The Next Big Thing (tm) in FPS gaming

I’m curious to think what my fellow esteemed forums folk think will be the next big thing in FPSes.

My guess? Fully deformable terrain – everywhere. I hear that Red Faction has this as a gimmick, but I’m talking about everywhere.

Applied to my FPS of choice – BF1942, it would go like this.

The Berlin level would be pristine at the beginning of a match. Yes, I know historically it wasn’t, but come on, BF1942 will have jetpacks soon, so I’m not claiming historical accuracy here. Every tank round, every grenade, every bazooka round could damage the grounds, walls, the floors, ceiling, everything. A physics engine (obviously Trespasser-derived :o) could then figure out when it was time to make a building fall over and crush everyone inside.

Now, this is obviously a few years away. I’m not FPS programmer, but I gather that to speed things up many things are precomputed and placed into the map. This couldn’t be done with a dynamic map, obviously.

Other problems are gameplay related. In the Berlin example, what happens when the Germans knocks down all the buildings in such a way so that there’s little chance for the Soviets to actually get out of their little niche? The grenade spam is bad enough already!

Also, in a game like Desert Combat with high powered weapons like the Scud and other rocket launchers, I think any match that goes on any amount of time will quickly result in all buildings being a smashed wreck and the landspace looking like the surface of the moon. While cool, this would have a huge effect on gameplay. How do you deal with that?

Ok, now I have to go and work some more and stop thinking about games. Phooey.

I’ve been saying this for a while. I hope it happens.

The next big thing in FPS games will be those that don’t suck huge amounts of bandwidth - isn’t BF1942 something like 40-50 Megs per hour ? Kills those of us that can’t get unlimited broadband.

Hrm. Maybe we just need President Bush to launch Operation Restore Bandwidth to make the world safe for US broadband monopolies everywhere.

But seriously, aren’t there starting to be companies that you can rent “game servers” from?

Magic Carpet?

It’s an interesting idea, but poses some pretty severe game design challenges. Some of those could be gotten around by doing things like limiting ammo, etc.

Take your Battlefield 1942 example. If you had fully deformable terrain, I’d park an artillery piece on top of a resupply point and proceed to change the entire map to resemble a lunar landscape. But if all I had were twenty rounds, and the resupply points only offered ammo every ten minutes.

But it would make game design more difficult.

As ever,

Loyd Case

The next big thing is obviously gonna be multiple visors, glasses, or other type of vision enhancement. It started with MP but is currently spreading.

Deformable terrain is do-able with today’s technology, but nobody has figured out a way to manage the design issues that arise from it.

You also get into some tricky physics issues with multi-story buildings and such.

So are you saying that one could create a FPS with the detail of BF1942 and have it run acceptably? Well, thats good. Now, can you do this AND make it playable with 32 people? :-)

You also get into some tricky physics issues with multi-story buildings and such.

Oh yeah.

A good storyline?

Sorry, thought I was logged in when I posted that last one.

Isn’t Soldner doing at least highly deformable terrain? Destroy buildings, crush foliage, make really big holes in the ground.

The FPS on about to go the way of the Flight Sim. Right in the crapper if I have anything to do with it. And I don’t.

I would like to see some steps forward made in the field of FPS nausea treatment!! Where can I get Dramamine in bulk via the internet.

Yeah- Soldner is what you’re waiting for. It’s made by the guys who did Panzer Elite but it’s obvious that they’ve seen the success of Flashpoint and BF1942.

So are you saying that one could create a FPS with the detail of BF1942 and have it run acceptably? Well, thats good. Now, can you do this AND make it playable with 32 people? :-)


Yes, and Team Fort 2 is also going to be released this year.

No, fully deformable terrain and destroyable structures are not “do-able” right now–at least not do-able in any kind of goodlooking/decent framerate kind of way. And that’s a metric ton (about 20% more than a standard ton) of info to pass across a network.

But eventually that’s going to be very cool.

Yes, Magic Carpet had deformable terrain, but it lacked the granularity that an FPS requires. And Red Faction didn’t have enough detail either.

As for balance… I don’t think it’s a big deal. It’s not like people are playing most of these games professionally so as long as the balance is mediocre everyone should be happy.

There’s no reason all the terrain changes would need to be passed across the network, any more than the movement of each limb of a character model would need to be.

Thats not the same. Character movements are preset animations that all reside on everybodies machine. Truley deformable terrain isn’t.

You couldn’t just send “missile launched here” along with the random seed (assuming you use one), and have the client calculate the deformation locally?

what happened to fps netcode anyways? it seems to have peaked at quakeworld(q2 was good too). why are q3/ut2k3 almost unplayable on modems? in qw it was very competitive over a 56k modem(especially if you pinged under 200ms). this isn’t just nostalgia speaking either. i’ve revisted qw recently and it’s surprising how good qw netcode is. even plain qw without arcane tweaks, qw proxies, and client/server modifications after id released the source is superb. one has to wonder about the quality of netcode in today’s games. half life which has good netcode is based on qw isn’t it?

The future is now: