Friday, 1 April 2011

Elements of game technology, part three: interaction design

For people who are involved with games, the idea that the controller/joystick was over looked for so long seems quite bemusing. It’s similar to the fact that Peter Durand invented the tin can in 1810. The tin can opener was invented by Ezra Warner in 1858. However the can opener is gigantic Face palm in comparison to the joystick.

With every art form and technology evolution is a natural and necessary progression. The thought that simulation is the next step in computer games though worries me. I own a WII and have played the PlayStation and Microsoft versions. I found the gameplay amusing at first but if you are playing a through a game and putting in the hours, you do get tired and naturally find a way to play the game in the laziest manner. Everyone I’m sure has walked in a room and seen a hand flapping up and down. Then when walking towards the person realised they’re playing Tennis on the WII and merely resting their arm in their lap.

The success of the games industry so far in its short existence is due to the gamers who lay in bed and power through endless puzzles, plot twists and noob tubes. I fear that with the new technology of motion capture the big players may forget this. A console based purely on physical movement as input is suicide to the industry. If you’re new to my blog and reading this, you must be thinking I’m a fat computer nerd saying that he doesn’t want to do exercise. I’ll let you know that I was heading for a career in football/soccer until I dislocated my knee and destroying it. I was also and keen rugby player and sprinter for my area. My point is I love exercise but I don’t want to be doing it when I’m relaxing. I play video games to relax and the last thing I want is to be in my front room in gym gear and have my knee give way on me. I would then have to ring the emergency services and explain I’ve collapsed because I was trying to reach level 4.

I think in the next couple of years the industry has to make the line between interactive games and traditional controller games clear. If you could give the player the choice of holding a plastic stick or controller then fair enough. The last thing I want to see it one of the great games such as Mortal Kombat being played with real time sensor pads on my Dad and his mates in the lounge at Christmas.

I would like to point out that I’m not against simulation. Over the summer I worked for a racing simulation company at Silverstone race circuit. Simulation can play out in scenarios in many industries and fields of business making it an important area of the gaming world, as it has a lot to offer the real world.

And thus concludes this blog entry. I’m going to have a rest for a bit and play some Total War with Napoleon.

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