How the Next Generation Consoles Affect the Future of Gaming

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Xbox One ad PlayStation 4 Controller. (2013) dailytech.com

Just a few days ago Microsoft and Sony launched the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 respectively and the Wii U was launched last year. This brings the curtain to the 7th generation of gaming consoles, ‘the craziest, longest and most eventful console generation ever’ (Kohler, 2013), that leads to the next generation. But what does this actually means to the gaming industry? Given the emerging of other gaming platform and media.

The 7th generation of gaming was ought to be the best designed in history (Lehman, 2013). They paved a way to various gaming experience. The launch of Xbox 360 in 2005 brought about the era of High Definition gaming and internal memory. Then in 2006 Nintendo introduced the Wii, that showed a way the gamers to a new gaming experience with its motion controller. An in order to compete with Nintendo, Microsoft launched the Kinect, a gaming device to technically play a game without the controller. Sony respectively launched the PlayStation 3 with its high end graphic and its motion controller PlayStation Move. Looking back at the sale of the 6th generation console, the Playstation2, GameCube and Xbox combined, sold under 200 million units while PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii sold over 260 million as of today. And even after 8 years along with the introduction of the 8th generation consoles, the sale is still rising. (Kohler, 2013)

Although in the past 3 years, some people predicted that the era of gaming console is coming to an end with the introduction of mobile gaming media and other microconsole (Kelly, 2013). With the introduction of iPhone in 2006, people began to make and play and play games in the smartphone. In fact the mobile gaming is worth $33 billion as of 2010 (pok ta pok games, n.d.). Not to mention, mobile games are not only cheaper to buy but also cheaper to make compared to the AAA console games that requires at least $100 million to develop according to Jade Raymond, the head of Ubisoft Toronto (Reynold, 2013). SmartTV also begins to support gaming. There are also many other gaming devices that may replace the console such as NVDIA Shield, a powerful mobile game device and OUYA, a media box that although doesn’t support a high powered games but sells games at a low price point (Kelly, 2013). And in terms of the graphics department and gaming experience nothing beats the Personal Computer that is not only upgradable but has all the extra functionality a computer brings (Lockley, 2013).

If we take a look at the 8th generation consoles, although they are at a higher price point compared to the other gaming devices, they do deliver a very high quality game with its immersive gaming experience. The Wii U introduces the gamers to a new gaming experience using dual monitor, kind of combining both mobile device with console. While the Xbox One and PS4, not only provide the gamers with an upgraded graphics and motion detection. They are also aiming to be the only media device the consumers require by giving the consumers the ability to not only play games but also stream songs, TV, movies and even browse the internet all from their living room. (Lehman, 2013)

With the recent launch of the 8th generation of gaming, we can still see that console gaming is not dead and will still last for a long time as the companies continue to develop these consoles. With over 1 million units was sold for both the Xbox one and PS4 in less than 24 hours (Hollister, 2013) (Warren, 2013) and people would still go to extreme lengths to acquire the units (DeBolt, 2013) prove that the future of gaming will still be led by the console.

Reference

Lehman, D. (2013) ‘What the Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U Tell Us About the Future of Consoles’, Gizmodo. [online] 26 November 2013. Available at: http://gizmodo.com/what-the-xbox-one-ps4-and-wii-u-tell-us-about-the-futu-827461728 [Accessed 1 December 2013].

Lockley, G. (2013) ‘Nvidia: “PC far superior to next-gen consoles”’, The Market for Computer & Video Games UK. [online] 29 November 2013. Available at: http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/nvidia-pc-far-superior-to-next-gen-consoles/0125115 [Accessed 1 December 2013].

Reynold, M. (2013) ‘Jade Raymon: Triple-A must find new ways to make money for innovation’, Digital Spy. [online] 4 August 2013. Available at: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/gaming/news/a503631/jade-raymond-triple-a-must-find-new-ways-to-make-money-for-innovation.html [Accessed 1 December 2013].

