Feb 13, 2008

Not so happy CNY

Chinese New Year celebrations are (almost) over, for me, in a rather sad note.

A good friend of mine lost a member of his family just before the Lunar new year, and I only found out, in total shock, on the third day of the new year holidays.

I knew his family quite well, who are all friendly folks. I haven't been able to get in touch with him just yet, save for a text message to convey my condolences to him and his family.


Feb 5, 2008

Happy CNY

Here's a greeting before I go off for my CNY holidays.

Enjoy your holidays!

Feb 4, 2008

Game snapshots in 3D

If you're into 3D like me, chances are you would often play a game and wonder how you can extract those gorgeous game models and load them into your favourite 3D program. There are user or official apps that can do this, though most often than not it only works with a particular game and the workflow could be rather convoluted.

I came across a nifty app called 3D ripper DX when I was browsing through the CGtalk forums, . What it does is that injects itself into the game as you run it (you either launch the game through the app, or use a global monitor that runs in the background as you launch the game independently), and with a keystroke it will take a "snapshot" of the geometry and texture data in the current render call.

in-game model (Need for Speed Carbon)

captured and imported into Newtek Lightwave3D

In its current version, it only works with DirectX 9 games and comes with a plugin for Autodesk 3DS Max only. If you are using other apps, fret not as it also exports to the wavefront .obj format, which should be compatible with almost everything else, although the obj export could be distorted and requires you to dig into the file to change some parameters. Another nitpick is that I can't seem to import the models with their UVs intact. I haven't gotten a chance to test the Max plugin because I don't have the software.

Be warned though, depending on what game you're running, the captured geometry could be quite heavy.

Of course, the assets you captured from any game are the intellectual property of their respective developers, so use it responsibly.

Feb 1, 2008


The thing that makes Cloverfield unique is the same thing that made Spielberg's War of the Worlds unique (which makes them no longer unique...whatever...): The story is told from the point of view of ordinary people who found themselves caught in extraordinary events. And like ordinary people, you wouldn't know what is happening until much later. It is this kind of anxiety and fear of being in the dark about the all this shit going on around you that makes the film immersive and captivating.

In a nutshell, the film was purportedly extracted from a video camera found in a place "formerly known as central park". It documents the story of 4 young adults who found themselves in the middle of a battle between Manhattan and a giant monster. The premise is like Godzilla, except your experiencing it through the eyes (or camera lens) of this 4 individuals who are on the run for their lives. You don't know what's going on, you don't have the big picture. You see what they see.

Despite my misgivings, I have to admit they somehow pulled it off; Particularly in the opening scenes with all the destruction going around, all you see are buildings toppling over and a weird roaring sound before being surrounded by smoke and dust. Then one of characters who saw the monster, apparently traumatized, tells you "It was eating people.". It was the filmmakers' goal to create the kind of horror like 9/11, and they did it. The monster was not just a monster, it was also an event.

The movie is not perfect, it offered no explanation how the camera managed to record for 7 hours straight on a single battery charge. Also, if you have not vomitted lately, go and watch this film; The shaky camera work will probably bring you to the brink of hurling chunks in the middle of the cinema.

All in all, I thought it was a decent film. It has achieved what the filmmakers has set to
do: to convey the terror experienced by ordinary people like us in the face of catastrophic disasters, death and loss of hope. Just don't watch it after a meal.