With technology seemingly endlessly evolving, gaming has become more realistic than ever before. But, what are the specific innovative technologies that are behind such advancement in authenticity and realism in the gaming industry? Let’s take a look.
Of course, perhaps the most realistic technological development is the ability to play games live, in real time. These games and platforms naturally utilise live stream technology – such as high tech camera equipment and internet feeds. They are also typically cloud-based systems, meaning that users can simply log in to the online platform and play the game without having to download any software or purchase specific hardware.
For example, if you try your hand at an online casino and play live roulette games, these games of roulette are played in real time, with a real croupier, and a real roulette wheel. The croupier spins the roulette wheel as one would in any roulette game, and the physical ball is allowed to stop on any number, rather than using a Random Number Generator (RNG). This is all live streamed to all players who have joined the game, allowing players to interact with one another and with the croupier throughout the game.
Once the result has been called, technology known as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) will record the result. OCR is typically used in business applications to read documents and convert them into binary data. It works by differentiating between the background (most commonly the background will be white, but in the context of roulette, this could be red, black, or green) and the symbols in the foreground.
The symbol is then matched with stored symbols, ‘reading’ the image. This allows the game to keep a record of all the results within the game and also opens the opportunity for previous results to be displayed during gameplay so that players can keep track. Using a combination of live streaming, cloud, and OCR technology allows the online game to feel more immersive and authentic.
It goes without saying that the imagery of any game affects how realistic the gameplay looks and feels. One of the technologies that is taking image generation to a new level is the neural radiance field (NeRF), which is a fully-connected neural network and is typically categorised as an artificial intelligence (AI) system.
At its most basic level, NeRF takes a set of static 2D images that give a partial view of the scene and incorporates them to generate a comprehensive 3D view. The program is set to do so from a specified direction of view and its location in respect to other elements, known as the 5D input. Then, the colour and opacity of the colouring is programmed to produce a 4D output. Finally, the technology uses volume rendering to complete the process.
In other words, the user will map out the location, position, and direction to give coordinates, determine the output colour and density, and the program will use a multilayer perceptron (MLP) to build a 3D image. Essentially, the NeRF determines and measures how much light bounces off which points, and to what extent, and then learns from this data.
Furthering this light-based learning technology, some games utilise ray-tracing in order to develop simulations of how designs might behave in real life so that this can be mirrored in the gameplay. Using AI, the creation of graphics that are high resolution and perform with high frame-rate can be combined with ray-tracing – and the whole process automated – using technology called Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS).
Whichever technologies are utilised to optimise the graphics, these techniques have the potential to make the imagery higher quality and higher resolution, ultimately making it more realistic. With the ability to play authentic virtual games in real time using streaming technology and OCR, such technologies have the ability to make both the graphics and the gameplay more realistic.