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T O P I C
Winter Kept Us Warm... Summer Surprised Us.
April 23rd 2000, 14:37 CEST by TomC

So - where's it all going?

"Where's what all going?" I hear you cry.

I'm talking about the Next Big Thing in PC gaming. Game genres aren't permanent - they ebb and flow like a half-crazed ocean of engine source code, and, like some species of Coastal Turdfish, there's always one that floats to the top and constantly ends up on the beach, right where the flip-flop of public favour is about to step.



We've been in an FPS-dominated world for most of the last decade, starting with Wolfenstein 3D, and culminating in the forthcoming batch of Q3A-engine games. Before that, we had a brief spell of fighting games, mixed in with a liberal splash of console-style platform games - but that's hardly surprising, since that was before the PC was a remotely viable gaming platform; the consoles ruled the waves, and the relatively few games on the PC were console ports or the products of night-owl bedroom programmers. First-person shooters, whatever their form - online, single-player or Tetris clone (if only...) - cannot and will not last forever. While there are now those who love their twitch-reaction shooting games, there were also those in the late '80s who loved their graphicless football management simulations - and these days, they are a distinct minority. So what will take over?

Is the RPG market going to kick off? I think it might. One only needs to glance at the burgeoning 'massively-multiplayer' genre - Meridian 59, Ultima Online, EverSkag - to see that it is dominated by the typical Dungeons & Dragons middle-ages setting, and consists almost entirely of RPGs. Naturally, this style of gaming has been around for years, in the form of MUDs - in fact, one might propose that these games are simply the latest, logical development in MUDding. Not only are the online RPGs growing fast, but the traditional single-player titles as well. Baldur's Gate's success may well have been largely down to the AD&D fiends who lap up every single game based on it, but they were not the only players of the game. The mass-market has been targetted variously over the past few years by titles such as Dungeon Keeper, Diablo or the Final Fantasy series. What's more, the upcoming batch of RPGs is generating a great deal of public interest - Anachronox, Deus Ex and so forth - and they seem to be genuinely innovative, as in the case of Vampire - The Masquerade, Nihilistic's translation of the pen-and-paper game. Naturally, the pallid, dark-clothed masses will make it a roaring victory for Activision's executives' pay cheques, but I believe it will be successful in its own right as a new development in PC gaming. It seems to be a confluence of traditional computer role-playing and the online version, including, as it does, the much-feted 'Storyteller' mode of play, whereby a group of players connect to a server run by the Storyteller, who acts then as Gamesmaster, moving NPCs around, or even taking full control of them to talk to the players directly. The single-player game itself will, I think, also be a success, taking the third-person 3d view and combining it with turn-based play with great aplomb; and not only that, the plot is intricate, compelling and well-sculpted. The FPS genre was closing on that goal by late 1998, with Half-Life's successful splicing of traditional shooting action and a tight plot - and all it will take now is a successful continuation of that trend to ensure a long reign for RPGs.

There is another possibility along the lines of story-based games; that of the old favourite, adventure games. They were among the first to gain the middle ground between arcade or platform games and the hardcore RPGs, with notable successes such as the King's Quest series or Castle Master (in itself, almost a forerunner to Half-Life), and reaching a peak in the early 1990's with titles such as Simon the Sorceror, Monkey Island and Sam and Max Hit the Road. Lately, things have taken a turn for the better once more, with Lucasarts' fantastic tour de force, Grim Fandango, and Discworld Noir, among others. They seem a less likely candidate for domination than RPGs, if only because they've always been around, and probably always will, given the success of games such as Outcast, and the recent announcement of a fourth Monkey Island game - in other words, the genre is a slow burner, bubbling under, if you will.

Strategy games, having enjoyed a golden age in 1995 and '96, with Red Alert and Total Annihilation's success, seem to be on a downward trend. They may enjoy great replay value in multiplayer modes, but in the end, there are only so many ways to present them - at their heart, they're all the same game, with different graphics. Like the RPGs and adventure games, they've been forced in to the 3d market - like as not, this is a result of the rule of the FPS, demanding ever faster graphics cards, and ushering in the time of 3d acceleration as standard. Nobody can deny that without Quake, 3d acceleration would probably be years behind its current state, and that has meant that the public demands glorious 3d in every game it plays - whether strategy, RPG or football management simulator. You need only look at any strategy game's official forum to see the number of posts asking the developers whether the next game in the series will be in 3d or not. Games like Battlezone or Dark Reign made an effort to introduce new ideas to the genre, but simply did not get the market share to make any dent in established strategy gaming - and I fear that may mean that it will enjoy some time at the bottom of the heap before long.

What else might accede the throne? I would love to see a return to 'original' games, where gameplay was lord over realism and action - games such as Lemmings or Worms. But again, I suspect that this type of game has been bled dry for a while yet - even Worms was indisputably a bastard son of the Lemmings games, and there has been no innovation of this kind (that is, in the new genres department) for quite some time. If you listen to the opinions that crt airs in this article on gamespy.com, the worlds of gaming and 'real' computing will converge in a virtual reality world where most people will spend most of their lives - his timeline may be over-optimistic, but it seems a plausible, if not likely, direction for computing to take.

