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Engaging Audiences: Denis Dyack Deconstructs The Industry
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Engaging Audiences: Denis Dyack Deconstructs The Industry

September 27, 2007 Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next

It's really funny. You mentioned that a director would never let you choose the shot, but for a while, they were trying to do that with DVDs. Ultimately, that only wound up in the realm of porn, and then it's gone. So it's really funny that it made its way down the ranks.

DD: It was a blip on the radar. I remember the multiple angle thing, and I remember going, "I don't even care." It's a lot more work, too, to do the multiple angle stuff. I really think that we're in such a hardcore state when people say, "I want to control the camera. I must control the camera." It's only because we haven't found sophisticated enough ways to remove that from the player so far. That's hopefully what we're trying to do with some of the stuff we're doing.

It's extremely difficult, obviously, because you have rudimentary AI that is telling these objects to go here and move around there, and do pathfinding and things like that. Things are going to get stuck in walls, and guys are going to be where you can't get them, and it's just going to happen. If you can't see them and they're killing you from off-screen...

DD: That's broken.

And when you have a large game, it's kind of impossible to fix all of that.

DD: We're going to put that to test pretty soon. Too Human's pretty big, so we'll see. I look forward to seeing... hopefully you get the chance to play sometime. I think there's definitely compelling points. It's just that it's really hard to do. It's not been done a lot because it's very difficult. We've done research and development in that for several years now, in working with professors from the University on the rules of camera and creating artificial intelligence. That's probably the most significant amount of R&D we've done in the entire company, and it's all basically being able to speak the language of film, which I think is very important and crucial, and I think our industry is missing right now.

I think that we have so much more power within interactive media to do things that films could never do. If we were to constrain ourselves and fetishize film -- which some people do -- it would be a real hinderance to the growth of the industry.

DD: Once again, it comes down to what I said earlier, in my eyes. Take the gold nuggets, and throw out the rest. If we try to do something that's one-to-one, we're ultimately going to fail. But it's just the similarities, and being able to reference -- how many people here do you think are able to do that? Very few.

If we are the eighth artform, and we're the next step from film, which was the seventh art, you'd think everyone should know what Griffith did and what films he did and why they were good and why they were bad. That's why we created the Academy Of Interactive Arts & Sciences -- to give that foundation to people, so they can build from it and hopefully be able to expand and go and stand on the shoulders of giants. That's what I think it's all about. There's literature that we can draw from. There's radio, television, and movies. It's just really, really strong.

It's weird to me that the language of film -- as you mentioned in your talk just now -- is something that people can understand intuitively. But the language of games -- all that we've created so far -- seems to be based off of technology, except for genre things and stuff like that. Our language is like parallax maps, and procedural X and Y, and things like that. We haven't really come to an agreement on what things are, and I think it's because we have a lack of proper criticism.

DD: I totally agree.

Which is a fault of people like me for not doing it, but I haven't had time!

DD: That's an amazing tangent, and we could go on for ages, I'm sure.

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