Computer games play a unique role in the culture and technology of the information age. Playing games is one of the most popular and engaging activities involving computers or other computing devices, such as smartphones or high-end game consoles.
But what really sets gambling apart from other computer related activities is that games don’t just attract people to play them. They also inspire people to design their own new games, turning gamers into software engineers and game developers.
The ultimate game
Designing video game software is, in a sense, the ultimate computer game. The blank screen can become whatever you want it to be – a spaceship window, a map to hidden treasure, even an abstract representation of a player’s state of mind. Achieving this through video game software design is often the most absorbing and addicting game you can play.
As with any good first-person shooter, the video game industry and the game developer community are moving targets, driven by various trends. Computers and other devices have become more powerful, and as the game proliferates, it attracts new players and new styles of play.
Some gaming trends, such as the growing diversity of games and players, are relatively technology independent. The same tools can be used to enhance a familiar experience or produce a whole new one.
But other key design trends in computer games are closely related to the technology and the skills used to master it. Some of the major technological trends currently driving the industry are the continued growth of mobile, the evolution of “generations” of consoles, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality and the continued growth of graphics technology.
1. The game becomes mobile
Just as the world of video production has shifted from larger TV screens to compact smartphone screens, the world of game developers has also shifted its focus from high-end consoles to games you can play on your phone.
Mobile gaming has had various social effects, such as GameDesigning.org reports. On the one hand, the rise of casual games has attracted a more diverse player population. But mobile has two main implications. One is to focus on the programming languages of Android and iPhone operating systems. The other, more subtle effect is to challenge developers to do more with less. Because phones are so compact, the gaming software that runs on them has to be compact as well. This means an emphasis on elegant simplicity in the overall design and maximum awareness of the factors that can speed up or slow down processing.
2. Bridging the gap between generations of consoles
Even though mobile has proliferated, high-end console technology has matured. As a result, as Axes reports, the latest generation games are no longer designed just for the latest generation consoles.
Instead, they are designed to bridge the generation gap; they are playable on older and newer consoles. As Explosion of topics notes, the ongoing console wars are part of this trend. For the design of video game software, this is a challenge.
You want a game that makes full use of the latest and greatest console technology to deliver the maximum experience, but also degrades gracefully when played on older devices. The graphics may not be as crisp or detailed, but they shouldn’t look muddy, either. Gameplay can be streamlined but shouldn’t be clunky or prone to getting stuck. For developers, that basically means making two games in one.
3. AI keeps getting smarter
AI technology has undergone a revolution over the past decade, and it’s rippling through game design. The most familiar use of AI in games is to make opponents smarter and less vulnerable to simple tricks that get boring after a few games.
But according to University of Maryville, a more subtle and growing role of AI is to make the whole game smarter – for example, by adapting to a player’s style and level of play. If a player focuses on exploration, the game creates new levels to explore; if another player focuses on the fight, the game generates new opponents.
4. Reality, augmented and virtual
The ultimate dream of many gamers – and developers – is a fully immersive global experience. This dream is still a long way off. But as GameDesigning.org notes, both augmented reality (AR), in which computer-generated information is overlaid on the player’s view of the real world, and virtual reality (VR), which presents the player with a view. interior of an imaginary world, are making constant progress.
Bulky VR headsets remain a major hardware limitation, but the ability of software to deliver an immersive experience continues to grow, and the potential for entirely new gaming environments is a world – or an ever-changing set of worlds – that game developers have only started to explore.
5. The 64-bit 3D universe
The continued advancements in video generation and display lurk behind many of these trends. As the University of Maryville reports, technology that started with limited eight-bit two-dimensional images has gradually progressed to 64-bit 3D displays. The once flat and cartoonish worlds are now marked by striking liveliness and rich colors.
Graphics capability is its own separate branch of computer technology, now typically combining 3D geometry with 2D surface texturing. It also has its own set of languages and techniques. In today’s gaming applications, graphic designers face the challenge of balancing rich imagery with the need for blazing speed.
Not all games will appeal to one of these trends in video game software technology. For example, there remains a popular niche for games that evoke the early technologies of the 1970s and 1980s. But video game software remains one of the main draws in attracting new talent to STEM fields and the tech industry. at large.
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