Üks maailma juhtivamaid ajakirjanikke just mängunduse alal on koostanud edetabeli mängude evolutsioonist ja ka innovatiivsetest asjadest, mida on järgnevate mängupõlvkondade juures kasutatud. Siin on käputäis neist :
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From gameplay, to presentation to input devices, videogames are a hotbed of innovation. Ernest Adams notes 50 game design innovations, some that have already made their impact, and others that will shape the future of the medium…
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Fifty years ago William Higinbotham built the first videogame with an oscilloscope and some analog circuitry. While games have changed enormously since then, even todayâ€™s AAA blockbusters owe some of their success to design innovations made years earlier. In this article Iâ€™m going to look at 50 design advances that I feel were especially important, or will prove to be some day. Many of them are actually enhancements to older forms of play; sports, driving, and shooting go back to fairground games and mechanical coin-ops. Other genres, such as turn-based strategy, logic puzzles, and RPGs, began life on the dining room table. We have improved these earlier games in many ways, and the computer has allowed us to create new genres that would be impossible in any other medium.
Unfortunately the true innovator of a design idea is often forgotten, while a particularly successful later game gets the credit. For example, more people remember Pong than remember Ralph Baerâ€™s non-computerized design for the Magnavox Odyssey, even though Baerâ€™s work came first. To correct this tendency, Iâ€™ll list both the original inventor of the idea (if I could find it) and the best-known early example of the innovation. I donâ€™t promise to be right all the time; corrections are welcome.
By gameplay I mean the challenges that the game poses to the player, and the actions that the player may take to meet the challenges. The vast majority of these actions are obvious: jumping, steering, fighting, building, trading and so on. But some challenges and actions distinctly advanced the state of the art, and provided new ways for us to play.
The earliest computer games didnâ€™t offer exploration. Many were simulations set in one location, or afforded movement only through trivial spaces (e.g. Hunt the Wumpus, 1972). We eventually borrowed exploration from tabletop role-playing and turned it into extravaganzas like BioShock. True exploration provides ongoing novelty as you enter unfamiliar areas, and lets you make choices based on clues in the environment. Itâ€™s a different sort of challenge from combat, and attracts players who enjoy being virtual tourists. Probable first use: Colossal Cave, aka Adventure, 1975.
Storytelling is the subject of more acrimonious debate than any other design feature of videogames, even including the save-game issue. Should we do it or not, and if so, how? What does it mean? Is it even possible to do well? â€”and so on. Bottom line: not every game needs a story, but theyâ€™re here to stay. Without a story, a game is just an abstractionâ€”which can be enough to engage the player, but isnâ€™t always. First use is often attributed to Colossal Cave, but that was really a treasure-hunt without a plot. Possible first use: Akalabeth, precursor to the Ultima series, or Mystery House, both released in 1980.
Letâ€™s face it, most action games are about force. Even when confronted with overwhelmingly powerful enemies, your only option is to avoid their killing shots while grinding away at them or searching for their vulnerable spots. In stealth play the idea is to never even let the enemies know youâ€™re there, and it requires a completely different approach from the usual Rambo-style mayhem. Best-known early example: Thief: The Dark Project, 1998. First use: unknown.
4. Avatars with their own personalities.
If you werenâ€™t around in the early days this one might surprise you. The first adventure games, and most other computer games too, described the world as if you, the player, were actually in the gameâ€”not a representation of you, but you. Consequently, the games could make no assumptions about your age, sex, social position, or anything elseâ€”which meant that NPC interactions with your avatar were always rather bland. The early video games, too, mostly displayed vehicles (Asteroids, Space Invaders) or no avatar at all (Pong, Night Driver). Avatars with independent personalities required you to identify with someone different from yourself, but they increased the dramatic possibilities in games enormously. Best-known early example: Pac-Man, 1980 (if you can call that a personality; otherwise, Jumpman, aka Mario, in Donkey Kong, 1981). Possible first use: Midwayâ€™s Gun Fight coin-op, 1975.
In most party-based RPGs and shooters like Ghost Recon, you can control any of the characters individually, but thatâ€™s not really leadership. The true challenge of leadership is delegating to others who might disobey you, especially when you have to take over an existing team without any choice about whoâ€™s in it. The strengths and weaknesses of your people determine how well they succeed at the tasks you give them, so judging their characters and abilities becomes a critical skill. A little-known but excellent example is King of Dragon Pass, 1999. Best-known early example: Close Combat, 1996. First use: unknown.
Not new with computer gamesâ€”the board game Diplomacy was first published in 1959. The big problem for computers has always been making credible AI for computer opponents, but weâ€™re starting to get this right. As with leadership, diplomacy is more about judgment of character than counting hit points. Best-known early example: Civilization, 1991. Probable first use: Balance of Power, 1986.
7. Mod support.
Modding is a form of gameplay; itâ€™s creative play with the meta-game. The earliest games werenâ€™t just moddable, they were open-source, since their source code was printed in magazines like Creative Computing. When we began to sell computer games, their code naturally became a trade secret. Opening commercial games up to modding was a brilliant move, as it extended the demand for a game engine far beyond what it would have been if players were limited to the content that came in the box. Best-known early example: Doom, 1993. Probable first use: The Arcade Machine, 1982, which was a construction set for arcade-like games. Purists may debate whether construction set products count as moddable games, but the key point is that they enlisted the player to build contentâ€”long before â€œWeb 2.0â€ or indeed the Web itself.
8. Smart NPCs with brains and senses.
In an early 2D turn-based game called Chase, you were trapped in a cage filled with electric fences and some robots trying to kill you. All the robots did was move towards you. If you could get behind an electric fence, theyâ€™d walk into it and fryâ€”and that was the sum total of NPC intelligence for about ten years. Then we began to implement characters with vision and hearing and limits to both. We also gave them rudimentary brainpower in the form of finite state machines and, eventually, the ability to cooperate. Some of the most sophisticated NPC AI is now in sports games, where athletes have to work in concert to achieve a collective goal. I consider this a design feature, as itâ€™s something designers asked for and programmers figured out how to implement. First use: unknown.
9. Dialog tree (scripted) conversations.
Early efforts to include interactive conversation in computer games were pretty dire. The parsers in text adventures were okay for commands (â€œGIVE DOUGHNUT TO COPâ€) but not for ordinary speech (â€œHey, mister, do you know anybody around here who can sell me an Amulet of Improved Dentistry+5?â€). With a dialog tree the game gives you a choice of pre-written lines to say, and the character youâ€™re talking to responds appropriately. If the game allows it, you can role-play a bit by choosing the lines that most closely match the attitude you want to express. Written well, scripted conversations read like natural dialog and can be funny, dramatic, and even moving. The hilarious insult-driven sword fights in the Monkey Island games are sterling examples of the form. First use: unknown.
10. Multi-level gameplay.
With a board game everything usually takes place on the same board, as in Monopoly or Risk. Computer games (and tabletop RPGs) often let you switch between two modes, from high-level strategy to low-level tactics. And only a computer can let you zoom in and out to any level you wantâ€”as Spore apparently will do. Are you a micromanager or a master of strategy who doesnâ€™t sweat the small stuff? Different games demand different approaches. Best-known early example: Archon: The Light and the Dark, 1983. First use: unknown.