Monthly Archives: April 2008

Scaffolding and Masonry

This article was published at Gamasutra.

It’s amazing how little normal people will consciously register about video games. To us game freaks, they pick out the oddest things.

I built a new PC this Christmas. One of the first games I tried on it was Crysis. As expected, the graphics were incredible. Beautiful, lush jungles, fully animated grass and leaves, dynamic shadows and time-of-day, strong HDR. Anyone who is familiar with my older levels will know that I love this stuff.


I showed it to my father one day. “Check it out!” I said gleefully, certain that his jaw would drop at this incredible display of computational and artistic awesomeness.

Naturally, the first thing he noticed was that there were plants popping into existence as I moved around and the LOD system recalculated their detail relevance.

Naturally, I was aghast. Doesn’t he see? Look at the technological and artistic beauty of it all! Possibly the most beautiful real-time graphical simulation ever created was sitting in front of him, and all he noticed was the very minor LOD popping. I’m trained to deconstruct digital images and even I wasn’t registering those little plants swooping in and out of existence.

Obviously there was something different about how my father, a non-gamer, was perceiving the scene and how I was. I realized what it was some days later when playing Assassin’s Creed.

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