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Original author: 
Cyrus Farivar

Aurich Lawson / Jonathan Naumann / Joi Ito / Stanford CIS

Fifteen years ago, I was living outside Geneva, Switzerland, spending my lunch hours screwing around on the nascent Web a few dozen kilometers from where it was created. I popped into chat rooms, forums, and news sites, and I e-mailed family back home. I was learning French and getting my dose of tech news by reading the French-language edition of Macworld magazine. (Génial!)

I returned Stateside mere months after Ars began, reading more and more about the people behind many of the technologies that I was becoming increasingly fascinated with. I consumed just about every book I could find describing the history and personalities behind graphical user interfaces, networking, the Internet itself, and more.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through all that, it’s that most people involved in technology continue the Newtonian tradition of humility. The most iconic innovators all seem to readily acknowledge that they stand on the shoulders of giants. In fact, when I met Vint Cerf and thanked him for making the work I do possible, he was a predictable gentleman, saying, “There were many others involved in the creation of TCP/IP, not just me.”

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Original author: 
Andrew Cunningham

Andrew Cunningham / Aurich Lawson

A desktop PC used to need a lot of different chips to make it work. You had the big parts: the CPU that executed most of your code and the GPU that rendered your pretty 3D graphics. But there were a lot of smaller bits too: a chip called the northbridge handled all communication between the CPU, GPU, and RAM, while the southbridge handled communication between the northbridge and other interfaces like USB or SATA. Separate controller chips for things like USB ports, Ethernet ports, and audio were also often required if this functionality wasn't already integrated into the southbridge itself.

As chip manufacturing processes have improved, it's now possible to cram more and more of these previously separate components into a single chip. This not only reduces system complexity, cost, and power consumption, but it also saves space, making it possible to fit a high-end computer from yesteryear into a smartphone that can fit in your pocket. It's these technological advancements that have given rise to the system-on-a-chip (SoC), one monolithic chip that's home to all of the major components that make these devices tick.

The fact that every one of these chips includes what is essentially an entire computer can make keeping track of an individual chip's features and performance quite time-consuming. To help you keep things straight, we've assembled this handy guide that will walk you through the basics of how an SoC is put together. It will also serve as a guide to most of the current (and future, where applicable) chips available from the big players making SoCs today: Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Intel, and AMD. There's simply too much to talk about to fit everything into one article of reasonable length, but if you've been wondering what makes a Snapdragon different from a Tegra, here's a start.

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Original author: 
Peter Bright

Mozilla wants the Web to be a platform that's fit for any purpose. That's why the company is investing in Firefox OS—to fight back against the proliferation of platform-specific smartphone apps—and it's why the company has been working on WebGL, in order to bring 3D graphics to the browser, Emscripten, a tool for compiling C++ applications into JavaScript, and asm.js, a high performance subset of JavaScript.

The organization doesn't just want simple games and apps in the browser, however. It wants the browser to be capable of delivering high-end gaming experiences. At GDC today, the company announced that it has been working with Epic Games to port the Unreal 3 engine to the Web.

The Unreal 3 engine inside a browser.

With this, Mozilla believes that the Web can rival native performance, making it a viable platform not just for casual games, but AAA titles.

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In Hackers, the 1995 cult teen cyber thriller, a young Angelina Jolie and an American-accented Jonny Lee Miller play WipEout in a club. Established hacker Angelina is pretty good at the game, and has the top score. But then upstart hacker genius Jonny smashes it to bits. They hate each other. They love each other.

At the end of the movie Angelina and Jonny fall into a swimming pool and, finally, kiss, as Squeeze's little-known love song Heaven Knows lifts the camera up into the air. A year later, in 1996, the pair married. By then, WipEout, the racer that evolved from that pre-rendered demo Angelina and Jonny pretended to play on the big screen, was the most exciting video game in the world.

Improbably, a dozen or so people from a north west England developer called Psygnosis had conspired to stomp on Mario's head and speed past silly Sonic onto the cover of style magazines. WipEout steered into the slipstream of a dance music-fuelled drug culture, leaving its racer rivals in its wake. Forget beeps and boops - WipEout on PlayStation had heavy beats. WipEout was for grown ups. WipEout was cool.

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Lucas Gutierrez (AR), Silo Sessions.

Lucas Gutierrez (AR), Silo Sessions.

