The Pursuit of Realism

Posted by & filed under Game Culture Class, Paper2.

Video games a decade from now will have changed drastically from those of today, particularly in how realistic they are. The realism in games has been steadily increasing in a variety of ways ever since the beginning of the industry. The quality of the graphics, the complexity of the algorithms used for non-player character actions, and even the physical controls used by the player to control character actions have all been vastly improved over the years. These factors have contributed to the overall realism in the video games of today and will surely continue to improve it in future games as well.

The ever increasing call for more photo-realistic graphics in new games has already produced such beautiful games as Heavy Rain (2010). This game was released a mere two years after Silent Hill: Homecoming (2008), yet the difference in appearances is striking. After seeing Heavy Rain it is impossible to label the other as realistic by any means, where not only are the movements of the characters awkward but the lips do not even match up with the dialogue. With the progression of this aspect of game design, it remains only a matter of time before video games look completely indistinguishable from real life. At the very least, in the next ten years there will be games that make the visuals in Heavy Rain seem terribly drab and simplistic by comparison.

The first non-player characters (NPCs) were created to move in relatively simple patterns of programmed movements and actions. They would simply walk the same path over and over again and, when spoken to by the player character, would repeat the same piece of dialogue each time, no matter how many times they were spoken to. The player character was given no option in what was said either, which is quite different from most games available now which allow the player to choose what they want their character to say. This adds an element of realism and involvement to the game, but is limited by the algorithms that current game designers can execute. Ten years from now it is quite possible, and indeed very likely, that more complex and intuitive programming will be implemented.

Ten years from today there will be a drastic increase in the realism in video games. Non-player characters will not only look more realistic, as will the rest of the in-game elements, but they will also act more like human beings as well. Combine this with the possibility of controlling the game with nothing more than the human brain and the future of video games looks very real indeed.

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