Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Valkyria beauty

Not being much of a console person, I need to keep a closer eye on some of the stunning visual expressions that game developers bring to the offerings on platforms like the PS3.

[Images from the Valkyria Chronicles CANVAS engine in action via the official site]

The Valkyria Chronicles brings a look and feel that remind me of the Ghibli animated films and for a game is a lovely change. In the same way that the Ghibli studio bring a poetic grace to action sequences, here SEGA deliver the same effect with their CANVAS engine.
The game then takes this more cartoonish feel and includes comic elements like the audio text, creating something like a watercolour animated comic in the end - gorgeous. We are also treated to some great vehicle, weapon and clothing design work integrated into an interesting looking world.

Cities XL

I loved Sim City right from the first version and enjoyed the various iterations since then. Well Cities XL is looking like a great little addition to the genre.

[Screenshots of CitiesXL via the official site]

Perhaps the most intriguing thing here is our growing capability to visualise in real-time vast urban environments with mutliple layers of complexity and data. I wonder when something like this might glue into the likes of Google Earth/Maps at some point as well.
Here is a trailer-like video showing off the engine, I like some of the shots showing vast shadows from large buildings arcing their way across huge freeways filled with cars on their way who knows where.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Augmented Virtual Reality into Reality

Another little AR video via the Digital Urban blog, showing a very clever multilayered concept for Augmented Reality. Here we have the 'reality' in a virtual world (Second Life) - very clever.

Augmented Mixed Reality: Second Life pops out from the Screen from cristiancontini on Vimeo.

ARhrrrr Augmentented Reality Shooter

I found this nice demo of an Augmented Reality (AR) game on the Digital Urban site which shows off some interesting NVidia hardware and good integration with the AR concepts.

The Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech has more detail on the zombies vs AR game and their research work. I liked the skittles tie-in, interesting take which might expand what AR and commercial linkages might mean.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Elementals Concept Sketches

I have been exploring a concept for a game that builds on the idea of creating elementals of all manner of types. In a burst of concept pieces I created the following over the last few days while trying to keep from doing too much on the computer - so these are straight on paper. I like some of the style going on here with the various elementals and their inked masters. Lets see how far this goes - I have notes on game thoughts and such already - but not alot more thus far...

MArch Crysis Video

The Architectural Computing students did some nice work with the Crysis engine, but there is a group of final year Masters of Architecture students working with it as well. Evan Freeman's blog outlines his thinking on the project and features the video below. The video presents something of an artistic vision of mental frailty in an emotive environment that reads beautifully in the Crysis engine. There is some nice skill in the melding of lighting, mood, movement and narrative - I am enthusiastic about people using such techniques to explore architectural thoughts, experiences and projects.

Evan Freeman
Submission for Experiment 2 for ARCH7201.
Exploring the limitations of clinical architecture in caring for patients with dementia. Created using Crysis Sandbox2 and Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9.0

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Ratatouille and Buttons

Watched a few more cool things this weekend as I continue to rest my back. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on Blu-Ray, Ratatouille on TV, both supremely awesome. How cool does Brad look even without any CG - blimey.

[Benjamin Button shot via and Ratatouille shot via]

Plus i have to give a little plug for Phineas and Ferb - somehow a very addictive little show - the repetitive nature seems to make it all the more fun and it is clever and has some nice character development - clean clear and engaging.

[Phineas and Ferb pic via tvropes]

Iain McCaig's concept art

[Padme dress concept art by Iain McCaig via The Padowan's Guide site]

It was this single image I came across doing an image search for something - cant even remember what now - something Star Warsie no doubt. Anyhow, when I fist came across it, I wasn't sure whose work it was and ended up down some wrong alleys - but some better hunting revealed the genius of Iain McCaig.

Looking a touch further there are plenty of sites dedicated to Amidala's fashions and indeed the costume work of the whole Star Wars universe. The Padowan's Guide, The Wookieepedia site, Fit for a Queen and others. I love the intensity of the image, how it conveys the mood and continues to convey meaning and plot using her costuming. The developed design is great as well, but it is these illustrations that start everything off - love it.

My first exposure to Iain McCaig may well be his City of Theives illustrations - was my first Fighting Fantasy Novel during my childhood - loved that book. He has come a fair way since then and has books that cover his art in glorious detail - thanks Parka for the review and images. He has done Magic cards, Terminator, Harry Potter, Dinotopia and a suite of Gnomon Videos that would be great to see I think.

I have been doing concept sketches for an Elemental's game idea - will post them up later - though they dont match Iain's work of course :-)