Friday, 27 April 2007

Day113 UT3

Unreal Tournament 3
Another little look at the promo stuff for this coming superstar of gaming. I will have to get used to calling it UT3 rather than UT2007 now I guess, I just hope they dont keep us waiting toooo long. Anyhow the graphics and character animation seen in the trailer (http://www.unrealtournament3.com/main.php) look really awesome. I think the tech of the engine could make all kinds of games. This visual splendout along with what I hear the AI and physics can do - should allow a great level of emersion. It is this that, for me, set HL2 so far above the rest, it wasnt just about adrenaline, gore, explosions and fancy guns - it was an engaging world that sucked you in and made you 'feel' things.
These images are from the Unreal3 site and show the extreme detail levels (in every part - scens, models, textures, lighting, effects etc etc):


[ingame type shots of the coming UT3 from their site]

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Hammering
Created a test map for the squarehouse, got colums grids, some textures, 2D skyboxes and basic things fo the sort going - just to get a feel for them and the interactions with the might Gmod.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Day112 Arch Vis, V4 Muscles

Architectural Visualisation
I got some info from AutoDesk about their Design Visualisation Asia Pacific Tour today (http://south-apac.autodesk.com/sap/designviz/2007/main_au.html) which features speakers from 2 Aussie companies.
Digital Line (http://digitalline.com.au/) have done some nice work which you can see via their site.
Last Pixel (http://lastpixel.com.au/) on the other hand are doing stunning stuff on a nice range of projects from city planning to detailed interiors. Their showreel (http://lastpixel.com.au/showreel.html) is beautiful.
Here are a few images of the work Last Pixel have done:

[images from Last Pixel's site showing some of their work]

Real-time visualisation (perhaps with game engine tech) is somehting neither company's sites mention, this could be an exciting area going forward, not only being flexible and emersive, but also multi-person.

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DAZ Victoria 4 Muscle Maps
DAZ Studios now have muscle maps for V4 which look like hey will add a whole new set of capabilities to the model. It could be great for artists wanting to get a feel for the underlying musculature. Some could use it for biological education even - they look very clever.
Here are a few of their promo images from the site (http://www.daz3d.com/i.x/shop/itemdetails/-/?item=5252&spmeta=ab):


[images from the DAZ site promoing the V4.1 Muscle Morph and Maps bundle]

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Day111 Enreal3 Engine, TMNT

Unreal3 Engine
With UT2007 still coming there are more games that seem to have licensed the Unreal3 engine for development of future releases. Their site (http://www.unrealtechnology.com/html/technology/ue30.shtml) has a nice roundup of the Unreal Engine 3's capabilities and features. Here are some screengrabs from the site actaully showing UnrealEd in action - cant wait.



[images from the Unreal Technology site]

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TMNT Movie
Had a ball watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie. I have loved the 4 green guys since the beginning - in fact the original comic was just black'n'white. Anyhow onto the movie - I found myself enjoying the ride, even though it is targeted at a much younger audience. The animation and characterisation was fun and engaging. Some of the effects were great to watch, the rain fight sequence, the opening sweep through the city with the turtles, the glowing armour death at the end, the coming to life of the statues and a host more. Though it may not break any technical barriers, it does extend the medium adding some of the smooth camera and animation that reminds me of the hand crafted Tarzan. HK based Imagi (http://www.imagi.com.hk/web/main.php) did the CG work and look to have done a few other things - top stuff!

Anyhow - the movie site (http://tmnt.warnerbros.com/) has some nice images and vids. The IMDB site (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0453556/) has a host more pickies (though small).
The screen images are from the Superhero Hype site (http://www.superherohype.com/cgi-bin/imageFolio.cgi?direct=TMNT/The_Movie/Movie_Stills):



[images from the TMNT movie from the Superhero Hype site]
Ninja Turtles Comic
Just for those who can remember waaay back to where it all began (1984) - though I didnt run into the fun until a few years later. Head over to the TMNT site (http://www.ninjaturtles.com/) where you can go all nostalgic at bits of the original Eastman Laird comic - droooool. In fact you can read the entire original comic there - site is frames driven - sorry about the lack of link. It is a testament to the quality of the original that the feel, characters, story and look hasnt changed much in the last 23 years! Here's a teaser for ya of the smaller images:
[comic pages from the first TMNT comic from 1984]

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Hammering the Squarehouse
With our refurb of the squarehouse coming Russell and I are thinking of building a model of the area in HL2, it has the potential to showcase the project and get more buy-in from upper management and understanding from all. Plus it will be a fun project to get our teeth into.
The workshop type space and surrounds should fit very well with the 'feel' of Half Life and we should be able to leverage alot of the included textures - esp at the start. Getting the 'equipment' in there will be entertaining as will the groupwork aspects.
Had a small go at Hammer again - getting the feel for the app again and how it interacts with Gmod (our environment of choice)
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TV
Add to this day a healthy dose 0f Wallace & Gromit, so fun to see see the kids laugh out loud at something we enjoy and also appreciate the craft.
Heroes Ep13 - still loving the ride even though we are in joiner story lines in the larger arcs at the moment. There are still enough tense and revealing moments to make it great viewing. Christopher Eccleston is fun to have included now as well, being a Dr Who fan (we just need him to say "Fantastic" :-)

