It's not size, it's speed
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Thresh's comments in BLACK
Kenn's comments in BLUE
The heyday of 3D gaming is upon us, particularly in the category of the First-Person Shooter. With heating competition on the CPU side, high-powered, low priced PC brains in the form of Celeron and K6-2 have become widely available for the average Joe, and 3D accelerator cards are constantly pushin' the envelope. I mean every friggin' company has a new, next-generation card that's supposed to blow all of the competition out of the water. What it all boils down to is that it's a damned good time to be playing games! We've got more speed than we've ever had before, and it's only getting better!
So why is it that now that we have access to all of this RAW SPEED, games have been getting slower and slower since the very birth of the genre? Doom was fast, blazing in fact. Quake was slower, but still zippy. Then we got Quake II, Unreal, which gave us larger levels and environments, but molasses in our boots. Half Life wasn't any kind of improvement in this regard, and with the popularity of "strategic teamplay" in games like Rainbow Six, it looks like folks are forgetting how fun racking up 200 frags in 10 minutes can be.
Well, the way I see it, it's a natural progression. True, we're experiencing an Indian Summer in 3D consumer technology, and the solutions available today allow for some damned fast processing. While speed is certainly a factor, it's not the whole enchilada! Gamers are demanding more than just adrenaline nowadays, as the demand is for the experience
, something that makes people sit up and take notice, and in all honesty, a dizzying blur isn't going to cut it. Playing Doom, you ran around orthogonal, one-story bulidings all day, without the ability to even crane your neck to look around. Quake introduced the hard-kill factor. Players were slowed down slightly so they couldn't zip away in a blink, and the weapons were weaker to introduce more of a "dueling" aspect to the game. Add to this truly three-dimensional environments, and I'd say it was well worth the sacrifice in speed.
Technical issues aside, the amount of detail going into today's games far surpasses everything that's come before. If you want people to take notice, you have to play a continuous game of one-upsmanship - whether it involves more detailed models or textures, more convincing and impressive special effects, or what not. Adding to the realism of the environment isn't going to do much good if the in-game characters run around at a discrepant speed - it detracts from the immersion of the game.