Spyro

February 26, 2012

Despite the constant raves about the series, I never touched the games about that small purple dragon who never seems to age.

So this past Tuesday in Composition class, when we had the gaming day where we brought in new games, I watched someone playing “Spyro: The Dragon” on the original Playstation. (I would’ve played, but it’s a single-player game)
The game looks like a general action-adventure 3D platformer with an interesting art style and some very original animations. You can glide, breathe fire, and charge into enemies. It has some interesting mechanics for the time that it came out.

I would like to try the series a bit more. I have heard some fair ratings about it, though they were mostly from long-time fans who love the nostalgia aspect of it. I have, however, heard that in the later games, the creators became a bit greedy and started making players pay for large portions of the game after their initial purchase, which highly besets me from any potential purchases and I don’t like pirating or emulating, so that’s not an option by any means.

Spyro could become my sort of game after growing up with Mario 64 and other such 3D platformers, but only a test-play will tell!

Research Log 1

February 20, 2012

So my overarching essay topic is:
“How could virtual reality be possible in video game?”
First Research Log:

Notes

Durlach, Nathaniel I., and Anne S. Mavor. Virtual Reality : Scientific And Technological Challenges. Washington D.C.: National Academies Press, 1995. 247-56. Print.

– Possible organization of VR technology is into separate modules for each sense where each module has its own processor. P248

– Focuses more on the visual module. P248

– Visual module requires high frame rate to be indistinguishable from reality. P249

– VE for non – entertainment purposes relies more on computations and less on the visual appeal and frame rate. 8-10 fps. P249

– For true VR, all systems must interact repeatedly within a single cycle, to check and cross-check possible ranges of motion and effect. Beyond current tech. P250

– Total optimization requires things to be programmed in assembly. Pain in the ass language. Hard to maintain. P260

– Truly realistic environments are said to be 80,000,000 frames within a rendered scene. Beyond present computational ability. P251

– Discusses theories of z-buffering and shaders. P252 – 253

– Bandwidth limitations in network-based operations. P254

– Data compression and enhanced seeking algorithms may speed up processing and possibility of Virtual Environments. P256

Reflections

This is an older book that discusses “theories” currently instituted in 3D graphics pipelines.

Many of the ideas of how to create a realistic VE lack other theories in-use today, such as bump and normal-mapping.

Much of the ideas of various modules are sound, but unexplained. The authors focus way too much on the visual module due to the lack of capabilities in general.

Much of the earlier ideas are still beyond current technology.

Ideal FPS for then no longer pertain. 30-120 fps are ideal.

Process optimization still lacks, but is better. Assembly is still a pain today, but still the most low-end and powerful language.

Bandwidth limitations still prove to be an issue.

Methods of data-collection and processing are still under theoretical review. Massive cross-check loops per update won’t be possible for years.

Essay Ideas

February 13, 2012

What could I potentially write about?..

  1. What is virtual reality and how can it be used in gaming?
  2. Which console is superior?
  3. Does video game violence have a negative effect on children?
  4. Can video games appeal to certain emotions? (Joy, sadness, anger)
  5. Why are games that are “interactive movies” popular?

Hmm… I think I’ll go with the first one! 😀
Now…. What could I write about ABOUT that?… ^

  1. What is virtual reality?
  2. How could it be possible to make?
  3. How could game developers use it?
  4. Are there any examples of virtual reality today?
  5. What are the pros and cons of such systems?

So… Yeah, virtual reality! I’m a total Otaku (anime-nerd, plus all of the insults that coincide with the title of Otaku) so much of what I already think about virtual reality comes from… You guessed it! Anime. Shows like .Hack//Sign and Fractale show amazing capabilities between virtual reality and augmented reality (computerized objects seeming to be part of the real world, but not.) For instance, .Hack is a show about an MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role playing game) that uses virtual reality to its fullest. Full 3D environments, 100% customizable avatars, first-person action, your brain IS the controller as you send input through electrodes in a special visor to do ANYTHING you want in the virtual world.
From what I can tell, virtual reality is placing your mind into a virtual world through as many senses as possible with as few hindrances as possible. No controllers, no distractions, total control of what you do in the other world. I think it could be a great tool for game making!

I’m studying to become a game developer / graphics programmer, and I’m excited enough about augmented reality, let alone the possibilities of virtual reality. I even bought a kinect to play with and attempt to program my own forms of virtual reality and augmented reality for. It’s amazingly intricate but fun to mess with. Luckily microsoft made the Kinect SDK fairly straight-forward and easy to use at the lowest level.

I think virtual reality has its potential, even with the technology we have today, it’s just a matter of making the most use of what we have, which I doubt anyone has done so far.

What do you think about VR?

So, I’m very interested in how games work at the lowest level (As close to the hardware as possible), so I’m going to do some digging about and post here:

How do Graphics cards make graphic processing better?

To begin with, they have their own motherboard for data collection and handling.
The graphics card has its own RAM, even in small quantities
They process the graphics on their own, borrowing some RAM from the computer’s main central processing unit for easier / unmanaged tasks.
Like everything else computer based, they process the images based on a series of binary commands. Generally, color is represented in a series of three bytes (sets of 8 bits/ (true/false) statements) because 8 bits together can represent a maximum integer (non-decimal number) of 255.
The graphics card assembles the 3D models in a wire-frame form using the point-line data, then rasterizes the image (fills in the pixels inbetween points and lines) using color data, lighting information, vertex-normals (face direction on the models), and developer-set rendering computations.

So that’s what I managed to find. Some of it comes from these resources-

Here
And Here

If you want to check them out for yourself! The rest of it comes from my very limited knowledge of programming and data management. I’m trying to become a graphic programmer for games, so knowing this will be a valuable resource in the future! 😀

Thanks for reading, I can’t wait to see what everyone else researched.