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Topic Archive: Can’t Stop Thinking
Imaginary Conversation, with Conundrum

Filed under Can't Stop Thinking

You can’t make that argument. It’s impossible to prove a negative.


Um…. can you prove that?

Parametric Human Modeling for 3D Character Design

Filed under Can't Stop Thinking, Computer Graphics

I’ve just run across this amazing presentation on YouTube – and as I dug a bit deeper, I found that one of the most amazing things about it is that it originated in 1999, to accompany a SIGGRAPH paper by Volker Blanz and Thomas Vetter. It’s not that 1999 is actually ancient history – it’s just that the technology behind this is so very interesting that I don’t understand why it hasn’t already worked its way down to commercial applications (unless it has – but more on that below).

This demo shows how a 3D database of 200 textured male and female faces was used as the foundation for a human face modeling system, and much more – among other things you’ll see how the software uses its raw data to extrapolate a 3D face from a single photograph. It even invented matching textures, whether the photo was in color or in black and white. The same techniques were used to generate expressions for the faces.

In the rest of this post I’m going to muse about what all this could mean. So in the interest of full disclosure I must admit to you that in my last post I mentioned that I was skinning a set of 3D characters, and that skinning characters – without fail – drives me insane. It doesn’t take much of a leap here for you to realize that you are probably reading the thoughts of a crazy person. So make of this what you like.


“Eaten By A Grue” music video, & my ramblings about computer gaming’s wealthy wasteland

Filed under Can't Stop Thinking

Here’s a fun thing: a music video for MC Frontalot’s ‘It Is Pitch Dark’ (you are likely to be eaten by a grue). It’s an homage to the Infocom text adventure games of yore, and it even features a cameo by Infocom designer Steve Meretzky (above right). Meretzky has been idolized as a Game God by PC Gamer Magazine.

Steve Meretzky was the author of the text adventure Planetfall – which I think, after 24 years or so, is the best computer game I ever played.

I think that because I’ve never encountered another game that came so close to being a new narrative art form. The form is necessarily different from prose fiction or film because the medium is unique.

The game uses a form of storytelling that is interactive, and therefore doesn’t even exist until its audience takes action; but unlike almost every other attempt at interactive storytelling Planetfall and some of its Infocom siblings manage to create feelings other than fright or shock. It evokes an actual emotional response from the player as a result of things the player has chosen to do. And while it may have been a primitive thrust in the right direction, that is exactly what interactive, narrative art needs to do. And has not done.

Imagine that thirty years after the invention of the printing press, nobody had time to write because all they were doing was designing new typefaces. That’s exactly where digital entertainment is today.


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Down in the Basement. Where it Strains Against its Chains and Turns a Gigantic Wheel of Pain, for all Eternity. Muahahahahaha.