Line-Drawings, Cameras and New Videogames

Karl reminded me of two new games for the Playstation that depart from the normal 3D extravaganza. The first is another EyeToy game called EyePet. Basically you draw with a special pen and your doodles become 3D and part of the mixed-reality world of the game and your virtual ‘pet’.

EyePet Hd from Nkio on Vimeo.

The second is Echochrome, which seems to be a bit like Portal (PC DVD), except that it is in a plain, wireframe and stickman style:

Echochrome HD Gameplay from Banzaiaap on Vimeo.

It’s very encouraging to see this trend towards games that designed from a point of view of ingenuity rather than pure 3D rendering power. There’s nothing wrong with full-on 3D games rendered in luscious detail, but I don’t feel games as a medium progress much when that’s the only focus.

There is little difference between the basic gameplay of Wolfenstein 3D:


and Call of Duty:


Apart from the amount of pixels you are shooting at of course.

Hereafter by United Visual Artists


United Visual Artists have a lovely new piece called Hereafter, which is very similar to elements of my Time Sketches in that it layers frames from a video stream with minimal opacity so that it builds up over time.

They’ve done it much better than I did, though, not only because of the wonderful setting and the custom housing by Based Upon but because they use a high-speed camera to massively slow down your ‘ghost’ image. I can see it changes the style of the interaction and gets people moving around in space in interesting ways.

There is a basic element of interaction which is about seeing the results of your actions. This seems to always be the most fruitful with cameras – we’re all narcissistically fascinated by our own images of course. But there’s another aspect that I think Hereafter and Time Sketches (and plenty of others) plug into and that’s the idea of warping time. Slow motion and time-lapse cinematography are both fascinating and I think it’s because they’re on the fringes or outside of our normal senses of perception. X-Ray and infrared are also interesting in this respect, but there’s something about messing with time that seems to engage people, especially when it’s their own image.

Hereafter is part of the English Heritage Picture House exhibition. You can view more images and a video on UVA’s website.

(p.s. I did another Podcast with Matt Clark from UVA for Core77 that will be online soon. I’ll post a link when it’s up.)

[tags]UVA, camera, interactivity, installation, time sketches[/tags]