In this article, I am going to describe MY 7 stages to perfect gaming.
Please bear with me while I explain how I got there!
I carry my new netbook with me everywhere. I bought it for my work but because I always have stuff to do on the site, it’s useful for me to be able to whip it out and do a bit of admin or even writing if there’s no Net connection.
I recently installed Steam, thinking I may connect and chat with friends.
That got me wondering whether I would want a netbook powerful enough to run Source and if I did would that be good news or bad news.
That process got me thinking about my desire to do different things at different times. The trend is for devices to be able to do everything. And to be honest, I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
I think it’s important to separate certain activities to certain times and places. If I could play games any time, any place, would we be able to control ourselves? Would I?
I am bad enough at controlling how often I check my email. Recently, I purposefully got a new mobile phone that isn’t able to browse the web otherwise I would be stopping every 10 minutes to check it.
Anyway, this thought process led onto what would be my perfect gaming situation and so, I run through what I think would be the seven stages to perfect gaming.
The one thing I haven’t really talked about is how you control the game. I like the mouse and keyboard. At some point the mouse might be replaced with a handheld weapon or maybe something even cooler.
To be honest, I’m not that worried about graphics. Sure Half-Life 1 looks pretty dated now but can you honestly say that playing EP2 is so much better purely because it looks nicer? Maybe but gaming is not just about graphics. Ask any Tetris freak.
I would love to see Portal in GoldSource. I bet you would have still enjoyed it.
So, for me, the photorealism is just a stepping stone to other things. I recognize that it can be important but I also see that it will only really matter when nearly all computers can run it, including mobile devices.
Once we find a way to separate the device from the viewing system i.e. the screen, then this will be important.
Having photorealistic graphics on a 10 inch screen is a waste of time. We need them on big screens.
Well, when I say big screens I don’t mean big flat screens, I mean “something”, just bigger.
Having a projector would be pretty cool, but maybe not as useful as we think. Outdoor gaming becomes impossible. On trains, planes or buses it is also impossible.
How about some sort of bubble that covers where you are sitting? Somehow the game would be projected onto the bubble. Maybe not the full 360 degrees but at least 300. Having large flat screens is okay, but you still know you are playing a game.
I envisage that the bubble would block all light and sound from outside, so that only what is in the game is visible or audible.
At first, they would probably be expensive, but eventually they could be little more than plastic bubbles, maybe even foldable, so you can carry it around with you and when you have time, you just connect it to your phone and start playing.
You could set it to interrupt you for calls or texts etc.
With these wrap around screens you could easily distance yourself from the outside world and really become immersed.
I believe little touches like wind and smell would really add to the experience of playing games.
Of course, this might be overly expensive to have for home use.
Perhaps, arcades will make a come back, where users can just login to their Steam account and play.
Then again, would you feel safe logining at an arcade with your Steam details?
Okay, this is probably a long way off, but I love the idea of sitting at my PC and talking to it, specifically to make levels, maps and mods.
Imagine how many people would be modders if you could just start “VoiceHammer” and say stuff like..“Okay, create a city square similar to the scene in Half-Life 2 after you exit the train station. Now, take that cream building and reduce the height by one floor. Good. Replace the screen display with…” You get the idea.
I know a few mappers that actually like the complexity of modding. They feel that the harder it is to do, the more the rewards.
I hope the new Portal editor will show us the way forward, with regard to making life easier for modders not harder!
Okay, this is another stretch, but at some point game engines will be able to create content on-the-fly, with a stock of lines and phrases from the NPC characters etc.
At first they would just be extensions of multiple endings but as time goes on, more and more complexity will be added until all you have are starting scenarios.
The rest is created by the engine.
I only want this as a stepping stone. I think the long-term consequences of being able to plug in to this sort of thing would be bad for society.
And who wants some huge whole in the back of their head?
Without doubt this would be my perfect gaming set up. It would allow absolute realistic settings coupled with the fact that I would be running around and experiencing everything first hand.
I know I can go out and play Paintball but I don’t want to play in a team, I don’t want to have to be limited storywise and setting etc.
I want Sci-Fi and aliens etc. I want to save the world, damn it!
It would also get millions of players really fit.