Looking Realistic…

So far in Digital Worlds, I have tried to avoid spending too much time – if any – looking at particular games; the intention of Digital Worlds is not, after all, to be a game reviews site. Instead, I have tried to explore something of the historical context to interactive media, as well as considering some of the design and development issues that relate to computer games.

Over the next few posts, I intend to explore the boundaries of computer games, looking at environments that are in some way “game-like”, and whose aesthetics, as well as technical architecture, owe much to contemporary computer gaming.

If you have one of the recent generation consoles (XBox 360, PS3 or Wii) you’ll know what the current ‘state of the art’ is in terms of look and feel of the latest ‘hardcore’ computer games (that is, major release game console titles rather than online casual games).

For the rest of us, I picked out a few videos that seem to show what’s currently possible… if you find some other good examples, please…

To set the scene, and show just how far games have come on since the ‘last generation’ consoles (like the PS2, which is now found in millions of homes across the world), the following is a trailer for the game Grand Theft Auto III:

I suspect that for many people, this is the sort of thing they typically imagine console based computer games to be nowadays (unless they have encountered the rather more family friendly Nintendo Wii games).

The cartoon graphics are ‘comic like’ and the movement not particularly smooth.

However, for the demographic for whom “better graphics” is one of the the key features of a “better game”, the games for the current generation consoles are still chasing ‘photorealism’. This point was briefly touched on in Bringing the Digital World Alive, with respect to the convergence between games and cinema of certain game/film franchises.

This is particularly true of many driving games, where the game essentially provides a car simulator that can be driven in a range of racing environments – Grand Prix circuits, rally tracks, urban streets, and so on.

In the cartoon world, games are becoming as “hyper-realistic” as many CGI animated films, as this advert for Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games demonstrates:

So that’s what the games consoles are offering today… and you can find similar looking games for your PC, too…

If you would rather have a more detailed browse through some game artwork, then the GameDaily Video Game Screenshots gallery is well worth a visit.

In the next post on this theme, we’ll have a look at how some organisations are taking game-like worlds seriously and have begun using them as the basis of training environments…

[The videos contained in this post can also be seen on the “Looking Realistic…” show on the Digital Worlds video channel.]

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