Electronic music, once the exclusive domain of secluded art laboratories, has now made the connection to clubs inseparable. The rhythms of dance music draw a line from popular to research; the software and gear marketed for dance musicians cross-pollinating with more experimental tools, as music styles, textures, and timbres mix, as well. But now, finding a way out of that club context and its restrictions may be as vital as the emergence from the lab years ago.

Making connections between Argentina and Germany, across an international collective of audiovisual artists, FxLD’s latest project invades a disused grain silo in Berlin. Literally in the shadow of Kreuzberg’s famed techno haven Watergate, the base of the silo is a narrow, concrete cave, broad-shouldered beams criss-crossing the space.

We get to listen to the fruits of the Silo Series performances, realized live and retaining their rough edges and improvised forms. And you can see some of the flickers, too, via filmmaker (and now CDM collaborator) Kevin Klein.

Danish artist Vectral, aka Søren Lyngsø, paints cinematic portraits in sound, rhythms throbbing underneath digital textures, all interwoven into a narrative of grooves and shadowy noises. Argentinian Lucas Gutierrez is an industrial designer and visual artist, but his music is a kind of dance of tribal glitches.

SILO SESSIONS from Mindpirates e.V. on Vimeo.

We have full-length music mixes here:

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Resembling nothing if not Plato’s famous allegory, audiovisual shows in the silo echo on those cold post-industrial surfaces and dance on the walls. Listening to the results, you’ll hear traces of dance grooves as they’re fragmented into glitchy textures, the computers sounding a little bit as though they’re about to scream under the strain. (Having been floating around academia for about twenty years now, I remember how frequent complaints used to be about “beat-driven” music. For a time, academics were as afraid of recognizable rhythm as they were of tonality in the post-war era. I think more enlightened openness has prevailed – a good thing, too, as I wouldn’t want to have to drop Beethoven for his four-on-the-floor time signatures.)

I’m honored to get to play as part of this series tomorrow, Friday, using software I’ve built in Pd and Processing. (I hope to share those patches, once they’re cleaned up.) But I’m equally pleased to share the work that’s come before, as I’m thoroughly enjoying listening to it. And while we can’t entirely replicate the experience, I loved the feeling of being close with other listeners, in a space that wasn’t a concert but wasn’t a club, either – shoulder to shoulder with music lovers, sounds and light slightly different from each vantage point.

More of Lucas – LUCAS GUTIERREZ . Ascendente LiveAct – PANORAMICA 2012 (Buenos Aires, Argentina – actually, 2013′s installment is next weekend if you’re in that neighborhood!)

If you are in Berlin, come say hi. More on the series, and the ideas behind it:

SILO SESSIONS

Mindpirates open the doors of their silo, in collaboration with FxLD, to make way for experimentation with a series of concerts exploring the relationship between audio and visual concepts. This event takes its name from the location where the event will be executed, an old grain silo in the heart of Kreuzberg. The unique space is characterized by its geometric architecture ideal to create an introspective atmosphere.
Seeking to promote a state of connection that goes beyond the limits of reason, guest artists will work image and sound simultaneously using non-conventional structures to compose and execute in real time.

MINDPIRATES
Mindpirates is an artist group that works on aspects and issues of contemporary culture, sociology and ecology. The group has the approach to work independently and interdisciplinary. They combine challenging aesthetics, substantial examination and experiment with new forms of distribution, exposition and cooperation.

Mindpirates e.V. is a member based network. The e.V. is building and developing a community that supports ideas and projects with the Mindpirates.

Mindpirates Vereinsheim is organized by the Mindpirates e.V. based in Berlin. The space follows the tradition of an artist run center and is used by its members as a platform for mutual exchange and public presentation.

The Mindpirates Projektraum is an independent art space and a curatorial platform for the collaborative production and presentation of artistic projects, exhibitions and critical research work. It is a meeting place for the exchange of thoughts and impulses through which to forge relationships with the guest artists and the public.

http://www.mindpirates.org

FxLD

Is an artistic collective based between Berlin and Buenos Aires. Has the aim of serve as a platform for research, experimentation and promotion of Digital Art and Generative Art and to give them a place in the consolidated circle of art. FxLD believes that they are forms of Fine Arts that can respond to the most deep inquires of the spirit. And defends that the computers and informatic languages expand the barriers of creation to make way to a new aesthetical and conceptual paradigm in art.

http://www.foldcode.com.ar/

VECTRAL (DK) ( Silo Sessions I )

