When Nintendo first burst onto the scene with their Nintendo Wii motion gaming console, video gamers heralded the coming of a new age of game playing. One wherein the player is not merely tapping away on the control pad, but actually participating in the action sequences of the game. It was role playing taking to another level.
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However, gamers complained about the 2 dimensional look of the computer graphics. Over time, Game developers found ways and means to create more interesting and engaging cgi character renditions. The images now looked more natural but still somehow wooden. Even ground breaking games like the Halo and Grand Theft Auto series were faulted for the graphic image technology being used.
Little did anybody suspect that Rockstar and Team Bondi, two of the game developers at the forefront of the CGI revolution teamed up with Depth Analysis to create L.A. Noire, a game that everyone in the game development industry hopes will revolutionize the art of video game image graphics as we all know it.
When Rockstar and Team Bondi announced back in 2006 that they were going to go into the development of this particular bit of technology, the industry came alive with various expectations and suppositions regarding the capability and limitations of such technology. Here we are, 5 years later and Motion Scan Technology is now a reality that has left game developers and animators with gaping mouths.
There simply doesn’t seem to be any words in the English dictionary that can accurately describe how fantastic and unbelievable this technology is. Together with Australian technology developer Depth Analysis, the collaboration produced Motion Scan technology which is being heralded as the new age of video gaming.
Basically, Motion Scan technology gives the game developers an edge when it comes to onscreen character representation because it allows the game players to see what game developers could not imbue the previous CGI characters with, facial nuances and expressions that make them seem almost life like.
The technology was based upon the idea that video game characters need to become more realistic and engaging. The wooden animated look had to go and be replaced by life like looking actors whenever possible. Not a big deal right? After all, Hollywood has been incorporating computer graphics into their movies for decades now.
Yet while computers can create realistic looking furniture, buildings, and artificial surroundings, it can duplicate the look and feel of era’s gone by and physical features of people, the nuances of a human being that sets one apart from computer graphics remained all so elusive to these computer graphic artists.
It took Australian technology developer Depth Analysis 5 years to create the technology that could do exactly that. Using 32 3-D scan cameras, they have now managed to do what was thought impossible in the past by filming their actors at 360 degrees using these specialized cameras, even the most minute facial nuance of the actor can now be captured and digitized for integrating into their computer graphics counterpart.
Did I mention that the camera also captures motion, sounds, and color as well? The culmination of the exciting past 5 years will finally be unveiled in Rockstar’s newest game release, L.A. Noire. A role playing game set in 1940’s L.A. where the game player takes on the role of an L.A.P.D. detective assigned to solve a murder case.
What better way to debut such cutting edge technology that with a game that requires the player to be sensitive and observant of every single facial expression or nuance of the suspects in the story? According to Team Bondi founder and director Brendan McNamara, ” We wanted to make a detective game and a key part of that is interrogating people. If you’re going to see if somebody is lying, you have to be able to look for little poker tells, all that stuff. ”
Marvel as we all might and herald L.A. Noire as the coming of age of video game graphic technology, we still must not forget that it is still first and foremost a game. Its main purpose is to entertain the player and keep him occupied while he wastes a couple of hours from his day on a lazy Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. So, what’s the story behind L.A. Noire anyway and why should you get into it, aside from the fact that it has killer graphics?
The game itself is based upon some actual murders that took place in and around the Los Angeles area from 1940-1947. It is detective story that requires less action and more brain activity from the player. This is not a sock ’em, shoot ’em up kind of video game. Instead of simply tapping away mindlessly on the game controller, the player is asked to follow the story of a group of L.A.P.D. detectives hot on the trail of various murder suspects.
A throwback to the simpler times of crime solving before scientific procedural shows like CSI became the norm, this game challenges the player to use his analytical and observation skills in order to solve the murder. The solution of which leaves the game player with a sense of fulfillment that cannot be duplicated by any of the soldier role playing games available on the market today.
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L.A. Noire is indeed the game changer that everybody in the video gaming industry expected it to be. It has set the bar so high for the games to follow it that I am sure a tremendous number of games will fail in comparison and leave the players wanting more for a very long time. L.A Noire is more than just a video game.
It has brought the level of game development up to that of a big budgeted Hollywood movie. Expect the taste of video game players to change after the release of this game. That is the kind of technological inevitability that comes with the advent of trendsetting games like L.A. Noire. The other developers will just have to play catch up as fast as they can.