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Feature: John Gaeta and Rudy Poat Go 'Beyond Machinima'

In Tuesday's Gamasutra feature, Visual effects designer John Gaeta, best known for his Oscar-winning 'bullet time' effects for The Matrix, talks to Gamasutra about his collaboratio
In Tuesday's Gamasutra feature, Visual effects designer John Gaeta, best known for his Oscar-winning 'bullet time' effects for The Matrix, talks to Gamasutra about his collaboration with EA's Rudy Poat on a startling new film using real-time game engine manipulation and AI. In this excerpt, Gaeta explains the fascinating and limitless potential for game and movie convergences on the horizon: "To me, what's much more interesting is that the universe is dynamic. Here are a few examples: yes, you can see it from any angle perhaps, but embedding things that one never knew was there in the first place. So you solve the exposition problem that films tend to have. Additionally, you can create crossover dramas, dramas that cross over the spine. It's as if you're looking at a movie as a spine that runs through the game universe. It sits there like a dynamic sculpture in the center of this game universe. If you choose to observe or pass through the film, you can, but the universe is still there as any game universe would be. I find that really fascinating because it gives you a lot of different options. You can be a voyeur, cross over the spine or build your own crossover thread, for those who are into Machinima interfaces or expanding worlds. That way you could have an influence. Another example that I think would be fascinating, is that in the year 2006 we can only really be thinking about these things in terms of an animated feature, but we all know that it's only a matter of time until we are able to do some virtual cinematography inside of a game system. Essentially we'll be able to create a hybrid environment using some of the techniques used in film. That's all starting to filter into games now, and it's adding a heightened sense of realism. Even importing moving, high def environments like a seascape that changes into something I can interact with at a certain distance. There are many interesting "mashings" that are about to happen over the next few years. You could look at a film five years from now that will have all the dramatic climaxes and arcs, but is a passive experience. Another way to look at the semi-interactive mode is that we could construct a movie in a way that the world environment that surrounds fixed scenes, like two actors talking, is a busy city. Suddenly there's a car accident behind one of them, if we constructed the world behind the acting as a dynamic simulation then that car accident wouldn't always happen. That would make the movie different every time it's viewed. It's full dynamic cinema." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the topic including more on Gaeta's first experiment with interactive real time cinema, Trapped Ashes (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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