A feast of Star Wars games on the way

The Star Wars IP has arguably never been more popular or lucrative in the gaming industry. And if you're a gamer who's a fan of all things Star Wars then prepare to be dazzled... Over the next couple of years artists from studios all over the world will be exploring and expanding the Star Wars universe as part Electronic Arts' licensing deal with Lucasfilm. More detail on the upcoming titles can be found in an article over here at The Verge. Meanwhile the teaser-trailer for Star wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission which dropped at E3 yesterday can be seen below.

 


The Lion City II - Majulah

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Australian director Keith Loutit has spent years creating this amazing time lapse in collaboration with Michael Adler Miltersen. Although it's hard to believe when looking at the stills below none of this is CGI as Keith himself explains on his Vimeo page.

to answer the most common question, no the long term construction moves are not CGI. The most significant post work was blending shots from different times of day, or different days into composites.

Be sure to check out Keith's other time lapse videos on his website and Facebook page.

 

[button link="http://keithloutit.com/" side="left" target="" color="636363" textcolor="ffffff"]Keith Loutit Official Website [/button]

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MASS EFFECT™: ANDROMEDA

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BioWares Mass Effect Andromeda promises to be a completely new Mass Effect game with larger open world environments fun 3rd person shooting and a whole new universe to explore.

[button link="http://www.masseffect.com/" icon="Select a Icon" side="left" target="blank" color="1f1f1f" textcolor="ffffff"]Official Website [/button]
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Developer(s) BioWare
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Director(s) Mac Walters[1]
Producer(s) Fabrice Condominas
Mike Gamble
Designer(s) Ian Frazier
Artist(s) Joel MacMillan
Series Mass Effect
Engine Frostbite 3
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action role-playing,third-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows MoCap Lowdown

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is upon us and two of the franchise's favourite characters get their CG debut, the anarchistic Bebop and Rocksteady, played by comedian Gary Anthony Williams and WWE’s Sheamus respectively. The characters were brought to life once again by ILM and there's a piece about some of the process behind it over here at Cartoon Brew. As well as that, check out the video below for more behind-the-scenes MoCap-ery.


New 5 minute Independence Day: Resurgence trailer lands

For those that remember Independence Day hitting the screens back in 1996 (and  possibly seeing it multiple times), the upcoming sequel offers a welcome hit of nostalgia. There's now a new 5 minute trailer to get us in the mood... It's great to see some of the old characters returning and the trailer shows just how much bigger the scale the adventure promises to be. Prepare for Emmerich levels of wanton destruction.


The VFX of Hardcore Henry

Hardcore Henry is a bit of a landmark movie. Being a feature-length actioner shot in first person (on a GoPro camera no less) the film feels like a new breed of action movie. Produced by Timur Bekmambetov, director of the insane "Night Watch" and "Day Watch" it relies mostly on practical FX but what solidifies the action is the excellent work carried out by several companies to augment it all into one seamless piece of mayhem. There's a great article that goes in-depth on the VFX work over at Indiewire.

You can also check out a VFX breakdown below.


The Orcs of Warcraft

Here's a great piece on the making of the orcs for the upcoming Warcraft movie. It goes into what it takes to make these big guys come alive, including the amazing work ILM have done on facial motion capture. See the article here: www.slashfilm.com/warcraft-facial-capture


Yes, VR is a thing and it's here to stay: Part 1

“Everything you can imagine is real.” Pablo Picasso

My first time in VR changed the course of my life. Win or bust, I knew I wanted to be involved in the creation of VR experiences. I wanted to build characters and scenarios that would make other people feel the same way I felt after I tried Half Life 2 in the Oculus Rift.

This is a game I'd seen plenty of times before but when I put on the Rift, I was actually in the game. Being able to look around the train carriage in real-time as it pulled into the station, sensing a depth to the environment, marvelling at how much presence the armed guards seemed to have.

I knew that this would change so much about how we consume our entertainment, whether it be games or movies.

