Nostalgic thoughts about computers and computer gaming in the old days compared to today.

Posted: November 21, 2013. At: 1:10 PM. This was 4 years ago. Post ID: 6577
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Arma 3 graphical quality.
Arma 3 graphical quality.

I have been thinking about the future of computer gaming. Considering the size of the map in Far Cry 3 compared to the computer games of old. There are two massive islands connected by a very deep and blue ocean. That is a massive play area. I love piloting a boat across the ocean, and running around the south island. That is one immersive game. Just Cause 2 and Arma 3 are also games with huge player areas. Arma 3 has a 270 sq KM play area. Scaled down from the real island, but still huge. Games these days are getting closer and closer to real-life environments. Soon we will be able to emulate an entire country in one playable area. Arma 3 is a massive game, but I like Far Cry 3 as it has a large enough play area, as well as some bases with respawning enemies. This means that you will never get bored. I wonder what Far Cry 4 will bring us. Will it have an even bigger play area again? There is a risk that if the game is too big, it would take too long to travel from one area to another. But the inclusion of fast travel from one unlocked safe house to another can alleviate this problem. And the ability to cross the ocean in a boat is very cool.

This used to be the pinnacle of computer graphics technology.
This used to be the pinnacle of computer graphics technology.

We have come a long way from the old 8-bit gaming consoles we had in the 1980`s, the 16-bit computer games and now the almost photo-realistic computer games of 2013. I used to think that running Doom on a 14″ monitor at 320*200 resolution was awesome, now I can play Far Cry 3 in HD and it has a very realistic world that is very immersive. Eventually; we could create an artificial world that is basically the real world simulated in a computer. It has been theorized that the real-world is really simulated in a computer, one that obviously exists outside of the universe it is simulating. That would require a computer that is more powerful than we can comprehend. There is a thought-provoking discussion of this idea on Slashdot. This is an idea that is quite interesting, but the computer would need to exist outside of the Universe and it would have to store the state information, Exempli Gratia the up and down spin state of subatomic particles is impossible as you would need to observe them to get the state, but observing the particle destroys the information. That is why the subatomic world is so strange.

Doom allows massive numbers of enemies though...
Doom allows massive numbers of enemies though…

The Doom engine with a square game world 32768 units on a side provides a huge area, but using that entire area for a game map is not very practical. If you create a map that stretches across the entire area, it loops around. But the Grand Theft Auto 5 game world as well as the aforementioned Arma 3 are far beyond Doom. Such massive game worlds are very immersive. It gives good scope for a quick escape from enemy attack. Unless they have helicopters. The advantage with a modern Doom engine such as Prboom is that you can have 12,000 monsters in one map. Far Cry 3 or Quake 4 would not allow this at all. That is why people still make Doom maps even today. The Doom community is getting bigger all of the time. The Far Cry 2 and 3 editors allow easy manipulation of the terrain, that is why the Far Cry mapping community has so many cool maps uploaded all of the time. A game that has an easy to use map editor will of course be very popular. This adds to the value of the game. Then a mapping community will spring up around the game and give the players enjoyment for a long time.

The first real digital computer that could play a game was the NIMROD computer in 1951. This was very simple; but it was a digital computer that could play a game. The first space shooter game was Spacewar in 1961. That was a success. Now of course we have Eve Online, but we could not have imagined that back then. In 1966, the Magnovox Odyssey was released. This was the first video game console that could connect to a television set. That was when the home computer gaming revolution began.

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