So, what do you think? Do you see FPS games continuing to float like Turdfish? Or maybe you feel that the gaming market will take an entirely different direction? The Kilroy team of researchers would like to hear from you...

C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: Winter Kept Us Warm... Summer Surprised Us.

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#1 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2000-04-23 14:55:44
Darkseid@captured.com http://www.captured.com/boomstick
I see games _evolving_ along the lines they are.


We have FPS, we have strategy games, we have role playing, we have flight sims.

what we dont have, is what Carmack mentioned in an interview. The 'cyber reality' described in Neal Stephensons 'Snowcrash' (good book, well worth a read).  A permanent alt-reality inhabited by avatars. Everquest and UO are partway there, but only tailor to RP and maybe a smidgeon of Fps


The next step came perhaps in 'Wargasm' from DiD, which allowed a foot soldier, tank, or helicopter game to mix and the player to choose their role in a large scale conflict. Tribes supports 16+ squads and while FPs has elements of flight sims and rts.  


Now, if you were able to mix and blend games, so that you could do all of the above in one game environment. Imagine the possibilities of Verants up coming Star Wars game ...

imagine if you could hijack a star destroyer for example .... or instead of running around in a Jedi Knight engine, you could pod race, or fly ties, or explore new worlds.


to top my incoherent rambling off ... all I have to say is


ELITE ONLINE ........ nuff said baby



Ds
#2 by "Morn"
2000-04-23 15:09:24
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Well, I don't know about FP<b>S</b>'s (Shooters!), but I can't imagine the FP<b>G</b>'s (Games!) in general will ever disappear again. Sure, the shooter scene has been pretty quiet regarding single player experiences, but there are some very interesting non-shooters coming out soon, like Deus Ex or the new Wizardry (which is more "first-party" I guess :b).

The game development industry's holy grail probably is re-creating a "life like" experience with in complete detail, and life happens to be "first person" (though I would find a "behindview 1" toggle for real life pretty useful).

Add the fact that the trend dictating hardware industry is still (no surprise) pushing 3D hardware. Interestingly enough, though: the best selling games in the past couple of months were all non-3D ("Millionaire", "Rollercoaster Tycoon" et al). But I can already see that we will soon be reaching a point where making a non-3D game will automatically mean losing sales, if not too many.

I just really wish the designers out there started to put more effort into the story of those games. The masses probably don't care about it much, but for me, the story and setting of Soldier of Fortune ruined the game for me.

Oh, I could go on and on... and I probably will, later! :)

- Morn
#3 by "Morn"
2000-04-23 15:16:03
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Have you guys ever played a MOO? Those beautiful things probably came the closest to my idea of a perfect online (!) gaming experience (except, of course, they were all text based, which is no problem for me, but would put off a lot of people I guess :b).

In MOOs you were able not only to walk around in a massive multiplayer environment and experience adventures, but you could also design your own objects with their own behaviour.

Just imagine you could find an emtpy spot somewhere in Everquest, build a house and start selling Doener Kebabs. Imagine the game would be so open it would let you design your own objects, define their own behaviour, et al. The single biggest problem for me in <i>any</i> game, be it online or offline, is that it stops to surprise me at some point. I'd like to run around a user made world, with the chance to find something new every day. I'd like to be able to design my own pet dungeon and then ask the Everquest team to somehow integrate it into their world.

Funny, Bioware's upcoming Neverwinter Nights will probably let me do most of that stuff. I can't wait for that thing... :)

- Morn
#4 by "Jafd"
2000-04-23 15:36:20
jafd@zombieworld.com
I definitely think 'the coming thing' are gamespaces that let the players have more and more control over their environment. FPShooters have really peaked out I think. There isn't that much creativity involved in running around shooting people; sure, teamplay is quite creative, yeah... but how far can that go? Gangs of people running around shooting each other is certainly more interesting than single individuals running around shooting people, but without any compelling reason to do so.... bleh.

What we are going to see are more blending like Ds said above. An online playspace, such as in UO, with little avatars running around socializing... except when people get pissed at each other, instead of going into combat mode and clicking on each other, they all decide to play team deathmatch, instead. Something like the Game that P. Anthony described in his Adept series, that is what is coming.

Black & White has this kind of thing... people meet, talk, flirt, whatever... until someone gets pissy, then the game turns into Street Fighter for a little while. Presumably, there will be people running around wanting to just bust chops, and others who just want to chat and make their pet do handstands... games of the future are going to have be more and more flexible. More and more people are (or want to be) playing online with others, and they will demand variety... and the people who are already playing are going to demand it as well, certainly the people who are tired of deathmatching will outnumber the people who like nothing else. And there will have to be an offline component, ideally one in which the player can do a bit more than practice skills.

A 'sucessful' game of the future is going to have to cater to as many different tastes as possible.

Today's Ginsu knives will become tomorrow's Leatherman tools.
#5 by "Charlie Wiederhold"
2000-04-23 16:25:40
charliew@3drealms.com
At what point does what you guys are describing cease to be a game?

