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How Far Has PC Gaming Come?

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capnPedro 19th October 2009, 10:08 Quote
Duke 3D doesn't have a story? Are you blind? Those alien *******s shot up his ride (for a second time), so it's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And Duke's all out of gum.

That sounds like all the story I need :p.
Tris 19th October 2009, 10:15 Quote
Good article, makes one think.
PC gaming is definitely changing at the moment and you really can't deny that console games are pushing pc gamers out of the spotlight. I think really it's just death of pc gaming "as we know it". The very strength of the platform is the scope for innovation - the console market by it's very nature is the opposite of that, with fixed hardware and a strictly controlled content delivery mechanism coupled with a desire to capture the mainstream casual gamer market who has no interest in mind blowing new ideas.
I certainly am guilty of some knee-jerk "omg pc gaming is ruined" reactions, especially when hearing things like the recent announcement regarding modern warfare 2's lack of dedicated server support (assuming this has now been 100% confirmed). It's difficult to see where PC gaming is going to go from it's current state, right now it seems that mmo's are the only games that are coming out aimed at the PC market where we actually get to see some innovation.
However, this seems to be more a reflection on the state of the entertainment industry as a whole - an industry where "Super Action Film 5" is a box office smash. Games are now being created purely as moneymakers and a such it makes sense that they would be pushed at the most profitable platform.
I think the future of gaming for me has to lie in systems like XBLA, the only way to get new ideas is to provide a platform for people to get those ideas out without being forced to go through a mega corporation and convince some marketing exec that this one will sell x million units.
We all wanted gaming to hit the mainstream and come out of the parents basement, and now we are unfortunately reaping the rewards of that.
RotoSequence 19th October 2009, 10:17 Quote
For all the riffing of WoW and praising of Eve, and as well trodden the ground WoW walks, what WoW possesses has been ground and polished to perfection. Eve Online's content is at best in a state of flux, and at worst in desperate need of revamp for inadequacy in dealing with the player population.

But when it comes to shaping your own experience, nothing compares to Eve Online.
ano 19th October 2009, 10:28 Quote
Games have enormous budgets now so it makes sense they employ story specialists rather than programmers who try their hand at creative writing as it used to be. Also the central premise, that games are better because the stories are better, still doesn't address the first point you make, which is people still want to play old games, with their shoddy non-stories. And EVE just seems like a multiplayer Elite. The metagaming, politics of teenagers, broken cap warfare, lag and all the rest make it quite a sketchy experience.

edit: also creative games with small budgets have a better chance of penetrating the market as you like to keep putting it thanks to the internets which were in their infancy back when Doom shareware release almost broke them.

What I was hoping from this gen of consoles was rather than an increase in graphics and shininess and HDR and bloom was a bit more interactivity, the core mechanic of most games has barely changed which means we're still playing a shinier Doom. Perhaps the biggest revelation has been GTA but you still can't interact fully in the city environment, the cars still handle like blancmange and its console biased which limits the gameplay on my beloved PC

Blah blahh blah.
Centy-face 19th October 2009, 10:51 Quote
Gaming hasn't come along all that far while mechanics have advanced and story telling may have advanced I think this is merely an effect of the technology. Technology sadly is what's driving the industry the "what can we show them that looks impressive at E3" mentality has been here for a long time and shows no sign of leaving. PC gaming has been firmly on the sidelines since the PS2 and it seems to get worse with each passing month. Everything is what's based on what sells units on the consoles.

Gaming on consoles the Xbox in particular is far too regulated thats why the PC is the true innovator nothing needs to be proven as Tris said marketing executives need to see hard proof this will sell before it is allowed the go ahead. The only exception to the rule is from huge studios who have made so much money they have basically become a brand unto themselves. The western idea of what a PC game should be now reads "port from the 360". PC games are a side project that is made to make a little bit more cash after the 360 sales have slowed.

I read an interesting article by Jim Rossignol on RPS a year or two ago about the KRI show in Russia it's basically the E3 for the CIS countries and I got the distinct impression that what they are doing over there seems so fresh and imaginative compared to what's happening in the west and with games like STALKER really showing what atmosphere and story telling and immersion are I'm constantly looking at what is happening there. That's where I see the future of gaming and in time what happens on PC in the Ukraine and Russia is what will filter down to the consoles till we all become bored with that aswell. A fickle bunch we are but we don't really help ourselves by rushing out to buy Generic shooter 3 do we? all we are doing is proving them right.
jns0555 19th October 2009, 10:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by capnPedro
Duke 3D doesn't have a story? Are you blind? Those alien *******s shot up his ride (for a second time), so it's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And Duke's all out of gum.

That sounds like all the story I need :p.

bridgesentry 19th October 2009, 10:58 Quote
I think:
If PC game die, but NVIDIA still make good graphic cards for us, can we? gamers create our own serious virtual paradise on PC?
....
....
....
YES!WE CAN!!!:o
tad2008 19th October 2009, 12:17 Quote
Every time we get a new break through in gaming with the likes of Doom, Half Life, Eve Online etc, not to say any one game truly has it all just yet, but I do think we are getting there and that hopefully in our lifetime we will get to see games that bring a new sense of graphical realism, depth of immersion, a gripping story, no loading screens and all run by a decent gaming engine that gives us the performance we need to truly enjoy our gaming experience.

