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NextVG.com Guest editorial

 

Call of Duty, one of the most successful video game franchises in recent years catering to 40 million monthly active players across all of the Call of Duty titles, with 10 million Call of Duty: Elite users and 2 million paying annual members.

With 9 major console/PC releases, an upcoming title ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ and an ever increasing audience, what more could the Call of Duty franchise potentially deliver?
Let’s run through some of the bigger ideas from the Call of Duty community:

Engine:

Many Call of Duty players have expressed their desire for an overhaul to the Call of Duty engine as opposed to “refreshes” or “upgrades”. Call of Duty is popular for it’s gameplay and mechanics – it’s one of those games whereby you can pick up the controller at your local game store and get right in to the action.
Get enough practice and you’ll evolve as a player, improve your profile statistics, build upon your arsenal of weapons and earn weapon upgrades.

With each Call of Duty release, refinements and graphical improvements are made across the board from textures and lighting to the detail of your players hand. The question to ask here is – why fix what ain’t broken?
It’s fair to say that a total overhaul of the engine will be due at some point further down the road (and these take years of development by the way!) but until then, the current engine continues to deliver one of the smoothest first person gaming experiences at 60fps!

Standalone Zombies Game:

Zombies, probably one of the biggest success stories of Call of Duty. It’s built a major following, YouTuber’s dedicate to the task of finding easter eggs, and an ever evolving storyline that people enjoy. If DLC releases are anything to go by, Call of Duty fans can’t get enough of Zombies, and would probably go as far as to buy a Zombies only Call of Duty title.

The potential for a Zombies only Call of Duty is, well, huge. With a development team dedicated to constructing the story, maps/world, weapons and easter eggs, it would open the door to limitless possibilities – throw in some community involvement and you’re looking at a game with endless replay value.
Larger worlds, more players in multiplayer, new weapons, an ever evolving world that everyone has an impact on, spaceships, there is so much that could be achieved. Plus, with more system resources and less limitations with upcoming next generation hardware, there really is no excuse to go crazy with an already unique addition to Call of Duty.

Execution is certainly up for debate however, 2 separate Call of Duty titles to buy each year is certainly a dangerous concept, at the very least for your wallet, and Activision wouldn’t want to drive attention away from the main Call of Duty title itself. With next generation consoles on the way including bigger storage capacities, having players download the Zombies addition as “DLC” is certainly a possibility as opposed to selling a completely separate title.

More Guns:

The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are 8 years old, yes, 8! The hardware in these machines is considerably outdated, therefore the burden of adding additional weapons and any other extras is simply impossible when trying to deliver a smooth gaming experience at 60fps. It’s been covered numerous times in the past by Call of Duty developers, these systems simply cannot deal with it.

As mentioned earlier in this post, there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel, and by that I mean the Xbox One and Playstation 4. With the upgraded hardware, these issues will be a thing of the past. In fact some developers are saying they don’t know what to do with all the power available – that’s a very good problem to have!

Lag Compensation / Dedicated Servers:

All games lag, it’s the nature of the internet. You may not notice it, you may not experience it, but you’re lagging in every game you play, and so is everyone else. The internet is a wonderful creation where we can communicate with each other from every corner of the earth, but the quality of people’s connections and their distance to you is just a drop in the ocean behind the technicalities of lag.

How this lag impacts players in a Call of Duty match is very much down to the developers and mechanics of the particular game you’re playing – in this instance, Call of Duty. To try and combat the delays in connection between players of a Call of Duty match, they introduce a system called ‘Lag Compensation’.

Here’s an example of just what Lag Compensation does as posted on the Call of Duty Forums:

Lag compensation IS NOT the throttling of a connection so everyone is playing “on the same level”. It’s the prediction of a players location to make up for the time lost during the physical transfer of packets from one’s PS3 to the server(host). For instance:

At 10.5 seconds you shoot someone at point ‘A’ and that information is sent to the server
At 10.6 seconds the information arrives at the server and the information is processed by the server, the target has now moved to point ‘B’
Lag comp kicks in and rewinds the time back to 10.5 seconds when the target is at ‘A’ to determine whether or not the target was hit

Lag Compensation is a complicated system, and due to the hundreds/thousands of variables it’s impossible to solve.

Dedicated Servers I hear you say? There’s no denying this will improve the overall multiplayer experience and reduce the impact of lag even further, but many people have forgotten the cost element. With hundreds of thousands of people playing Call of Duty at any given time, it’s simply not a sustainable option. Rent-a-Server option anyone?

What are your thoughts?

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