A "game" needs to have a goal. Someplace to go. Granted, you could simply call life a game and mimic that but I think you know what I'm getting at.

I don't see the FP"S" experience dying any sooner than I see the action movie genre dying. As long as people want the experience and plot of a cool action situation, there will always be call for a first person shooter game. Something involving guns, with a start and a finish. Be it multiplayer tournaments or a story based single player situation.

The problem lies in creating something that complex that is only meant to be experienced once. Imagine building your movie sets when they aren't meant to be seen from only one angle, but any angle. Also, there can't be any wierd boundries to block the person looking at them. Set designers would go bonkers if they had to do that right now.

Charlie Wiederhold
#6 by "Cube"
2000-04-23 17:04:14
cube@telefragged.com
"The 'cyber reality' described in Neal Stephensons 'Snowcrash' (good book, well worth a read). A permanent alt-reality inhabited by avatars."

I second that Darkseid, Snowcrash is very good. The idea of virutal worlds does seem like the next place to go but I'm not sure how many average people would get into the idea of a proper online world that mimics our own...

What I'd like to see is the same technology put to use in a battlefield simulator, where the player takes on a role as an individual soldier and develops their own stats the more they play online.

Of course you need some technology that can handle thousands of connections at a time to get any sort of simulation of realism (I'm talking full scale war here ;)). Any one know the current record for number of players in a fps style game?

As for other developments, perhaps ultra-realistic games that are fun to play? The closest I've seen is Grand Prix Legends, but that still requires the investment of hours of practice before you can get a lot of fun out of a race.
#7 by "spyke"
2000-04-23 17:26:47
spyke@planetquake.com http://www.planetquake.com
Judging from all the feedback I get, FPS games are here to stay. That's not to say that they won't take a back seat, though.

With id Software incorporating teamplay game modes into their new mission pack for Q3A, we finally have id realizing that, yes, a helluva lot of people like team games. Thus, for the next 4-6 months after the mission pack is released, we'll see a serious drop in DM play, and a major increase in team-oriented play.

Valve has already realized this. Team Fortress 2 looks to show up any effort id puts through to appeal to team players; Half-Life already has the majority of them, because of Counterstrike.

After the team craze dies down in a year or so from now (and it will), I'd expect to see more story-oriented games from all the major players. It kind of scares me.. I really want to see Anachronox do well. But hey, that's just me.

-- Simon "spyke" Speichert
#8 by "spyke"
2000-04-23 17:31:46
spyke@planetquake.com http://www.planetquake.com
Looking back on that, half of that last one was incoherent. :)

When I said FPS games will take a backseat, I should have also added that RPGs will temporarily take their place. Daikatana, the next FPS to be released, looks mediocre at best. Soldier of Fortune doesn't really look to have a big following at all. So what happens?

Anachronox gets released in 6 months. Same with Deus Ex. People have really been anticipating these games, so hopefully they're good, and do well.. because they'll need to carry the compulsive gamers through the team craze.

And, BTW, I don't look forward to the team craze at all. I can't stand team games, except for Q3CTF. If I hear another thing about a port of TF to some god-forsaken game, I'll go nuts. :)

-- Simon "spyke" Speichert
#9 by "RedLine"
2000-04-23 17:50:18
redline@omegaforge.com http://www.omegaforge.com/
For me at least, Half-Life marks another type of First Person Shooter, and something I hope to see more of... Well, Sin really started it, but that was an "iffy" game (WoS is far better IMHO) and didn't do it to the degree that Half-Life did...

I would not really call Half-Life a First Person Shooter... it's more like First Person Action/Adventure for most of the game... there is a definate feeling of "Adventuring on Speed" in there, as in, you feel you have a certain amount of freedom to explore, but you know there is a defined goal to accomplish, so it gives you your start and end points, and throws a lot of scenery in and lets you make up the middle bit.

I would like to see this aspect taken to the next step... the defined goals of a traditional FPS with a cool storyline interwoven into the game via in-engine cut sequences and via more exploring... so you have even more freedom to wander around and "do cool things" but you always have the feeling that you're part of something, that there's something "bigger" going on.

It seems this is what Duke4 is gonna be... I'm certainly looking to that for my gaming fix while Valve get TF2 out of their system.... then I'll be looking forward to Half-Life 2.. ;-)

So I guess my point is, in much the same way the action movie scene has gone from mindless violence to more thought-provoking action violence (Say T1 vs T2), I see the pureblood FPS game evolving into an "Action/Adventure in the First Person" deal.

There is stuff like *gasp* Tomb Raider that is something like that already, but I mean more in the Half-Life style.

Mmmm, feels funny, need to get back into the swing of things here... ;-)
#10 by "Thrrrpptt!"
2000-04-23 18:22:03
jamie@gamespy.com
I think the main reason the FPS sub-genre became so hugely successful was due to the fact that it was modifyable and extendable. You could, with a little programming knowledge and a lot of imagination, take the game and make everything from new levels to completely new games.

