It is amazing to witness just how exactly technology has an impact on our everyday lives. We can traverse the globe in great metal flying machines that can take us anywhere we want in a matter of hours. Our food lasts longer in the fridge and on the shelf than ever before, and we are enjoying all manner of different tastes. We can communicate with one another over literally nothing more than thin air instantaneously. It seems that there are no longer any borders, any true dividing lines. We are becoming one shared and united cultures, with similar ideals and points of contention. Technology has done wonders for truly uniting certain aspects of the human experience. It is easier than ever in this day and age to see just how similar we are, no matter where we might have originally grown up. There can be no borders, it seems.
Video game technology, as much as any other piece of technology might be, advances in such a way as to unite and inspire others. For the longest time, it has been the consoles that have dominated the gaming experience, gamers tethered to machines and physical media. Of course, downloadable content and the personal-computing aspect of gaming were contenders, sure. However, it is not until now that we have truly been able to do away with a physical media and move into the future. The future that we speak of is, of course, cloud computing. More specifically, it is cloud gaming, the on-demand experience that gamers seem to crave. For more information, please visit Kotaku.
There is an interesting phenomena occurring right now, under your very noses and among your peers, that you might or might not be privy to or aware of. However, it is very much so happening. It is most exemplified within the field of popular technology, but make no mistake, it is one that can be found anywhere and is usually found everywhere. It is a constant debunking of the myth of universal acclaim, the pure and simple fact that nothing can be without fault, nothing can completely, 100-percent well-received. Dissenting opinions will always be present, this is a pure fact. However, if you take them for what they are (and provided that they are not said in mean spirits), criticism can and often does lead to the betterment of the individual. You will never encounter something that is universally reviled or universally celebrated. Usually.
Of course, there always seems to be something that can take your previous definitions and concepts and turn them on their heads. There seems to be one singular thing that, when brought up in common conversation, elicits emotions that vary between derision and utter, palpable contempt. Of course, it was a prominent feature of the technology world, and has since left its impact on technological and popular culture alike. What, you ask, could this mysterious “thing” be? Well, it is a rather simple answer: Clippy. Yes, that pesky little cartoon paperclip that was featured in earlier editions of Microsoft Word is generally a reviled subject. However, a few game developers are now giving him his own title. Find more information at Design Taxi.
How do we quantify or qualify something as a work of art? This is a question that gets asked quite a bit these days, and for good reason. Is it a work of art because of how it makes us feel in response? Does a good work of art, whatever the medium, allow for a succinct yet varied emotional response? Will a great work of art move some to tears and others to laughter? Sure, for that is what art can be thought of as: a medium by which emotions, thoughts, feelings, and viewpoints can be conveyed. There are any number of ways that one can do this, through graphic art or filmmaking or writing or through music as well as many others too numerous to list here. The point is, what we refer to as ‘art’ does not have a solid or set definition. Art is malleable. Art is ever-changing, yet retains the same basic tenets. What is considered art to some might not be considered the same to others. It is all in how you look at it.
On of the more heated debates raging in today’s entertainment world is whether or not video games could be considered works of art. There are those on both sides of the argument with valid, thought-out opinions, yes. However, it would seem that those in favor of considering this media an artform are gaining ground. With the release of Portal 2, gamers are seeing one of the most highly-anticipated titles of the decade become on of the most well-received games in history. However, it too has been dragged into the ‘video games as art’ debate by fans and detractors alike. For more information and a solid opinion piece, please visit Ames 24/7.
Why do we, as a tech-consuming public, enjoy and play video games in the capacity that we do? The appeal is something a little deeper than the simple fact that they are a fun diversion, an enjoyable hobby. With video games, like very few other media in this modern age, you are literally a part of the story. You are able to act out the events of the narrative in real-time, and are able to have an effect on the outcome of the story in which you are a character. As well, you are able to do things in video games that are the stuff of dreams in the real world. You can slay dragons, fight off an offending alien horde, even create life from the single-celled organism through space-faring civilization. Indeed, the only limitations to how far you can go with games should be (at least in theory) the imaginations of the programmers.
For years now, video game developers have been able to render and develop photo-real environments, everything from cars to buildings to infrastructure and everything in-between. As well, human movement as well as response to environmental stimuli can be accurately rendered. However, the performance capture of facial expressions has been lagging, as it has never really been an integral aspect of gameplay. Until now, that is. Rockstar Games has, with the upcoming title LA Noire, developed a technique known as MotionScan. This process utilizes 32 strategically-placed cameras that surround an actor in order to accurately capture genuine facial expression. An overview of this technology, as well as its in-game applications, can be found here.