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Vol.32 No.2 May 1998

Gordon Cameron

May 98 Columns
About the Cover

Gordon Cameron
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The February 1997 issue of Computer Graphics contained a focus (expertly guest edited by Mike Milne) on the entertainment industry, but we chose to save an important area of this industry for later investigation. It’s with great pleasure that I present that focus on the computer games industry in this May 1998 issue of Computer Graphics.

Back in the early ‘80s when I was still in school, I was enthusiastically coding away on a variety of early machines such as the Sinclair ZX81, Oric-1, Atari 800XL and Atari ST. At the same time, I spent a great deal of my hard-earned paper-round cash on games for these machines, so it was with great excitement that I recently discovered an on-line “shrine” to the games and their programmers. James Hague had painstakingly put together a list of “classic game programmers,” and in addition had interviewed several of the more revered game designers for a fascinating electronic publication entitled Halcyon Days. Around the same time, I was trying to put together an issue on computer graphics and the games industry, and so contacted James to see if he might be interested in guest editing such an endeavour. Luckily, he accepted, and the issue in your hands now contains the resulting focus.

Over the past decades, computer games have evolved at a remarkable pace. Many of the early titles pushed the platform capabilities, but more recently the games industry is proving one of the major factors in pushing computer graphics in general forward at a breakneck pace -- many of the new titles are generating groundbreaking research of their own, and forcing the hardware (and standards) to evolve to keep up. You can pick up a consumer PC with graphics comparable (or superior) to the workstations of a short time ago, at a fraction of the cost today, and this trend is really shaking up our industry and forcing innovations at a startling rate.

At the same time, it is worthwhile to look back at the amazing things people were doing in the earlier days of computer gaming, with far more limited resources (both technical and human). These early pioneers were performing minor miracles to achieve effects that today may look somewhat dated but in their time were bleeding edge, whilst still managing to keep in mind that most important, yet too-oft neglected, aspect --- gameplay.

James has done a superb job in gathering together a collection of thoughtful and personal articles from both past and present which together form a snapshot of the world of computer gaming and computer graphics. My thanks go out to all those who contributed, and especially to James for working under extremely tight deadlines.

Gordon Cameron
Software Development
3510 boul. St-Laurent
Suite 400
Montreal, Quebec
H2X 2V2

Tel: +1-514-845-1636 ext.3445
Fax: +1-514-845-5676

The copyright of articles and images printed remains with the author unless otherwise indicated.

Also, once again we have a tremendous series of columns. If you have any comments, I encourage you to drop a note to the columnists. For any general questions, ideas, comments, etc, please feel free to contact me at one of the addresses listed below and I’ll do my best to answer -- thank you so much for your letters over the last few months and, please, keep them coming! The majority of notes from the last issue complimented the content, for which I’m extremely grateful on behalf of the contributors. However, rather than print only these, I’ve decided to wait until we have a broad cross section of letters to use in the next Letters column.

Until next issue, all the very best, and I look forward to seeing some of you at the upcoming SIGGRAPH 98 25th anniversary conference.