As others have mentioned, this will be the factor that allows other genres to surpass the FPS one. Neverwinter nights, for example, is being designed from the ground up to be extendable, and I fully expect that game to be "the next big thing".

What I'm looking forward to, though, is a non fantasy RPG that's really extendable and customizable. Maybe Deus Ex will fit this bill.

T!
#11 by "Morn"
2000-04-23 18:32:25
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
I'd really like to see some numbers regarding how many people actually care about the customizability of games like Quake, Unreal and so on. A year ago you could be pretty sure that the number was very low (compared to the total number of people who bought the game), but what is it like today?

Wouldn't surprise me if the whole "amateur game development" thing is shifting more and more into mainstream... (heck, I'm not doing <a href="http://www.developium.com">this site</a> for nothing!! :b)

- Morn
#12 by "Tom Cleghorn"
2000-04-23 18:48:35
tc10@st-andrews.ac.uk http://www.fisty.com/~tom
That's flagrant p1mpage, mr0n... and if you can do it, <A HREF="http://www.fisty.com/~tom" TARGET="_blank">then so can I</A> :)

Interesting point though... since more games these days are coming with the editor in the box, the game development thing has no option but to shift up a gear, even if that particular gear is full of 12 year old wannabes, churning out box after box filled with powerups and labelling them 'My 3r33t20r Level 4 Quaek 1', 'my 3r33t20R LeveL 4 Quaek 2' and so forth...

Hmm... do you smell bile? ;)
#13 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2000-04-23 18:52:50
Darkseid@captured.com http://www.captured.com/boomstick
Goal-less games

Elite

yes, you can reach the highest rank and have all the mods on the Cobra


but the game never really ends (no you win, game over)

you can keep trading and roaming and fighting




Elite is _still_ fun to play.


Ds
#14 by "Morn"
2000-04-23 18:53:19
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
I'm serious about game development though... I'm a big fan of the "web distribution" concept, and I'm pretty sure it's going to shake up the industry quite a bit. WildTangent's upcoming GameDriver is one of the sexiest new things to watch out for right now, at least in my humble opinion. It wouldn't surprise me if we'll see a return to the good old days when a small team of two or three people (or even one person on his/her own) could develop a complete game... (of course small teams are not going to make Wing Commander quality FMV sequences nor a game in the scale of, say, Baldur's Gate, but you get my point).

w00h00!

- Morn
#15 by "Morn"
2000-04-23 18:54:51
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Darkseid, and in a web-based distribution model, you'd automatically "find" new missions every couple of days. *uNF*

- Morn
#16 by "EZ2501"
2000-04-23 18:58:09
ez_2501@hotmail.com http://project2501.8k.com
Well, I think the immediate future of game will be a push to online gaming. Seems this is where the "experts" seem to think the bold new frontier is. But I do not concur. I have been playing online ever since Quake and I'm just bored with the hassle of it all. People are rude, they will cheat if they can, when they win they act like it means they have a big dick and when the lose the whine like a whipped puppy. I have tried everquest and canceled out. I got tired of the fact most of the online chatter was mostly about game mechanics and while it was a persistent world, I never found myself immersed in it.

But I think I know what would be a cool new move in game creation. Back in the old days of the Commodore 64, there was a program called "Gary Kitchens game maker". With it, even a total dullard could pretty much make what ever kind of game they wanted. There have been attempts at making programs for the current batch of computers (create you own adventure come to mind) but since you could not create a game "like" the current technology permits, these programs were flops. If somebody created a program that would let average Joe/Josephine gamer make their own "way cool" game I think it would change the way we look at games. Out of the millions of people with "good Ideas for games" you would sell a boat load of such a  program. The creator of the system could simply market new modules for the program, or thematic modules. I could easily recoup it's development cost in just add on's. The really hard part about such a program is making it easy and flexible. But if someone made it, it would be like a license to print money.

If I had to pick a Zenith of game design at this point, I would have to say that System shock 2 is the best game (design wise) ever made. I would be nice if all games had the detail, and immersive qualities but since that is a lot of work, and SS2 did not sell gangbusters I don't think that will happen

EZ2501
#17 by "Tom Cleghorn"
2000-04-23 19:05:48
tc10@st-andrews.ac.uk http://www.fisty.com/~tom
EZ2501:
If somebody created a program that would let average Joe/Josephine gamer make their own "way cool" game I think it would change the way we look at games.
Well, I can think of at least two of those... Quake and Unreal...
#18 by "Tom Cleghorn"
2000-04-23 19:07:09
tc10@st-andrews.ac.uk http://www.fisty.com/~tom
EZ2501:
If somebody created a program that would let average Joe/Josephine gamer make their own "way cool" game I think it would change the way we look at games.
Well, I can think of at least two of those... Quake and Unreal...
#19 by "Tom Cleghorn"
2000-04-23 19:07:30
tc10@st-andrews.ac.uk http://www.fisty.com/~tom
EZ2501:
If somebody created a program that would let average Joe/Josephine gamer make their own "way cool" game I think it would change the way we look at games.
Well, I can think of at least two of those... Quake and Unreal...
#20 by "Tom Cleghorn"
2000-04-23 19:08:33
tc10@st-andrews.ac.uk http://www.fisty.com/~tom
Oh dear god... what a nightmare... I just love IE5 <b>even more</b> now...

