SPEW :: on testing riven

created: april 30, 1997

This is the biggest thing I’ve ever worked on. Everything is bigger and more important and more worthwhile. There are these feelings you get everyonce and a while where we, all of a sudden, realize that this…here and now…is the best you’ve ever done. It lends itself to a Quickening. A rush of positive energy where you know that now its all been really worth while. It has lasted all day and into the night. This wonderful lucidity. The images and worlds and ages…multitudes of terrains offering photorealistic off-world scenes. These have all been created within the human mind, but that is why I was taught to call it “suspention of Disbelief.” These scenes are ALL breathtaking. Gone are the static images of the best impression 2D can do of 3D. These worlds are alive! Grass blows in the wind. Tropical turquoise water laps up the shore of smooth, dark, igneous rock and forest islands. Stop and sit still and watch the computer generate far-off characters barely discerable as human hobble across narrow grass & rope bridges 500 above a narrow crag YOU’RE IN…you see distant cliff-side ledges and paths and tunnels, but havent the first clue which of the 4 equally inviting paths ahead of you DOWN HERE do you take. Clues are as seamless with the 3d environment as knife scratches on a tree are from a distant path. . You have to get right up on things and inspect them harder. Everything updates as you progress. Not like Doom, which has you on the dolly rolling around. This POV not only follows the terrain like a simulator, but allows you breathtaking levels if inspection. And breadth! These worlds had definitely progressed from tremendously complex 3 or 4 rooms with a couple hidden passages. this was stark and barren, almost deserted worlds where, yeah clues abound, but they’re imbedded into the terrain and fauna…BOTH of which may take on human and alien-made forms. Scenes where rainforest met white beach, there would be a lever sticking up from the sand operating…? Ornate modern-feeling temples contain even more complex “contraptions.” I could be in one world and be absoulutley enchanted with what I saw, then take a path that opens a moss covered-wood gate and get spooked by the smoothest, on-the-fly Quicktime movie I’ve ever seen. I’ve spent a total of 18 hours of hands-on the project, and I believe the numbers to be less than 5% I’ve covered. I’ve seen 3 islands and countless books going to countless others…and then others from there and back again, I’m sure. But the size of what is to become my new virtual world for the next 4 months is grander than that. I have watched this courtship of Entertainment and the 3D computer since the art was first conceived. Imposible notions of keeping abreast of it all spilt me out into the Motion Picture industry. I’ve always known what a hi- end project must feel like. Once you put aside how visible that it is that you’ve achecived this position, you begin to fathom just what it means to you. Short of Windows95/97, this project is the biggest software product to ever hit the computer market. And when I say “biggest,” I’m talking the most anticipated due the success of the first one. I cannot help myself but to draw equivilants to the size and magnatude and perstige of this project and a similar one back in Hollywood. Ironicly, the analogy would have to be drawn to a Speilberg or Lucas or Cameron picture where the bar gets raised for filming expertice, computer aided “wizardry,” and the scale or caliber of quality in increased. The same ground is being broken with this project. The most technologically encompassing for a software title…merging motion pictures absolutly seamlessly within photo-realistic 3D computer generated environments. The motion picture industry in Hollywoodhas been making more and more technologically advanced movies by inputting a little 3D CGI here and digitally tweeking the direction of this here…growing in complexity and coupled realistically. The computer industry has been keeping up roughly the same pace, but with out the wide-spread recognition. Well, with this project they may scare some people. Thy’re going to receive accolades and wows from all sides, but were going to lose some people here. It’s so deep and inviting and stimulating, that people will actually begin to create these world of their very own, populated with whatever and whomever they want…adhereing to laws of physics tweeked acordingly. We’ve all been warned about that from as far back as the 1981 Disney film Tron, and people like me began to get anncy playing the driving simulator games, wishing it would all get here quicker. And “virtual reality” is literally a catch-phrase for Congress. For anyone even near the Know, you’d know that virtual reality, as its being weilded by the entertainment industry, has got to wait many moons for the technology to catch up with the imaginations and make it START to seem realistic and fluid and nausiatingly quick. its got to start out in a calmer pool. Create 3D worlds that beg you to sit still and notice the detail and artificial inteligence. Get that dumb fucking glove out of my view and let me just stroll. Or in this case, neurologically and physically transport and teleport between dozens of islands in as many different temperate zones taking stabs in the dark of what Earthyear this would be. This project is going to offer those with a computer their first real taste of what is to come. Forget the 160 hours the product is suposed to take an “average” gamer to solve. That’s for someone who feels the NEED to search for hidden clues to extremley taxing puzzles in order to get to the grand series of puzzles and the solution. I’m sure that by just wantering around and interacting with the environment, one will stumble across more significant clues. There is so much depth to this project that one can even just leave ir running…like an open window to “some” outside.