School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University

Speaker  Magy Seif El-Nasr

Affiliation  School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University

Host  John Nordlinger

Duration  00:52:37

Date recorded  12 September 2007

The game industry is becoming a multi-billion dollar industry with revenues overcoming those of the movie industry. Recently, thousands of people around the world camped out in front of stores for days to be the first to own a Xbox 360, a Play Station 3, and Nintendo Wii. As the game industry matures, the tools used by designers and developers to build such games also mature. These tools are gaining importance as they not only result in better, faster developed games, but find unforeseen and excited utility outside their "native" industry - in training, health therapy, and education. In education in particular, these tools can be used as an infrastructure for course projects, helping reinforce many computer science and math concepts through learning by design. Still, many of these tools are limited. For example, the current visual design tools used to develop these interactive experiences have several limitations: they are (1) time- and laborintensive, (2) rigid, as they do not adapt well to changes in physical and dramatic configuration of scenes forcing designers to preset these variables, and (3) designed based on control of timing and pacing which are not static as they depend on users' actions. My research focuses on developing tools that address these problems. In this talk, I will focus the discussion on one of these tools, specifically, a lighting design tool, called ELE (Expressive Lighting Engine), that I developed based on cinematic and theatric lighting design theories. ELE addresses the aforementioned problems by adding: (i) a high-level authoring tool to cut down the content development time and (ii) a constraint optimization system built based on cinematic and theatric techniques to adapt the lighting, accounting for context, timing, and gameplay/interaction, thus presenting a better adaptable solution to a dynamic environment. Such a tool is useful for enhancing the design and development process as well as the quality of interactive experiences.

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