...sorry... :)
#21 by "Morn"
2000-04-23 19:26:07
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
TomC, Quake and Unreal are still faaaar to complicated to enable the "average Joe/Josephine gamer" to make their own games... what the world needs is some kind of "game development studio" that wraps itself around one of those engines, but has a different (and more higher level) approach than, say, UnrealEd. You know, for example it should allow you to build a map simply be plugging ready-made rooms into each other and then placing ready-made objects... of course that approach looks pretty lame to <b>us</b>, but imagine how many others it'd make happy. =)

Map design actually <i>is</i> a good example... from my experience, map design still is way too much of a rocket science in order to appeal to the average aspiring game designer who just has cool ideas, but not enough experience/knowledge to make them into a game using the currently available tools.

- Morn
#22 by "Eason"
2000-04-23 19:30:28
dansriv@hotmail.com
I believe the future of gaming will be a persistant online world.  I'm not talking about what UO, EQ, AC, or any of the other massive online gaming companies have coming out in the near future.  I am talking about something that will draw almost everyone on the internet.  A fully 3D rendered version of the net.  With shops that have products fully rendered to preview before buying.  Websites that you walk into and explore.  And of course, gaming.

Imagine walking down the cyber street and someone bumps into and mumbles an insult.  You say WTF?  You wanna go to the arrena and settle this DM style?  You both agree and off you go for some DM battle.

The company that can pull this kind of persistant cyber world would attract that average computer user, the hardcore gamer, and RPG players.  All into the same persistant world.

Pardon me while I go finish taking my drugs....
#23 by "Tom Cleghorn"
2000-04-23 19:39:03
tc10@st-andrews.ac.uk http://www.fisty.com/~tom
mr0n:
"...it should allow you to build a map simply be plugging ready-made rooms into each other and then placing ready-made objects..."
Well, we're heading there already - ever notice that the only map editor id ever officially sanctioned for Quake and Quake 2 was Deathmatch Maker? It worked in pretty much the way you describe. In fact, thinking about it, that's also the way most strategy games' editors work, simply placing tiles and so forth to make the map.
#24 by "Morn"
2000-04-23 19:45:06
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
TomC: "DeathMatch Maker"? Never heard of it, shame on me... :(

And you're very right about the strategy games there, but their mostly tile based system is simply their very nature; a shooter's 3D engine (and thus its geometry) is incredibly more complex.

Oh my god... imagine a "wizard" application that spits out finished UT maps and a complete UnrealScript codebase, generated from a very simple "arena editor" and an even simpler, maybe BASIC-like highest-level language. *uNF*

- Morn
#25 by "Valeyard"
2000-04-23 20:19:01
valeyard@ck3.net http://www.ck3.net
$.02 coming up:

Surely we're going to see more "dual-purpose" games over the next few years, that much is obvious...we're already seeing: fps/rpg rpg/rts etc.

It's also obvious that we're going to see the on-line aspect of the games become even more commonplace.  Notwithstanding Thief2, most games include SOME kind of multiplayer.  Broadband access is going to allow even more people the opportunity to have an enjoyable gaming experience over the 'net.

So what's the "next big thing".  My bet is that there won't be one for quite some time.  We'll continue to see "hybrid" games as well as the old standards.  As the consumer base increases, so does diversity...while FPS games might not dominate, the market for them probably isn't shrinking.  You'll still be able to make and sell a decent number of FPS units, RTS units and RPG units....the hybrids will fill the gaps and take a small chunk of the marketshare from each of the genre's...but they'll all grow.

Could this post be any LESS predictive?  I doubt it, and that's my point.  We aren't witnessing the "end" of anything, we're just seeing the effects of growth:  More people, more interests, larger over-all market, all things are taking up their respective portion of that market.

Until now, FPS games have ruled because the type of people who played the games were the ones driving the industry's growth.  Now that a wider range of interests are represented on the 'net, you're going to see a wider market of games.  The market for FPS hasn't really declined...the market for everything else has just grown.

-Valeyard
#26 by "Sparhawk"
2000-04-23 21:15:29
silk1313@yahoo.com
i think that the fps genre will keep being one of the stronger in computer gaming market for the next couple of years, at least, because with all the new innovations and technology in hardware gaming devolopers are going to be able to do much more amazing things with there games, and imo fps's are the best game to take advantage of this new technology.  fps's are also damn fun and should be enjoyed by all :)
boy that was one long run on sentence...

i <i>hope</i> to see more rpg's along the way, more of the old-school, final-fantasy type rpg's.  those things rocked!  of all the other gaming genre's besides fps's i think that rpg's can take advantage of damn good technology to make the games more interactive/complicated.  as i said for fps's, rpg's are damn fun too :)
#27 by "Charlie Wiederhold"
2000-04-23 21:18:08
charliew@3drealms.com
I can write my own story or make my own movie, but I still prefer to read a well written book by a professional, or watch a movie directed and acted by professionals (or of course very talented amatures).

