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Interactive Video Game Content Authoring using Procedural Methods

This thesis explores avenues for improving the quality and detail of game graphics, in the context of constraints that are common to most game development studios. The research begins by identifying two dominant constraints; limitations in the capacity of target gaming hardware/platforms, and processes that hinder the productivity of game art/content creation. From these constraints, themes were derived which directed the research‟s focus. These include the use of algorithmic or „procedural‟ methods in the creation of graphics content for games, and the use of an „interactive‟ content creation strategy, to better facilitate artist production workflow. Interactive workflow represents an emerging paradigm shift in content creation processes used by the industry, which directly integrates game rendering technology into the content authoring process. The primary motivation for this is to provide „high frequency‟ visual feedback that enables artists to see games content in context, during the authoring process. By merging these themes, this research develops a production strategy that takes advantage of „high frequency feedback‟ in an interactive workflow, to directly expose procedural methods to artists‟, for use in the content creation process. Procedural methods have a characteristically small „memory footprint‟ and are capable of generating massive volumes of data. Their small „size to data volume‟ ratio makes them particularly well suited for use in game rendering situations, where capacity constraints are an issue. In addition, an interactive authoring environment is well suited to the task of setting parameters for procedural methods, reducing a major barrier to their acceptance by artists. An interactive content authoring environment was developed during this research. Two algorithms were designed and implemented. These algorithms provide artists‟ with abstract mechanisms which accelerate common game content development processes; namely object placement in game environments, and the delivery of variation between similar game objects. In keeping with the theme of this research, the core functionality of these algorithms is delivered via procedural methods. Through this, production overhead that is associated with these content development processes is essentially offloaded from artists onto the processing capability of modern gaming hardware. This research shows how procedurally based content authoring algorithms not only harmonize with the issues of hardware capacity constraints, but also make the authoring of larger and more detailed volumes of games content more feasible in the game production process. Algorithms and ideas developed during this research demonstrate the use of procedurally based, interactive content creation, towards improving detail and complexity in the graphics of games.
Type of thesis
Denny, D. E. (2010). Interactive Video Game Content Authoring using Procedural Methods (Thesis, Master of Science (MSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5055
University of Waikato
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