The rise of 3D gaming in general has caused a revolution in gaming technology, especially on the computer. Hardware developers have been pushing the limits of current technology since the outbreak of 3D graphics in the early to mid 1990’s. It has sparked the development of different 3D graphics libraries such as OpenGL and DirectX that regulated the graphics in computer games and led to more efficient game play that can be seen in games like Unreal and Unreal Tournament. You don’t need it for online games like Webkinz or FarmVille. Developments in hardware also allowed computer game developers to push the limits.
nVidia and ATI have been constantly improving the power of their video cards, along with the development of more advance RAM and processors, to allow computer game developers to increase realism. A side effect of the increase in realism is the use of physics engines within computer games. Physics engines simply emulate the physics of natural life such as velocity, mass and friction. This has sparked debate through the computer gaming community as to whether it is beneficial as many physics engines require great processing capabilities leaving developers unable to provide consistent experience to gamers.
Emulation has been another debated part of recent computer games action. Emulation provides computer users the chance to play vintage games, such as those for the Nintendo Entertainment system or the Sega Genesis through the use of ROMS, or recreated games. The question of emulation is one of copyrights. Many feel that by recreating the game and playing it for free on a computer is breaking the copyright held by Nintendo or Sega, while others feel the games are so outdated that it should not be a problem. Whatever the answer to this moral debate, the emulation of older console games has become extremely popular all over the world.
Recent monster computer games like F.E.A.R and Half Life 2 have pushed the limits of current hardware while showing gamers just how realistic games are becoming. The innovations will keep occurring, especially in the computer games industry which has been ahead of the console market for some time now regarding technology. With the amazing graphics and physics engines of these two games it seems that actual virtual reality may be the next step to computers games, and a step that could be seen soon.
The popularity of computers games can be traced back to a few poor decisions made by console developers in the early 1980’s. Thanks to those poor decisions, gamers have been blessed with such titles as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Half Life, Diablo, Starcraft, Counterstrike and the invention of services like Battle.net. Computer games have been pushing the development of hardware and technology in both computers and consoles since the beginning of the 1980’s. While consoles have recently expanded in popularity and overtaken computer games, it is safe to say that many of the innovations in the gaming world would not have occurred without them.