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4 Unrelated Technologies That Changed Gaming
by Chris Grasso on 04/29/13 03:31:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

The world is a dynamic place where one simple change to a process can have unintended effects on something else. For example, Alexander Graham Bell never imagined that his telephone would allow people to send images to each other anywhere in the world. When it comes to video games, there has been many instances where innovation in a completely unrelated field has brought something new to gaming.

High Speed Internet

The Internet itself was never designed as a method of mass communication. It was actually developed as a way for government departments and agencies to communicate with each other in real time. Next was high speed internet that was supposed to enhance scientific collaboration and allow practices such as medicine to get help to people quickly. But the speed of the Internet also helped open the door for a whole new level of interactive online gaming that now connects millions of people all over the world.

Accelerometers

An accelerometer is a device used to measure real acceleration in relation to gravity. If there is no gravity, then there is no acceleration. But an accelerometer at rest on the planet Earth is constantly measuring the pull of gravity on the device. When there is a change in the gravitational field, then the accelerometer registers that change. It was originally designed to measure subtle changes in gravity when operating heavy machinery. But we know it as the technology that allows our smartphone to alter its screen orientation based on whether the device is in the landscape or portrait position.

High Definition Television

When the engineers were working on high definition television, the intention was to capitalize on the changeover to completely digital broadcast signals. These engineers had no idea that high definition television technology would allow video games to create detail that had never been available in the past. High definition imaging has made 3D imaging in video games possible, which has gone on to completely change the way in which video games are designed.

Touchscreen Technology

The idea behind a touchscreen is to be able to touch a screen as you would a keyboard and get the screen to respond. The three main types of touchscreens are:

  • Resistive - Layers of conductive material send signals back to a central point.
  • Surface Acoustic Wave - An ultrasonic wave is placed over top of a screen.
  • Capacitive - The screen is coated with a conductive material that registers any contact.

These technologies were created to be used in medical research and in the retail world, but it did not take long for them to be mainstays in the gaming industry.

The great thing about innovation is that its effects can reach far and wide. The video gaming industry has benefitted from many advances in technology that were never intended for the video game world. All it takes is one game designer to think outside the box and incorporate a new idea from another element of technology to send video gaming to completely new heights. There is also the broadband internet internet that made online gaming from phones a possibility for everyone.


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