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2 August 2007
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Cutting-Edge Laser Technology Transforms Classic Video Games to Giant Size at SIGGRAPH Technology Conference in San Diego
(San Diego) - SIGGRAPH officials announced details for the world's first known use of a state-of-the-art laser projection system designed to show real-time vector graphics in vibrant, non-pixelated color to play several classic arcade games on a giant projection screen nightly at the San Diego Civic Theatre from 6-8 August 2007. The classic arcade games of "Asteroids" and "Tempest" (courtesy of Atari Interactive, Inc.), and "Star Wars" (courtesy of LucasArts) are three of the ten most popular arcade games of all time, and the only three to use vector graphics, drawn with lines instead of pixels.
The unique video game event will feature celebrity players exhibiting their skills in front of a live audience prior to the nightly unveiling of the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival - known as the world's premier event for computer graphics and animation. Groundbreaking films presented at the Computer Animation Festival have amazed audiences for three decades. Since 1999, the Festival has also been an official qualifying event for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences "Best Animated Short Film" award.
"Playing these classic games like they've never been seen before is the perfect nod to the early days of the video games industry as well as to the early days of computer graphics," says Paul Debevec, SIGGRAPH 2007 Computer Animation Festival Chair from the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies. "With our festival showcasing the most groundbreaking computer animations from around the globe, including a record number of pieces from the video game industry, it's a thrill to be able to start the show with faithful, larger-than-life versions of the games that helped attract so many of the SIGGRAPH audience to the field of computer graphics."
The games will be played through the original arcade machine microcode via an arcade emulator system specially customized by Matt Polak from Cleveland-based Raven Systems Design. The customizations convert the game's original vector lists into lighting-fast laser beam motions. The light will be supplied by a groundbreaking high-powered color laser system by San Jose-based Novalux aimed into a special dual-scanner mirror system assembled by laser systems expert Steve Heminover of Chicago-based Aura Technologies. In addition, Clovis, California-based WestControls has built authentic custom-built controllers using original arcade machine components.
Celebrity players include Jim Blinn (renowned computer scientist who is widely known for his work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Ken Perlin (Academy Award Winner for Scientific and Technical Achievement), Glenn Entis (SVP, Chief Visual and Technical Officer, Electronic Arts), and John Knoll (Industrial Light & Magic Visual Effects Supervisor on the "Star Wars" prequels, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series and Academy Award Winner for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"). Nightly tickets to the pre-show video game event and the Computer Animation Festival are available to the public at the door of the San Diego Civic Theatre for $50. Each viewing is expected to sell out.