GSD Course Bulletin - Fall 2013
02449: Immersive Landscape: Representation through Gaming Technology (VIS 0244900)
Seminar - 4 credits - Limited enrollment
Friday 9:00 - 12:00 Gund 109
Chad Oppenheim, Eric de Broche des Combes
The course is aimed at investigating new ways to interpret, conceive and describe landscape. While traditional methods of representation will prevail for some time, they make the cognitive process a one-way circumstance with an "emitter" and a "listener" that barely interact. Game technologies permit the creation of realistic, oniric, utopian as well as dystopian universes. It is possible to use, disregard, twist, bend or re-invent the laws of physics, the flow of time, the hazards of weather, the perception of depth, but most importantly, it permits absolute freedom.
Just as Rome wasn't built in a day, connections will need to be made through studies of landscape representation in the arts, movies and, not surprisingly, video games.
Through the conception and construction of a virtual "Garden of Eden" you will acquire the techniques required to develop your ideas from the early stages of preparatory work to the deployment phase, bearing in mind that technical skills matter less than the search for smart and imaginative solutions. Game fabrication should be envisaged as a mental layout where elements have to be structured and organized in a way that they are not perceived as being intrusive, unless, of course, you want them to be.
Some of the topics that will be covered include: "mastering planning and research", "Strategies of representations", "the finding of a graphic style", "creating meshes and textures for game engines", "building nature in Unity", "realistic vs. non realistic approaches", "sound design", "navigation and interaction", "document.write("Hello World!")", "targeting different platforms", "having fun" - while it's not exactly technical, it's a fundamental notion that should not be lost, especially when speaking of games.
Most sessions will be divided in two parts, the first half focused on theory and methods, including lectures and guests speakers. The second half will focus more on the technical, where will be put into practice what has been investigated.
Our software of choice will be "Unity3D" (http://www.unity3d.com), a real time 3D engine, which is a industry standard in game creation and simulation (most of the processes can actually be easily transfered to other engines). "Cinema 4D" (http://www.maxon.net/products/cinema-4d-studio.html) , because of its very stable and simple workflow, will be used for most of the 3D operations. Students familiar with other 3D packages are free to use them as a possible replacement. Still, the most important tools will be a pencil, a piece of paper and your brain.