7 Questions for 2007

20th December 2006

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

With 2007 only a few days away I present 7 questions that I hope to be answered next year. I probably could have written 70 questions but that would have been a very long, and probably boring, article! Read on to see if your burning questions are included. At the bottom is a short list of questions I didn’t include.

Question 1

Will Duke Nukem Forever be Released?
I haven’t played any of the original titles so my view of the situation isn’t clouded by nostalgia. My expectation and enthusiasm for this project are very different from die-hard fans who “grew up” with Mr Nukem.

It seems to me that it will be almost impossible for the developers to furfill those expectation and the longer they delay release the higher the chance of failure. They probably have gone past the point of no return where it’s a lose-lose situation. If they announce that it will not be released then the players will have lost confidence in them and when it is finally released it will never be as good as the fans want.

Perhaps a beta should be leaked onto the Net? That way they could judge the community’s response but always have the answer of “It’s not finished yet!” Could this be the reason for HL2’s beta leak?

Question 2

Will game developers realize that A.I. is more important to long-term playability than graphics?
No, of course not. Graphics are cool, graphics are hip, graphics can easily be promoted, graphics clearly show the hard work that developers have put into a new game, graphics are what sell games! The list could go on but what’s the point? We all know graphics are over-emphasized.

Perhaps I’m one of the few players around who would prefer HL1-style graphics with fantastic A.I. rather than HL1 A.I. and fantastic graphics.

Don’t get me wrong, I love great graphics but for me it’s not the most important aspect of a game.

Question 3

Will we finally find out what happens to Gordon, Alyx and the rest of the Half-Life gang?
I have a strange feeling that episode 3 will be available just before Christmas 2007. Valve are very, very commercially aware and I think the opportunity to release a “Half-Life 2: Episode 1,2 and 3 Pack” will be impossible to resist.

I’m disappointed that Valve chose to release Half-Life 3 (Episodes 1, 2 and 3) so soon after Half-Life 2. I was hoping for games similar to Blue Shift and Opposing Force The rebels, Combine and the Seven Hour War are perfect vehicles for these types of releases. You only need to look at the community so see similar mods being worked on.

Question 4

Will there be any budget-release surprises?
I am a big Chaser Fan. I paid very little money for it and was really surprised by the gameplay. I really enjoyed it and definitely recommend you buy it, or at least download the demo and try it for yourself. It’s easily in my Top 5 all-time games list.

The trouble is that I now hope that every budget game will prove to be just as enjoyable and of course that’s not the case.

What game do you think is underrated?

Question 5

Will the game industry finally see the potential for Grey Gamers?
We have disposable income (well most do) and are a completely untapped market (Except for that recent Brain Traininggame. Even girl gamers get their own games, console colours and websites! Why not grey gamers!!

Early this year I was planning to start a new website called greygamers.com but after checking to see if it was available and planning the project I found somebody else had registered it and lost interest. (At the time of writing it’s still not live.

I remember doing some research and found a site the focused on gamers over 25 and they thought they were catering for the older market! Little did they know.

I also tried to stimulate the community by trying to recruit only over 35s for my Blaze Bolden project (Which has gone into hibernation). Think of the marketing possibilities of a game or mod conceived, design and developed by over 60 year olds.

We (grey gamers) have a lot to offer and I think it will only take one clever catalyst to spark interest and then everybody will be saying “Why didn’t we think of that?”

Question 6

Will 3D goggles make a comeback?
Soon game graphics will be photorealisitc. What then? Bigger and bigger screens? Maybe but not everybody has the space (or money) for a 50″ wxga screen on the wall.

Could 3D goggles be the solution? I don’t know but something radical needs to be done. I’m sure the industry is aware of the situation and working on it. They know that at some point in the future graphics will reach a limit and they will need to find other revenue streams.

Of course the ultimate would be a Star Trek style holodeck!

Question 7

What innovations in gameplay of FPS games can we expect in 2007?
Let’s think about what innovations we have had recently. Physics and the gravity gun, smarter A.I. (Debatable whether that’s really innovation), err… I can’t think of any more. As the industry matures changes in buying habits occur. At first we bought every game (I still do but I’m stupid!) but then we realized that each new game was almost the same as the last one. Of course, as mentioned elsewhere, graphics still play a big part in our purchasing strategy but I truly believe it now needs more to convince us to part with our hard-earned cash.

Something has to make a game stand out from the crowd otherwise it gets quickly forgotten and I could easily name quite a few games that have appeared and disappeared almost within the same month!

Questions that didn’t make the list

Here are a few questions that I considered using:

    Will Halo 2 be released for PC?
    Will console games break the $100 barrier?
    Will I finally build and release an SP map?
    Will XNA (Microsoft game development tools) make a big impact on the community?
    Will Portal have a multiplayer element? Although I don’t play MP games this could be a very interesting idea. Half the time you would be trying to accomplish your goal and the other trying to stop your opponent. Taking it one step further, what about a co-op version? Now that could be fun.
Last Words

So there you have them, my seven question for 2007. As I said in the introduction with a little more time I probably could have thought of many more. I’m interested to hear your thoughts about my questions, along with what your questions would be.

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5 Comments

  1. Totally agree with Chaser really underated game

    would have like to see the question : Will I finally build and release an SP map?

  2. Ryan "Quakis" Rouse

    Question 1 =Perhaps a beta should be leaked onto the Net?”

