Habboi's Blog of Games Design and All Things Awesome!

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Friday, 13 March 2009

World Builder Short Film = Possible Future 3D Program?

I just came across an interesting and sad video linked to me by a guy called Rimrook. I won't spoil the story but I do want to talk about the idea in the video and how the future of modelling and designing could change someday.

Here's a link to the video:


It's interesting actually because I've noticed a lot of game engines these days are starting to allow users to make levels and play them at the same time. I map for Half Life which uses an old BSP leaf system and requires compiling which can take 10 seconds to 30 minutes depending on how much there is to compile and how well the user optimised it.

Lately I've been playing Little Big Planet and I found it funny how the idea in this video is similar to the level design tools in the game. You can literally hop in and build stuff in lego fashion and then apply stickers all over it like paint.

It makes me wonder if holograms or the ability to jump into a virtual environment will be possible someday. Maybe in our lifetime? The idea of falling through a leak in a virtual world sends shivers down my spine.

I will say though that this would make getting into the games industry a lot easier :)

(Credit goes to Rimrook on TWHL for the link to the video and Bruce Branit for making the unique video.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

A truly beautiful film=)

Yeah, a true VR environment that we could interact with and manipulate at will would be cool. I think we will get there, it's just a question of when, and I think holographic or virtual environments will come in different forms over time.

In the Star Trek series the characters physically visit the holodeck which, without looking up an explanation, seems to defy its real world physical size and let them walk anywhere (and swim too - how do you swim in virtual water??). It must bend space or something, otherwise you'd be limited by the size of your real location as to how big the holographic environment could be. Oh and i'd assume you'd need an empty room: we all got one of those just lying around of course!.

I'm not sure holographics is really the way to go since it must be limiting in terms of the cost of installing the technology (it would be like the rollout of digital tv). If it was VR it could work. In one of my favourite sci-fi books - Ken Macleod's Cosmonaut Keep I believe - the protagonist meets his friends in a local bar and they step into a virtual 'room': they are virtually elsewhere but their bodies are still in the bar so they pretend to be playing pool so as not to attract attention to their virtual scheming. How they pull it off I'm not sure, I mean, if your still physically in the real world, what's to stop you tripping over the real world coffee table?lol I'll need to read the book again because just thinking about it is confusing the hell out of me right now.

In World Builder, the protagonist walks around so much that I guess it must be a virtual projection of himself in the simulation, just like the comatose woman (either that or he just happens to have a really large warehouse in his garden?!) so his real body could be connected to some kind of apparatus to send the simulation to his brain which would interpret the various sensations.

On a similar vein is the augmented reality stuff I blogged about a couple of months ago. It's still in its infancy, but I don't think it's too much of a leap to suggest that pretty soon we could don a pair of glasses and manipulate virtual objects in much the same way as in this film (but while still seeing the real world behind it). I'm thinking since these objects would be digital they could easily be wirelessly saved on a nearby computer just like we save our Max scene files right now.

Better still, maybe you could choose to put an overlay over your view of the real world and, while just sitting there in your chair, you could manipulate all the virtual stuff in front of you. It would look pretty weird if you were on the tube waving your arms about mocking up a Half Life level though - oh and i'd be worried somebody would nick my stuff while i'm not looking!

You know I like all the sci-fi stuff so, short of having wetware implants like they do in Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga, I look forward to the day we can all access virtual environments either through VR or through some kind of connection to virtual cyberspace=) It makes you wonder though how would that kind of thing be regulated? How could your average person afford it, and if everyone has their own virtual space, who decides who gets the most space? What about security or health and safety?lol

Sci-Fi explores this kind of stuff a lot and I think there might be some truth in some of the concerns that it raises. If it was used to create games, chances are it would find its way into playing games too, and even social networks for that matter. Just as ppl can be affected by what you say in a chatroom and there's all the stuff about being responsible online, how would we oversee users' emotional or physical well being in a simulation?

Rambo: "Hey Habboi, come try out this new level I made!"
[Habboi has entered your simulation]
Rambo: "Alright, here we go.."
[Loading level 'Cloud City' please wait]
Rambo: "Oh shit, your spawn point's too high-"
Habboi: "Aaaaaargh!"
[Player Habboi has died. You are victorious. Restart y/n?]
Rambo: "Alright, let's try that again.."
Ramboi: "..."
Rambo: "Uh..you okay?"
Rambo: "..."
Rambo: "It's just a game you know, you can get up now.."
Rambo: "..."
[Server connection to user Habboi lost. Habboi has left the game]

Then the cleaner finds your week-old corpse in your apartment. Death from heart attack. Could happen=)

Phew! Long comment for you since I know you like reading a lot;-) Good post my friend, keep it up=)

15 March 2009 at 22:26  

Blogger CrowbarSka said...

That film was great. If only it were that quick and easy. :D

16 March 2009 at 11:05  

Blogger Habboi said...

Pwroar Dan. Lots to digest there.

When? Somehow I doubt it'll ever happen in our life time. I remember listening to a podcast and the guy said something about VR being the talk of the day in videogames but nowadays not many people care. It's a dead concept.

No doubt the only way to get it working would be for the user to have to sit in a chair ala Matrix and move with his mind. The waves in your brain could be read by a machine that moves the virtual you in the game. They've already developed a hat that lets you make objects hover with just your thoughts. Funny enough they used HL2 as the game engine to test their technology thanks to Havok.

What I do know is...Virtual worlds can really mess with your mind. I once tried once of those toy hats and I felt extremely dizzy after a while. Probably because I was sitting still in the real world but my eyes focused on moving objects.

And I'll say no to implants. I hate surgery and anything sci-fi that changes you. That Ghost in the Shell film freaked me out enough thank you.


Yeah if only ;) But then they wouldn't need people like us who work hard to get the skills we need.

16 March 2009 at 15:17  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The VR stuff? yes, it used to be a big deal but not anymore. We'll get there in some form or another but most likely not in our lifetime=(

But the Augmented Reality stuff maybe (overlaying computer generated information on the real world). I found stuff where they had a camera like device that put a virtual overlay of useful info over whatever could be seen through the viewfinder (local landmarks etc), and similar things with virtual 3d cars driving around your tabletop. Some guy had a backpack and headset that let you play AR Quake,lol.

Of course, it means looking through a screen or whatever, but I don't see why, with technology getting smaller, it couldn't find its way into glasses - and then contact lenses!!=D Just the other day, Wikipedia (so reliable) was telling me that a quadriplegic man was able to compose email and sms using a microchip in his brain.

It's the future i'm afraid. My crystal ball tells me we should see some interesting stuff in these areas before we kick the bucket, we're already seeing touchscreen tech popping up everywhere with all the iPhone imitators and the cool stuff Microsoft did with their sphere desktop. Hopefully it'll become an (optional) standard for computing in future, and then who knows? The sky's the limit - or at least however big you make your sky sphere that is;-)

16 March 2009 at 20:04  

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