The only real benefit I can see that consoles have over PC gaming is the ability to simply insert a disc and play. That said I do prefer to grab a no-cd patch so my discs get to stay in their cases once installed and I can just click on a game and play it without having to dig out a specific disc, especially for older games that I like to go back and visit from time to time.

It's been a while since I have had a game really draw me in and make me feel inspired and I relish the day when the next one truly grabs my attention and for a short while at least whisks me away from the monotony of real life to live and breath in a fantastic fantasy world that is vibrant and full of life (or death).
Bauul 19th October 2009, 12:46 Quote
Kudos to your shout-out to the tech behind L4D and Spore. I think the technical marvel that is the Spore Creature Creator is a truly unappreciated achievement. Never before has anyone ever come even remotely close to a modelling/animating system as powerful as the Creature Creator. It's a shame, because whilst the tech is incredible, it didn't make for a particularly great game, so everyone forgot about it.

Just to throw a spanner in the works though: in my humble opinion the greatest single narrative ever told in a game was Braid. Words struggle to describe quite how eye opening the plot and delivery was in that game. However, Braid was also a Console game. With the increasing inclusion of support for indie developers, do you think we might start seeing more of the innovation on consoles in the future, where-as once it was a PC speciality.
javaman 19th October 2009, 13:02 Quote
your right about Doom. It was the 1st thing I downloaded for my netbook after getting it lol. Surprisingly Doom is still great. While graphics are nice as is a good story line I feel developers get too caught up in these compared to gameplay. Doom is still good and I put it down to the satafaction of speed running, getting all secrets and the thrill of clearing a room of lots of enemies that just randomly appeared at the flick of a switch. I think mass effect worked cause of that same "chaos" factor in some of the battles.
Veles 19th October 2009, 13:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe
We had to use a render because the real EVE Online looks so dull

Wut? EVE is a beautiful game now they've got the new graphics engine. Hell, it was beautiful before that.
CardJoe 19th October 2009, 13:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Centy-face

I read an interesting article by Jim Rossignol on RPS a year or two ago about the KRI show in Russia it's basically the E3 for the CIS countries and I got the distinct impression that what they are doing over there seems so fresh and imaginative compared to what's happening in the west and with games like STALKER really showing what atmosphere and story telling and immersion are I'm constantly looking at what is happening there. That's where I see the future of gaming and in time what happens on PC in the Ukraine and Russia is what will filter down to the consoles till we all become bored with that aswell. A fickle bunch we are but we don't really help ourselves by rushing out to buy Generic shooter 3 do we? all we are doing is proving them right.

I read the same one and, to be honest, I think it's a cultural thing. Their games just reference entirely different parts of their culture to ours, just like the Japanese games all reference different things. Unfortunately, once you understand those references then it becomes much of the same I think. In the 90s, Japan was the saving grace and future of the industry - but now much of it is quite samey. Sameish stories and styles. The same could easily hold true for Russian studios.
therson 19th October 2009, 14:02 Quote
interesting article...games will always be needed
http://www.photosnag.com/img/4713/n09x0302vnsn/clear.gif
chicorasia 19th October 2009, 14:06 Quote
Nice article.
Quote:
Graham Linehan recently said on Charlie Brooker’s GamesWipe that he thinks a lot of that is because game designers don’t read enough books and that modern games are made by people who watch more films than they read stories.

Unfortunately, games are being PLAYED by people who watch more films than they read stories too. Bioshock, for instance, requires a good knowledge of art, architecture and history in general so one can fully appreciate its complex layering, not to mention the crossed references to Orwell's 1984, to the works of the late 19th century utopian thinkers and the like.
Quote:
the idea of a silent, (and possibly unwilling) narrator is one that’s hard to explore in literature, but very much suited to games.

I'm, thinking of William Faulkner's "the Sound and The Fury", with a story told from multiple viewpoints, one of them from a mute/retarded teenager...
Quote:
even though I know the game back to front and always play with a particular style and plan in mind, I always get hit by indecision at that point, sometimes overwhelmed by the implicit question - what is the right thing to do?

For me, personally, that is what makes the difference between a great game and a masterpiece. Games that rely on the player's background, values and life history; that present situations where moral and ethical values rather than in-game and plot info are needed to make decisions.
jrs77 19th October 2009, 15:53 Quote
EvE Online graphics are far from dull tbfh. When was the last time you actually logged in to the game? The graphics-engine got totally overhauled with Trinity and the next graphics-update is coming December 1st.

