So What’s Going on Behind Your Favorite Video Games?
For a small but important computing niche, games are not just a pastime, but a way of life. Arguably, that niche is responsible for the rapid advancement of PC hardware as we know it. While the vast majority of PCs are put to work in office building cubicles, no technology is being pushed forward by that reality.
Enterprise computers are purchased with the lowest usable specs, at the lowest possible price, for the least computer-intensive tasks. Even so, these machines seldom get pushed to their limit, are almost never updated and when replaced, it is with something that is almost as old and uninspiring.
On the other hand, the comparatively small number of hardcore gamers upgrade as much as they can, as often as they can, with the most expensive components they can afford. And when their computer is finally replaced, it is by the latest and greatest tech on the market. Companies are pushed to advance the state of the art thanks to the gamers, not the spreadsheet makers.
Of course, there would be no gamers without amazing games. For ages, game makers have been trying to crack the code behind what makes an amazing video game. Is it the tech? Is it the gameplay? Is it some magical secret ingredient that only comes once in a generation? Yes. Yes. And Yes. So what really makes a great game? Here are a few guesses:
In order to fully enjoy a game, you have to trust the game. You have to do your part and suspend disbelief. The game designer has to do her part and not insult your intelligence. Often, you will anthropomorphize a game by saying that it is cheating. You don’t really think it is cheating. You are just frustrated at the level of difficulty. If you really thought it was cheating, you would stop playing it.
Cheating is an even bigger deal in multiplayer gaming. It is not the computer’s cheating you have to worry about, but the other opponents. It is a serious offense to be caught cheating in an online gaming community. You can be banned from the community and lose your investment in the game.
They have to not only protect the game’s integrity but employ the highest level of virtualization security to protect the identity and safety of every member of the community. Harassment in the gamer community has been in the news lately. That harassment often goes beyond the game. Preventing these issues that shatter trust is the job of serious software working behind the scenes.
Passion for the Art
Yes, video games can be art. And those who design them are definitely artists. The best games are made by the people who are most passionate about their art. Game delays are actually a sign that the developers care about the quality of the product. A game that meets deadlines despite its condition is one produced by dispassionate suits. It is almost certainly not worth playing.
That passion is transmitted to the fans, who are then willing to stand in line, tell all their friends, pay $60, and upgrade their tech for the privilege of getting a few more frame rates out of a game born of passion for the art.
Dedication to Tech
BBC News reports:
The Rift headset will be available on Mac machines when Apple releases a “good computer,” said the founder of the Oculus virtual reality firm.
This raised the ire of Mac fanatics worldwide. But the fact remains that even the most expensive Mac one can purchase right now does not have the specs to handle the Oculus Rift. But Mac fans need not get overly excited by the slight. Only a tiny fraction of PC owners have what it takes to run the latest in VR.
Creators of great game experiences cannot be shackled by mediocre tech. It is their job to push beyond our current limits, and show us why we should push the envelope with them. Behind the greatest tech are the greatest games. And behind the greatest games are keepers of our trust, people with passion for the art, and a relentless dedication to tech.