Officials from the SIGGRAPH technology conference have announced the use of a state-of-the-art vector graphics laser projection system in order to play several classic arcade games like Tempest and Star Wars on a giant projection screen nightly at the San Diego Civic Center from August 6-8.
The event will feature celebrity players in front of a live audience prior to each night's unveiling of the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival, with Atari's Asteroids and Tempest, and LucasArts' Star Wars comprising the title line-up.
"Playing these classic games like they've never been seen before is the perfect nod to the early days of the video games industry as well as to the early days of computer graphics," said Paul Debevec, SIGGRAPH 2007 Computer Animation Festival Chair from the University of Southern California Centers for Creative Technologies.
The games will be played through the arcade machines' original microcode via a specially-customized arcade emulator built by Matt Polak from Cleveland-based Raven Systems Design. The customizations convert the game's original vector lists into laser beam motions, while the light is supplied by San Jose-based Novalux's high-powered color laser system and aimed into a special dual-scanner mirror system assembled by Steve Heminover of Chicago-based Aura Technologies.
Celebrity players include Jim Blinn (renowned computer scientist who is widely known for his work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Ken Perlin (Academy Award Winner for Scientific and Technical Achievement), Glenn Entis (SVP, Chief Visual and Technical Officer, Electronic Arts), and John Knoll (Industrial Light & Magic Visual Effects Supervisor on the Star Wars prequels, the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Academy Award Winner for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest).
Nightly tickets to the pre-show video game event and the Computer Animation Festival are available to the public at the door of the San Diego Civic Center for $50.
"It's a thrill to be able to start the show with faithful, larger-than-life versions of the games that helped attract so many of the SIGGRAPH audience to the field of computer graphics," Debevec said.