Tools, Technique, Platforms... and Community
Recently released Rockstar flagship title Grand Theft Auto V, a lot of talk has been about the game, the realism, and whether or not it is too real. I mean, buying insurance for your car? Since when did we start being responsible in video games?
Either way, video games have come a long way since the good old days of the NES. Graphics, music, sound effects, user experience, controller and hardware design. They've all reached a level near paramount a high-budget film production. Storylines flirted with the lines of morality before breaking them entirely (see right).
This platform in particular has opened the way for indie developers and those just starting out with game development to put out a game on a real console and potentially get it monetized. Unity is an easy tool to use that deploy for mobile platforms (including the Ouya), and Blender, as a free resource, can be used to create 3D resources. A team at the local university recently won an award for their creation of a game called "Dub Wars", which features the hypnotic beats of dubstep themed music and the addictive gameplay of a 2D space shooter.
With all these advancements and tools, there must be some kind of support for those trying to stay current. Books are static and blogs don't always carry enough interactivity for good feedback. One organization, founded by 15 universities, has taken it upon itself to bring the creative professionals at the forefront of the digital media industries of film, art/design, gaming and audio to students working to become the next leaders in digital media. iDMAa works to bring the international community together to help get everyone up to speed on the latest technology as well as pave the way for the future.
In order for games of this generation to reach the level of realism, a number of components must be up to taking the punishment of a programmer or creative genius behind the wheel. The tools for creation and the hardware powering those tools go hand in hand. You can't really have one without the other. The hardware has come a long way in the last few decades, to the point where consoles have taken on a resemblance to our desktop PCs (crammed into a smaller box casing). One in particular, the Ouya, has combined gaming with the widespread open source platform Android.