GTA V (Xbox One, PS4, PC) to have first person mode

GTA V was one of the great games of last gen consoles. It took up hours and hours of my time, to the detriment of some of my classes in school., but that is what good video games do. They addict you until you complete them. 

GTA V was one of those games. I spent hours driving around and exploring the countryside and even more hours playing the story. The game is vast and was beautiful for the consoles it was on. 

Now they have updated the graphics for next gen and they said that since the detail was finally rich enough, they could implement first person mode into their game. This changes everything about the way the game plays.

Many early previews are explained to feel more chaotic and tense than the old 3rd person mode. 3rd person will still be in there of course, but for those first person shooter lovers, they can know mow down pedestrians and beat up random homeless people in first person. 

I cannot wait for the game to be released, but am sadly going to be waiting for the PC release which is not until early 2015. The Xbox One and PS4 versions will drop on 11/18.

Star Was Episode VII is called: The Force Awakens

The new title will surely generate a lot of speculation of the coming days. For those of us who are Star Wars fans, this means one thing, the movie is getting closer and closer to release. It is only a matter of time before posters and the trailer comes out. I am certainly excited to see more.

More to come later...

The Coming Trend of Visual Effects Reduction

In the upcoming movie Interstellar, Christopher Nolan has said that he tried to use as many practical effects as possible over using visual effects. JJ Abrams has said the same thing when talking about the new Star Wars films.

As the age of big blockbusters, with $100 million plus visual effects budgets, continues to play out, I see a growing trend towards a reduction of the usage of visual effects in movies. Not to say that they will be gotten rid of, but I feel filmmakers will begin working harder to cut their reliance on using green screens and visual effects companies and instead use creative new technology to capture more of the movie in camera.

The reduction of visual effects will not make movies worse, they will make it better.

If you sift through some of the interviews and behind the scenes articles from Interstellar, you will see that many of the visuals were captured in camera. One of the most interesting sets this happened in was the interior of the space ship.

Visual effects were still used to generate what you would see out of the window, but instead of having a green screen, they actually projected the cold vista of space from pre-generated images. This helped the actors, with lighting, and gives the film a more realistic feel.

Another film that used a technique similar to this was Oblivion. Instead of using a green screen for the "Sky Tower" backdrop, they projected images of the sky, taken from atop a mountain.

This helped in many ways; for one it was much cheaper than keying and rotoscoping every shot. Second, in terms of lighting, it generated realistic colors and light based on the image displayed. Third, it helps the actors by giving them more reality to use for their performance. 

What the final result gave was a sense of realism, for the actor and also for the viewer. 

Alice in Wonderland was almost 100% CG

Using old school approaches like these, as well as doing more practical effects on set, will give filmgoers something more from movies than overly computerized environments. In moderation, computer generated images enhance the movie, but they shouldn't consume it.

Realism will reverse the over-reliance on visual effects and bring it down to a happy median. Visual effects are important and vital in most big movies, but they should only be used where necessary and avoided where on set alternatives are more realistic, impressive, and effective. 

As the newest Hobbit film gets closer to release, I will continue with another article on Visual Effects Reduction in the coming weeks, pointing out the differences between the quality and realism of the original Lord of the Rings films versus the Hobbit trilogy.