The graphics have gotten quite good, although I would've expected to see much better by now, and I think they started stagnating on visuals in the past 5 years (after Crysis) because of the rise of laptops, which are replacing PC's for most people.
But still my main disappointment was with how unrealistic the movements of the characters are. The characters "look" pretty real, but then that idea gets completely ruined by the way they move. It kind of ruins the experience.
Take Skyrim for example, great visuals overall, especially for the environment, but I hate the way the character moves and how it fights. While the visuals make you think you are in 2012, the movements make you think it's still 2003, the year of Morrowind.
I think a huge part of the problem isn't a sudden move to laptops, I think it's that the current generation of consoles is seven years old, and major developers (i.e. those with the resources to innovate) tend to design with the console in mind these days.
For anyone who played Bad Company 2, I think Battlefield 3's destructible environments were a bit of a letdown: the levels got more complex but they really toned down what you were allowed to destroy (a wall here, a wall there, etc). I'm not exactly sure why they did this.
I agree that the current generation of consoles are holding us back. I can't wait to see what kind of games we get on next-gen hardware, I just hope it happens without too much of this online-required nonsense that seems to be becoming the craze..
Facial animation I just wish they went back to Brütal Legend because they were cartoony, but the most expressive faces I've seen in a game.
LA Noire was just rubbish in every way.
But you don't really have many AAA devs planning on running their game on laptops.
It seems like such a simple thing, and I'd rather have a game get that right than render a realistic mustache. A quick check of a trailer on YouTube seems to show that Madden 13 still doesn't have it, and it breaks the immersion every time I see it.
Backbreaker  did it two years ago, and it looks so much better to my eyes because of it.
If both teams mastered the other's strengths, the resulting games would be nearly perfect.
I haven't played Skyrim so I can't really comment on that. Oblivion had fairly decent character animation but it was mired by moon-physics: NPCs eagerly charging down stairs (or off a small ledge) to engage a foe would sort-of float and there would be this "running in the air" effect that was especially noticeable at the very beginning of the game.
Like when humans are talking there are lots of tiny little movements all the time, even when we intend to stand mostly still. When a character in a game moves his arm it goes from point A to point B, stops immediately, and doesn't affect much of the rest of the body.
Realism is interesting, but like you say - it's not always going to be as much fun.
At least I do. The damage model may not be as realistic, but my cars rarely stay in proper shape for as long as 15 seconds.
Partly because wrecking cars is 70% of the fun in GTA...
I wonder how easy it is to incorporate this in a game model. In the truck model looks like each piece of the car is modeled individually and might be a lot harder for the artists to make models. And wonder how are materials calculated, some things in the model bend in different ways.
If I had to design the modeller/composer for this kind of thing, I would probably make some kind of "paintable" deformation weights. I could be totally wrong, but I don't think there's any way they could calculate tensile strength based on the model's geometry in (playable) real time. So they might have to manually set how weak/strong groups of vertices are...and tie those vertices to some soft body joints. I imagine if they only do the physics on those joints (movement, bending, crunching), it could be pretty cheap?
Example of how joints apply weights to vertices in things like humanoid appendages: http://i.imgur.com/QiDDu.jpg
If any of you brilliant Crytek guys are reading this, could you comment on the setup? :) I'm an amateur 3d engine guy, and I love this stuff.
My gut tells me they manually place soft body joints and then paint the weights for the models. It seems like that would be easier to maintain and more predictable for the deformations that they expect to see.
For example, you and I know how the front of a truck "should" look if half of it gets crunched in, but that deformation is because of an engine, the body, lots of metal/plastic components, etc. Obviously it's not yet realistic to model every single component of a truck, and perform a physical simulation "baking" step, so that the truck crunches in that way in the game. They have to fudge that kind of crunch...so it makes me think they're manually rigging the softbodies.
It's probably just because the person doing the demo just didn't think of it, but it would have been interesting to see how it handled soft-on-soft collisions.
Looks really cool. Would have been cool to show a two vehicle collision though.
Not possible just yet.
Zinklesmesh, Is this physics system limited to Cryengine, or is it going to be a pluggable piece, much like Havok? Is anything else in the works, such as real-time dynamic breaking or deformation of terrain (so many games seem use some kind of swapping out of art assets cheats, I'd love to see actual cutting and deformation of the mesh itself, difficult as that would be from a texturing standpoint)
Will you have the ability to up the soft body collision detection quality, and the polycount for those people who have high end systems? I think this is the most amazing real time soft body demo I've seen in a long time, and would love to see it pushed to its usable limits.
We can port it to any engine pretty easily. We already support breaking apart of parts and meshes to some extent - we're still developing that. The collision is also a work in progress, and will be much better in the future.
It's nice to see such parts of gameplay emerging from simple bugs. I would argue that it's much more rare nowadays, with games which aim to be always more realistic, and blocking your movement.
Not really sure what you're talking about. Rockets and grenades hugely impacted player speed in Quake 1, but not so much in Quake 3. Check the speed run of the following level to see what I mean:
The quad damage'd grenade jump at 11:19 is mind-boggling. I don't remember seeing that in Quake 3.
Things I'd love to see:
* Soft body on soft body. Imagine Destruction Derby 2 with this stuff.
* Explosion modelling - Stuff getting ripped apart and sent flying.
* Aircraft destruction modelling - if you could clip your wing on a building and have your aerodynamics adjust accordingly.
I can't even remember what the game-goal was (hit checkpoints or something?) but I do fondly remember randomly wrecking cars for way too many hours...
* Smash all opponents
* Kill all the people in the streets
* Finish the race (1st)
Of the 3, smashing all opponents was the easiest.
What you ask for is possible in Rigs of Rods (although soft-body on soft-body is usually enabled on a per-vehicle basis). There is a plane that ships with RoR (the Antonov) that actually starts to wobble and shake apart at high speeds (I believe above 150 knots).
It's very cool, nonetheless, but imagine if there had to be 2 people riding this thing, part of the gameplay, and now the truck looks so damaged, that placing these two characters inside would produce even bigger mess.
So what you do - you disable the truck collision for this case? You place the characters anyways?
Or just deal with a progression break, in now what would be much difficult ways...
The solution: vehicle availability. That is how GTA solved the issue.
Of course, if you're talking about hand-holding, heavily scripted games (like CoD), then you'd only apply these physics in scripted sequences anyway.
As usual, I would prefer these companies invest their effort into more interesting AI and game mechanics. I played Crisis 2 a while back, and beyond the improved graphics, it did not feel much different from Half Life 1 to me.
CryTek are showing off their own physics engine here, that's the big news. There's nothing too special about their physics engine over others, it's more about the pipeline and the amount of work needed to create a soft-body vehicle.
But my point still stands. What is special here is the workflow in creating a physics-based vehicle. Other physics engines like Havok come with pre-made rigs, but tuning a vehicle for desired gameplay is still hard. Making it run fast in a game environment is harder still.
Gaming may not be your cup of tea, but the cutting edge of video game technology is definitely of interest to hackers. Calling this a "gaming" article is a little spurious, I feel.
I'm not too interested in consumer hardware though.
Of course, I'm certainly biased since I'm attending the Foundations of Digital Games  conference this week.
Open your mind, figure out how to use it for something else instead!