Wednesday, 2 March 2011

5 Ways that games are bringing realism ever closer

With the latest videos and announcements from GDC ( Game Developers Conference) of EA's next stunning shooter Battlefield 3 due out later this I thought it would be good to touch on the various ways that developers are looking to blur the lines between videogame and real life.
Patrick Bach, a senior game developer at EA's DICE studio in Sweden has been wowing specialist games press journalists with Battlefields incredible visuals emphasising that the game would go a long way towards conveying the feel of battle, the potential pain of a shot fired and the impact of soldiers at war. On top of that it would demonstrate DICE's zeal to present "next gen tech" on a "current gen platform.

Above: A impressive screenshot from Battlefield 3 showing a US Marine standing guard in an Iraqi town

Below: Real Life - A US Army soldier in Agfhanistan

1. Realism: providing players with an immersive experience that delivers true to life visuals, environments, emotions and NPC's that help take the whole experience to another level.

2. Sound Design - For Battlefiled DICE studios joined with the Medal of Honor team to record weapon sounds with the Swedish army when they were out on manoeuvres, allowing them to record the games sound with 84 microphones set up at different points.

3. Character - having a central protagonist that is utterly believable, someone that the player can empathize with at every level, making them almost human in way that these characters live within your game.

4. Story - current events and conflicts provide rich pickings for story and script writers to bring home a truly believable story that sets the scene perfectly.

5. Attention to detail - Architecture, vehicles, weapons, human emotional responses, lighting, physics and artificial intelligence are just some of the elements increasing in complexity as game technology evolves  to bring a level of detail never seen before.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Photobook is Dead Longlive the Photobook...

What next for the photo book, those eye candy tomes we all love to flick through on the proverbial coffee table?The natural progression seems to point to digital if everything else is taken into consideration, comics, magazines and books have all seen a move to digital formats although not quite in the mainstream way that their paper counterparts have enjoyed so far but I'm betting that in the next five years we'll see a massive increase in the way digital  platforms provide the means to view traditional published media.
I grew up reading comics and I have to admit I'm reluctant to give in to an entirely digital model, the same for Photobooks, I love being able to pick up a decent sized coffee table book packed with photos to paw over and the thought of flipping pages on a digital tablet leaves me slightly cold.

Currently the way of the electronic paperback, Kindle, Smashwords and other ebook publishing formats have helped break down the restrictive barriers for indie authors and amateurs to realise their own book. However the route for photobooks has been somewhat slower because in order to fully maximize formats like the ipad  a small degree of Html coding is required in order to template the book before you put it out there which I think is restricting a large degree of the audience. Making money from traditional glamorous paper photo books however or using as a platform to make money is extremely difficult and the larger the book, the larger the retail and production cost, some of the higher paginated photo books on are priced at over $100 per book, some even higher, a trip to Amazon underlines the stark reality of pricing when you can buy books by professional photographers such as David Notons Photography Essentials waiting for the light which is 192 pages (24 X 26 cm) of full colour photographs and advice for around £16.

So where does that leave Photobook pricing for your digital project for an i-pad version? since you've effectively removed the cost for print and manufacture which is where the majority of where companise like costs are tied up you can price the book at a much lower retail price. To remain competitive you have to look at the content and pricing of other book projects, what you offer as value for money is important, remember that with platforms like i-Tunes you're going to come away with 70% of the profit less whatever taxes you have to pay but its a much healthier chunk. A price in the region of $5 would certainly provide a good motivational price incentive to buy and for a digital format its far more realistic than pricing it the same as its paper counterpart, the chances are you have the potential to make more money taking a 70% i-Tunes royalty than you do with a traditional print model royalty so you shouldn't look at a price of $5 as de-valuing your photographic work. With the vast range of Tablets being made available through 2011 and 2012 the formats are emerging to make good revenue from the digital book side, the downside is that the photobook is no longer a physical entity to have in your library or have sitting on your coffee table, instead it lives and breathes inside the digital shell of whatever reading device you're using.

The Photobook is Dead, Longlive the Photobook project

My latest and greatest project comes to fruition shortly, overall its been a love hate relationship, I love the fact that the project came together like my first book in the series did because it's allowed me to work with and showcase some truly talented people, however I hate the fact that Blurb.coms pricing policy makes it so hard to price photo books over 80 pages competitvely within the publishing retail sector allowing me to promote it to a much wider audience on sites like Amazon.

I've had good results with, the paper and print quality are excellent, its own Booksmart template is a very good tool to build the books and the ease of use is great. My only really gripe is that it would be nice for more page templates to be provided in order to really broaden the design concepts as well as better profit margins for 'book builders' who choose to sell their books online through Blurbs bookstore.

There are other Photo book programs out there from the likes of Lulu, Vistaprint and Photobox among many others so I can't really compare the quality of these against Blurb other than what the forum response has been which points to Blurb as being a leader in the field.
Airsoft Infidels: The very best of Airsoft & Milsim photography Book 2 is the second book I released in this series, I'm contemplating a third and final book but other personal projects, a full time day job, a thriller novel plus a family make it a difficult project to fulfill. I quite like the fact that Airsoft as a sport is still fairly niche, athough trying to explain to various people exactly what it entials takes longer than necessary especially when you start explaining all the kit,weapons etc.
Out of the three books I know that exist for Airsoft Photography I've released two of them and was the first to do so with Airsoft Infidels: The very best of Airsoft & Milsim Photography (Book 1) which I've since updated and am considering re-releasing with a new cover.

The new book (see below) has a website found here
I'm promoting the book on Twitter where you can follow my progress.
You can buy a copy of the book over at shortly.