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Mail Bag

Wednesday, June 3, 1998

Date: Tuesday, June 02, 1998 5:45 AM
From: crash
Subject: what's the next leap going to be?

saw the letter from Jason Wallace in your 2 June mailbag (very well done, btw; that last paragraph about "what do you do? shoot people!" cracked me up because it's so true), and the line that caught my attention was this one:

"The genre has been around since Wolf3D, and the only thing that changes from one game to the next is technology.  Gameplay is exactly the same."

this is also true, and that's what got me to thinking. from Wolf3d to Doom, the technology added variable lighting, variable-angled architecture, varied height architecture, and floor and ceiling texturing (including sky). from Doom to Quake, the technology added "true" over and under 3d along with full-bodied enemies, weapons, and details -- we got polygons. there hasn't been a true "leap" in technology since Quake, when you get right down to it; Quake2 added some enhancements, and Unreal has added a few more, but the underlying technology is basically the same -- polygonal enemies and objects, and "true" 3d.

so what's next? what _can_ be next, without running an Infinity or O2 or similar? the detail can get finer and finer, and the textures can get prettier and prettier, and the lighting can get more and more "real," and the poly counts can keep rising... but those really aren't leaps so much as they are refinements. i think Mr. Wallace hit it right on the head when he noted that there has been more cross-genre blending in games. i don't see this as a bad thing, but i do fear that this blending will be handled with an eye to demographics and market share rather than with an eye toward a better game.

i'm going to be very interested in seeing the next "leap," whatever it is, because i -- for one -- cannot imagine what it might be. and if there isn't another leap to be had, then i suppose the gameplay will be the deciding factor. or will it?

time will tell.

Date: Tuesday, June 02, 1998 1:06 PM
From: Brian Berger
Subject: Single Player vs Multiplayer

In response to Matt Sefton's post in the mailbag I would like to address this comment:

"I would estimate that single-player use of ALL games, not just Unreal, far outweighs multiplayer, not that it's a contest!"

I would have to disagree with this STRONGLY. When I play a single player game and I beat it, what next? Ok, so maybe I play it again at a harder skill level. Then what? Yawn... Game sits on shelf and collects massive amounts of dust.  What keeps a game alive MONTHS and YEARS after you buy it, play it, beat it? It is the multiplayer aspect! I beat Q2 about 2 weeks after I bought it but I'm STILL playing it many hours a week on the net and on LAN's.  I bought Strar Craft about 2 weeks ago.  I've played at most 9 of the Terran missions, but yet I have spent at least 10 to 20 hours each week playing on Battle Net.  I can't speak for you, but I can speak for myself and for my friends, and that is  without good multiplayer support a game has a very short life our hard drives. Are you game developers listening? ;)

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