The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
As a submariner, I used to think military games didn’t have
enough submarines in them. So, like any wannabe modder would do, I set out to
create a mod that had a submarine in it. I quickly learned it wasn’t nearly as
easy as I thought and so I never got a submarine map. Now, it seems like nearly
every military themed game that comes out has a submarine or a submarine base
or a submarine mission. Apparently someone stole my idea. It’s okay though. I’m
happy. I have my submarines now.
Perhaps you have had this happen before...it happens to me
all the time. You come up with a really good idea. An original idea, or at the
very least, something a bit out of the ordinary. It might be something small
like a different game play mode or map location that hasn't been visited a
hundred times before; or something big that could revolutionize the entire
gaming community. You think about it. Ponder it. Dream about it. And just when
you have the idea nailed down, you wake up and read in the news that Game A or
Company X is introducing this idea...your idea...and the community is on fire
over the whole deal. You didn't think anyone would ever come up with this idea,
so you didn't share it with anyone. Not your significant other, not co-workers,
not even the family dog. Of course telling anybody that you had the idea first
is pointless, because they always look at you with THAT look. You know THAT look.
The "I hear what you're saying but I think you are full of --it"
Another example, (that I certainly can't prove and in no way
could have ever created this on my own...)
I remember after the kids and I saw the movie, "The Incredibles",
we talked about how a first person shooter with those kinds of graphics would
be awesome (I was looking for something a little less violent than Quake or
Unreal for the wee ones).
A few years later...what did we get? Team Fortress
2...and Battlefield: Heroes. (Granted they are every bit as graphic as other
first person shooters, but hey, at least with TF2 its cartoon gibs, LOL.)
Heck, Microsoft is even capitalizing off of this whole
concept with their Windows 7 commercials, where the person claims that
Microsoft implemented one of their own grand ideas in the new operating system.
When this happened, sometimes it would really frustrate me.
I would sigh in exasperation and mumble how Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or John
Carmack or Infinity Ward or Nintendo was stealing my ideas again. But then it
dawned on me. Based on my current occupation and technical background in the
video game industry (or lack of), my only real connection with the gaming
community is as a product tester and freelance writer. That's a fancy way of
saying I play video games and write about them.
While the chance of me actually coming up with an idea as
awesome as the invention of sliced bread might be fairly high (hey, I'm being
optimistic), the chance of me actually implementing said idea or whispering it
in the ear of someone who could make it a reality is very slim. Like, so slim,
I think I have a higher chance of winning the Power Ball lottery, with current
odds of 1 in 195,249,054. (Maybe tonight is my night?)
But now I have a new outlook. One that perhaps might help
you if you are also a visionary that thinks about the future of gaming. Now
when this happens, I consider it a compliment. It validates how in tune I (or
you) am with the game development community. When I think of something and see
Microsoft or Apple or Sony or major game companies introduce it, then I know
someone must have thought it was a good idea to get the endorsement from the
executives to move forward with the concept.
(For the record, I had nothing to do with the NES Power
Yes, it happens all the time, probably for you too. I'll try
and be brief and keep it to a couple of examples of my own. And while I can't
prove that I thought of them first and am certainly not suggesting I did, I do
have some previous blogs that document some of my thoughts and ideas, which can
be compared and contrasted with the various news spots and articles published
by the handfuls of sites dedicated to following industry trends.
1. PSP Sony phone - In a blog dated February 26, 2010, I
discussed how my iPhone had replaced my PSP as my portable gaming device of
choice. I ended with a call to Sony to solve the problem by creating a PSP with
a phone capability. Sure, there have been rumors of this before, but days after
my post...on March
04, 2010, the lights were on in the rumor mill as the Wall Street
Journal posted an article indicating that Sony is working on one.
2. Cloud Computing - While the concept of cloud computing
isn't really all that new, it being explored and implemented in a gaming
environment is. In a blog dated February 18, 10, I suggested that cloud
computing is here to stay and the way of the future. Ironically, on March 04, 2010 -
at a conference held at the University of Washington, Microsoft's own Steve
Ballmer "bet the company" on cloud computing.
Lucky guesses, coincidences, reasonable expectations or
simply subconscious ideas that have been circulating for years. Maybe, maybe
not. Again, it's one of those things that are difficult to prove. But as I
mentioned, with my new perspective, it's not frustrating anymore, it's actually
kind of neat.
So, what does the future hold...what does the Magic 8 Ball
say...who knows for sure...but here are a couple of items that I've talked
about before and we're starting to get a glimpse of.
1. Cross Platform - I think one day, with the transformation
of cloud computing and technology improvements, there will be a capability in
the near future that allows certain titles to be merged and enjoyed by users on
all the different platforms. It's not a new concept as there are a handful of
games (although not very successful) that bridge the gap between the PC and
Xbox 360. Microsoft even recently publicized their pursuit of bridging the PC,
Xbox 360 and phones using MS operating systems.
Some gamers stick to a
particular platform because that's what all their friends have. Imagine if it
didn't matter what you had, you were able to log on to a game and meet up with
players from around the world, regardless of what platform they are using. I
think we've only scratched the surface of what is to come and whoever is able
to successfully implement it first is going to be able to retire and move to
the Virgin Islands a wealthy person.
2. Cross Genre (no, not cross gender…cross genre) - I think
one industry expert (can't remember who) labeled it, "blurring of
genres". Again, something we are starting to see and have witnessed in the
past, but have not even scratched the surface of what's to come (or so I
think). One of the games with the most potential in this area is EVE Online and
DUST 514, which is being labeled a FPS/MMO Hybrid. One of my favorite games that
I feel explored multiple genres was Battlefield 2 - you could drive or fly
vehicles (which certainly wasn't as technical or complex as a full fledged
driving/flight simulator) or you could play commander, which somewhat resembled
components of a real time strategy game. Imagine in the future, gamers playing
a RTS type game send in their units to do battle, and the units are actually
other players. If they're ground forces, then game play might be like a FPS; if
they are mobilized units then game play might be like a simulator. All in one
glorious battle space. Heck, the virtual people back at home taking care of the
kids might be real gamers treated to game play like in the Sims. How far do we
3. Apple - In a recent blog, I speculated whether Apple is
(or would ever) consider making a game console to compete with the big three
currently in existence. Apple is making truckloads of money on all of its other
products and gaming is one area where they always seem to suffer. But recent
activity seems to indicate a more than a casual interest in changing this
News of Valve/Steam and a collection of their games coming to the
Mac certainly should raise an eyebrow or two. So does the fact that the Unreal
3.0 engine is being converted to run on the iPhone/iTouch platforms. A Mac
console? I wouldn’t be surprised.
So, what about you? Do you have any ideas or thoughts that
you think the industry is progressing towards? Or, an idea that you are holding
close to your chest because it's so unique and brilliant you don't want to
share it just yet? Well, if that's true, proceed with caution or else someone
might come up with it first and then it's their idea. Share it here (or in your
own blog) and remove all doubts whose idea it really is/was.
The Magic 8 Ball says…
Last thing…do you have any original ideas worth a
$1,000,000? Apparently Nexon is offering a sponsorship and publishing deal.
Check it out here.