Saturday, 16 June 2012

More Mayeur Environs

After looking at Vincent Mayeur's new castle using the CryEngine, why not check out the other pieces in his portfolio (perhaps the body of work that landed him his role at Crytek UK). I think these are all using the UDK engine actually, these are just so impressive to me in showcasing what one person can achieve learning the tools (quite a few of them) to bring environments like these into being. Go to the site to see plenty more pics of each project.

[Vincent Mayeur environments via his site]

Friday, 15 June 2012

CE3 Fortress

3D environment artist Vincent Mayeur has created a full medieval fortress and valley complete with cascading waterfalls in CryEngine 3. The splendour possible with CE3 is well known, but it still takes a huge amount of effort and experience to build up all these assets, materials, effects and composition into something like Fort Highness. The PolyCount Thread has info, imagery and video of the WIP which reveals something of what it takes to build up a full environment from scratch without he ease of using a suite of assets from elsewhere or that came with the SDK. I love seeing how each of the assets and textures evolve and then find a home in the project, seeing it all coming together and with each update gets closer and closer to the completed digital place.

[Vincent Mayeur Fort Highness project - image via his site]

Some of the WIP Images

[Vincent Mayeur Fort Highness project - image via the PolyCount thread]

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Grasshopper Goodies

I thought it was about time I at least had a look at Grasshopper, the generative plugin for Rhino which is used in a whole raft of arenas. One driver is that I may use the toolset to generate the Butterfly and Moth cities in the MVB project if that goes ahead. While I get a few tutorials under my belt, I thought I would post a few wild and zany images from the Grasshopper Gallery as some talented people have some wonderful things that show off the power of this sort of digital tool.

[Tangled by Michael Pryor via the Grasshopper Gallery]

[Hygroscope by Boyan Mihaylov via the Grasshopper Gallery]

[Voronoi Faceted Sphere by Angel Quintana via the Grasshopper Gallery]

[Tangled Order 01 by Csiby Zsolt via the Grasshopper Gallery]

[Evil Mobius by Angel Quintana via the Grasshopper Gallery]

[Chrysalis III by Andrew Kudless via the Grasshopper Gallery]

As both Grasshopper and CryEngine both use visual scripting logic, the more I can practice this sort of development the better my brain will get at finding solutions and solving problems in this way. We all have to be a little wary of trying to use every piece of software under the sun, there are just too many to become useful at them all. If I am going to use Grasshopper, then I will need a sane way to bring that geometry along with whatever other metadata (UV and materials etc) into CryEngine. It would be nice if that could be dynamic - time will tell.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Apple Notebook Design

With another years WWDC releases out from behind the secretive veil of Apple marketing we can see what they have been busily working on. There is always something fun, even if it comes with all the Appleness and this time we have shiny new MacBook Pro pair which they certainly know how to make look stunning on the web. Even though I haven't seen one in the flesh, you can tell it is going to be a superbly crafted piece of hardware and about as thin and sexy as a laptop of this grade can possibly be at this time.

[Apple's new MacBook Pro with retina display looking super thin - via official site]

In terms of the specs we are getting a 650M graphics chip which is pretty good actually (47 on Notebook Check) plus nice SSD drives and other components. The mighty retina display brings 2880x1800 res to the laptop screen, that is unheard of and a real boon. I like the notion of the quieter fans, seems clever. We dont get an ethernet port here - need an adapter for that (or wireless) plus an adapter for VGA or anything apart from thunderbolt for that matter.

Interestingly we didn't get touch on the screen or any real deign logic shift in the form factor of the laptop at all. Apple is still thinking that gestures are for the touchpad only, but I quite like that I can scroll or point out things on my HP2760p with touch on the screen when showing people things. Apple isnt quite ready yet to make the laptop into a big iSomething, to make IOS the master. In fact with Mountain Lion and these new MBPs the full OS seems pretty strong still - even if Apple's destiny is more mobile.