There are plenty of things that will auto-generate a book for me and then I could modify it as I see fit, but that's just not going to make a very interesting book is it?

Something to allow people to easily generate things is always good to get someone started and interested, or to allow someone something nifty to fiddle with for a little while, but it will never be much more than a novelty. They won't be changing the way we look at games at all really.

Rise of the Triad had an automap generator now that I think about it. Worked great, was pretty much worthless.

As long as kids like to play "Cops and Robbers" or "Cowboys and Indians", there will always be a place for the first person shooter genre. They will get more involved sure, but people always have, and always will, like to pretend to be someone they aren't, or to do something they can't in real life. Especially if it involves being a hero (or anti-hero).

Valeyard said it best: We are going to pretty much just see growth, evolution, and blending of the different genres. No deaths, but perhaps a few new faces from time to time.

Charlie Wiederhold
#28 by "Chango"
2000-04-23 21:20:38
papa_chango@hotmail.com http://www.btinternet.com/~jedi99/
With the likes of Alice, Kiss and FAKK2 on the horizon, I would like to think that tomorrow's games will strive to be different from everything else out there.  Although it seems cliché, the thought of one truly original game followed by another, followed by another is something I think everyone would cherish, except maybe jocks that bought their sega genesis' just because they wanted to play Gretzky's Hockey.

The only problem I see at the moment is that truly innovative ideas are stifled because there is so much damned commercialism within the electronic entertainment medium thesedays.  It's getting like TV.  You'll spend years wading through endless mounds of boring repetitive shite, then something will come along to reinstate your faith in creativity, then it'll all end because the marketing people have notive that the punters aren't lapping it up in quantities large enough to beat the normal shit, and it will get canned.

And all this gives me an idea for a new topic for mr0n...
#29 by "Tony"
2000-04-23 21:30:26
twyss@gamespy.com http://www.gamespy.com
I may be biased, but I truly see the sports genre expanding quite a bit as the opportunities for online play increase. I was reading that NBA 2k1 and NFL2k1 are playing perfect on the DC (56k) with no lag and flying at 60 fps. Up until now, there has really been no seemless way to play peer-to-peer sports gamers online. There were just too many problems. As the console systems become mainstream and things like "PowerPlay" technologies are implemented, sports will expload. Imagine how this will expand the genre... it's been untapped.  Instantly we'll have more ladders and leagues than you can possibly imagine and *gasp*, no one will be complaining about lag.

Bring on the "jockboy" comments ;-)
#30 by ""
2000-04-23 22:03:59
<i>Thinking...</i>
#31 by "Apache"
2000-04-23 22:07:53
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
First person shooters are first person shooter, I don't think there's much more room for innovation in that genre. You could change the way players move (ala "The Matrix") or add little gametypes like firing a turret from the back of a truck, add driving vehicles into the mix, (or even remote controlling them (Shadow Warrior) basicly adding little mini-games into the mix.

What I'd like to see come to the PC are the really good 3-D fighting games; Dead or Alive 2, Tekken Tag Tournie, etc. Online multi-player gaming seems to be the wave of the future, and that's the direction I see the industry going.

Some 1,000 PC games will be released this year, and that's about 900 too many IMO...
#32 by "Thrrrpptt!"
2000-04-23 22:18:06
jamie@gamespy.com
Aren't the editors that come with NeverWinter Nights and Vampire: The Masquerade supposed to be very user friendly?

Also, one comment on the point of "too much" ameture stuff out there. We have this problem already with, for example, FPS maps. There are TONS of maps out there for Quake, Unreal, etc. Far too many to play through and evaluate them all for yourself. This creates a need for someone else to review the maps, select some that we're likely to enjoy, and make the decision making process much easier.

I think this middle man service is going to become even more common as people start making even more stuff. The end result, though, is going to be a good one fore gamers, who have not only a lot of good free stuff to choose from, but a good way to find it.

One could even imagine a review service to which one would subscribe for a nominal fee and receive ratings on all the best maps. Maybe even a CD mailed to them, with a small royalty going to the map/game/mod/module authors for each sale.

Hmmmm... :)

T!
#33 by "Tom Cleghorn"
2000-04-23 22:40:21
tc10@st-andrews.ac.uk http://www.fisty.com/~tom
Well, the Vampire editor is based on QERadiant... so don't expect glorious usability :)
#34 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-04-23 23:38:33
sbauman@adelphia.net
While the FPS genre gets the most ink, strategy games get the most sales. Look at the charts.

The biggest games in the past two years have been RollerCoaster Tycoon, SimCity 3000, Age of Empires II, Command & Conquer 2 and, most recently, The Sims.

Outside of Half-Life, few FPS games have made a dent...

Why is that? Well, if you look at all of those strategy games, you'll note that none require a 3D accelerator and at least one of them runs on a Pentium 90 (RollerCoaster Tycoon, the game that sold the most copies last year).

