Getting Excited For SIGGRAPH 2013

I’m doing that thing where one try’s to do a million things at once, like some kind of human blender taking the tiniest of chunks out of each task as I pass by. So, work is getting done, but is this the most efficient I can be? Probably not. Anyway, I thought I’d do a quick obligatory getting excited for SIGGRAPH 2013 post.

Getting to SIGGRAPH has been a lifelong dream of mine ever since this time last year when I first heard about it. Yeah, call me green but being utterly obsessed with CGI (and a life-long pure blooded technophile) I have developed enough knowledge to get myself all excited about new software, tools and techniques, even if I don’t always understand the finer details. Well, replace “don’t always” with “a little bit frequently”. Also, I’m a window drooler. Yep, I can’t afford to even consider 99% of the software and hardware in these shows.

SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival

So, suffice to say I won’t even be getting to SIGGRAPH, unless by some awesome luck I get rich quick. In which case I’ll see you in Hong Kong. Ok, that’s enough rambling. The primary reason I started this post was to share the very spiffy SIGGRAPH 2013 Computer Animation Festival preview video, but alas it is presented in a custom player I can’t embed here. Of course, you can follow the link to feast your eyes. I did manage to find last years, which in my humble opinion, doesn’t have the same omphf, but still exciting all the same.

Real-Time Live

Also looking like it will be an absolute nerdy blast is the Real-Time Live presentations.
Real-time technologies are developing and emerging at a spectacular rate and giving us visual feedback that once would have been thought impossible. State of the art graphics, animation, dynamics, radiosity, huge poly counts – all these things are going real-time in a big way. Can you feel an interactive RT revolution coming? Perhaps in the near future these technologies will be the exact sort of thing that will be testing our new super-fast broadband infrastructures we’re building.

LightWave: Join The Rebellion

And finally, SIGGRAPH is one of those dates that all the 3D graphics software nuts get very excited. It is that time when many of the modelling, animation, and rendering players unveil the next salvo of upgrades. Of course, a key focus, for me, will be on finding out what NewTek/LightWave are up to. It’s something! We want to know now, but we’ll have to wait for an announcement made later this month at the Anaheim, California convention. The below promo poster was uploaded to the LightWave FB page on the 29th of June. LightWave 12? 11.6? Something huge and exciting? If I can get some new modelling tools I’ll be happy enough.

Cyberpunk 2077: Pen and Paper Techno-rebellion Comes to PC

Larger wallpaper images from the Cyberpunk 2077 website

Larger wallpaper images from the Cyberpunk 2077 website

Cyberpunk is back and it’s 2077!

I remember hearing something about someone announcing a Cyberpunk game (as in based on THE Cyberpunk PnP game) back in 2012. This was cause for a moment’s excitement, but with the predictable cynicism of one who has been burnt time and again by the promise of an authentic game conversion of favoured titles from various genres and mediums I filed it away under “check out later”. The name popped up again just today via a seemingly unrelated link which led to one of the most stunning, disturbing and exciting game teasers I’ve ever seen.

The almost 2 and a half minute promo features a gorgeously rendered woman, who is not as she first appears to be, amid an equally beautiful (gritty beautiful) setting full of Cyberpunk 2020 references and typical genre tropes. Had I not known I was watching a Cyberpunk 20xx teaser I would still have known I was watching a Cyberpunk 20xx teaser.  Of course, this is to let us CP fan know that everything is all right – they know the lay of Night City, and they aren’t going to screw it up. Not like gamers have been tricked by a pretty teaser/promo before, right?

So, while I’m not going to take a brilliant game as a given, I am certainly a lot less sceptical than I was when I first heard rumour (maybe even optimistic). Also putting weight behind my renewed faith is the discovery that it is CD Projekt RED (based in Warsaw Poland), which is responsible for a little game called The Witcher. The animation is presented as a dramatic slow-motion sequence depicting… well you’ll have to watch it for yourself.

There is a short behind the scenes look at some of the work that went into the trailer. Unfortunately it is a little light on detail in terms of hardware, software and process (you know all the stuff that went into making it), but it contains some set and character sketches, and will likely still contain something of interest.

Game details? What’s Cyberpunk 2077 All about?

Most of the goods are tightly under wraps, but what we do know is that the game is being developed for Windows, PS4, and Xbox One on their own in house REDengine3, which apparently offers many graphical features that have been offered to date only on FPS engines. Reportedly the engine also allows for the creation of vast environments without load times between areas (even when changing between indoor and outdoor environments). Unfortunately a full feature list is either not publicly available, or requires more Googling, but if we are about to be given an RPG with visuals to rival AAA first person shooters, then this news can only be all the more exciting. Could REDengine3 to RPGs what UnrealEngine is to FPSs? If so we could be sitting on the verge of a revolution for more visually immersive open world RPGs.

We are being promised an experience that is modelled as closely as possible to the rules and law of the original PnP series, so lots of heavy RPG elements. It will be presented as a story driven, non-linear and open world format – who doesn’t want to wonder about Night City at will? More details can be found in an unofficial “Known Features” thread on the game’s forums. While it might be an unofficial thread it does reference material attached to the game’s producers, so should contain accurate information, vague as it might be. The promise is huge, the ambition matches – can CDP Red deliver? Well, they seem to have the full support and collaboration of CP creator, Mike Pondsmith – see him here discussing the Cyberpunk world and some thoughts on 2077

Also see

If you’ve become nostalgic for the old days you might be looking for your old 2020 rulebook. Or maybe you’re ruing the day you pawned it for that upgrade? I’m not here to judge. Maybe you’ve never played Cyberpunk and just want to get a taste for it. Also suggested is William Gibson’s Neuromancer, the novel which arguably spawned the genre.

Bryce Artist Feature 03: Michael Frank

To Earth Reclaimed Bryce render by Michael Frank

To Earth Reclaimed

One cannot fail to be struck with some measure of awe by Michael Frank’s impeccably arranged and ambitious organic wonders. Surreal and other worldly landscapes and creatures loom out of his dreams to tantalise us with their digitised tendrils, enticing us to pause a moment or a minute or longer… maybe much longer, and ponder. Michael’s images speak of futures and realities and overlapping spaces where anachronisms meet with the timeless to exchange notes. His work is undoubtedly one of the most vivid examples that Bryce can be a tool for the creation of beautiful fine arts of the highest quality. It was an honour and a privilege to correspond with and bug Michael Frank for his thoughts on Bryce and how he uses it.

JW: How long have you been a Bryce user and what is it about Bryce that drew you in the first place? Continue reading