As anybody who reads my blog regularly will know (which I guess is probably pretty close to nobody) I’m a big fan of American Football, and therefore I’m also a fan of the Madden computer games. However, even I’ve noticed that the product they churn out year on year is very similar, so I’m reluctant to pay full price, and usually wait a while before stumping up for the new version.

Anyway, in the last version, which my sister in law bought me for Christmas (thanks Jem) you can upload a couple of pictures of yourself into the game and map them onto your career players. So here I am:

My wife said it looks like me when I was younger - erm, thanks

My wife said it looks like me when I was younger – erm, thanks

There has been a trend recently for engaging your users and allowing them to upload their own content, and I think these results are pretty good, but they pale in comparison to what it seems will be coming. A week or so ago I blogged about a GDC session from Activision where they detailed how they were rendering next generation characters, with extremely detailed textures (1000k x 2000k – that’s 2,000,000 pixels and god knows how many channels for just one face!) with very impressive results.

Is this the face of what next-generation character generation will look like?

Is this the face of what next-generation character generation will look like?

The face above requires a massive amount of graphical assets, and that means it comes at a massive – and probably unsustainable cost. What does this mean for games? Only a handful of studios will be able to afford to compete with each other in the triple-A market, where they will use characters of this fidelity. The rest will have to move away from even attempting realistic looking games. Does that mean more quirky solutions like Borderlands, or more unique games all together, that rely on gameplay over graphics?

Another interesting point to make is the pursuit of emotive characters. All those years ago when Electronic Arts set themselves the lofty goal of a game that you would be emotionally involved enough in to make you cry and these new characters are edging even closer. Sadness is a far more subtle emotion that excitement or anger, or even fear but with more believable characters could invoke a more empathetic response. It makes me scared for what’s going to happen to that dog in Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Anyway, if you’re particularly interested in that here’s a pretty picture of the results and a link to the (probably illegal) video from the session itself.

Advertisements