Nearly half of us play games on our computers, smartphones, tablets, consoles, and VR headsets. It is one of the most popular hobbies in many advanced economies, especially in the US, Western Europe, China, Japan, and South Korea.
The quality of modern games is impressive, especially when you compare them to the titles enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s. Some are so realistic in their graphics, artificial intelligence, and physics that they can look and feel very lifelike. This is a far cry from the likes of Pac Man and Space Invaders.
But while we’re playing, most of us don’t think much about the work that goes into creating them. Yet, modern video games are incredibly technically advanced. Below some of the things that go into making modern games possible.
Random Number Generators
Random number generators may not sound like a piece of advanced technology since humans have used tools like dice for centuries. However, getting a computer to be truly random is near impossible because any program to generate a random number needs to be coded with a set of non-random instructions.
To ensure true randomness, random number generators often use external inputs. For example, the IT security company, Cloudflare, uses a bank of lava lamps that it records with a camera, the footage is then processed to generate numbers. Other solutions include listening to atmospheric noise and observing the outcome of an electron gun being fired.
They’re used for many different reasons, including keeping important computer systems secure. But in gaming, random number generators are used to ensure casino games like slots are fair, and unpredictable.
Online casinos typically offer dozens or even hundreds of different slots for their customers to play. Many even develop their own exclusive titles like Big Fishing and Big Blue Bounty to be able to stand out from the crowd. But while each one looks unique and offers its own set of bonuses and features, they all use a random number generator behind the scenes to ensure fairness.
The in past, games had to be completely designed by hand. This limited them in both size and quality as there wouldn’t be enough time to develop larger and larger maps.
However, as players have begun to demand more and more realism from the titles that they play, developers have had to turn to technology to help them.
A procedural generation is a form of artificial intelligence that randomly creates elements of a game’s design.
It is used in titles like No Man’s Sky, Minecraft, and Stardew Valley to create landscapes that are completely unique, creating a sense of there being unlimited land for people to explore.
Similarly, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft: Shadowlands uses technology to make enemies spawn in random places. This helps to create a much more challenging game as the experience is different each time it is played. In the past, items and NPCs would only appear in a few specified places, making it easy for players to predict what will happen.
Ray tracing has been one of the biggest buzzwords in the gaming world over the last couple of years. The hype around it increased after it was announced that both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X would incorporate the technology into their graphics processors.
Much of this hype is justified though as it was once thought that ray tracing in video gaming would be impossible as it would be too computationally complicated. Instead, it was believed that it would only ever be useful for use in visual effects for movies as this didn’t need to be processed in real time.
This changed in 2018 when hardware acceleration became possible and graphics card manufacturers began incorporating the technology in their consumer GPUs.
Ray tracing works by modeling the way individual rays of light behave. This creates a much more realistic-looking image since it generates more accurate reflections and shadows.
It is through this technology that modern video games can look ultra-realistic, and even be confused with photographs and video footage from real life.