Funny how that works...
#35 by "Apache"
2000-04-23 23:47:15
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
I'd like to see a game based on the "Wazzzzzzuuuuuup?" Budweiser commercial.
#36 by "shaithis"
2000-04-24 01:03:46
chrisb@gamespy.com http://www.gamespy.com
Steve has a good point. Everyone's going "Yeh, FPS games have been dominating
," but Blizzard's last three games have _way_ outsold id's last three games.

FPS games come with an inherently limited audience. They require the latest hardware (one strike), they require that you not get motion sick (two strikes, many people do), they require that you familiarize yourself with an odd control scheme (three strikes, mouse and keyboard is only "normal" for those of us used to it), and they require you to have extremely developed twitch reflexes (four strikes, most people don't).

As such, it's only a rare case like Half-Life that comes even close to selling the number of copies that a good RTS or RPG does (and even Half-Life's not that close). Duke Nukem 4 might, but given the engine it's using, half of the casual gamers in the world won't be able to play it.

This is not even getting into console games, on which a variety of genres have _totally_ annihilated the FPS genre over the past ten years (check the sales figures on Resident Evil vs. Quake 2 sometime).

That said, I don't see any of the genres mentioned above (or any not mentioned) going away any time soon. Apache, your view is myopic and uninformed. There is always room for innovation, there is always room for growth, and there is always room for evolution. One might as well say that Bard's Tale was the best that RPGs were going to get, and everything else was going to be "minor tweaks" and "mini games".

-shai
#37 by "Apache"
2000-04-24 01:16:09
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
shai: maybe your definition of true innovation differs from mine...  

action oriented first person shooter= aim guns at people, shoot them. sure, that's overally simplified, but it's true. if the genre's going to expand there needs to be new camera angles, new ways for players to move, new gametypes (tired of deathmatch yet?) and a better way to communicate with other players.

on sales... Unreal Tournament's been in the top 20 best sellers since its release, usually in the 9-12 range. Soldier of Fortune's debuted very strongly the first three weeks of its release as well.
#38 by "Bob Segard"
2000-04-24 01:25:56
Yes.
#39 by "shaithis"
2000-04-24 01:34:07
chrisb@gamespy.com http://www.gamespy.com
By the way you've defined FPS's, it would be impossible for them to evolve at all without evolving out of the genre. When I said your view is myopic, I meant it. You're only seeing one tiny little portion of the FPS genre... namely the multiplayer action games.

What about Thief? Thief is more than "aim gun, shoot at someone."  In fact, more often than not, that's exactly the opposite of what you should do. What about system shock? Deus Ex? Those don't count as innovation, or taking the genre some place different, just because you have a certain type of camera view?

So the flight sim genre is also locked from further evolution, right? And the third person genre? Oh, and platform games, and adventure games too. Because, you know, flight sims are just first-person fliers. Third person games are stuck in that whole "third person camera angle" thing. Platform games... jeez, why play anything after Contra? And adventure games, now that they've gone 3D, are out of ways to change or expand.

Give me a break dude. Even within the tiny portion of the genre you're talking about, there are examples. The difference between Quake and Tribes should be evidence enough that a massive evolution in FPS gaming is not only possible, but has been done. Just because you can't conceive of a way to make another evolution doesn't mean that a more creative mind can't.

re: DM - I was tired of deathmatch in 1997. That's why I started playing TF. Where is this mystery world you're living in where no one has invented new game types for shooters? :)

re: sales - yes, it has, but in order to be a real sales contender, it needs to be in the top five for at very least eight to ten months.

-shai
#40 by "Apache"
2000-04-24 01:39:20
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
My definition of true innovation: the first, first person shooter; that's real innovation.

Innovation (much like true love) is a term that's thrown around too much, and people loose the meaning of what it really defines.
#41 by "Apache"
2000-04-24 01:40:22
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
man, where's my copy editor when I need him ;)
#42 by "loonyboi"
2000-04-24 02:05:14
jason@loonygames.com http://www.bluesnews.com/
I've seen the way games are going...and I don't like it.

A lot of developers haven't grasped the concept that there are those of us out there that really don't *want* to play massively mulitplayer, or even minorly multiplayer games, for that matter.

I like a good deathmatch as much as the next guy, but when I play, 90% of the time it's a 1-on-1 game.

I LIKE single player games. Heck, I LOVE 'em. The biggest disappointment of late was Square's announcement that Final Fantasy XI would be online only. That means that for me at least, one of my favorite series of all time ends with FFX.

I've played UO, and I've seen EverQuest, and they don't even remotely interest me.

Give me a solid storyline and in-depth gameplay.

My favorite game of '99 was System Shock 2, which had no multiplayer at all (unless you count the co-op mode that was added with a later patch). And I don't care!

-jason
#43 by "Thrrrpptt!"
2000-04-24 02:13:09
jamie@gamespy.com
I hear you, Loonyboi. There are, however, a lot of good single player games on the horizon:

Deus Ex
MDK2
Icewind Dale
ST Voyager: Elite Force
Lots of others

There are many games (e.g., Diablo 2, Duke 4, others) that will probably have excellent single player components as well. I don't think that even five or more years down the line single player games will go away.

