Saturday, October 09, 2004

Day at Randy's

Howdy! I’m back with more small chatter. This articles main topic is how fun it was at Randy’s house. First of all I wanted to burn him a Sims 2 DVD. I thought well I enjoyed it why not let him enjoy it as well. Graphics were really good. You can make out the character’s faces. Textures are nice. I had the burn speed on 1x which was a little bummer for me. Didn’t notice it until the DVD was 60% done. Burn process took almost an hour to do. It soon was dark out because we live in the upper atmosphere of the world when it almost snows. Right now it’s too warm to snow – but give it 2 or 3 weeks and it will. Nights get down to around 60 degrees. Randy had his girlfriend over. He asked me when I was getting one. I answered, “I really didn’t need one.” I was going to say my girlfriend is my computer, man. Sometime crazy like that, but I didn’t. His girlfriend asked something stupid (she didn’t think so) “So are you going to play football or NFL?” she asks. She was talking about Soccer because she knew I was brought soccer over.) She calls soccer - football and football - NFL. And I answered, “This is the US we call football soccer” Then she said, “No it’s football.” My point is I called her stupid. She’s only a high school student. Who ever doesn’t know what soccer is must be stupid. She got confused and I felt guilty so I apologized calling her stupid. Anyways, we played ESPN Football 2K5. Randy agreed with me that ESPN Football 2K5 had better graphics, better music selection, and tighter controls than Madden 2005. He even likes the cheer leaders in my game than in Madden 2004. The cheerleaders were a bit more detailed and all of them were wearing mini-skirts which gave them the “edge”. There is nothing like low-poly cheerleaders in a football game to make you pissed off. They also, to my surprise, do a lot of movement with their cheerleader dance—thing they do. Score one for Sega for even caring! The control is really good although my friend doesn’t think so.

After ESPN, I put in Winning Eleven Soccer 7 for PS2. It’s supposed to be the best soccer game in existence. EA Sports franchise may have gotten into the Guinness’s Book of World Records as most realistic 3D soccer simulation, but I have to disagree on this footnote. WES7 is pretty much makes FIFA (EA Sports) look small compared to it’s superior graphics. Xbox owners never fear – Winning Eleven 8 International is coming to Xbox as well as PS2. The Xbox controllers have less buttons than the Dual Shock controller which might be a problem. WES is made by Konami and published by Konami. I played him and the first game was really cool. He scored a goal in the first half (Argentina) against me (England) and I scored on his goalie in the 2nd half in which we didn’t score in the first or second overtimes. He’s mastered the goalie shootout and beat me more times. Interesting enough mine kept hitting the goal post in which it should of when it…meh. But all is good! The game did this on purpose because I had the joystick all the way right for this too happen. Never happened to Randy. After Soccer, we watched Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Randy never seen this movie. He doesn’t even like RPGs. He thought the movie was good though. Only cost me 10 bucks at the Toyriffic. I told him that it’s like Final Fantasy 10 FMV for 1.5 hours. Didn’t answer. There is a lot of razzle dazzle in the game! Like the Japs say it …… razzal dazzle. I read some reviews and the reviews all basically say that the movie comes from a game and has no real story. The animation is meant to look real – which if it was that case they would use real actors right? Wrong! This is a technical achievement – would have one Academy Award for special effects if most movie critics hated it. They didn’t see it was way ahead of it’s time – just like 2001: A Space Odyssey. Instead they gave the awards to Shrek, a kid’s movie. Three years after the film was made, Shrek and Shrek II come close but not beyond The Spirits Within. Yet I can see that it’s not a brilliant movie and has it’s flaws – it’s a fantasy movie like the name applies. Maybe Final Fantasy means (fantasy adventure) at the end of phantom’s existence. Squaresoft actually used Maya (which is a modeling program), and applied the highest resolution models to this movie. The movie was staffed by 100s of character design talent, background artists, movie script people, etc. At least Square didn’t have to pay the actors as much to voice act the whole movie. The voice acting was done in a studio like any cartoon. (watch the screen and speak at the same time – really this is how it’s done) The graphics engine if you will is Square Picture’s graphics engine is called “Scooby” (like Scooby-Doo) or “SQuare Batch Processing.” Most character’s averaged out about 300,000 polygons. And most interesting to me is probably the most obvious is the programmers used American (white and black people) instead of Asian. The game takes place in post World War III in year 2065. World War III wasn’t a fight against man or territory, but instead the existence of man as a species.

If you techies find this interesting I found this off Arstchnica which had an exclusive technical discussion about the film in general.
The movie technical specs :
• Number of Sequences = 36
• Number of Shots = 1,336
• Number of Layers = 24,606
• Number of Final Renders (Assuming that > everything was rendered once) = 2,989,318
• Number of Frames in the Movie = 149,246
o Average number of shots per sequence = 37.11
o Average number of rendered layers per shot = 18.42
o Average number of frames per shot = 111.71
o Estimated average number of render revisions = 5
o Estimated average render time per frame = 90 min
• Shot with the most layers = (498 layers)
• Shot with the most frames = (1899 frames)
• Shot with the most renders [layers * frames] = (60160 renders)
• Sequence with the most shots = (162 shots)
• Sequence with the most layers = AIR (4353 layers)
• Sequence with the most frames = (13576 frames)

“Using the raw data (not the averages) it all adds up to 934,162 days of render time on one processor. Keep in mind that we had a render farm with approximately 1,200 procs.”

Another Interesting note in the movie making is to turn off all the hot pixels, the whole film went through a “smoothing process” eliminating artifacts (what ever they are) from the film. Pixar (which created Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monster’s Inc for Walt Disney) has it’s part in this movie as well. Pixar actually let Square use their software, “Renderman”, to help render the movie. I couldn’t imagine how powerful the processing movie they needed to render the movie.
Anyway, I read Randy like a book. He wanted to beat me in all those games and say that he was better than I. I, of course, attempted to prove him wrong. Hey, I wonder since it’s a CGI movie that it’ll automatically look better when it’s released on HD-DVD, which is going to start appearing in 2005. What’s stunning about Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within is Square-soft broke even on production at Home Box Office and DVD/ VHS sales. They didn’t make as much money as they would-have hoped, but a profit none-the-less! Finally, what I agree with the film is the film isn’t realistic. You’re talking about computer animation not real life. It’s a cartoon really. Cartoons move and talk like humans too. This is just a very high resolution life-like computer animated movie that acts and feels like Earth AD 2065! Ever watch Titan AE? AE stands for “After Earth.” That was an animated film also based on futuristic Earth although the movie was animated (I call it American Anime or Western Anime), it did have computer generated background effects with it.

His computer was down – it was in a sense, a worthless piece of crap. The OS had boot-up errors. He wants his OS up and running and it has the blue screen of death on after the Windows boot logo. AKA someone’s been deleted System files O_o. Randy won’t admit it though. Randy’s computer data is screwed – but he thinks there is a way out. I told him there is a way He won’t tell me what happened. I told him I could get it too work for him. He’s a stubborn little fella. I wanted to help get his data back. Secret…KNOPPIX :)

Source: Interview

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