Archive for the 'games' Category

Valorie Curry’s Kara

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

I avoid running stuff straight from Boing Boing, since I figure you’ve already seen it (just like I used to avoid running stuff from Slashdot, before I got tired of wading through the junk and stopped following them myself). But I’ll make an exception for this one, since it’s so cool:

One of the most impressive things about Avatar, for me at least, was Zoe Saldana’s acting. And maybe the technology of live rendering on a PS3 doesn’t allow for quite the same level of realism for Valorie Curry’s Kara, but it’s a powerful performance.

AMPAS sure better figure out how to start bestowing some acting Oscars on actors whose bodies aren’t actually visible on-screen. Acting has always been about making the unreal believable, and whether it’s John Hurt as The Elephant Man or Andy Serkis as a chimpanzee, it doesn’t matter whether you see their actual skin as long as the performance works. Motion capture clearly has reached the point where that can happen.

From Martin Robinson’s article at (Introducing Quantic Dreams’ Kara):

“In the past I was the main actor,” says [Quantic Dream CEO David] Cage. “In Fahrenheit I was Lucas Kane – I did the motion capture myself, but I’m not a very good actor. In Heavy Rain the quality in what we were trying made that impossible. We needed real actors, because we needed people with talent because the technology’s reached the point where you can tell if someone’s an actor and someone’s not an actor.

“In Heavy Rain that was definitely the case. In Kara, you can’t imagine the same scene having the same impact as someone who’s not a talented actor. Technology becomes more precise and detailed and gives you more subtleties, so you need talent now. I’m not talking about getting a name in your game – I’m talking about getting talent in your game to improve the experience and get emotion in your game.”

I didn’t realize at first why this scene looked so familiar, but Robinson’s article pointed out the obvious connection to Chris Cunningham’s video for the coolest woman on the planet:

Oh, and speaking of cool young women, and Avatar, I’d be remiss if I didn’t pass on this clip, called to my attention by yet another extremely cool young woman (and depicting still yet another):

Untitled from rachaelwsz on Vimeo.


Update: Since Nickelodeon has seen fit to yank the Korra video, I’ll make it up to you with this: David Cage of Quantic Dreams talking about the making of the Kara demo:

GameSpot Reviews Real Life

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

The degree of difficulty on this one wasn’t very high, but GameSpot editor Greg Kasavin gets points for nice execution: Real life: The full review.

Unlike in other MMORPGs, combat actually isn’t a major factor for most players in real life, though players are bound to engage in a few skirmishes early in their lives. Interestingly, though, real life does offer an amazingly intricate combat system, featuring complex hand-to-hand and ranged combat options that a character may learn and even specialize in. Combat-oriented characters lead exciting but sometimes short lives in real life.

That being the case, you’d think more players would be drawn to combat in real life, and in some territories, they are. However, the PVE (player vs. environment) aspect of real life is relatively unpopular, and the PVP (player vs. player) portion, while interesting, is far too risky for most of the population. That’s on account of the game’s very strict death penalty and punitive system–you may freely attempt to harm or kill any other player at any time, but you will then likely be heavily punished by the game’s player-run authorities.

Putting Half-Life Characters in Real-World Photos

Monday, May 30th, 2005

From E46Fanatics: Coolest thing ever, Half-life in real life. I’d call what they’re doing “Photoshopping,” except it appears no Photoshop was involved. Anyway, it’s impressive.

TV and Video Games Make You Smart

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

Here’s an interesting book review from the New Yorker’s Malcolm Gladwell: Brain candy. It talks (mostly) about Steven Johnson’s book Everything bad is good for you: How today’s pop culture is actually making us smart.

Based on Gladwell’s review, it sounds like Johnson has a point. When smart people like my Ishar buddy Lucy come bursting into the virtual watering hole where we collectively hang out to gush about how she just saw what was, “by far, the most awesome hour of tv ever” (referring to the season finale of Veronica Mars she’d just watched), something’s up.

Maybe TV, which I’ve made a point of fingering as the source of some of the dumbing down and passivity that characterizes things like Troy Driscoll’s decision to drift out to sea rather than paddling himself to safety, deserves another look. And on the question of video and computer games, which Johnson’s book also praises for their intelligence-boosting powers, I know that the time I’ve spent in multiplayer Halo (ahem; the way too much time I’ve spent there), while not necessarily something I’d want to put on my life-skills resume, certainly involved more than just training myself to point and click as quickly and accurately as humanly possible.

Anyway, it’s an interesting review.