Sorry, I never did follow up on the Lucas keynote. The short version: he didn't really say anything interesting. He's affable and charming, but he also jovially referred to the guy who'd just won the the "best new researcher award" as "the water guy." He was trying self-deprecatingly talk about how he just doesn't get all this tech stuff, and thank god we (well, they) do, but there was this kind of creepy blind optimism going on that I didn't like so much. Also, he said some stupid things about how games won't get good until you can talk to them -- he seems to still believe that full interactivity and flexibility is what games need. He's a freaking filmmaker -- if anybody should get that games are most fun when you carefully construct them with walls you don't see because you're invisibly guided away from them, it should be him. Meh.
Tonight was a trio of ILM guys comparing first trilogy vs second trilogy work in (a) space battles, (b) critters, (c) environments. I bailed after (b) because I wanted to catch a cab back, rather than walk home in the dark. I've transitioned slowly from "it's a creepy police state" to "dear god, I hope there's a cop on every corner." Not that there's been violence, or even the hint of it, but some paranoiac vibe is creeping out into me. Bleah.
Anyway. Ahem. The ILM thing was pretty interesting, although the presentation three years ago was more detailed and more fun. The screens kind of suck this year -- too small. The most interesting note from tonight's contrast and compare was how so much of the stuff in the new trilogy was a direct nyah nyah nyah to the limitations of guys in hair suits and optical compositing. Droid army? Deliberately spindly arms. Padme's crazy all chrome spaceship? Turns out you JUST CAN'T DO THAT with optical compositing. So much of Episode I, especially, was like a big spasm of rage against the limitations of the '70s and '80s.
Another interesting tidbit -- sometimes, they'd play the puppet motions in reverse, to distract you from the fact that they looked like muppets.
I finally crawled the expo floor proper, this afternoon. Mostly just felt overwhelmed by all of the crap; it's a far cry from the entertaining "see what I did" whimsy of the Emerging Technologies area. Most interesting thing was ATI and NVidia, who were stationed at opposite ends of the area. The NVidia Luna demo, running on the GeForce 7800, blew me freaking away. The movie doesn't do justice to seeing this thing running, real time rendered, on a 30" screen. It really looked cinematic. Google informs me that apparently this is meant to be a demo of what the PS3 will look like, but this was clearly running on a PC with this new card.
On the other hand, ATI was running a demo that looked about 95% as stunning, but on what they claimed was a real live XBox 360. If this is the future of HD consoles, I'm looking forward to it. This stuff looked like cut scenes, except live rendered. 9:14:12 PM ()