuned their muscles with touch screen.
Gaming ages are peculiar. Often it seems that a gaming age comes with a technology and goes out with a over saturation of them. only to be re-invented on even newer techonology. Part of this has to do with target demographics and the entire upstream, forgotton market. The 14-24 market is the primary market for the big companies. Where as some of the older games have always been for everyone.
As an example the adventure game genre was never a 14-24 market. In fact it's it's an 8 to 60 market. However the really young don't have money, and the mature gamer is wiser with money. This means that the age I list is often the age that has the highest out going money rate on avg. So with some games like the 3d platformer and shooter being a quicker pshychology effective sell rate in the 14-24 age range. Games like the shooter took off and are really doing well to stay there.
However, with touchscreen devices like the smart phone and tablet. This is an entirely new era. These devices are not Toys like a video game maching. They are in fact tools. For someone in the older age tools are a convient matter in life. Then when they can find there older games on them. These devices then tend to show an increase in age range.
Finally the software matters. If you make only software for the teenager then only teenager will buy the games.
As for touch screen classic controls. Have a PS3 player for a decade play on the Xbox controller and vise versa. Both will claim the controller sucks and feels awful. This all has to do with as you same muscle memory. The TS is no different. Once the TS becomes defacto standard it won't matter any more.
We havent hit the golden age. Sorry. See a golden age is not in fact the concept of just making a game for the sake of making a copy. The Golden Age is often defined as the springing of creative imaginations of the genre. Why MMO's didn't hit the golden age is for this reason. MMO's have had only 4 models of game design. This is in fact the opposite. For some reason MMO's hit the late phase of game design. Copy and Cash in, unfortunatly that usually doesn't work so well. So let me go on
Ultima Online provides a sandbox mmo
Ever Quest is the MUD gone graphical
WoW is the ease of use
Korean emphasis on straight combat
There are breaking exceptions that modify the basics of those 4 models. There is actually a very strong lack of creative ideas in the MMO space :( Many of those golden age MMO are in fact just WoW with a new skin. Since most of those games floundered in face of the market. They sunk. They sunk because of the entire MMO model. Either be near the top or sink. It's a terrible model.
The truth is that we are only now slowly shifting into the coming golden age. Developers are realising that copying WoW is not the way to go. That the monthly sub is not the business model to follow. It's going to take time, but we are coming into to the golden age in the next decade.
However, there are also other games that practically remain the same such as visual novel or games that demand lesser reaction and respond time. Because of the nature of these games, any input device might be possible.
Reaction and response are really not defining factors. We have always had Chess and Football.
A lot of things changed. And the future will also be different from today. What kind of hardware or software will we have in the future? After touch device, motion sensor and all have reached their saturated point, we should see something different. It might be a similar derivative, but what would be the next big thing? After all, we dreamed of an almost paper thin device in many sci-fi movies many decades ago. We also dreamed of putting ourselves into the game, and play as our physical selves. Well, we do have some hide and seek game
That is for the audience's perspective, the gaming part, but what about us, the maker? Where will we be after this? From the early days, we dig in down and dirty with assembly codes, writing our own drivers, juicing every bit of hardware is our daily routine.
I suspect the gamers will see the controller end result similar to
Wiimote, bridge between pure motion and more input depth
Kinect not specifically kinect, but pure motion no hand device
Touch with proper feedback(http://senseg.com/)
Augmented as this provides live local information or live games
I'm not saying these are the final forms of the technogy. But I suspect they are the paths we will be seeing for a long time. I can add brain wave, but that seems much farther off before it can be used for gaming.
As for developers. I suspect Codea is on the right track. We are going to see a stronger blend of creative tools with the game kits. While desktops are going to remain the primary tool for developers for a decades. We are going to see supportive developer tools shift onto the tablet. Code edits, visual edits, level design... will all be tablet based and remote. In fact 2dBoy world of Goo was entirely done on laptops in a coffee shop. No desktop computer at all. Not a tablet, but it's a sign of shifting development to mobile.
Today, WYSIWYG, drag and drop, etc. Making games become easier and simpler. Writing programs could be intimidating, but if you can grasp the concept of programming, you will have a very fine degree of control over your project. But as software becomes more and more complex, we have more terms to handle, such as lasagna code. The days of spaghetti code are long gone. With C2, I'm impressed with behavior and event handling. A simple game could be made in a blink of an eye, but for a more complex behavior, we might need to get down and dirty in scripting, for the best result and workflow.
Game Maker Studio I think get's the blend of code and event driven very nicely. Except that GMS has a terrible interface and workflow model. However it does allow developers to do snippet custom code. If I don't like the exact results of the behaviour on just this one entity; well then change just that little bit for that one entity. In C2 if you need to make a small result change. Either write an entire plugin or work around the problem. Less efficient. However, C2 work flow is easier over all.
I suspect like HTML5 websites we will end up dividing our coders in a similar fashion. CSS & PHP.
Event writers who use tools like C2(ie CSS and layout)
Script coders who get into the nity gritty.(PHP)
Working fast and achieving result as close as possible is mandatory in today's competitive market. That's why we use game engine. The engines these days are similar in WYSIWYG and behavior features. Some of the more useful features would be the key frame manipulation, presented in Flash and 3D modeling software, which allow you to control precise movement of objects. Providing better workflow to fasten work and increase efficiency in working is always a cutting edge in this competitive market. For me, a good software provides both high level and low level management for the best manipulation on the project. We've seen preteen kids releasing iOS apps out in the market and what not. These things become very accessible nowaday. Everyone can create apps without requiring extensive knowledge anymore. The future for game development should be more or less similar to what we are doing but we will have even more complex behaviors that can be easily drag and drop just like what we are doing now. I do expect we can just drop in an AI right into an object to make it a robot object that has complex codes running behind. Still, this might be very task specific and we might be able to do only general movement for the AI. If we can drop in a platform AI into an object and have it automatically jumping around, trying to survive from, for instance, a scrolling up stage with rising lava and randomly falling obstacles, then I would be pleased. While it is not so difficult to implement such thing with event in C2, this means, this, too, could simply become another behavior. In the future, I expect that we will code less, and do more, as most of these things that we are doing in events or scripts are basically more or less similar to thousand of games out there already. So why reinvent these small wheels? But at the same time, we also have these virtual realities thing that got their places in mobile devices.
ummm. yeah. Future is ease of use.
So these are what I have in my mind. Mind share yours regarding our future?
My ultimate prediction get's a lot of flack, but I see the average consumer dropping the desktop entirely. Two decades maybe more maybe a little less. When thinking ahead often people think what we have now and see that the now tech is the future. When often in fact the technology evolves and becomes more convient filling more and more roles. Right now developers specifically tool developers think in Keyboard&Mouse. Even Codea strongly resembles some Keyboard and Mouse elements. However as we continue to the future peoples minds will redefine how we interact. As these developers create new ways to interface the consumer will adapt and thus over time obsolete.
The tablet and touchscreen computing(entire tables, roll up computers) are going to be the norm. The values that we use today are the desktop, but that will change with each generation.
As it is said. Science advances one death at a time. Computer and gaming advance with each generation.