The annual SIGGRAPH show offers a great opportunity to check out the latest developments in the animation industry. Whether you are interested in software or hardware, or are just an artist just looking for inspiration, the show doesn't disappoint.
It's tough to recap the entire show, but you can find some of the highlights throughout our News and Products sections. I met with numerous manufacturers in LA, and to me, some of the highlights came from high-performance laptop makers and from companies showing technology that directly affects the creation of game content.
HP, Dell and Lenovo all showed "mobile workstations" and we're hoping to review some of their 17-inch releases in the future. This segment is very competitive and Lenovo's J. Wes Williams, segment manager for ThinkPad Mobile Workstations, says his company wants to be more than just a "me too" player. As such, their top-of-the-line ThinkPad W Series is loaded with features pros will appreciate, including an Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor, Nvidia Quadro FX graphics, an integrated Wacom pen and tablet, five USB ports and a built-in color calibration solution.
Dr. Sebastien Deguy, founder/CEO of Allegorithmic (www.allegorithmic.com), detailed how the company's ProFX procedural texturing solution (think "vector textures") can help reduce both files sizes and expenses relating to game production. Deguy estimated that 50 to 80% of a game consists of textures. ProFX allows users to create the detailed textures that are expected in today's games — or other animated content — but at considerably smaller file sizes, making online gaming — including massively multiplayer online games and virtual worlds — much easier to participate in.
And Avatar Reality (www.avatar-reality.com) was showing Blue Mars, a MMVW that gives third-parties, including game developers and artists, an opportunity to create "in-world" attractions for what the company feels will be the future of entertainment, commerce and social networking. Blue Mars will launch in beta later this year and fully-functional "cities" are already in development.