Video game making has come a long way since the days of programmers spending hundreds of hours writing long lines of code. And while it is not possible to accurately predict how any technology will look in the future there are some interesting trends developing in the world of video game design.
Video game design is undergoing a dramatic shift. It is transforming from a creative pursuit that has a lot of work involved to a creative pursuit where the work is handled by the computer. This is the goal and impetus of game making; to get closer to the creative process, harnessing creativity, while leaving the mundane tasks to the computer. And the computer does this so well.
There are three different realms of game making that I will adventure into. And I will make some exciting predictions as to where we are headed.
The Language of Computers and People
The first realm of game making advancement lies in language. And what I mean by this is that when you are designing a game you have to communicate with a computer. You have to tell it what you want to see in the game and what you want to happen in the game. This began with programmers writing out long lines of code in a programming language. This language was something that took many hundreds of hours to learn. In effect, people had to learn the computers language. But, as computers advanced things changed and the Graphical User Interface came into the forefront as a much better means of communication between people and computers. Now you could use your mouse and navigate on the screen to get things done without knowing any computer language at all. And this also applied to game making. Now there are applications that are almost exclusively drag and drop. You can build worlds and insert items, objects, models, and behaviors into the without doing any coding.
Okay, so what is next in the world of language and game making? It lies in the golden fleece of the computer world: Natural Spoken Language. Software companies have been chasing after the goal of making computers totally hands free for a long time now. And while there are lots of voice recognitions software programs out there they dont perform well enough yet. But we keep moving forward and we will get there. And when we do the technology will become an integral part of game making and game design. You will be able to tell an application I want a castle. No, make it bigger. Good, now put stained glass windows. Now I want a character that is a big muscle bound hero. Etc. etc
When voice recognition is perfected and becomes ubiquitous we will have crossed an important threshold in technology. No longer will we as people have to learn the language of computers. Computers will have learned ours. And this will have a dramatic impact on game making.
Algorithms of Growth
Another very exciting area of development when it comes to game making is the area of self teaching and self growth. Games will be able to take small amounts of information and guidance that you provide and grow themselves in ways that you want, and also in unpredictable but rules based ways that you design. The computer gaming world is already making big advances in this area and some good examples of this are the Sims games where the world grows on its own but under your guidance. A game soon to be coming out that very much takes this self-growth into mind is the new game called Spawn. As a game designer you will be able to dictate a set of rules and watch as your game grows.
Interfacing with people
The potentially most exciting aspect of game design comes in the advancements of interfaces. As computers move toward the creation of virtual 3d worlds that are free of the monitor so will game makers become free of them. There will come a time that game makers actually see three dimensional models of their games as they make them. You will be able to reach right into the game world and move things around, stretch objects bigger, squeeze them smaller, and paint them different colors all with a stroke of your hand. This freedom will tap directly into the power of our eyes and take game making to heights never even imagined.
Game Design has come a very long way since the early days of long lines of programming code and the art will continue to develop in very exciting ways. And while it is difficult to predict which ways the technology will go it is a fact that we will continue to move in ways that will bring it closer to bringing to life your imagination and your ideas while sending into the shadows all the computer work. In effect the computer itself will become less and less obvious in the process and creativity more and more powerful.