Grand Theft Auto IV's drunken antics are helping to drive the games industry forward, says NaturalMotion CEO Torsten Reil.
"There is a drinking mini-game in very detailed form where you can get drunk and he can actually then stumble around and you have to get home," Reil explained in an interview with our sister site GamesIndustry.biz. Okay - so far, so GTA.
"But all of that is fully simulated," he elaborated. "So, it is not based on animation any more. It is actually all synthesised on the CPU. Which means that it has a completely different outcome every time you play."
This change - driven by NaturalMotion's 'euphoria' technology in GTA's case - is part of a shift "away from just creating lots of animation assets that we store on the hard disk and play back" according to Reil.
With CPU power much greater than in the past, it's possible to "create a live world". "It also has a nice side effect that we don't have to create all those assets any more, but you actually let the CPU synthesise them in real-time."
So, when Niko Bellic gets wankered on your TV screens sometime around GTA IV's 29th April release date, just think about how realistic it is, and how this is not just a question of fancy animation, but one of fancy processing.
And just you wait until you see how Rockstar's handled falling over and sleeping against the bathroom doorframe. Staggering. So to speak.