I was fortunate enough to be born in a time where I was able to watch the inception and development of videogames as it happened through the years. Looking at today’s crisp graphics, complicated mechanics and complex storylines in gaming, it is hard to imagine a time when we were equally wowed by pixelated vector graphics, sprites and 8-bit sounds being played on clunky, barely capable devices. Here I will map this progress, looking at some of the biggest developments in gaming that put the activity on the map and in the palm of our hands whether we are on the go or nestled comfortably in a computer chair, to see how these changes have made videogames what they are today; whether being produced by A-list software developers or even app development companies.

The Game that Started it All

If you’ve ever been exposed to games, then there is a good chance that, at some point, you have come across a tennis simulation called Pong. It is a simple game that uses two paddles on each end of the screen to pass a pixelated ball between them. While this sounds like the embodiment of simplicity itself, there was a time when this simple game represented a major breakthrough, and was in fact only invented because its developer was a physicist.

William Higinbotham invented it in 1958, at which point the game didn’t even have a name; until it was republished as Pong in 1970 for the Atari system.

Moving from Sprites to Models

From this point, developers of all sizes and capabilities started rolling out games for a smorgasbord of platforms. They were still fairly simplified and relied on basic mechanics to create an illusion of a gaming scenario, with aspects often being represented by simple pixels or pictures. Games like Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Heretic and many others started using flat images called sprites to represent elements in their games that gave them the illusion of operating in 3 dimensions.

It wasn’t until a game called Quake was released by ID software in 1995 that sprites were developed into fully-fledged 3d models that could move fluidly throughout the scene, that the impressive capabilities of graphics started to be realised. This kicked off a spate of development which saw these 3d models and their textures becoming more intricate and detailed. In fact, this system of 3D modelling is still used in game and app development today.

This created a need for better hardware, and so the first class of graphics cards were born to allow more detail to be rendered in quicker times. One of the first was the Voodoo 3D Effects graphics cards which, although now completely redundant, set a trend for the development of even more powerful graphics card adaptors which are still being developed today.

Online Gaming Rears its Head

It wasn’t until online gaming came into play that videogames really started to grow in popularity. I still remember playing Doom 1 across a network when I was a child, and being bowled-over by the ability to play alongside friends. This was the birth of a global online gaming community which would eventually develop to the point where it could facilitate international tournaments or seamless online play against anyone in the world.

Mobile Gaming Platforms and Mobile Apps

Mobile gaming, arguably first came about with the inception of the Gameboy, which kept many a bored child busy on long-car trips. They boasted an excellent battery life, a massive assortment of games and surprising functionality. This lead to the development of more complex mobile gaming systems; which laid a neat path for mobile apps to give just about anyone with a phone, a comparatively satisfying gaming experience that incorporates online play, excellent graphics and astounding performance into a portable entertainment solution, right on their phones r tablets.

Contact Applord to Have an App Developed

App development, while used widely for games, serves a number of other purposes as well, and this mashing-up of gaming, productivity and utility is what has made app development a popular field in South Africa. If you would like to learn more about how our team here at Applord can assist you with developing an app or game for mobile devices, contact one of our representatives today, or visit our website for details.

John Ottolman

John Ottolman

John Ottolman: Keyword whisperer, content creator, researcher and OCD stricken editor. The imprints of keyboard letters have long-since embossed themselves on his finger-tips. Thirsty for knowledge and hungry to share it, he is here to provide insights from the digital industry.

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