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    • History and futures of computer gaming CS 370 -- Computer Game Design Ken Forbus Spring, 2003
    • Some advice for the party
      • Do setup early
      • Always have someone at your game
      • Make sure that both Rob and I see it
      • Have fun!
    • Question: How will computer gaming evolve?
      • To see forward, start by looking backward
      • What constraints are shaping the system?
      • Overview
        • Brief history of computer gaming
        • Forces on the industry
        • Some questions designers are struggling with
    • Prehistory: The Arcade
      • 1930: Electromechanical pinball machines created, improving earlier purely mechanical models. US-manufactured machines spread through the world
      • Late 1940s: Pachinko developed in Japan
      • 1954: Sega founded by US G.I. (= Service Games Company) to import coin-operated games
      Photo Source: http://www.sandsmuseum.com/coinop/games/chicago/chicago.html
    • 1960’s -- early 1970’s: The first computer games
      • Ran on mainframe computers
      • Generate music
        • amplifier hooked to register bit
        • AM radio near right part of the machine
      • SpaceWar developed on MIT PDP-1
        • Main use of AI Lab’s PDP-6 on nights and weekends
      • ASCII-based Star Trek games
        • Can find their descendents today in BASIC bargain bins
      • 1975: William Crowther developed Adventure, first text-based adventure game (KA-10)
    • 1970’s: First commercial attempts
      • 1972: Syzygy formed by Nolan Bushnell
      • 1973: Computer Space (based on Space War)
        • first commercial electronic arcade game.
        • Too hard, failed.
      • 1974: Pong. Huge hit in bars, pinball arcades
        • Example of early multiplayer game (optional)
      • Tank Command, Battlezone, …
      • Renamed company as “Atari”
      Photo sources: http://www.klov.com/C/Computer_Space.html http://www.gamearchive.com/video/manufacturer/atari/ vector/html/battlezone.html
    • Late 1970’s: The first Home Invasion
      • 1977: Atari introduces first home game console
        • 2600 VCS
        • 2KB ROM, 128 bytes RAM
      • 1977: Apple II arrives on the market
      • 1979: Third-party development houses (e.g., Activision) start up
      Photo source: http://www.atariage.com/
    • Early 1980’s: The Boom
      • 1980
        • Phillips Odyssey and Mattel Intellivision reach the market.
        • Nintendo’s Donkey Kong arrives in arcades
        • Namco’s Pac-Man does $2.3B business (1997 dollars)
        • Atari reaches $1B
      • 1981
        • Game Industry exceeds $6B in sales
        • IBM introduces the IBM PC
      Photo sources: http://www.pong-story.com/ody2001.htm http://www.intellivisionlives.com/
    • 1981-1982: The Crash
      • Atari sales down 50%, loses money
        • Market flooded with poor quality games
        • Buys license for E.T. for $22M
      • Game companies targeting home computers form
        • Electronic Arts, Sierra On-Line, Broderbund
      • Mattel loses $225M from Intellivision
        • Wipes out profits from previous four years
      • 1984:
        • Industry drops to below $800M
        • Apple introduces the Macintosh
    • Late 1980s: Struggling back to life
      • 1985:
        • Nintendo introduces NES to US
          • Strict software control, restricts companies to producing 5 games/year
        • Atari tries for comeback with 16-bit ST
        • Commodore ships Amiga, designed to support games
          • Bad marketing kills it, although it lives on as an orphan
      • 1986:Sega ships Sega Master Console system
        • Fails due to lack of developer buy-in
      • 1987:
        • Electronic Arts releases its first in-house game
        • More games show up for IBM PC
    • Early 1990s: Resurgence
      • 1989
        • Sega Genesis released, fueled by EA sports titles
        • Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers 3 sells 11M copies
      • 1990: Amiga, Atari ST die
      • 1991: Nintendo launches Super-NES (16 bit)
      • 1992:
        • PC gaming explodes
        • Nintendo sales reach $7B ($4.7B in US); higher profits than all US movie and TV studios combined
    • Turn of the century
      • Nintendo N64
        • Home SGI machine
      • PlayStation 2
        • “ Emotion engine”
      • Dreamcast born and dies
        • It’s the games, dummy
      • Microsoft Xbox struggles
        • Will directX rule?
      • Renaissance in PC Gaming
        • Many titles, large sales, creative use of peripherals
      • Apple improves its support for games
    • The serpent in the garden: Economics
      • Why aren’t games as big a form of entertainment as
        • Movies?
        • Television?
        • Sports?
        • Horse racing?
    • Example: Blade Runner (1998)
      • No film reused from movie; all done via animation
        • 230GB of graphical assets, uncompressed
        • 2,600 motion capture sequences
      • Rendering farm = 90 dual 233mhz PII’s, 256MB RAM
      • Development environment = 3D studio MAX, with 150 plugins
    • Economics of Adventure games
      • 1998 Sales (US only)
      • Riven: $62.5M
      • Myst: $61.5M
      • Phantasmagoria: $12.5M
      • Gabriel Knight 2: $8.4M
      • The Dig: $6.1M
      • Blade Runner: $5.6M
      • Pandora Directive: $3.7M
      • Zork Grand Inquisitor: $1.9M
      • Last Express: $1.9M
      • Development costs:
      • Myst: $300K
      • Blade Runner: $4M
      • The Last Express: $6M
      • Typical graphical adventure: between $1-4M
    • Major problem: Marketing
      • Megahit mentality
      • Hard-core gamers
        • Male, 16-34
        • Computer savvy, enough disposable income to buy latest hardware, software
        • Most developers cater to this market
        • This group is at most 20% of the US population
      • Problem: How to expand the base of players?
        • Women
        • Younger people
        • Older people
    • The tricky economics of online games
      • Example: Meridian 59
        • 10,000 players/month
        • Revenues covers ongoing production & maintenance costs only
        • No profit, no payback for development costs
      • One analysis
        • Source: Paul Palumbo, “Online vs. Retail Game Title Economics”, Gamasutra January 9, 1998 Vol. 2: Issue 2
        • Assume: Development costs $1.2M; Flat rate of $7.95/month; gross margin of 60% desired; 20% churn/month
        • Need 20,000 monthly subscribers, 68,000 new subscribers/year
    • Online gaming = Service industry
      • Source: Jessica Mulligan, “Online Gaming: Why won’t they come” Gamasutra Vol 2: Issue 9, Feb 27, 1998
      • Potential market huge: 2.5M hardcore gamers with net work access, but most games have about 10K
      • Claim: Successful games focus on customer service
        • 90% of the work occurs after the game is deployed.
        • Having sysops who resolve disputes and fix bugs on the spot essential to success
    • Model perturbations yield possible trends
      • Implementation possibilities expanding
        • Moore’s Law continues, at least for a while
      • Richer models now possible
        • Which expands opportunities for immersion
      • New kinds of stories can be told
        • New generativity in imagined worlds
        • Multiparticipant stories
    • Some questions game designers are grappling with
    • How might stories evolve?
    • Will lifelike animation kill full-motion video?
    • Will inverse kinematics kill motion capture?
    • Is 2D versus 3D like B&W/Color or like animation/live action?
    • How to exploit new modalities?
      • Speech I/O becoming reasonable
        • More developers are shipping text to speech, limited recognition capabilities
      • Vision input around the corner?
        • Potential applications?
      • Helmets, and gloves and sensors?
    • What can we do to improve game AI?
      • “AI code gets big -- 1000, 2000 lines” (speaker at 1998 GDC)
      • “Games are going to become AI-bound”
        • Brian Schmidt, Xbox project manager
    • What game(s) would you like to see?