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'Real-Time Cameras' And Mark Haigh-Hutchinson

by Mark DeLoura on 05/15/09 07:20:00 pm   Expert Blogs

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
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Recently, the book "Real-Time Cameras: A Guide for Game Designers and Developers" was published by Morgan Kaufmann. The book covers the topic of real-time cameras in games, from both a cinematographic perspective and a technical perspective.

The completion of this book was a labor of love for a group of friends of a talented game developer, Mark Haigh-Hutchinson. With the permission of the publisher and the good folks at, I want to share with you the background of this book. A portion of one of the chapters will be posted to Gamasutra soon.

From the Foreword (abridged), by Paul Tozour

When Mark Haigh-Hutchinson mentioned to me in late 2006 that he was starting to write a book on real-time game camera systems, I was thrilled. As the creator of the camera systems in all of the games in the Metroid Prime trilogy and a longtime industry veteran who played a major role in the development of many of the industry’s most beloved classics, I knew that Mark was uniquely qualified to write such a book.

Videogames have long had problems with camera systems. A surprising number of games have delivered high quality graphics and game play and yet fallen victim to inadequate camera control systems. Any number of game reviews bemoan cameras that stutter, lag, shake the player’s viewport violently, pass through walls, or point in the wrong direction.

I knew that if anyone could show us the way toward fixing all of these problems, it was Mark "H-H." His dedication to the task, his relentless perfectionism, and his boundless energy affected everything he touched. I enthusiastically urged him to write the book. Mark began working on the manuscript shortly after our conversation.

Like all of our fellow employees at Retro Studios, Mark and I were very busy finishing Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, a flagship title for the Nintendo Wii gaming console.

Mark often stayed late and worked weekends, only to spend several hours later that evening and several more in the morning working tirelessly to finish the book. He often sent me chapters for review as he finished them, and I was astonished by his continuous progress.

No one could have foreseen what would happen next. As the game drew nearer to completion, Mark mentioned health problems, which were diagnosed as inflammation of the digestive tract. Only days after Retro Studios shipped Metroid Prime 3 in August 2007, Mark’s diagnosis was changed to pancreatic cancer and he was admitted to the hospital immediately.

Devastated, we found ourselves at his funeral in late January.

Mark is survived by his loving wife of 14 years, Melanie, and two adoring daughters, Emma and Rachel.

Although Mark’s book was not yet completed, those who knew him knew how important it was, both to Mark and to the industry, and could not let it disappear. In the summer and fall of 2008, a number of Mark’s friends and colleagues came together in loving memory of this extraordinary individual to complete this essential book.

The following individuals contributed to the completion of Real-Time Cameras:

Ryan Cornelius, Software Engineer
Mark DeLoura, Videogame Technology Consultant
Jim Gage, Senior Software Engineer
Jack Mathews, Technical Director
Steve McCrea, Senior Engineer
Akintunde Omitowoju, Software Engineer
Eric Rehmeyer, Software Engineer
Marco Thrush, CTO
Paul Tozour, Independent Consultant

We offer this completed book in sincere gratitude for having had the opportunity to live and work alongside the inestimable Mark H-H.

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