Pok Ta Pok Games (2013) ‘7 interesting facts about the industry video games on mobile phones’. [online] n.d. Available at: http://www.poktapokgames.com/en/blog/item/11-7-interesting-facts-about-the-industry-video-games-on-mobile-phones [Accessed 1 December 2013].

Kelly, T. (2013) ‘With Ouya, GameStick, Steam Box and more, will 2013 be the year of the “microconsole”?’, EDGE. [online] 10 January 2013. Available at: http://www.edge-online.com/features/with-ouya-gamestick-steam-box-and-more-will-2013-be-the-year-of-the-microconsole/ [Accessed 1 December 2013].

Kohler, C. (2013) ‘A Fond Farewell to the Craziest, Longest, Most Eventful Console Generation Ever’, Wired. [online] 30 November 2013. Available at: http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2013/11/longest-console-generation/all/ [Accessed 1 December 2013].

DeBolt, D. (2013) ‘San Francisco: Sale of Playstation 4 video game system turns deadly’, San Jose Mercury News. [online] 1 December 2013. Available at: http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_24635565/san-francisco-sale-video-game-system-turns-deadly [Accessed 1 December 2013].

Warren, T. (2013) ‘Sony sells over 1 million PlayStation 4 consoles in just 24 hours’, The Verge. [online] 17 November 2013. Available at: http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/17/5113704/sony-playstation-4-1-million-sales [Accessed 1 December 2013].

Hollister, S. (2013) ‘Microsoft sells over 1 million Xbox One consoles in less than 24 hours’, The Verge. [online] 22 November 2013. Available at: http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/22/5135320/microsoft-sells-over-1-million-xbox-one-consoles-in-less-than-24-hours [Accessed 1 December 2013].

List of Images

Picture of the ‘Xbox One ad PlayStation 4 Controller’, (2013) [image online] ‘Microsoft Claims Xbox One Can Make Due With Faster GPU, Less Compute Units’. Daily Tech. 7 October 2013. Available at: http://www.dailytech.com/Microsoft+Claims+Xbox+One+Can+Make+Due+With+Faster+GPU+Less+Compute+Units/article33506.htm [Accessed 2 December 2013].

Perlin Noise and its Application

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Although the term Perlin Noise may seemed to be unfamiliar, but its application goes to the contemporary movies and video games in the last 20 years. The noise was developed by Ken Perlin for the 1982 film TRON. The task was to develop a more fluid and natural appearance for 3D objects for the film. Normally image texture is used as the material for the 3D object, but Ken Perlin used a random mathematical formula. “Perlin noise is simply a well-crafted pseudo-random function which is designed to look controlled and natural.” The technique revolutionize the field of motion graphics as it allows the 3D object much more efficiently at that time where computer memory was very limited, as a mathematical formula uses much fewer memory than a large image map and it was easier to apply the noise formula than using the UV method that wrap an image around a 3D object. Perlin noise was very efficient and effective that the graphics industry adopted them as standard techniques (Williams, 2012). In 1997 Ken received an Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science for his work. The awards says, “The development of Perlin Noise has allowed computer graphics artists to better represent the complexity of natural phenomena in visual effects for the motion picture industry.” (Perlin, n.d.)

Figure 1. Perlin Noise used to animate array of cubes (2012) graphicdimensions.wordpress.com

The application of Perlin noise in the Motion Graphic and Video Games is very wide as it is the foundation of various systematic texture and modelling algorithms. Perlin Noise is generated mathematically like a graph, thus for different dimensional graph its function also varies. The application of Perlin Noise are:

Landscape or Terrain

By Using the 2 Dimensional Perlin Noise as a height map it can create an interesting shape of terrain. The shape of it can be easily calculated, stretch indefinitely and it is calculated to the very detail (Figure 2) (Tulleken, 2009).

Various example of landscape generated using Perlin Noise (Tulleken, 2009) (Quilez, 2008).

