The way forward for the game industry is a very wobbly one, at least for Torsten Reil. Who exactly is Torsten? He's the guy that makes it possible, amongst other things, for the player to get realistically drunk in the upcoming GTA IV
And Torsten Reil is also the CEO of NaturalMotion, one of the companies
that is supplying middleware, more specifically "dynamic motion synthesis technology replicating the movement of the human body and the reaction of the nervous system", for a variety of games. You'll be able to see and appreciate their work in such games as the already mentioned GTA IV and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
The special bit about the drunken minigame in GTA IV is that no animations are going to be recorded for it. Usually, games rely on animations for most of the movements of the characters we see in a videogame. These animations are created as part of the development process and they don't chance in the game. If the hero falls down there are only so many recorded animations and therefore only so many ways in which he can fall down. NaturalMotion is trying to change this. They've discovered that modern PCs have enough processing power, so that they don't need this prerecorded animations. Instead, based on specific algorithms and on the conditions within the game world, most movements can be generated on the spot. So, if you're drunk and you fall down, chances are no two falls will ever be the same. It will be different depending on where you are, what's the weather like, what surface you fall upon or any other number of factors.
If it can be implemented for most of the motion that characters do in videogames, the chance could be huge. The diversity factor will increase and games will begin to feel more like realistic and less like prerecorded experiences. NaturalMotion is at the forefront of such initiatives to change the face of games today and we might hear more in the future about them.
And if you like the fly drunken behavior motions, don't forget to watch this space for further news on GTA IV.