Tuesday, February 26, 2008

They can put a man on the moon...

No debating about whether or not the moon landing was faked. It happened, get over it, article now.

Ever notice that gaming technology has come so incredibly far, yet problems from the early days still exist? I mean, seriously, they can put a man on the moon, but...

...they can't give FPS characters feet?

Ever play a first-person-shooter (FPS) and look directly down? What do you see? Most likely, you see nothing but floor. Where the hell are my feet? Not only is this a little odd (Am I just a floating arm with a gun?), but it can often lead to disorientation when standing near a cliff or edge.

Here's a little experiment for you: Fire up your favourite FPS (Halo, Half-Life 2, heck, even Portal will work). Walk up to a ledge and look down. Continue to move forward until the cliff takes up about %50 of the screen, while the other half is the ground below. Stand up, turn 180 degrees, and look down again. Voila, you're floating!

Nothing strange here...

I can flyyyyyyyy!!!!

Can FPS characters please grow some legs already?

...they can't stop clothes from clipping through stuff?

Anybody who has played a 3D Zelda game for more than five minutes knows exactly what I'm talking about here. Just in case, here's a screenshot showing off the problem:

Look closely at the circled area. Notice something? How about the fact that Link's sword is sticking THROUGH his hat? The screenshot above is just one minor example of this.

Textures and character models get better and better, but clothes still manage to phase through junk! Would it be so hard to assign some sort of physical mesh to the hat, leading it to be treated like a real-life object? Use whatever technology that keeps people from walking through walls and falling through floors and use it on the hat! If we're going to be staring at it for hours on end, at least make it look good!

...they still can't eliminate load times?

Back in the early days, things were good. You popped a game in the NES, turned it on and started playing. But with the advent of disc-based games, load times reared their ugly heads.

The Playstation (The first commercially-successful, disc-based game console) launched way back in 1994, 14 years ago. And in this time, loading has still remained a huge problem. Developers seem to improve so many things when making new consoles, but load times don't seem to be one of those things. It seems that the only way to fight load times is to keep games (And consoles) simple.

Modern gamers are all too familiar with the above words

Maybe, one day, all games will be on computer chips or something like that. Perhaps then would load times finally cease to exist...

...they still can't find good voice actors?

Fire up almost any game with voice acting, and you'll soon find yourself reaching for the mute button on your remote. From Elebits to Sonic and the Secret Rings, far too many games feature utterly talentless voice actors. The voice over in the latter was so bad, I switched it over to Japanese voices, only to hear the same terrible acting in a different language. I don't even know Japanese, but I could tell it was terrible.

So where are all the good voice actors? It seems you can't find a good one unless you're playing a licensed title. There's the occasional exception, but mostly every game has terrible acting. I've racked my brain, and I can barely come up with a handful of examples of good voice over in a game.

Somebody, please keep the cast of Elebits away from here!

I've mentioned a game or two in the past that I believed would benefit from voice-acting. I stand by this, but with the minor caveat that they be good actors providing the voices.

Technology has come so far, yet some simple little problems persist. Can you think of anything else gaming-related you expected to see solved by now? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section or in this forum thread.

The Duck Has Spoken.

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