Figure 2. Various example of landscapes generated using Perlin Noise. (2008) iquilezles.org

 Figure 2 (lower right). (2009) devmag.org.za

Clouds

Perlin Noise is very convenient in rendering 2D clouds (Cortes, 2012), and 3 Dimensional Perlin Noise can produce volumetric clouds (Figure 4).

Figure 3. 2D clouds generated using Perlin Noise, Perlin Noise Generated, Adjusting Levels and Adding Colour (From Left to Right) (Cortes, 2012).

Figure 3. 2D clouds generated using Perlin Noise. Steps are: Perlin Noise Generated, Adjusting Levels and Adding Colour (From Left to Right) (2012). romancortes.com

Figure 4. Volumetric Cloud (Kutz, n.d).

Figure 4. Volumetric Cloud (n.d). peterkutz.com

Textures

2 Dimensional Perlin Noise is mostly use to create texture, and its basic application is to map it with a gradient. This will result in attractive maps or fire effects as shown in figure 5. The noise also allows the blending in between 2 textures (Figure 6).

Figure 5. Various textures generated using Perlin Noise (Tulleken, 2009).

Figure 5. Various textures generated using Perlin Noise. (2009) devmag.org.za

Figure 6. 2 Textures blended together using Perlin Noise (Tulleken, 2009).

Figure 6. 2 Textures blended together using Perlin Noise.(Tulleken, 2009).

(2009) devmag.org.za

And by using the 3 dimensional Perlin, it can generate a growing effect using 3 textures and the appropriate blending (Figure 7). (Tulleken, 2009)

Figure 7. Real Time Transitions Using Perlin Noise (Tulleken, 2009).

Figure 7. Real Time Transitions Using Perlin Noise (Tulleken, 2009).

Animation

Perlin Noise can be used to animate or deform any object easily, be it 3D or 2D, below are various example of animation using Perlin Noise.

Figure 8. Perlin Noise deforming a sphere. (2012) graphicdimnesions.wordpress.com

Video 1. Perlim Noise Animation (Ferenczi, 2010).

Video 2. Perlim Noise 3D (Wezside, 2011).

Video 3. Perlim Noise Warping (Hamzic, 2012).

Video 4. Processing Perlin Noise Experiment 2 (Berg, 2008).

Here are also basic applications of Perlin Noise in website using WebGL and Three.js, click on the image to access.

Figure 9. Wobbly Chrome Sphere. (n.d.) clicktorelease.com

Figure 10. Lights with Radial Blur. (n.d.) clicktorelease.com

Figure 11. Fireball Explosion. (n.d.) clicktorelease.com

Reference

Berg, B. (2008) ‘Processing Perlin Noise Experiment 2’. Available at: http://vimeo.com/1699793 [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Click To Release. (n.d) ‘Experimenting with Perlin Noise’. [online] Available at: http://www.clicktorelease.com/blog/experiments-with-perlin-noise [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Cortes, R. (2012) ‘The Entry I Didn’t Submit to Js1K’, Roman Cortes. [online] 1 April 2012. Available at: http://www.romancortes.com/blog/the-entry-i-didnt-submitted-to-js1k/ [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Ferenczi, B. (2010) ‘Perlin Noise Animation’.  2010. Available at: http://vimeo.com/13416415 [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Hamzic, A. (2012) ‘Perlin Noise Wrapping’. 2012. Available at: http://vimeo.com/35057708 [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Perlin, K. (n.d.) ‘Noise and Turbulence’, New York University. [online] Available at: http://mrl.nyu.edu/~perlin/doc/oscar.html [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Quilez, I. (2008) ‘Advanced Perlin Noise’. [online] Available at: http://iquilezles.org/www/articles/morenoise/morenoise.htm [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Tulleken, H. (2009) ‘How to Use Perlin Noise in Your Games’, DevMag. [online] 25 April 2009. Available at: http://devmag.org.za/2009/04/25/perlin-noise/ [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Wezside, (2011) ‘Perlin Noise 3D’. 2011. Available at: http://vimeo.com/31792461 [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Williams, D. (2012) ‘Designing Noise’, Graphic Dimensions. [online]  4 December 2012. Available at: http://graphicdimensions.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/designing-noise [Accessed 13 November 2013].

