River Ecosystem Part 2b is up...plus Video Game Cinematics!


  I'm not a huge gamer but I play when I can and I always pay attention to E3 when it rolls around.  It's not just the new games I'm interested in,  I **love** well done video game cinematics.  I think they may be the single best medium for 3D artists to show their stuff.  I'm just so impressed by some of the work I've seen poured into these short trailers.  Granted - a lot of them are pretty formulaic...but I'm not complaining.  The sheer amount of skill and technology on display is just so impressive, you can practically chart the advances in our field by looking at a history of video game trailers.  I worked on them occasionally at a production company that I used to work at - but that was back in the 'old' days (pre-2000).  I'm going to post a few of my favorites below, the ones that I think hit everything.  Not just great art, but the ones that captured the essence of the game they're promoting and made me say "DAMN, that's cool!"

  First off is Dishonored.  A great game with a beautifully realized alternate reality.  I think the trailer captured the essence of the game..the stealth, the weapons, the no-nonsense mentality of Corvo and the Venus-thick atmosphere of Dunwall.  The trailer has an energy that swells with the music.  I love the design aesthetic on display here.  The city, the vehicles, the uniforms...Corvo's iconic mask.  I love the game and the trailer did it justice.


  This one is going to be coming straight out of left-field.  Prey 2.  Yes, Prey 2.  You read that correctly.  Prey......2.

  First of all this game never came out...and will probably never come out.  The trailer though - there's just something about it that really appeals to me.  We all know Blur is about the best in the business - so it's no shock that from a technical and artistic perspective this trailer is a thing of beauty.  There's just something about this trailer that grabs me and pulls me in...I'll try to put it in bullet point form:

1. It tells a story

2. It has atmosphere (see a trend here?  I adore atmosphere...it makes it or breaks it for me).  This cinematic shows a world I want to jump into and explore.

3. The action is great and the editing is tight.

4. You never see the protagonist.  I mean, that's kind of weird....right?  I think it's cool, and pretty unique.  It's a video game trailer, you're supposed to take a risk and do something different.  For me this added to the intrigue.

5-10. Johnny Cash.  While Gears of War in 2007 started the somewhat regrettable (and apparently irreversible) trend of putting popular songs to game trailers I can forgive Blur for using Johnny Cash.  It completes the picture...instead of a generic chase scene through a sci-fi cityscape you're brought into a world where a human bounty hunter brings the Wild West with him to another dimension.  It just works....at least it did for me.



  For the last one I'm going to go with Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  Again, I think this trailer really captured  the fully realized world this game takes place in.  It's probably my favorite video game trailer of all time.  Heavily inspired by Blade Runner?  Sure, but the world would be a better place if more things were inspired by Blade Runner's art direction.  The plight of Adam Jensen's character is depicted in the details.  The glass of whisky cracking in his prosthetic hand that he just doesn't quite have the hang of yet.  The shots of him in the operating room, touching the equipment that saved his life but changed his body.  He's a tortured character in the game and I think this comes through in the trailer.  The trailer captures the essence of the game's combat and weapons - even using the same sound effects.  Human Revolution's music is iconic and it adds to the tone and atmosphere of the world they've created.  The whole cinematic just feels like the game designers worked right alongside the trailer's artists and director.  It's a very true and honest depiction of the game and its short form storytelling is off the charts for a video game trailer.  I'd normally check myself for being biased because of my love for the game, but I loved this trailer before I ever played Deus Ex: HR.  It's the best video game trailer ever made as far as I'm concerned.  

  "I never asked for this..."


  In the grand tradition of anti-climaxes I present you with Part2b of the River Ecosystem tutorial.  Learn about spline deformers and how to navigate the labyrinthine spline falloff 'workflow' (and how to manually hook all this stuff up from scratch in the schematic).  Spline Falloff workflow?  "I never asked for this...."


River Ecosystem part 2B