In 2005 we have started to discuss on research activities in the context on games. The following text is part of a workshop proposal at that time:
Technological questions of content creation and specifically the technological challenges of game development play a key role in the positioning of the the EU in the ICT sector within the years to come. Games – the killer applications of interactive media – are an important innovation catalyst in the information society, as they are at the crossroads of three core issues: Technology and its spin offs, economic development and cultural diversity. Games may well become more important than the TV of today in the next 20 or 30 years. Their impact on society is rapidly growing, and therefore it will be important to have a positive attitude about games so that they can be integrated properly into the regulation and support initiatives of the information society.
The public is often unaware just how strongly the games industry technology drives the development of the technologies of the future. To a very large degree games have been responsible for the continued development and improvement of mass market computer hardware! Furthermore, the games industry (also in Europe) is a growing market and a growing industry, and will remain in growth for the next years to come. On the other hand, content is becoming more and more important for the development of technology, as market success is defined by content and technology likewise. Games therefore are a good example for the requirement to redefine the relationship between content of technology in our era. Last but not least, games are probably the killer application of the new converging media field between TV, Mobile and Internet as they are becoming interactive in the context of networked electronic media (see emerging games on mobile devices, online and over interactive TV).
However, most of the research is done in an uncoordinated manner in small SME’s scattered all over Europe. From such a micro perspective the production costs are constantly rising (higher profile products, but therefore recoupment in the domestic markets becomes impossible). Therefore independent development becomes more difficult. Content funding systems, such as the film funding systems, can help to reduce the publisher-risk. However, a technological environment in which widely available European tools and middleware licenses make it more affordable to produce games in Europe will be an important step for a continued sustainable future of the sector.
Even though the sector is successful, from a macro vision, the situation of European game developers of today is not satisfying,. The medium is still young (comparable to film in the 20es), but too few projects reach out to the international markets. Network effects and economies of scale easen the way for ‘monocultural’ genre orientation and international stereotypes, just as in the movie industry. Games are following similar rules than other media where network effects dominate. Therefore it is urgently necessary to reduce the power assymetry concerning the relationship between game developers, game publishers and platform holders, which currently discriminates games from Europe. We need to take measures to make the development of games less dependent of the console hardware development, and less dependent of tools of non-European origin.
The aim of this special workshop is to define the requirements and specific technological problems of this industry. Research questions cover a wide range of topics such as
• Open software for content creation
• Open software interoperability
• European Console: is it out of reach ?
• Middleware: specificities and interoperability
• Tools: Reducing costs by automising processes
• Automatic (procedural) content creation
• Multiplatform development – tools
• Interfaces: Human – machine
In addition, topics of interest include (but are not limited to) the
• Peer to Peer technigues for variety of services
• Massively Multiplayer and persistent world techniques
• Physics (realtime simulations)
• Personalization and Service, agent techniques
• Piracy Protection, software development
• Artificial Intelligence (adaptable code)
• Wider bandwidth for communication of emotions and feelings
• Better pipelines and software/production management
• Better and more efficient algorithms
• More emergent gameplay with flexiable techniques
• Alternative game design and use of techniques from other areas
• Cultural impact of R&D. Is all R&D ? R & D as generic products; Art as non generic (unique) products.
• Redefining boundaries of content & technology => varies at every project; interdependent
• Misuse of R&D for content?
• Cultural studies become more important as hardware war is becoming a software and content war
• Regulatory issues: open software; copyright