An open world – is a type of video game level design where a player can roam freely through a virtual world and is given considerable freedom in choosing how or when to approach objectives. _ Wikipedia.
When Apple announced its new 3D formatted maps soon to be released with their IOS 6 systems, light bulbs collectively went off in a lot of people’s minds with a resounding ‘what would those real world 3D maps look like in a game like Grand Theft Auto?’ Or some variation of that same thought. And judging from the recent released images and data, both the Apple version and Google version of the new 3D maps with their realistic imagery and flyovers of cities will provide users with a rich, fun and interactive experience. And undoubtedly, independent software companies will soon chime in with their own versions.
I assume game designers are most likely already figuring out ways to implement this new map data technology into their games and would save each designer massive amounts of time in creating settings and scenes for a given game; I for one am excited. Hypothetically, even if this is to be a surety; game developers would still have to modify names and certain places from making any direct resemblance of a given town, state, government building etc. due to any unforeseen licensing and lawsuit issues.
Imagine playing a racing game where you have the option to drive from NYC to LA or Florida with real time hours of driving, meaning if it takes 20 hours to drive from NYC to Florida in the real world, the same amount of time should be reflected in the game. I know, it sounds crazy; but it’s an interesting prospect nonetheless. Or even crazier, taking a plane from NYC to London. I remember after finishing all objectives in GTA 4 and after the credits rolled I still had the option to just randomly keep doing whatever I chose in the game, I was stunned; a game that never really ends was fascinating. Now I wanted more room to explore; drive to another state and start a new story or something. Of course we should have the option to pause the game wherever and play at a later time. We do have real lives after all. But the idea of a real open world game where the entire planet is open to the player is exciting (to me anyway).
Although it is not the first game to introduce sandbox gaming to players, Grand Theft Auto has, however, revolutionized the sandbox themed games to the point that those of us who are fans of such games expect bigger, better and more involved worlds in future releases ( i.e. the ability to access every and any building the player chooses, and scale walls like Drake from Uncharted). In my opinion it’s a phenomenal game not only because of it’s scope but also because of it’s structure and story development and freedom to play the game from any story angle a player chooses. That freedom of choice — ‘illusion’ is mildly addictive in any sandbox game.
Let’s see what game designers will do with such data.
And as always…the future of gaming only gets better.
ConGame (Gordon C.)
© 2012 Gordon C.