The Evolution of Gaming Graphics

From humble beginnings in the image of pixels to advanced light effects and realistic textures. Game graphics have come a long way to look like we can see it nowadays. It not only resembles a big technological step but also influences our experience and perception of virtual worlds.


The Origins and Rise of Vector Graphics


Vector graphics is one of the basic types of computer graphics, whose origins date back to the 60s of the XX- century. Vector graphics are based on mathematical equations and the representation of images by geometric figures, lines, and curves.

The first thing that we can call a “game” was introduced in 1959 by William Higinbotham, and it was called Tennis For Two. The device on which the game appeared was an oscilloscope.

On the other hand, in 1962, Ivan Sutherland, for his doctoral thesis, created a programme called Sketchpad, which allowed objects to be drawn and manipulated by using the computer screen. This was a pioneering achievement in the field of computer graphics, as users could experiment with shapes and objects without the need for specialised knowledge.

The Dawn of Graphic Programmes


The creation of the first graphics programme dates back to 1972 and was called Super Point, and was created by Richard Shoup. With features such as video processing, changing saturation, color palette, changing line thickness, and various drawing tools. It was one of the first programmes to use a user interface.

Another early graphics programme was MacPaint, introduced in 1984, available for Macintosh 128K computers.

It can be called the prototype of today’s Paint, which is present in all computers. It was one of the first programmes available to a wider range of users. It offered tools such as a brush, eraser, and ruler.

In the late 1980s, brothers John and Thomas Knoll created a programme that was capable of displaying shades of gray, which was not possible at the time, as computers were only capable of displaying black or white.

This was the foundation of Adobe Photoshop 1.0, which saw the light of day in 1990. Its third version (Photoshop 2.5) was one of the world’s first cross-platform programmes, while the next version already introduced a color palette and support for layers.


Incorporating Graphics in Casino Gaming


In the realm of casino gaming, particularly in slots, the evolution of graphics has played a crucial role in enhancing player engagement and overall gaming experience.

As with video games, the sophistication of visual elements in slot machines has evolved from simple, static images to dynamic, high-resolution displays that include animated sequences and interactive touchscreens. This visual allure not only enriches the gaming atmosphere but also complements the enticing nature of casino bonuses.

For instance, vibrant and thematic graphics can highlight special bonus rounds or jackpots, making features like the Gala Spins bonus code more prominent and exciting for players. Thus, the graphical enhancements in casino games not only contribute to the aesthetic appeal but also strategically highlight opportunities for players to maximise their winnings through bonuses.


The Pixel Era and Its Iconic Games


Atari, a pioneer in the computer gaming industry, initiated the era of pixel graphics in the 1970s and 1980s. Their iconic consoles, such as the Atari 2600, brought the world the first popular video games that utilized simple yet effective pixel graphics. Thanks to limited technical resources, developers had to harness their creativity to create games that were both engaging and visually appealing.

In 1973, the game Gotcha! was released by Atari, marking the first-ever colored game in history. From then on, graphics began to become increasingly more beautiful.

In 1978, one of the first games with a scrolling background was released – the iconic game Space Invaders, which has been recognized as one of the most influential and best-selling games in history. It was released by Taito Corporation.

The inspiration for the game Space Invaders was Breakout, where to progress to the next stage, the player had to destroy a cluster of bricks by bouncing a ball off a moving paddle located at the bottom of the screen.

The game increased in difficulty by reducing the size of the bottom paddle and increasing the speed of the ball’s bounce. Space Invaders operated similarly; however, in this case, the player’s task was to shoot down the space invaders, who moved down the screen in increasing numbers and at a faster pace.

In the 1980s, iconic games like Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros by Nintendo, and Pac-Man by Namco emerged. In 1985, the game Hang On! was released, which was the first 16-bit game.

The Breakthrough of 3D Graphics in Gaming

The emergence of 3D graphics in games was one of the most pivotal moments in the history of the gaming industry. One of the first games to mimic 3D graphics, using the aforementioned vector graphics, was Battlezone, a tank simulator released in 1980.

However, the first game to use fully textured 3D graphics was Ultima Underworld, released in 1992. However, for the computer to cope with displaying such complex graphics, the display area was significantly reduced. The remainder of the screen was occupied by the game interface.

Soon after, two games appeared, thanks in large part to which we owe the emergence of the genre of First-Person Shooter games. These were Wolfenstein and Doom.

In addition, Doom was fully textured, while in Wolfenstein the ground and ceiling were monochromatic. It is worth mentioning that the enemies in Doom were made using the so-called Sprite, a technique that also appeared in platformers or strategy games.

Sprite animation is an animation technique, which involves creating separate images of a character or an object and playing them sequentially to create the illusion of movement.

The 21st century also marked the beginning of the manipulation of lighting effects in games and animations, the emergence of such technologies as virtual reality goggles, and controllers with which players can authentically feel like participants in a given game. Also, the movie Avatar is worth mentioning, which was the first mass-market film shot in 3D.