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Friday, November 2, 2007

Everything has just changed

I have seen the future, and it is here.
What do I mean by that, you ask?
If it's the future, how can it be here?
Isn't that the present? Yes, but also
no. Let me explain...

I have been getting familiar with the new
Sandbox 2 editor that comes with the
demo for Crysis, the new game from
Crytek and EA that comes out in 2 weeks
or so (November 16). In fact, the image
that is at the head of this post was
rendered in real-time with this game
engine (click to make larger).

It is, quite simply put,
unlike anything you have ever seen. It is
an animation program, real-time renderer,
game modder, shader creation tool and all around
incredible software accomplishment all wrapped
up in a free (yes, FREE) software download. In this one
program you have everything you need to create your
own animated movie. Really. I am dead serious. You have
characters (which can be totally recreated with external
applications like Softimage XSI and others), lip-synch tools
motion capture tools, motion detection/tracking algorithms,
terrain creation and texturing tools, vehicle dynamics,
cloth dynamics, ai, real-time shadows, volumetrics... Need I go on?

Of courase, the one thing you don't have, that you have to provide,
is a great story. Funny thing is, that has always been the hardest
part to get! Well, it still is. But now, assuming you have that, a great
script, great voice actors, etc., you can achieve what, literally, last week
was impossible. You can create a cinematic-quality movie with limited
hardware and software cost.

So, if this is here now, what is the future part, Perry?

It's only going to get better from here, that's the future part. More and
more of these type of programs will no doubt be making debuts
in the years to come. As real-time rendering gets more sophisticated,
it will completely replace off-line rendering. After all, why wait when you
don't have to. For those of us that use the mental ray renderer, goodness
is already here, because mental images has ported their entire renderer
to run on nVidia cards and within the framework of the Cg shader language.

The future is indeed bright and shiny!

Pinch me all you want, because I am not dreaming anymore.
I had foretold this day about 5 years ago, and shared it
with some of the people I worked with at the time. We all agreed it
would happen some day.

Looks like someday is today! Here's to tomorrow...