Some 3D video games push computer hardware to its limit.
It goes without saying these days that most video games, PC or console, use some level of 3D graphics rendering. PC games, on the whole, require more demanding hardware capabilities than a console. Some games push the limits of current hardware capabilities by increasing the complexity of 3D models and textures, the number of 3D elements on the screen at once and the physics that control what those 3D elements can do.
The original “Crysis” and its follow-up title “Crysis: Warhead” recently helped set a new standard for the quality of an immersive 3D environment. Set on a small island in the western Pacific Ocean, “Crysis” offers a lush jungle landscape, North Korean AI, and complex main character movements that still tax all but the fastest PC computers. “Crysis” is a first-person shooter, which is a game genre filled with titles that similarly challenge PC computer hardware capabilities. Other examples of 3D FPS games include “Fallout,” “Call of Duty” and “Metro 2033.”
“StarCraft 2” is a real-time strategy game that provides a third-person aerial view of a landscape where you control several units to accomplish a particular mission. In recent years, RTS games began using 3D models for units, terrain and physics. The 3D objects themselves are usually low-resolution, but at far viewing distances, the large majority of units moving simultaneously across a landscape can make for some complex 3D rendering. Other examples of RTS games include “Age of Empires” and “Company of Heroes.”
The “Final Fantasy” game franchise is considered by many to have been a pioneer in 3D graphics gaming in the role-playing game genre, beginning with “Final Fantasy VII.” The cutting-edge, photo-realistic 3D graphics in the game led to one of the most ambitious movie undertakings in the “Final Fantasy” movie, which consisted entirely of computer-generated graphics. The “Final Fantasy” legacy continues today, with the latest edition being “Final Fantasy XIII” and “Final Fantasy XIV” to follow soon. Another example of a 3D RPG is “Dragon Age: Origins.”
“Grand Theft: Auto”
In 2009, Guinness World Records ranked the “Grand Theft: Auto” franchise as the third most impactful console video game of all time. This is mostly due to its financial and critical success throughout the years. Yet the controversy surrounding the game’s themes of crime, violence and sex has also boosted its impact. It combines elements of role playing, shooting and racing and is known for its demanding system requirements. The rendered urban settings tend to look very realistic, with computer-controlled characters that act believably.
“World of Warcraft”
Most people have heard of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game “World of Warcraft.” MMORPGs like “World of Warcraft” are not typically the most demanding in terms of graphics and hardware requirements compared with other games, but are unique in the sheer scope of the 3D world they present. The setting can depict the equivalent of hundreds of square miles in a virtual environment consisting entirely of 3D-rendered scenes, props and characters. Add to this thousands of players interacting in the game simultaneously and the 3D experience of these games grows truly immersive. In addition to other MMORPGs like “LOTR Online” or “Warhammer Online,” other 3D games and communities are similar, such as “The Sims” and “Second Life.”