Back then, I wasn't sure how I was going to begin developing experiences like this or where I was going to start but what I was sure of was that I was very interested in how we accept computer generated virtual characters and worlds in our movies and games. I wanted to see what it was about these characters that helped us to suspend our disbelief and accept any interaction as “real”; was it in the design of the character? The quality of animation? How well the character is placed into the scene? The story being told? I knew that the advancement of the technology would allow us to have more meaningful experiences with virtual characters. The resurrection of VR has come at the right time to evolve this interaction. The articles, books and blogs that I've read, the people I've met, the studios and organisations I've discovered, the technology demonstrations that I've seen have all indicated that VR is not only here to stay but will change our lives.

That's great, but what does all of this actually mean?

Is VR just for a small number of technically minded individuals? Is VR only for those who have game consoles or high-end computers? Is it possible to have some kind of sustainable career in VR?

Why the time is right

VR already had its shot. As far back as 1957 Morton Heilig and his invention, the Sensorama promised to change the way we watch movies. Dubbed by the inventor himself as “Experience Theater” - a quaint precursor to the now famous term of virtual reality, itself a term developed by computer philosophy writer Jaron Lanier - the machine featured stereoscopic imagery, stereo sound and even tilted with the user's body.

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The Sensorama

Then, during the late 1980's to mid 1990's, VR appeared again. With the market for personal computers being so huge at the time, VR was set to ignite the imaginations of those curious computer owners. Unfortunately the crude worlds which were constructed didn't match those imaginations and VR retreated to the shadows once more. However, in 2012 VR emerged into the sunlight again, thanks to the Oculus Rift headset.

The prototype demonstrated that the time was finally right to align the visions that forefathers held of VR with actual reality. The technology and the means to produce meaningful VR experiences were from that point, finally in place. Right now, the Oculus Rift is not the only device which serves as a VR headset but its creation symbolised the renewed enthusiasm to make VR happen, properly. I think that this says a lot about us as people on a deeper level and this is why I believe that this incarnation of VR will succeed. Sometimes, people want to escape their lives. “Gamers also love games because they are exquisitely responsive to the player. You have as many choices as energetic, numerous, and creative game designers can possibly imagine. Real life just can't compare.” (Beck and Wade, 2004, p.64-65).

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Getting close to nature, VR style

Whether it's for a few minutes or a few hours, the notion of being transported to a fantastic realm is very attractive. With each of us having a newsfeed all to eagerly and easily bringing us a depressing parade of war, terror and injustice, the viral execution videos, the on-going economic hardship – there are plenty of things to desire an escape from. Credit to Ernie Cline, author of Ready Player One – a book where the virtual world is a better place than the real world and you can go “be” in it whenever you want as much as you like. Looking forward to seeing Spielberg's movie version of this by the way.

But I'd argue that VR is so important because it is more than just that. The idea of another reality has been with us for hundreds of years. From Plato's Allegory of the Cave to Descarte's Arguments for Universal Doubt, we have held close the idea that there exists the possibility of another reality. Science fiction writer, William Gibson identified and articulated this in his massively influential 1984 book Neuromancer where he described a "consensual hallucination" created by millions of connected computers. On a deeper level still Danesh stated:

“The human soul is on an ongoing journey of discovery and creativity and in the process uses all the available resources at its disposal to achieve its objective to acquire more knowledge, awareness, and insight...The human soul not only uses the body and its various organs in their natural state but also creates new tools that greatly enhance the capacities of the body... of all the tools our soul has created so far, the computer... has the most far reaching consequences.”
(Danesh 1997, p.37-38).

I believe this is why we should be investing time, energy and money into VR right now. It is coded into us as humans to explore and create; it's our destiny as humans to find new realms, even if it means using technology to do so.


Who you gonna call? The Void

Whatever you might think about the upcoming Ghosbusters reboot, this latest development will give us something to cheer about. Utah based The Void has partnered up with Sony to create what could be the mother of all movie tie-ins. The Void, who are due to open their virtual entertainment centre in 2017, have created a VR experience which will allow people to experience what it's like to be a Ghostbuster - without getting covered in green slime. Having The Void on board to produce this experience could lead to something truly amazing as it comes just a short while after the firm received a stamp of approval from Steven Spielberg after he tried some of the company's tech first hand.

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See the teaser here: