Gaming Technology

Preparing for next generation gaming.

 Next generation gaming PS4 vs X Box One

I woke up to a lot of technology news today. News was coming in from E3 that the new PS4 and X-Box have been previewed and were all set for a holiday launch. Exciting news in its own, this was also followed by the fact that iOS7 had also been previewed along with a revolutionary Mac Pro by Apple in an entirely different forum. It seemed to be a good day for tech enthusiasts the world over.  

Gamers have been waiting a long time for these next generation consoles. The media has been rife with speculation over what these two consoles had in store. Which is nothing new.  I remember seeing the last PS3 and Xbox being launched in India years ago. I always wanted to buy either, but have kept putting that off and viola we have two brand new consoles coming our way. I remember back then a friend of mine and I were awed by the graphics on the PS3 at that time. These days I doubt that would be the case with PC gamers having enough power in their GPUs to compete easily. Whats more PC games are become more visual with less hardware requirements.  When these consoles do hit the Indian markets I expect there to be an all-out marketing blitz by both parties. The PS4 being the cheaper model is probably going to beat the X-box for a cash strapped Indian gamer. This said, how expensive will these games be? In India especially I expect the PS3 will see a price cut and probably a lot of takers. And who knows, the PS2 may finally be laid to rest here. These consoles are targeted at more mature gamers, I doubt a lot parents will splurge on the hefty price tag for their kids to take one of these new consoles home.

Gameplay in its essence will not change with these two new consoles. Yes with the touch controller that the PS4 is providing, we may see a few innovations. But really do you think that swiping and flicking actions that we have come to associate with casual games on tablets can really be made to good use in a full-blown gaming title? I am sure someone will crack it.

The games that really caught my eye were two IPs that have already left their marks on gaming. The return of Garrett in Thief and Faith from Mirror’s Edge. While I have to confess I never really played either of the original games to their completion, these two new titles do look like a lot of eye candy.

 From a hardware standpoint I found both consoles to be quite unappealing. While the last time these consoles went head to head you had the pristine white X-box was visibly well differentiated by the glossy black PS3. Now both of these devices look like black boxes. I’d have loved to see a little bit more styling on both. Currently though I kind of prefer the look of the PS4 to the new X-Box.

The question to be asked by all in the communication field is with games becoming more cinematic, when will we sit up and sign them on for product endorsements?


Game Writing

A C-130 cargo plane hurtles towards the earth in flames caused by a freak lightning storm, as you desperately try to get out of the way on the ensuing carnage. A private detective is taken to new heights as he ascends into the heavens on a magical chair ride from a mysterious lighthouse. While these may sound like scenes from a movie, these are scenes from two of this year’s most promising gaming titles. Tomb Raider & Bioshock Infinite. Two games that match the cinematic thrill frame by frame that any of this year’s silver screen blockbusters can offer. Have a look at their respective trailers. Mind you both trailers are made from in game footage solely. A good indicator of how technology has progressed to deliver such visual treats to gamers.

Having finished Tomb Raider and started on Bioshock, it makes me think that this is the best time to get into gaming. The level of detailing that has gone into the plot of Bioshock is amazing. What with the number of recorded messages that the game environment is peppered with, not to mention the video recordings. All of them slowly adding layers and building up the story. Gaming today is a platform for unparalleled story telling. These two games are proof enough.

As a writer gaming is a fantastic alternative if you can’t get into the movies. Think about it. Set design in gaming is as good as that of Hollywood. So you can set your story anywhere you wish. Narrative in gaming has never been stronger and ours is a generation who can associate with gaming protagonists just like our previous generation can associate with comic book heroes. Games are interactive and get viewers really involved in the experience & story, even if it is a linear one. And some games offer the user to mould the story and the protagonist as they wish, with multiple endings. Games like movies also have sequels and trilogies and games that run like modern day soap operas.

Which made me think, of all the games I’ve played and the stories they have told, which are the ones (and the characters) that come to mind. Here is my list below.

  1. Wolf 3D – Don’t remember the character name just the pixelated animation of him running free after the end of the demo.
  2. Half Life- Who can ever forget Dr. Gordon Freeman and his trusty crowbar
  3. Prince of Persia – with so many hairdos to boot and so many incarnations, the Prince is a celeb as good as any A-list celebrity
  4. Mass Effect – Commander – Shepherd – while I’m not a fan of the first Mass Effect, was hooked by the second and third ones.
  5. Thief – Garret
  6. Tomb Raider – Lara Croft
  7. Nathan Drake – though I have never played any of the Unchartered  games till date
  8. Max Payne





The Oculus

I first heard about the Oculus Rift from a friend of mine, who had put up a post on Facebook. Now the post had no description about what the Oculus Rift really was, yet being a fellow gamer, I decided to look it up. We’ve all seen virtual reality headsets in movies. Some of the famous ones that come to mind is Keanu Reeves in Johny Mnemonic and Michael Douglas in Disclosure. The Oculus Rift, ties todays hyper-real games to what for the better part is a virtual reality headset to use by plugging it into your PC.

The Oculus Rift is the brainchild of John Carmack from id Software, the creator of the all famed computer game – Doom. As a proof of concept Carmack has introduced the Oculus Rift developer kit that includes the headset and a bundled version of doom. They say seeing is believing, though I haven’t seen it yet, I am quite the believer.

However, this by far is just the beginning. If you think about this and marry this technology to some other existing technology, the results are exciting. For example, what if you could have a wireless Oculus rift and combine it with a Sony Play Station Move controller or the X-Box Kinect. Not only would your perspective be rendered perfectly in virtual reality, so would your gestures. That would really make for an immersive experience.