Like most other things in today’s electronic world, lasers have come a long way. Justin C Williams, laser enthusiast, looks at the role of lasers in online video games and how it has progressed to where it is today.
In exploring the technology of lasers, let’s look at first what a laser really is, says Justin C Williams. Lasers, According to NASA, “produces a very narrow beam of light that is useful in many technologies and instruments. The letters in the word laser stand for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.”
Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast explains, “Lasers work by allowing the light waves within to all line up together. This is notable since regular light waves don’t do this.” By aligning all the waves to line up together, the laser can focus a very bright, very narrow beam of light into a very tiny area. Because these beams of light are extremely narrow, lasers can also function well over long distances. This makes them an excellent tool for developers to use inside and outside of the gaming industry, he says.
History shows that the first game developed using lasers was a laser tag toy back in 1986. Laser tag is played when a light beam from a toy laser “hits” a special packet inside a player’s backpack. At this point, the special packet registers a hit and that player is considered “shot.” Although laser tag is obviously not an online game, Justin C. Williams the laser enthusiast says great strides in improvements have been made since then. Now, lasers are being used nearly everywhere from the military and police to the entertainment industry.
With the progression of advanced computer programming, better graphics cards, and faster computer hardware, laser technology made another great leap just a few years ago with the addition of 3-D laser scanning. 3-D laser scanning improves the look and feel of online games by taking any object and scanning it into digital format. Justin C. Williams says this is a much faster solution for developers than having to recreate the object manually and provides for a much more realistic gaming experience due to the detail involved.
One of the first online gaming systems to use this type of 3-D laser was Sony’s Playstation 2 for the game, American Major League Baseball. At that time, Sony Computer Entertainment used laser scanning to reproduce about 1400 players for what many consider probably the most realistic-looking video game on the market at that time. Although it sounds daunting, Justin C. Williams a laser enthusiast explains that each scan only took about 90 seconds or so to create. “That’s the beauty of laser,” he said with a smile.
“And, as far as laser technology being used in online gaming, I truly think we’ve only just begun,” he adds.