I hate to keep bringing the title up, but even in NeverWinter Nights you will be able to play custom made adventures in single player mode, all by yourself.

In keeping with the theme that many have expressed, the market will expand, but that doesn't mean that its segments will necessarily die off.

T!
#44 by "loonyboi"
2000-04-24 02:57:27
jason@loonygames.com http://www.bluesnews.com/
Of the single player games on the horizon, the (PC) games that appeal to me the most are:

- Deus Ex (also mentioned by Thrrrpptt!)
- Oni & Halo (Bungie can do no wrong)
- Duke Forever

I have noticed though that for single player gaming fans, more and more of the top games are coming out on consoles, not PCs. Look at Perfect Dark, Chrono Cross, any Resident Evil game, etc...

-jason
#45 by "shaithis"
2000-04-24 03:24:50
chrisb@gamespy.com http://www.gamespy.com
Consoles are going to eat PC gaming entirely within another decade anyway, so then you'll be able to get the best of single player and the best of multiplayer all in one place. :)

-shai
#46 by "Brandon 'GreenMarine' Reinhart"
2000-04-24 03:36:55
brandon@epicgames.com http://unreal.epicgames.com
Games have implicit and explicit goals.  The game designer can say "you have to get 10 frags to win the match," which is an explicit goal.  Look, however, at a game like UO.  There are some explicit goals like "getting quintuple grandmaster," but there are also a lot of implicit goals like "pk that lame bitch."

I think you can have very fun and entertaining games that consist entirely of implicit goals.  MOOs are like that.  The actual rules of the world are thin (even allowing players to define their own rooms and objects), but the game comes from player-interaction.  That is probably one of the most extreme examples, but I do think you'll see more games that have less defined objectives.  Multiplayer games will probably lead that charge, but there isn't any reason why you couldn't have a single player game where the single goal is to explore the world and create your own adventure.

The key isn't to create massively non-linear worlds, but to create traditional worlds that do a better job of hiding the limitations of the world from the player.
#47 by "Apache"
2000-04-24 03:43:51
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
jamie: those are indeed good games to look forward to!

jason: are you a closet console fan? ;)

shai: in ten years there will be no such thing as a 'pc' or 'console', they will be one and the same.

greenmarine: you are wise beyond your years :)
#48 by "shaithis"
2000-04-24 03:58:24
chrisb@gamespy.com http://www.gamespy.com
Apache - I Disagree.

Imho, A console will be a gaming unit you can plug into your tv or your pc (and thus use a mouse and keyboard for FPS games, if you so choose). A pc will continue to be a general purpose machine for things like word processing, database work, photoshop, serving, etc.

Game developers will move to developing entirely for consoles because the charms of having a dedicated hardware platform that doesn't change from user to user, and a user base roughly six times the size of the pc gaming userbase. PC users will migrate to using consoles for games because they'll be able to use them in conjunction with the PC to keep the control setup they like (and because it will cost them $300 a year to play the latest games, instead of $1500). There will be no reason to continue developing games for the PC, but I don't expect to be running Photoshop on my Playstation 4 (or whatever the hell console is out at the time).

-shai
#49 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2000-04-24 03:58:36
Darkseid@captured.com http://www.captured.com/boomstick
as a MUD veteran, and knowing full well what that can do to you (nearly blew my degree mudding) Im staying the hell away from Everquest and its ilk, because I KNOW Id get hooked.

However, something like Dungeon Seige is beginning to interest me more and more.  Figure it, AD&D dungeon crawling visualised with the PC to handle all the damn rules and dice throws. SOme nice touches blended in (like the pack mule) and more than adequate graphics (hell I still love CHAOS, now JavaFied somewhere I dont have a link handy right now) weather effects and dinky sounds.

Vampire The Masquerade sounds entertaining, but the RPG system I really want someone to have a decent stab at is .. 'The Call of Cuthulu', some of the paper based games we had of it still raise the hairs on the back of my neck for sheer suspense and tension.

Maybe thats whats missing from so many games, the feeling of suspense. That gnawing sensation of dread that _something_ nasty is lurking just around that corner, and it could very well pull the top of your head off and suck your brains out through a straw (oops ... wandered). Looking Glass are masters of playing with your emotions as you play, and I cant think of another company that actually does it now (hey its 3am ...). System Shock, when I came into that room where they played the flashback for the first Cyborg midwives.... Powerful moment I felt shock, horror, pity and anger...

Maybe its not suspense or emotiveness thats missing, its possibly .. how do I phrase this....  A _connection_ with the game player.

Most games connect only on the visceral level, with bloodshed and strife The games that connect on more than just that level are games I find enjoyable. God sims connect on a higher level as well, they give you a sensation of power and control, in Dungeon Keeper 2 I started to get attached to various creatures and would nursemaid them because I indentified with them (stupid I know, but hey, thats me)

All I know is .... I want more of System Shock and Thief 2  (yes I like thinking as well as reacting)

my that was long and rambly !

Ds

'Never argue with an idiot, theyll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.'
#50 by "Apache"
2000-04-24 04:01:08
apache@warzone.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
shai: that's a 'set-top-box'
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