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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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June 12 2011

Serenity inside Unreal Engine 3. We've covered fan efforts with Lightwave and Blender models before. Now a fan has made a Serenity model in Unreal Engine 3 (a game engine) using the Unreal Development Kit. Also, a still.

Thing of beauty, boss!
Can we make a fan game? I studied unity3d programming for the last couple months for a project and i've been thinking the possibility of a fan game for quite a while.
A fan game would be lovely. But I doubt the fan base is coordinated enough to be able to make it happen, to be honest.
Huh, too bad. Well, at least we could still enjoy the designs even though we can't play it ;)
Why not start off modding another game ? That'd "only" take about 10 people with the right skills who really wanted to do it, coordinating the fanbase would be irrelevant to that sort of smaller project.

Re: the model, lovely bit of work. The legs don't look quite right but given the level of detail i'm pretty sure that's more due to me not looking at the legs properly than the modeller getting it wrong.
Love that they used the Mass Effect music - my dream would be for Bioware to do a Serenity RPG!
I wonder if a fan-built, not-for-profit, charity-fund-raising venture like "Browncoats: Redemption" could be accomplished in a video game model? Because even if it didn't use our Big Damn Heroes or the Serenity specifically, I would relish the opportunity to fly into adventure in that universe.
I doubt the studio would engage officially, however there is a long history of fans building non-profit video games without hassle from the studios. In every case I've seen when a studio has sent a cease-and-desist it has been because a company had started developing an officially licensed game.
That is an impressive piece of work right there.

If a fan game were to happen, I would... play it. That's all I'm good for, really.
That is incredible. The really scary thing about graphical imaging is that is really not very old. You look at SPACE: ABOVE AND BEYOND or BABYLON 5 and the CGI looks so incredibly raw and unfinished. And that was less than twenty years ago. What will we be seeing in twenty years? I can't wait.
WRT CGI, reality basically, pretty sure that's what we'll be seeing in 20 years, replication of reality (but limited only by our imaginations), with some types of image we're pretty close even now. Which is a sword with two edges IMO (how will it change the world when you've to be not just sceptical of some images in some contexts but actively distrustful all the time ?).

(real-time game graphics'll probably take a while longer to get to that stage ETA: although timescales in computing are becoming less predictable)

[ edited by Saje on 2011-06-12 21:33 ]
This is where we should be in a few years with real time PC (and probably next generation console) rendering. The amount you can do in games nowadays is staggering.
Oh man, I wish Rockstar put that Serenity into Red Dead.
I have a whole origins story for Mal on Shadow as a kid mapped out in my brain for a Rockstar game. They need to make one.
Amazing work, that guy has some professional-caliber skills. Both the high and low detail models looked incredible.
This is where we should be in a few years with real time PC (and probably next generation console) rendering.

That's actually a nice demonstration of exactly what I mean about certain types of image - the cityscape is very nearly there, almost 100% convincing but the people still have quite a ways to go (probably because we're just a lot better at telling when there's something "off" about faces, human motion etc.). But yeah, maybe 20 years is long enough for real-time photorealism too, we'll see (hopefully).

I can remember being blown away by the first screenshots for 'Defender of the Crown'. World's movin' on.
Oh, man, Defender of the Crown ROCKED! Something had to pull me away from the Last Ninja games for a bit...

Awesome model. Passing this link along to some friends who do Machinima. Can't have too many Firefly references!
With regards to facial animation, it's well worth checking out YouTube videos for L.A. Noire face capture. The tech they got together for that isn't perfect, but it's pretty amazing - 20 something cameras at actors faces (including people like John Noble) meant you could see, for example, when somebody was about to cry by the movements of their mouth area. Crazy. It's one of the reasons I hope that, one day, Serenifly gets replatformed as a game. You could tell some mad stories with it, and the scale of the story could be something you can't easily do on TV or film - across decades, many planets etc.
Some of that really is amazing, you could genuinely do that 'Lie to Me' "micro-expressions" thing on those captures (assuming that micro-expressions thing's actually a thing, psychologists apparently aren't all totally convinced about Ekman's work). This one's got a brief appearance from Keith Szarabajka BTW.

That's one way round the problem with faces/human motion - don't actually generate it, just record a human doing it then plop a mesh over the top. Still, impressive as it is (and it really is), no human's going to mistake that for photos/film of an actual face and the motion isn't being generated, it's being reproduced - when people are fooled and we can do it from scratch we'll be at the point i'm talking about above.

(this video's worth a look BTW, bearing in mind that she's talking in 2008. Closer to passing the Turing test for faces, doubt it's real-time though)

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