It actually quite annoying how the official Apple video talking about this design keep hammering how revolutionary it is, how they started again and have created something so new. For me this is a beautiful piece of iterative design, certainly not anything revolutionary at all. This isnt like the iPad or iPhone, this is a nice laptop - a very nice laptop. It does cost though - a quick spec up got me to $4K with warranty and the basic pieces that I would be hunting for in comparison with the HPs...

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Situation Engine

The Situation Engine research project at the Faculty of the Built Environment here at UNSW brings the real-time simulation capabilities of the CryEngine3 to the problem of teaching construction management. There are serious complexities around site visits for students of construction, elements like safety and timing have always been tricky, and the situation isn't improving. The notion of using a real-time game engine to present construction sites to students has the potential to achieve a raft of goals. Students get to see sites looking just as messy and disorienting as in real-life at any stage of the construction process with complete safety.

Sid Newton and Russell Lowe's ALTC grant around the teaching of Construction Technology has seen them and their team working with CryEngine3 to explore how this media can improve the educational experience for students. The notion that the simulated construction sites can present a suite of flaws or faults that the students set out to discover is intriguing. This turns the exercise of being in the environment very much into one of analysis which has real potential for reinforcing a whole range of site and construction concepts: safety, scale, sequencing, bracing, building elements, trade responsibilities, weather and more. I can see them generating the site/construction errors and then students sleuthing their way through immersed in the spaces and areas much like an inspector. This cant teach everything of course - the feel, the sturdiness, the close-up detail of nailing or paintwork - but it could still be a powerful aid to this early learning.

Here are two of the WIP videos created for the project thus far illustrating the logic of sections and the domestic housing construction sites.

Note that for the educational theorists there has been some interesting work done with the project looking at effectiveness, situated and authentic learning. Even though there is a game engine at the heart of things here, they have been moving away from the more gamey/gamification type uses.

The project is still going, but here are some screengrabs of me inside one of the later builds of where things are upto - showing the construction sites at various stages. Note these are all shots in real-time from inside the editor. I can see such potential here and the fidelity of the engine lifts the entire experience, esp in actual 3D (either nice glasses or even anaglyph) - super super stuff.

Apart from ongoing exploration in this context, I would love to see us taking this work and what the Architectural design students are doing in first year and elevate real-time visualisations to common practice in design education - exciting times.

Monday, 11 June 2012

FPS Simulator

I only just had this build by the UK Gadget Show pointed out and it is a great example of bringing together a bunch of tech. Here the gang look to lift the immersion level of an FPS with Battlefield 3, surround vision and sound, the coolest roller floor and even paintball guns.

Here are their links to the technology they put in:

MSE Weibull [Omni-Directional Treadmill and Motion Tracking]

Igloo Vision [Projection and 360-degree Dome]

aps events and media Ltd [Visual Manipulation]

Extra Dimensional Technologies [Ambient Lighting]

Running in the Halls [Kinect Hack]

Robo Challenge [Paintball Marker Control System]

Yoyotech [Gaming PC]
Here area a few images from the behind the scenes shots via engadget.

[Gadget Show FPS Sim image]

I would love to see us create something similar (without the guns) as a VERY immersive way to experience architectural designs.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Peleng Art

Sergey Kolesov (aka Peleng) is a photoshop powered artist who I just wanted to highlight quickly because of this image 'Nils and Morten' which was his entry for the Next-Gen Magic challenge on There is alot that I really like about this piece, the characters and execution have a wild, zany feel to them. When I first saw the pic I thought the giant bird had a little nose and a mouth full of wild grinning teeth (much like the rider). It was only late that I saw the nose was the beak tip - I like my initial interpretation better actually, extra manic.

[Peleng's Nils and Morten via his website]

The other reason I wanted to post Peleng's work here was that he has a few vids capturing his creations, I love seeing this sort of thing and these vids show off his craft (even if he didnt give us the commentary over the top). I like these two, go here for more.