Our imagination is the limit

…is a line stressed a lot in this generation of games. I have two problems with it: First, it isn`t true at all, and second, if it was even half true it would be a shame for our imagination.

Obviously the statement tries to suggest we`d have hit some sort of technical peek, where old limitations don`t apply anymore. If so, why is this the generation of bald (and boring) lead characters? Why is about every setting brown and dirty? Ok, that`s just a few obvious examples. That aside I would like to mention workflow. If I can`t work the way I feel comfortable with, that`s already the first limit. The current engines I know want you to organize gamelevels into micro-assets, which is a pain in the ass. The more micro the better, otherwise you have to fear performance issues. Sure, you can add a lot of details that way, therefore you end up with levels reusing the same bits over and over again, which doesn`t exactly make for design freedom.

Actually it`s not only the technical side encouraging this kind of workflow, it`s also almost the only way to achieve the desired amount of detail within reasonable time/costs.

I really hope upcoming engines will fix both, the technical and work related reasons which keep limits as superficial as ever. My hopes go to Tech5, which seems to adress both, but yet I only know it from the public presentation videos. However, at this point it`s the only engine I am aware of which at least seems to have the right outline.

As for our imagination, in my opinion it hardly makes use of the current possibilities. Looking at current games can be almost depressing since basicly it`s the still the exact same stuff we played the last ten years.

Nope, I`ve no better, revolutionary idea at my hands, but I hope the wonderful world of gaming has more to offer than fighting, racing, and sports. Since we entered the times of 3D games not much has changed, I still see that as the last big happening we experienced. Well, might grow into a seperate topic later on.