Large-scale urban environments, crowds and incessant traffic are still difficult to simulate in games. Just ask CD Projekt RED. It takes many complex intersecting systems to bring this day-to-day metropolis noise to life, and the higher the level of realism, the more problems arise.
Take-Two seems to have found a solution by filing a patent for a “System and Method for Virtual Navigation in a Gaming Environment” that can make the GTA VI world better than anything we’ve ever seen.
The patent describes the current navigation system, which is based on finding paths through related points using pre-laid instructions. The company also describes many limitations and potential problems in such systems. For example, cars with prescribed aimless city driving behavior may no longer take into account external factors such as traffic lights, weather, or parking space.
This calls for a new and improved navigation system that can overcome the obstacles and limitations of traditional games.
The new process described in the patent takes many pages, includes diagrams and other details that will be incomprehensible or boring to most gamers. But generally speaking, for simulating life in games like GTA VI, one potential solution is to transfer virtual navigation calculations to cloud servers.
Under such conditions, a separate server will deal with virtual navigation of non-player characters. The player’s platform is in communication with the server, the latter generates a rough graph of low-level nodes and the corresponding connections, after which it forms a path from the start to the end point. A coarse graph path determination system reduces the number of low-level node downloads required by one or more systems to generate a path.
It sounds pretty confusing, but if everything works as intended, the system will allow you to create holistic worlds that will not bend under the weight of thousands of NPC drivers. Hypothetically, this means GTA VI could get even more traffic, potentially expanding the scale of the map. Most importantly, cars won’t just disappear when you leave a specific area. Instead, the server will load ready-made data about the drivers’ paths, reducing the load on the processor and freeing up RAM.
There is no mention of GTA VI or other games in the patent, but given that the release can be expected in the next 2-3 years, the existence of such a cloud technology makes sense.