It seems that the first Tetris was invented just recently, and today we can immerse ourselves in virtual reality by wearing a helmet. Everything in the world is changing, including computer games. Development approaches are changing and the quality of the final product is changing. In this article, we will talk about what we are waiting for in games in the near future.
Just a dozen years ago, players spent day and night at the computer, trying to complete another difficult mission. They had no guides on the Internet, no help from YouTube or other players. Moreover, the games were harder. Today, players can at least get the help of boosting companies, for example, skycoach.gg provides services for leveling, completing various activities, and buying in-game currency. This means that not only games are developing, but also near-game services, such as boosting companies. Professionals unite in teams that are ready to help beginners play games and achieve goals. Boostings provide round-the-clock support and are ready to fulfill an order of any complexity. And the games are actually getting harder. But at the same time, their quality also increases. We will talk about this further.
In 10 years, you launch a AAA game. There are no downloads – you almost instantly find yourself in the main menu, just by clicking on the icon on the desktop. You select New Game and immediately find yourself in a huge open world. No loading screens, no tedious waiting. Already now, thanks to the spread of SSDs, boot times have been reduced. Microsoft and Sony, with their ninth-generation consoles, are betting heavily on the continuity of gaming experience that can be achieved with solid-state drives. According to the lead architect of the PlayStation 5, Mark Cerny, the device will be able to load 2 GB of data in just 0.27 seconds – PS4 loaded 1 GB in as much as 20 seconds.
In theory, this will completely get rid of loading screens, which in itself will greatly affect the gaming experience, because developers will no longer have to roughly split locations into sections, and open worlds will become truly seamless. On its own, this doesn’t sound like a big deal – after all, we’ve put up with constant downloads for so many years. However, the SSD will untie the hands of developers and allow them to implement even the most daring ideas.
Do you remember God of War 2018? Santa Monica Studio set itself an ambitious goal: to make a huge area without cuts so that gameplay segments smoothly flow into cut scenes and back. The developers managed to implement the idea, but only with the help of crutches – there are no loading screens in the game, however, the player was regularly locked in rooms, or forced to walk along narrow corridors during reloads. With an SSD, you no longer have to go to such tricks. What’s more, SSDs have the potential to change the approach to level design. Now the authors have to go to all sorts of tricks to optimize the streaming of assets and textures, to hide parts of the levels from the player’s eyes so as not to overload the system once again. With fast loading of data, the need for such tricks will disappear, and narrow corridors in locations will become not a forced measure, but a meaningful design decision.
Graphics and ray tracing
Solid-state drives, of course, will also affect the graphics in games, however, you should not expect a significant technological leap in the visual part in the near future. However, this does not mean at all that the games of the future will not be able to impress with graphics. An increase in the number of polygons in models and an increase in render resolution are natural and self-evident processes. Another thing is technologies like ray tracing, which will soon become the standard for the industry. The basic principles of ray tracing were formulated by Albrecht Dürer in the 16th century, towards the end of the 20th century this term began to be used in the context of computer graphics, and the technology reached video games quite recently. The essence of ray tracing is that the system tracks the direction of light rays from the monitor to each three-dimensional object on the screen. Thus, realistic lighting, reflections, and various lighting effects are created.
Ray tracing is computationally intensive, so games used rasterization instead, and developers had to rely on, for example, SSR to create reflections. However, already in the ninth generation of consoles, RTX may become the standard without which it will be impossible to imagine any AAA game.
Along with ray tracing comes Nvidia’s DLSS technology, a special anti-aliasing method that can be used to get not only a better picture but also an increase in performance. At the same time, neural networks are responsible for its work. The first versions of DLSS, which were used in Battlefield 5 and Metro: Exodus, disappointed the players – yes, the frame rate increased, but the image became soapy. However, the technology is improving, and now with its help, you can get a very clear picture in high resolution and with a good frame rate.
A virtual reality
Now the virtual reality market is incomparably smaller than the console, mobile, or PC. Moreover, according to forecasts, the VR market will only reach $20 billion by the end of 2023. For comparison, digital sales of console games brought about that much in 2020. However, the situation is already changing dramatically. Virtual reality has long been an expensive entertainment for enthusiasts – major developers and publishers have not sought to enter this market. But the example of Valve and Alyx can be contagious – in the event of an unconditional success of the game, other major publishers may begin to allocate large budgets for VR titles, which will push headset sales. So helmets within 10 years can turn from a luxury item into a commonplace, another device like a gamepad that can be found in the apartment of almost every gamer.
Another vector for the development of VR is the improvement of finger and eye-tracking technologies. This will open up new game design opportunities for developers. However, traditional controllers are not going anywhere. Perhaps more advanced models will appear, like the controllers in the Valve Index, which have many sensors to track the position of the fingers. However, the matter is not limited to tracking fine motor skills alone – in the future, games in virtual reality will be able to track not only movements but also the user’s emotions.
So let’s wait and see the development of new game technologies in the near future!