YTmartinz, (2012) ‘A 3D Perlin Noise Experiment’. 5 February 2012. Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPrZJgy0Iqk#t=88  [Accessed 13 November 2013].

List of Images

Figure 1. A Gif Animation on ‘Perlin Noise used to animate array of cubes’, (2012) [image online] ‘Designing Noise’. Graphic Dimensions. 4 December 2012. Available at: http://graphicdimensions.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/designing-noise [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Figure 2. Pictures of ‘Various example of landscapes generated using Perlin Noise’ , (2008) [image online] ‘Advanced Perlin Noise’. Available at: http://iquilezles.org/www/articles/morenoise/morenoise.htm [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Figure 2 (lower right). A picture of ‘An example of landscape generated using Perlin Noise’, (2009) [image online].  ‘How to Use Perlin Noise in Your Games’, DevMag. 25 April 2009. Available at: http://devmag.org.za/2009/04/25/perlin-noise/ [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Figure 3. Series of pictures depicting ‘2D clouds generated using Perlin Noise. Steps are: Perlin Noise Generated, Adjusting Levels and Adding Colour (From Left to Right)’, (2012) [image online] ‘The Entry I Didn’t Submit to Js1K’, Roman Cortes. 1 April 2012. Available at: http://www.romancortes.com/blog/the-entry-i-didnt-submitted-to-js1k/ [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Figure 4. A Picture Depicting ‘Volumetric Cloud’, (n.d.) [image online] ‘Computer Graphics by Peter Kutz’, Peter Kutz. Available at: http://www.peterkutz.com/ [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Figure 5. A series of pictures depicting ‘Various textures generated using Perlin Noise’, (2009) [image online]  ‘How to Use Perlin Noise in Your Games’, DevMag. 25 April 2009. Available at: http://devmag.org.za/2009/04/25/perlin-noise/ [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Figure 6. A series of pictures depicting ‘2 Textures blended together using Perlin Noise’, (2009) [image online]  ‘How to Use Perlin Noise in Your Games’, DevMag. 25 April 2009. Available at: http://devmag.org.za/2009/04/25/perlin-noise/ [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Figure 7. A series of pictures depicting ‘ Real Time Transitions Using Perlin Noise’, (2009) [image online]  ‘How to Use Perlin Noise in Your Games’, DevMag. 25 April 2009. Available at: http://devmag.org.za/2009/04/25/perlin-noise/ [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Figure 8. A Gif Animation on ‘Perlin Noise deforming a sphere’, (2012) [image online] ‘Designing Noise’. Graphic Dimensions. 4 December 2012. Available at: http://graphicdimensions.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/designing-noise [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Figure 9. A picture showing ‘Wobbly Chrome Sphere’ as a hyperlink to: http://www.clicktorelease.com/code/perlin/chrome.html, (n.d.) [image online] ‘Experimenting with Perlin Noise’, Click To Release. Available at: http://www.clicktorelease.com/blog/experiments-with-perlin-noise [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Figure 10. A picture showing ‘Lights with Radial Blur’ as a hyperlink to: http://www.clicktorelease.com/code/perlin/lights.html, (n.d.) [image online] ‘Experimenting with Perlin Noise’, Click To Release. Available at: http://www.clicktorelease.com/blog/experiments-with-perlin-noise [Accessed 13 November 2013].

Figure 11. A picture showing ‘Fireball Explosion’ as a hyperlink to: http://www.clicktorelease.com/code/perlin/explosion.html, (n.d.) [image online] ‘Experimenting with Perlin Noise’, Click To Release. Available at: http://www.clicktorelease.com/blog/experiments-with-perlin-noise [Accessed 13 November 2013].