    I completely disagree. I don’t know why anyone would want to play an unfinished game and cause them to delay any longer (or even cancel the game)

  3. This relates to the goggles question. I think goggles mixed with a hat-thing that monitors brain waves could be the future of gaming. The students at Washington University created a hat that one student wore and controlled the movements of a robot with (link: http://www.physorg.com/news85402954.html )
    I feel this mixed with the goggles could create an experience that is unmatched in any game. Imagine controlling your character with your mind. You could look around without looking down the sights of your weapon. You could dive, duck, dodge and peer around corners. I feel this could make gaming incredibly realistic.

    I would buy it! 🙂
    Cheers
    David

  4. Fluffy The Hamster

    Let’s rock and roll.

    Question 1: No. It doesn’t exist. The developers are just hanging it infront of you and laughing their heads off.

    Question 2: No. Despite what everyone thinks, better graphics seems to pay off more them artifical intelligence. Coding artifical intelligence is distinctively harder (depending on what engine you use) then coding graphics, and alot more people specialize in coding graphics then they do in coding artifical intelligence.

    Question 3: No. VALVe has an inability to complete storylines.

    Question 4: Of course. In this realm of games such as Half-Life 2 episodes and other highly advertised major games, there are always a few low-budget games. A quick look on http://www.the-underdogs.info will get you nearly a complete history of this.

    Question 5: No. Apart from Nintendo’s Brain Training crap, it’s more profitable to cater to a younger audience. There will always be more children then old people. If there isn’t, then theres something more worrying then games going on.

    Question 6: No. While they already exist, it will never out-range the booming monitor market. Also, it’s quite dangerous and alot more damaging to the eyes.

    Question 7: Very few. There’s no point in making innovations these days. In today’s realm of computer games, it’s very hard to make a game that will stand the test of time beyond 3 months. Half-Life 2 did it, because it’s possibly the most well-known game in existance right now. Neither did any real innovating (Besides the ability to make characters *smile*. Great. Lovely.) and are possibly popular due to their moddability (As well as Half-Life 1 essentially leading the charge of the FPS realm from the more care-free genre it was to the money-laundering that it is now). That being said, there’s distinctively no real reason to innovate. All you need is to make a guy, give him a gun, tell him what he’s killing, give him something to kill and *maybe* give him a reason to kill them. That’s it. It works because we as gamers are not particularly deep individuals. We will kill floating babies and smiling fairies if we are given a shotgun and the promise of a delivery to the next level.

    Innovating is like inventing a new technology. You are making a jump into the unknown. If we see something unknown, we usually hate it and discard it, except for the few people that actually become intrigued to the idea. That’s the phase we are in and that’s the phase of games that will be. We are lazy and we don’t want wierd things in our games. We want people to kill, and guns to kill them with. That is the way it is and the way it’s going to be until something drastic happens. A nuclear war, or something.

  5. Darth Marsden

    1) Will Duke Nukem Forever be released?

    Eventually. But by the time they finally do so nobody will care. What always baffles me is why they never finished the version they had with which they hade the trailer – it they had, they could well be on the sequel by now. Shame… it looked good then.

    2) Will game developers realize that A.I. is more important to long-term playability than graphics?

    Only when we reach the point when we can’t get games looking any more realistic and developers will have to look into new ways to make their games stand out. I honestly believe we’re not that far off from this.

    3) Will we finally find out what happens to Gordon, Alyx and the rest of the Half-Life gang?

    Yes, but I probably won’t care. Hell, I still haven’t played Episode One and I honestly believe that I haven’t missed much. And Episode Three (Why does that sound familiar) will never make X-Mas 2007. It’ll slip, just like it’s prequels.

    4) Will there be any budget-release surprises?

    That’s an interestingly-worded question. I’d like to think that there will be, since that’s how I get most of my games. But chances are they’ll become fewer and fewer as people get used to the idea that they’ll have to pay more and more for brand new next-gen releases. See the RRP for X-Box360 games.

    5) Will the game industry finally see the potential for Grey Gamers?

    Eventually, after graphics no longer satisfy the market. For the moment though, I think we’ll stay in the same sort of position we’re in at the moment – if you want to stimulate your brain, go for Nintendo.

    6) Will 3D goggles make a comeback?

    In the form of Virtual Reality headsets… maybe. Of course, the first attachment will be for a sex game, and then none of us will ever leave the house until we die, but if you’re gonna go, go happy, right?

    7) What innovations in gameplay of FPS games can we expect in 2007?

    None. We might get extensions to ones developed this year (The Wii, for example), but I don’t believe we’ll get anything major in the next 12 months.

    Also:

    – Will Halo 2 be released for PC?
    You know this has been announced, right? So Yes, but it’s only playable on Windows Vista. 🙁

    – Will console games break the $100 barrier?
    I suspect they will briefly, but people won’t stand for it and it’ll quickly be reduced.

    – Will I finally build and release an SP map?
    Ha! Good question. I really must get on with my mod at some point. Stupid work leaving me with no free time…

    – Will XNA (Microsoft game development tools) make a big impact on the community?
    I want to say yes… but though they will have some impact, it won’t be as big as Microsoft make it out to be.

    – Will Portal have a multiplayer element?
    No. But if you weren’t already aware, some keen modders have made a mod for HL2 which is effectively Portal Multiplayer. Visit http://exitemod.com to see for yourself.

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