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Day110 Metric Modding and Lebbeus Woods

Hammering in metric??
It is time to start work on a model of the Red Centre in Half-Life 2 using Hammer and whatever other tools become appropriate as I go along. I had a bit of a play with how to go about this and am not happy with the whole imperial units garbage. I really really dont want to have to switch everything from metric to get this task done. A bit of google searching hasnt revealed anything more than it being on peoples lists of requested features :-(
I wonder if there is another way...
OK, a quick search of the same thing for Doom3 doesnt hint at whether it can do metric either. This tute (http://doom3world.org/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?p=160978&sid=74d1e1e394125ff06ababc6230b41bfb) for building a brick archway is all using Max - but is set to metric which might be a clue. Even if it cant do metric, at least if you can model in Max then bring everything into Doom3 that would be fine (maybe better).
Need to look into this some more now! Since UT2004 can use Max models just plonked into it - perhaps this has some value as well. If only the UT3 engine was here for us already!!
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Lebbeus Woods
This New York Architect has some very interesting ideas on a host of social and spacial areas. His work (as Russell points out) has lots in common with the imagery from Half-Life 2 - in particular the invasion of the combine architecture upon the historic seen throughout the game.
These images from the HL2 site (http://half-life2.com/media.html) show the combine's hard, cold, metallic invasion of the rustic local venacular.

[screenshot and concept art from the half-life 2 site]

These images show some of Lebbeus Woods sketches (http://www.uturn.org/Arttech/index.htm) and the style he has - there are other images around, but all are kinda poor to repost here.

[scans of Lebbeus work - available through many sites at this quality]
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CeBIT
Registration for CeBIT (http://www.cebit.com.au/) is all organised now for the start of May. I havent been to one of these sort of things for several years now and it will be great to attend with the enthusiastic folk from FBE.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Day109 Mudbox n ZBrush

Mudbox
This new app on the scene (http://www.mudbox3d.com/index.html) is taking on a corner of the rich 3D app landscape that is ripe for the picking. Apart from partial support from the big players in 3D sculpting, there are only a few smaller more specialised apps. Some of the features highlighted on their site are 3D Layers, Asymmetrical Mirroring, Local Subdivision and Texture Baking.

[Images from the gallery on the site]
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ZBrush
Just be way of comparison here is a snippet from the ZBrush (http://www.pixologic.com/zbrush/home/home.php) site. There are alot of the tools that Mudbox shines in with Multi-Res Modelling etc. They then highlight the apps features in painting and 2D/3D design. The promo for ZBrush3 (coming this year) has some very impressive new toys for the sculptor in everyone (http://www.pixologic.com/zbrush/3/overview.php). I particularly like the concept sculpting using the multiple views etc. Like Mudbox we get 3D layers which are very impressive - people will wonder how they ever survived without them.

Here are some pics from a linked gallery site : ZBrushCentral(http://www.zbrushcentral.com/zbc/featured2col.php). Full credit to these amazing artists - if any of these inspire, take a closer look at the site and you will see more from them.


[gallery images from ZBrushCentral - multiple artists]
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On top of these 2 powerhouses there is similar magic to be seen from Hexagon (http://www.daz3d.com/i.x/software/hexagon/). There are doubtless others that have features that can do some of this fun.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Day108 3D World Mag, the PS3 and more

3D World 88

Reading through my new mag there were a bunch of stories that I really liked. The info on the tech of the PS3 (http://au.playstation.com/ps3/) revealed what to me is movie-making-behavour in the game industry now. Lots of the terminology is now the same as we see in visual effects, rendering and animation work. I will have a closer look at the individual titles of note in coming days (Outsider, Heavy Rain, MotorStorm, Heavenly Sword etc). It was most interesting to see that the developers were all moving to Maya (in line with the movie production houses). I wonder if any of the PS3 titles will allow is to mod them in the same way we have seen major games on the PC allow?

The graphical grunt of the box is nice, but the PC graphics arena is blooming again and will leave the PS3 way behind I think. Before long PCs will have zillions of Cores, memory to burn, plus graphics and physics engines that will simply put do the unbelievable.

[image from the PS3 area of the sony australia site]

I am sure the box will be emesely successful, Sony have created a box that will lure game developers and thus gamers to it. Perhaps we will see more games bridging the PC/console divide as well.

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There is a review of Poser 7 as well - and though it doesnt get much of a rave it does score pretty well. One obvious thing is its support (via exporters etc) to Max and Maya etc. This alone is making a tempting proposition, and since the DAZ models are all fully functional inside Poser the choice gets a little easier again.

Then there is Mudbox 1.0 a new app on the block - but it looks like an inspired arrival. I thought it was a new Zbrushy app, but some of the logic separates the two. It really does look quite special and I will take a closer look at this baby as well.

Anyhow, lots of leads to be followed.

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Sim City 4
Yes, back into this classic for a little look again. I love the logic of the game and the way it 'plays' on its own, combine that with the terrain and city creation and it is simply a joy. (oh and it isnt about slaying everything which is nice). I tried building an agricultural city and was pleasantly surprised at the success I was having.

[journeytime = 1.5 hours]