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What Next Next Gen Gaming Needs: More Immersion

This generation of gaming has brought us closer to Hollywood movies (kind of), with more realistic like graphics and better storytelling, but where could gaming be in 5 years? What could make gaming more entertaining and mind blowing? What could gaming add to put it on par with Hollywood movies? What’s the next step that next generation consoles must take?

No, I’m not talking about motion controllers or 3D gaming necessarily, I’m talking about immersion. Taking us into the worlds in which we play in (not literally). Making us feel like we’re in those worlds, facing those problems, trying to survive. Trying to hold onto what is left, while still moving on.

Immersive gaming IS the next step forward in what gaming should be and here are some examples of what I mean:

Insult to injury- You know how it is when you’re being chased by someone and you lose a shoe, but you keep running, trying to get away from them. Well what if gaming had that? I don’t really mean the shoe part, but that idea of having something happen and still moving forward (carrying on). Here is an example: You’re a soldier and a bullet hits you in the leg, you’re still able to walk, but you move slower and can’t shoot and walk at the same time, or you get shot in the head and your vision is blurred (making it harder to shoot) and you can’t think straight. While the whole head thing is not realistic, it gives you a sense that something has happened and you must still carry on, dealing with your injury, until you can get help.

A new perspective- While 3D itself isn’t exactly new, it being implemented into games is. Some people don’t think 3D gaming will do anything for gaming, but if you’ve ever watched Avatar in 3D, you’ll know how amazing 3D really is when it’s implemented right. It’s not a gimmick; it’s another way to immerse us into the worlds the developers create, so stop all the hate.

Mastering the storm- While motion controllers are becoming the next thing in gaming, being able to have more control over how you play your games is cool, but there’s something that I personally feel could be even better, like how Sony’s motion controllers globe at the end of them can change colors depending on what you’re doing, but at a whole new level. Having a controller that would change temperatures depending on where you are at in a game, like if you’re in Alaska the controller would get colder or vice versa if you’re in Africa, would be immersing you into the world and would be really awesome. Going beyond that, you could have something that would blow out air if you were in a place where it was windy or ect. There are endless possibilities that could enhance your experience.

A swing and a miss- Motion controllers seem to be the future, if some of you like it or not, but what motion controllers seem to miss is feeling like your really doing those things, not just swinging a controller around, like an eight year old does when there playing warriors or something. They need to be implemented better, like instead of shaking your controller to break into a car, you should make it seem like you’re breaking the cars window, than opening the door with the handle. By making it simple enough where it doesn’t seem like a chore, but real enough to immerse you into the game, there would be a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment. Also, motion Controllers shouldn’t just be about a bunch of casual games, they would work well with hardcore games like God of War 3 or Infamous if used right.

Faint whispers- While this generation has brought us great sound quality and some incredible voice acting, the worlds seem very limited by the sounds the developers put in their games. They don’t have any sounds that depict that there are things happening around you, just what’s in front of you, like when you’re playing a war game and there seems to be no war happening beyond what you’re fighting in or when you’re playing a RPG with a dragon up ahead, but you can’t hear it. Those are things that would immerse you into the game if they had sound effects like that, giving you a feeling that something’s there, but you just can’t see it.

Dodging a bullet- One thing gaming seems to forget that people/creatures react differently to things that are happening, like when you point a gun at a civilian and they do nothing or just duck down or say, “watch where your point that thing.” They don’t really react like your actually pointing a loaded gun at them. I don’t mean they should kneel and pray, while screaming out “Oh god NO! please don’t kill me!!”, but a more realistic reaction would be better, because who’s really just going to just stand there while you’re pointing a gun at them? Not only am I talking about reactions in shooters, but in any game. Characters should react differently when things are happening within the worlds.

The world around us- When playing games, you never really feel like the worlds are real. When you’re playing Grand Theft Auto 4 and I never see a squirrel running about or when I played Far Cry 2 and never saw the grass/trees blow in the wind. Those are little details, but they add to the worlds and make a sense of realism, that games have yet to include.

As an angel cries- Games have evolved a lot from last gen, but one thing gaming seems to miss is the emotions the characters you play and the characters around have. There never seems to happiness, misery, pain, sadness and ect. The worlds, in which you play in, seem without emotions at all, like when Trish dies in infamous or when Nariko’s father dies in Heavenly Sword, there are just no emotions at all, and it’s as if they never died. Gaming worlds need emotions, it makes them feel more real and it makes the stories more interesting to play.

While some of these things could be implemented this gen, having an even more advanced gaming machine next gen could take these to a whole new level, because they would have more power to be able to add these more effectively, making the games more immersive and while some people may find these things unnecessary, I think they would add a lot to gaming.

Reader Questions: What things on my list would you like to see the most? What things would you not want to see? What other things do you think could add to immersion in gaming? What kind of things would you like to do with motion controllers? What would you rate this blog as (1-10)?

thor4876d ago

1) Firstly I agree wholeheartedly that we need to see more immersion in games. More detail is certainly one way of achieving this. I think some games have made a good effort to put a load of detail in, though they have a long way to go as there are always ways to break the immersion; after all, game characters are not intelligent humans and so should not be expected to behave like humans. Though we should certainly try to get closer.

