20110611 - Optimizing the Linear Play-Through Game
I would like a AAA studio targeting PC and PS3 (requires Blue Ray) to optimize for the interactive movie experience. Want a consistently awesome 10 hour CG quality experience instead of game quality experience where the player controls the micro events in-between fixed big budget macro events: similar 3rd person gameplay as current linear titles like Uncharted, but from a director's camera.
When, with many AAA titles, it is just as much fun to watch someone play through your game as it is to play through the game, this is hinting at something important. How about enable the player to be able to release the controls and have the fully scripted path take over, or where if the player sucks, the game takes over and makes the player not suck enough to keep the experience awesome. Why force frustrating replays? Other games already have the frustrating replay game mechanic nailed, and how many players of those games actually finish the game? Why have more choice in a linear game, how about less choice and more awesome. Want replay-ability? Who honestly replays linear games? Rather the studio reuse technology and asses and build another awesome new play-through from the perspective of another character in the same universe.
Linear games should look substantially better than non-linear games.
Factor Out Rendering of Static Content
Camera runs through a fixed linear play through, however local interactive elements are any range between fully dynamic and fully scripted. Camera is on a rail. Opaque static geometry, background non-interactive visuals, and assets such as static shadow maps, light probes, environment maps, etc, are fully CG pre-rendered. The local GPU (+SPUs on PS3) are tasked only with rendering characters and dynamic objects, and compositing them with the pre-rendered streamed content.
Blue Ray capacity, at the low end is 25GB, which is good for over 10 hours of video at 4 Mbits/sec.
Highly risky, but highly likely to be technically possible on current generation hardware...