Posted by: crudbasher | May 18, 2011

A Preview of Immersive Games for Learning

I’ve been following this video game for about a year now. Rockstar Games is coming out very soon with a new game called LA Noire. Many traditional video games today have sections where there is explicit storytelling, often in the form of a cutscene. It’s a way to keep the player on track regarding the story. This game is different though. The player always has control and is playing. The story unfolds before them using both voice and facial expressions. In other words, you have to pay attention and become immersed in the game.

I have played with virtual worlds like Second Life and Quest Atlantis for learning. Those systems are limited by simple graphics though. I can foresee a time in the next few years where a persistent game world will be created with the quality level of LA Noire. Imagine each character is driven by AI and interact with each other. This happened to a certain extent with another game called Elder Scrolls Oblivion. Each character there had motivations and a daily routine. They could also react to what the player was doing. These games will get much much better soon.

Imagine then, taking a world as high fidelity as in LA Noire and introducing learning challenges. The player will have to learn things to complete the various tasks in the game. While there have been other systems to do this already, none of them are as immersion as this new game. It’s going to be awesome!

Here’s a really good video explaining how the game works. Check out the facial expressions!

  • la noire video game is a preview of learning environments

    tags: games technology learning2.0

    • Developer Team Bondi is further blurring the line between video games and Hollywood with its first collaboration with Rockstar Games. LA Noire is not only set in 1940s Hollywood, the game also employs a cast of 400 actors and uses performance capture technology similar to what James Cameron employed for Avatar. But perhaps most importantly, the game seamlessly blends a 2,200 page script within the interactive story.
    • Brandon McNamara, game director at Team Bondi, said that The Naked City, both the 1948 film noir and the 1950s TV series, served as the inspiration for this five-years-in-the-making game.
    • The LA in this game is much more reminiscent of the London McNamara explored in two Getaway games. There’s the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but the players will explore the seedier side of the city as they track down suspects and clues for each of the missions.
    • “Certain actors that had worked on video games five years ago came onto the set (in Culver City, CA) and were surprised by the technology,” said Michael McGrady (“Southland”), who brings LAPD Homicide Detective Rusty Galloway to life in the game. “I used to do games before and it was just sitting in a booth and reading lines. With LA Noire, we had a giant motion capture stage and we had to act with other actors. Then for the Motion Scan portion, which we did later, there’s a camera on your face that’s recording the facial performance and there’s a microphone for your voice.”
    • At the end of the day, all of the technology and acting and scriptwriting should be transparent to the player, just as a good movie transports audiences into its characters and story. The one area where the Hollywood connection doesn’t interfere is in the gameplay. Rockstar has spent decades fine-tuning and expanding its gameplay. And LA Noire was developed over five years because it was essential to get the gameplay to work right.
    • Looking ahead, McNamara is already pushing this technology forward. He envisions a day very soon where the lines between traditional linear and interactive entertainment will completely blur.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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