The Convergence of Film and Game Technologies We've reached a point where our craft is finally yielding the visions we hold in our mind's eye. The growth of the craft of games in many ways parallels the growth of the craft of effects films. We've had our Lumiere brothers with their moving pictures of a train emerging from a tunnel (L'arrivée d'un train en gare à la Ciotat/Train arriving at station). This was signifcant as a first technical demonstration that was good enough to really open people's imaginations. For a lot of us old-timers, that train was probably Lucasfilm Games' Ballblazer, or the very first Wolfenstein 3D.   Moving quickly through our parallel history, we've had the grandeur of the Ten Commandments (I'm going to suggest Ico or Shadows of the Colossus here), and Cecille B. Demille's cast of thousands in the MMO.   We've had our technical revolutions like Mary Poppins (Descent, Quake), and our definitive statements of "this is what we're doing", in Kubrick's 2001 (Unreal, Half-Life, God of War).   With this next analogy you're going to have to bear with me, so give me a second before you protest. Gaming hasn't yet had its Star Wars. Gaming has not yet had its definitive breakthrough in production technologies. ILM was created for the purpose of getting an unprecedented number of shots created and finaled in a very restricted amount of time for the first Star Wars movie. The technologies and production methodologies created at that one instant spawned off a new industry and was a watershed in the production of blockbuster films. There are now a lot of awesome packages and game creation toolsets out there, and some are getting close to achieving this. Some already do in their niche or genre of games. But, I feel it's time, as an industry, for us to look closely at our processes in the light of amplifying the individual's creativity so that we can put the tools to create the visions we hold in our mind's eyes directly in the hands of the visionaries. We're not quite there yet, but I can taste it...
Progress to date:  At Siggraph 2007, Steve Sullivan, Nick Pavis, David Bullock, and I gave a presentation called "LucasArts and ILM - A study in Film Game Convergence". It went over well :) Gamasutra 4engr The convergence of film and game technologies is my particular passion, the holy grail I've pursued throughout my whole career. I've got stories locked up in my head that I can't tell with either film technology or game technology, but through a synthesis of both, I can picture new forms of entertainment and the mode of expression my stories demand. VFXWorld has an excellent introductory article about how previsualization and gaming are coming together today. Studio Daily has published a piece on the project I've spent the last couple of years working on. In more ways than one, it's the culmination of a dream I started chasing when I was a kid. In 1977 I saw Star Wars, and thought "I want to help that guy do stuff like that," and the next year I saw Jim Blinn's computer animated Voyager fly-bys, and I added "using computers" to my personal goal, and I was set. It was a long and sometimes difficult road between there and here, but totally worth it. The most exciting point in my career was the day I met with ILM's head of R&D for the first time to talk about cross over technologies. At the end of the meeting we both told each other "I have an idea I want to follow up with you." Turns out it was the same idea; and the rest is history as you can see from the press we're starting to get. A little about the Zeno framework. And ZViz is announced now, in a detailed VFXWorld introduction. A presentation at IGDA SF Dec 2005. E3 2006 Online press on LucasArts working with ILM - Here's some links to IGN's coverage of our cool new games - Ain't It Cool News has a look Some of the challenges we faced are described in this article at ITNews. As Steve says there, it took a long time to get this far, but we're getting to a really exciting place. GDC 2006 This article is a nice follow up the presentation at GDC by ILM's head of R&D, Steve Sullivan, and LucasArts' Indiana Jones game project lead, Chris Williams. Here's an excerpt more. Dec 2/2006 - new article an vfxworld (And yes, it amuses me to compare Mary Poppins and Descent ;-)

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