Thought for the Day #1 – MotionScan

16 05 2011

In keeping with my penchant for apologies and excuses, here’s another one: exams proper kick off on Saturday and I’ve got some eighteenth century battle plans to examine before the opener, along with a few Shakespeare plays and plentiful piles of Milton criticism. Unless I have a rush of inspiration, I may not be able to manage some thousand-word treatises on the benefits of x8 antialiasing – ‘for when x4 just doesn’t cut the mustard’ (A. Forumgoer, 2011) – until it’s all over. June isn’t too far away…hang in there…

It’s time to bin the excuses, however, or at least morph them into something a little more subtle and less grovelling. So here we have a bold new feature, ‘Thought for the Day’, which will adhere to the following formula.

  1. Take an opening paragraph of a prospective full-length post. You know, the one that sets up the point of the article.
  2. Slap a question mark on the end.
  3. Watch the comments roll in and witness the birth of critical discourse on the internet.
  4. In case of the likely non-occurrence of point 3, weep inconsolably before conducting an honourable truce with the forces of rational thought.

There we are, then. Off we go.

I know I mentioned L.A. Noire in my last post, but the initial reviews of the game have just come in meaning that it’s A) relevant and B) more likely to bring people to this blog (hello, newcomers! Please don’t leave). The early indications are as expected: great story, fascinating mechanics and gob-smacking graphical eye candy that actually matters a great deal to the gameplay, coupled with the sort of problems that will inevitably affect such a bold experiment, like difficulty, lack of player agency in the plot and other such rough edges. Here’s the thing, though: the MotionScan technology that forms the bedrock of the game’s astounding prowess when it comes to creating expressive, human characters, is being touted as a complete game changer for the industry. I just can’t see that being the case. Surely, with its colossal requirements in time, manpower and money, the system is Exhibit A in the case for triple-A development having become cripplingly expensive. Can such a specialised system ever become standard? Moreover, does it have application beyond being incredibly pretty except in games built around it, such as L.A. Noire? These are the big questions, people. And that was my thought for the day.

Oh, sorry. 

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