Emotion in games is a tricky issue. On the one hand, we would like to care about the characters we play as. On the other, in most games we just want to go around blasting stuff. However I think there is definitely room in every game to add a little more emotion. Just tell us who the characters are, do they have family? Are they going to be missed if they die? I'd definitely like to see more emotion in games and I hope Heavy Rain is a good start.

2) I think some of these things are silly because they don't work from a gameplay perspective. For a start, games such as Deus Ex (released a decade ago, I think) already make it so your injuries stay with you, but from a gameplay perspective you need some way of getting healed, even though in real life it'd take at least a few weeks to recover from a serious gunshot wound.

The little details you mention can, and have, increased immersion in the game world. However doing such things in such a simplistic way will only lead to more problems. For example, having pedestrians scream and run away as soon as you point your gun at them becomes a problem as soon as you're simply walking down the street and your crosshair happens to move across them. Then it looks odd - all this time you've been walking up to them with a gun, and only because you coincidentally moved your crosshair over them they are now terrified. Likewise, having trees that blow in the wind is useless if, when you shoot the tree, throw a grenade at it or drive a car into it, it doesn't react. To be truly immersive I think a lot more things need to be considered.

3D is not new, you mentioned this, but nor is it new in games. I'm sure there are plenty of SNES games that supported 3D, even before most games had 3D graphics. If not SNES games, there have certainly been many 3D games before 2010. 3D has drawbacks, among them being the fact that it's not the same as 3D in real life. In real life, even if I close one eye, I still see in 3D. I still have to focus differently on objects that are close and far away. 3DTV lacks this, because it relies on receiving a different 2D image through each eye. Thus for certain games it can lead to a loss of information - whilst most games use an idealised projection system such that everything is in focus, 3D games need to fix a focus point. That means that in GT5, the in-car view will always be out of focus when the track isn't (this makes sense for real-life except the game assumes you're always looking at the track, since it can't know where you're looking). The other problem is that if you try to focus on different objects it's a bit jarring since they're actually the same distance away.

Motion controls I also have a problem with. There's a reason that if I want to search for something on Google I don't draw a picture of it with my mouse. There's a reason why if I want to break into a car in GTA (as I may often want to do) I simply press one button (since it is a common action) rather than gesturing the motion with the controller. It's because of convenience. The game itself is not about the challenge of breaking into cars, so why make it a chore? It doesn't add immersion in any real sense, becuase I'm don't feel as though I'm breaking into a car, I feel as though I'm waving a controller about. At least when I only have to press a button I can forget about the controller since it's so natural to use. There's a reason the lights are darkened in the cinema.

Hmmm maybe I would rate this blog 6/10, if only because I don't agree with most of the points put forward. I agree with the general sentiment however.

yesah4876d ago

Why don't you put a spoiler warning? Some people have yet to play that far into infamous or heavenly sword. And those are huge spoilers.

Forbidden_Darkness4876d ago

I cant wait forever, just because some people are late to the party. I could say anything about a game and it would be a spoiler to someone.

FamilyGuy4876d ago

I've never played FF7 but if a remake gets made I'll pick that up and I have no issues with the fact that I know Aerth (or whatever) dies.

People shouldn't be bothered to shield others from game spoilers when they've had ample time to play the games if they were interested in them in the first place.

On the main topic: TLDR, LOL

4874d ago
coolfool4875d ago (Edited 4875d ago )

I always thought that the real sense to add immersion is smell. Smells are something you pick up on and notice sub consciously. Whether it be the familiar smell of your Grandparents place or the smell of your favourite food, it has a really strong link to memories. How many times have you caught the slight scent of something and instantly you are transported years to the past, right back to place where you predominantly caught that smell. To tap into this kind of power could put gaming on a whole new level.

In war games you could be in a battle field and have the smell of burning and smoke or gunpowder and sulphur. Or the smell of trees and plants in a jungle scene.

Now, back to reality. I read that it is possible to create smells from combining a base set of chemicals. So a developer could have their own combination for each scene. I have no idea how feasible this is but I like the thought of it.

Just found this:

on another note, i agree with yesah

Why should everyone's gaming pace be the same as yours? Just give them the choice whether to read on or not and put in a spoiler warning.

People play games in different order, not everyone has time to play every game in the now.

Raf1k14875d ago

I think quite a few of the things you're looking for can be found in a very limited number of games. Half-Life 2 comes to mind.

I seem to remember a Far Cry 2 tech demo showing trees and grass moving and even dynamic weather. here it is. jump to about 50 seconds in.

It comes down to the developers and how much effort they want into making the world believable. I think we're getting there but slowly. I think developers tend to focus on the things that will be noticed as some things simply aren't picked up on by the majority of gamers and are therefore not appreciated which means all the extra work would go largely unnoticed.

Ashriel4875d ago

About "Insult to injury":

There was a Quake 2 multiplayer mod called "Action Quake". It had a very unique way of dealing with damage to the player:

When you are shot, you lose health points with time, the only way to prevent losing more health was a "bandage" function. The player is defenseless for 6 seconds while "bandaging" his wound.

Also, if the player falls from a certain height, the character's legs break, so the player starts to walk with a slight limp, the only way to stop this, was bandaging. The same happened if the player got shot in the legs.

It was something I've never seen in another game and it would really cool if it was implemented now.

Keep in mind I'm talking about a mod released in 1998!

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