Creators and technologists see game engine technology driving new creative options.
Originally developed as a software framework for creation and development of video games, game engine technology is now finding new uses in creating visualizations, simulations, virtual reality content, and even filmmaking. At the Jon Peddie Research Siggraph Press Luncheon today, five creators and technologists shared their ideas on how expectations and technical performance issues are driving the expanded role of game engines in media and entertainment.
“We have to stop talking about game engines specifically,” says Jean-Colas Prunier, creative director at Crytek. Game engine technology is now being applied to a wider variety of content creation tasks, as the new middleware in content creation. “We are working with real-time [development] technology.” Prunier believes many movie directors will take advantage of combining game engine technology with virtual reality (VR) real-time viewing, for a more immersive approach to creation.
“Many of the headaches in games are now hitting other industries,” notes Paul Doyle, co-founder and CEO of Fabric Engine. Content creators are turning to game engine technology as a review and visualization environment, not just as a playback tool. Directors are embracing game engines for building experiences but also “applying the lexicon of film to the technology,” Doyle says. “New production possibilities are making it harder to use 2D desktop toolsets. Creators are being thrown into a new environment and need help in navigating it.”
Mark Schoennagel is a technical evangelist for game engine developer Unity. He says many movie studios are wanting to use game engine technology to render films, for the speed benefits. “It is almost real-time quality,” he notes. “Very untraditional things are happening with game engines.”
Filmmakers Milica Zek and Winslow Turner Porter III shared their experiences making Giant, a short virtual reality “film” about a family hiding in their basement from war. They used the Unreal game engine on the project to create the 360-degree environment. “The more immersive the better,” noted Porter. “We wanted to ideate inside the headset; some things worked, some things didn’t… We need new rules to be broken” to work as filmmakers in this new technology.