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I.K.bot

Ivan Kirigin's views on Robotics & Culture: future. perfect. progress.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Artificial actors

I have some comments over at Marshall Brain's Robotic Nation Evidence on a post about Robotic actors.

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Part of the point is that many hundreds of people do a lot of work into software that makes life easier for people, even just one person.

I used to love the advance of video games where one game's "cut-scene" was the next generation’s game's live rendered graphics. A perfect example is Tekken 3. The cut-scenes were the typically smooth CGI with worse in-game graphics. The platform was the PlayStation. To show the power of the PlayStation II, they showed what looked like the beginning of a cut scene, but the characters were controllable and could be moved around the room from the old cut-scene.

Recently, with Doom 3 providing real-time bump mapping (an amazing achievement), I can only expect this trend to continue. The only reason it wouldn't is that the graphics are getting so good (and so much work is required to make the engines) that game makers are creating cut-scenes which are just scripted real-time rendered graphics, so this leap-frog effect is lost. Soul Caliber II comes to mind.

Then again, an excellent possibility of this is to have hybrid game/movies, where cut-scenes are merged seamlessly with game-play. This is getting more common, and allows games to have the delight of immersion and user control, in addition to the passive enjoyment of watching a directed and well-produced short film. I’m pretty sure “Enter the Matrix” was like this, but I never played it.

Marshall's post about HalfLife II’s progress is very relevant here.

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