Image Processing Reference
standard will allow you to create non-rectangular, alpha-blended areas of moving video.
You could map that video onto a 3D mesh that represents some terrain or even a face. The
MPEG-4 standard also provides scene construction mechanisms so that video assets can
be projected into a 3D environment at the player. This allows the user to control the point
of view. It also reduces the bit rate required for delivery, because only the flat, 2D versions
of the content need to be delivered as component objects. Figure 2-5 shows an example of
a high-quality interactive snooker game developed by Etiumsoft. As the scene becomes
more realistic, video compression helps keep games like this small enough to deploy
online or on some kind of sell-through, removable-disk format.
Betting systems are sometimes grouped together with online gaming, and that may be
appropriate in some cases. But online gaming is more about the interaction between
groups of users and may involve the transfer of large amounts of data on a peer-to-peer
Betting systems can be an extension of the real-world betting shop where you place
your wager and watch the outcome of the horse race or sports event on a wall of monitor
screens. The transfer of that monitor wall to your domestic PC or TV screen is facilitated
by efficient and cheap video compression. Real-time compression comes to the fore here
because you cannot introduce more than fractions of a second of delay—the end users
have wagered their own money and they expect the results to arrive in a timely manner.
Another scenario could involve a virtual poker game. These are often based around
VR simulations of a scene, but with suitable compression a live game could be streamed
Figure 2-5 Live snooker? Source: courtesy of Etiumsoft.