Behind the pseudonym Vectral, Søren Lyngsø, producer/composer/computer-programmer and visual-artist with a master degree in electronic music-composition from the Royal Academy of Music, explores the interplay between electronic compositions and audio-reactive visuals with concerts leading the audience through his sensory labyrinth step by step. His stubborn sounds-capes and crackling sound structures consist of electronically arranged material from everyday life heard through homemade software. The visual part consists of live generated 3D graphics using 3D control points to create dynamic colors and shapes.

http://sorenlyngso.dk
http://vectral.bandcamp.com

LUCAS GUTIERREZ (ARG) ( Silo Sessions II )

Digital Artist and Industrial Designer and native of Belen City in the province of Catamarca, Argentina. He specializes in video-art and real time video session projects pushing limits and blending influences from Motion Graphics and Graphic Design. He strives to achieve simplicity in its work while playing with blurred visuals and blending together the variations of two styles. The design studio coalesces its influences to create a variety of audio/visual projects for creative professionals in the art and media world.

Lucas has exhibited his works in well-known national and international festivals such as: Offf-Post-Digital Creation Culture, Panoramica / Tiempo Visual Panorama Real 2010 & 2012 (Bs As, Argentina), Getset Festival 2012 (Porto, Portugal), Cccartaxo 2010/12 (Portugal), Fuga Jurasica & Sincroba 2009 (Bs As – Argentina), Videofest 2008/9 (Cordoba, Argentina) among others. Lucas Gutierrez became a well-known Visual Artist and participates as resident VJ in a number of shows and events, fusing primarily electronic music with art.
He is currently a member of: fungo_project collective (Lisbo, Portugal) and undertones (Argentina). “A chaotic style that permeates his works with motion graphics. Seeks simplicity while running with the limits of the blurred image”.

http://www.lucasgutierrez.com/

Finally, from Vorspiel (which runs prior to the Transmediale and CTM festivals), here’s a murky jam of artists in the silo space — good stuff, good times (again, including recent CDM collaborators Easton West and Kevin Klein):

Mindpirates & P2P Vorspiel: Plutonic Frequencies from Mindpirates e.V. on Vimeo.

Details of what’s going on there:

On the occasion of CTM Vorspiel, Mindpirates will channel the ancient knowledge of the lost tribes of Pluto through vibrational frequencies. This cosmic learning experience will take place in the secret Silo space located at Mindpirates.
This very special event was part of P2P Vorspiel, a pre-festival weekend preceding the opening of transmediale 2013 BWPWAP – Back When Pluto Was a Planet and CTM.13 – THE GOLDEN AGE through a dissemination of projects including exhibition openings, workshops, talks, performances and parties outside the main venues of either festival.
Participating Artists:
Pauline Doutreluingne
Cy Iurinic
Kevin Klein
Emmanuel Pidré
Owen Roberts
Dylan Warn
Easton West

Camera:
Philipp Wenning
Edit:
Kevin Klein

More images:

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A look at how a game's mechanics can inform the overall aesthetic of playing the game, even and especially if they are 'imperfect'. RPG systems are explored in-depth, but the theory within is broadly applicable to all genres.

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Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveils the Nvidia Grid server at the company's CES presentation.

Andrew Cunningham

The most interesting news to come out of Nvidia's two-hour-plus press conference Sunday night was doubtlessly the Tegra 4 mobile processor, followed closely by its intriguing Project Shield tablet-turned-handheld game console. However, company CEO Jen-Hsun Huang also revealed a small morsel of news about the cloud gaming initiative that Nvidia talked up back in May: the Nvidia Grid, the company's own server designed specifically to serve as the back-end for cloud gaming services.

Thus far, virtualized and streaming game services have not set the world on fire. OnLive probably had the highest profile of any such service, and though it continues to live on, it has been defined more by its troubled financial history than its success.

We stopped by Nvidia's CES booth to get some additional insight into just how the Grid servers do their thing and how Nvidia is looking to overcome the technical drawbacks inherent to cloud gaming services.

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Jon Brodkin writes "Few game series other than Final Fantasy have consistently provided epic adventures for 25 years—and perhaps no company outside of Nintendo capitalizes on its history like Square Enix. In its latest attempt to merge the best of past and present into one experience, Square Enix has produced the music game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy for the Nintendo 3DS. Joining Guitar Hero-style mechanics, 3D perspective, RPG-like character building and battling, and the rich music catalog of the Final Fantasy franchise, Theatrhythm is impressive, enjoyable, and one of the best examples of why it's worth owning a 3DS and that wacky stylus." Read below for the rest of Jon's review.


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