The biggest problem with games (PC or console) is, that they don't have much more then some odd 50 hours of gameplay... for the usual 40 Euro that is. MMOs are far better when it comes to this point, and the social aspect of playing MMOs is what makes them much more interesting then a shooter or any single-player-game.
Bauul 19th October 2009, 16:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
The biggest problem with games (PC or console) is, that they don't have much more then some odd 50 hours of gameplay... for the usual 40 Euro that is. MMOs are far better when it comes to this point, and the social aspect of playing MMOs is what makes them much more interesting then a shooter or any single-player-game.

I dunno. Doom 2 cost me £25 back in 1996 and I still play it today. That's good value right there.
Tris 19th October 2009, 17:17 Quote
yeah, for me the old fps games were astonishing value - i bought UT99, UT2k3 and UT2k4 for a combined price of about £70 and got literally thousands of hours out of them. Of course that was thanks to dedicated servers, regular content updates (free) and a massive, highly skilled modding and mapmaking community that kept the games fresh long past their sell by dates.
It still baffles me that more games didn't adopt a similar approach and let the community create it's own content (the unreal editor included with the games was amazing).
CardJoe 19th October 2009, 17:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
With the increasing inclusion of support for indie developers, do you think we might start seeing more of the innovation on consoles in the future, where-as once it was a PC speciality.

Definitely, especially as consoles learn to attract the indie communities through PSN and XBLA. Indie devs go there because they know, unlike on PC, they can make a larger profit through a captive audience.
CardJoe 19th October 2009, 17:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
EvE Online graphics are far from dull tbfh. When was the last time you actually logged in to the game? The graphics-engine got totally overhauled with Trinity and the next graphics-update is coming December 1st.

Yes, I know - but it was a joke referencing back to the time when it looked like arse. Even now, it's still mostly a matter of spreadsheets and interfaces to most players, not 'splosions.
nukeman8 19th October 2009, 19:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
EvE Online graphics are far from dull tbfh. When was the last time you actually logged in to the game? The graphics-engine got totally overhauled with Trinity and the next graphics-update is coming December 1st.

Yes, I know - but it was a joke referencing back to the time when it looked like arse. Even now, it's still mostly a matter of spreadsheets and interfaces to most players, not 'splosions.

er what? i play eve and i certainly dont use spreadsheets and i see explosions, lots.

WoW has done seriously well considering the competition it had when it was released, shame its gone from being good to being ultra easy so that 6 year olds can play it.
JAMF 19th October 2009, 19:21 Quote
"What Half-Life did was introduce a third option; telling a story without cut scenes and without breaking from the FPS perspective, a method later used by..." if it's viewed for FPS games, that's true. For those that remember it though, the ground breaking game was Interstate '76.
Computer Gremlin 19th October 2009, 19:25 Quote
The article forgot to mention the single most important aspect of PC gaming: modding communities. People become inspired to make new games that challenge preexisting clichés. Homeworld 2 was left out as a good example of a story driven video game and it has a very strong modding community. When developers deny people the ability to freely mod a game from the day of release it kills the re-playability and removes user generated content.

To me FPS are dead. Regenerating health, claustrophobic field of view restrictions and forced game mechanics related to console porting do not make mainstream PC gaming worthwhile anymore. I might try The Path, Mount and Blade and more independent game developers for inspiration. The Thief mod using the Doom 3 engine is looking better every day.
Centy-face 19th October 2009, 20:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
I read the same one and, to be honest, I think it's a cultural thing. Their games just reference entirely different parts of their culture to ours, just like the Japanese games all reference different things. Unfortunately, once you understand those references then it becomes much of the same I think. In the 90s, Japan was the saving grace and future of the industry - but now much of it is quite samey. Sameish stories and styles. The same could easily hold true for Russian studios.

True, I remember an interview with the lead designer of the STALKER games talking about the inspiration for the game and obviously Roadside Picnic was mentioned but also the surroundings and the history of the Ukraine destroyed by war and shrouded by communism I can see why the post apocalyptic games are a favourite. I might not be able to see the bigger picture and what could happen down the line but for now the enthusiasm and originality in the CIS nations combined with the overwhelming prevalence of PCs rather than consoles they do seem like they have it all right now. Not to mention due to differences in production costs make it an ideal place for publishers to find talent on a smaller budget. I think ACE team (Zeno Clash) mentioned that as a plus about living in Chile, they never would have made their game on a typical European budget.
Red 5 19th October 2009, 23:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe in the article
It’s a long way from “The Princess is in another castle” to the likes of Braid.

Very well done. ;)
knuck 19th October 2009, 23:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tris
yeah, for me the old fps games were astonishing value - i bought UT99, UT2k3 and UT2k4 for a combined price of about £70 and got literally thousands of hours out of them. Of course that was thanks to dedicated servers, regular content updates (free) and a massive, highly skilled modding and mapmaking community that kept the games fresh long past their sell by dates.
It still baffles me that more games didn't adopt a similar approach and let the community create it's own content (the unreal editor included with the games was amazing).

yep

up until 3 years ago I was still in 3 clans playing on leagues.. and that was for UT99 !

Most of the UT communities would still be alive somewhat if it weren't for all the cheaters and obviously the lack of a proper and up to date anti cheat ...
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