SIGGRAPH 2018’s Games programming spans many areas of the conference, including Courses, Talks, Technical Papers, Real-Time Live!, Panels, the Computer Animation Festival, Appy Hour, Virtual, Augmented & Mixed Reality presentations, Business Symposium, the Studio, and the Exhibition.
In collaboration with the conference committee and reviewers, SIGGRAPH 2018 Games Focus Area Chair Natalya Tatarchuk has worked to help spotlight creators, visionaries, and pioneers within the games industry from the world’s leading studios. Recent achievements from the games industry will be presented in sessions and demos on novel production-proven game rendering techniques, real-time character rendering, asset pipelines, character animation, new solutions for game navigation, advances in hardware and software, game art production challenges and accomplishments, lessons in building emotional stories for game narratives and visual experience, and much more.
With more than 30 sessions, some of the highlights of the Games Focus Area include:
Advances in Real-Time Rendering in Games Part 1 and 2 (Courses)
This two-part, intermediate-level Course brings state-of-the-art and production-proven rendering techniques for fast, interactive rendering of complex and engaging virtual worlds of video games. The daylong immersion will include speakers involved in the making of innovative games from companies like Ubisoft, Sledgehammer Games, Activision, Lucasfilm, NVIDIA, Unity Technologies, and Epic Games.
The Past, Present and Future of the Video Game Cinematic (Panels)
Panelists: Franck Balson, Blur Studio; Phillip Hillenbrand, Blizzard Entertainment; Thomas Vu, Riot Games; Matthew Ward, Bungie; Jakub Jabłoński, Platige Image; and, Alex S. Rabb, Digic Pictures
Top creatives in video game cinematics will discuss the processes and technology that makes their work possible, along with the creative and economic context that underpins this work. They will reveal the “who,” "what," and “why” of cinematics, shedding light on a genre that is often applauded but rarely analyzed.
Technical Art of Sea of Thieves (Talks)
This session will present a dive into a selection of visual techniques and tools developed throughout the production of "Sea of Thieves," ranging from ocean surface rendering and volumetric clouds to Kraken tentacle simulations and dynamic systems of GPU-calculated ropes and pulleys.
Moss: Finding the Emotional Connection (Talks)
In the exciting space of VR, entertainment is more immersive than ever before. In this talk, Chris Alderson sheds some light on Polyarc’s way of thinking during the production of Moss while keeping in mind the possibilities and constraints that VR has to offer. On top of Art Direction, Chris will touch on how all aspects of Moss’ creation contributed to the emotional connection players will experience within the world of Moss and with Quill, Moss’ tiny hero protagonist.
Vacation Simulator (Immersive Pavilion – Vrcade)
Vacation Simulator is the new original virtual reality game from Owlchemy Labs. First you JOBBED, now you VACATION. Visit Vacation Island and experience RECREATION, optimal RELAXATION, and classic human pastimes like SUNBURN. Vacation Island offers all this and more so that you can discover the lost art of TIME OFF.
“Within the next five years, we will see tremendous leaps in the fidelity of games’ content fidelity being represented across computer graphics,” noted Tatarchuk. “As the hardware continues to evolve, we are seeing orders of magnitude improvements in the complexity of game content for AAA games and tremendous creativity in the game rendering algorithms. At the same time, we see innovation in how VR and AR games are using the constraints of super-low-latency games on those platforms to build strong emotional connections with the players. Across the industries, Real-time production and experiences are slowly beginning to dominate the conversation, as creators of both films and games learn from one another. This year, though, the major inflections happening in GPU-driven pipelines, real-time ray-tracing, and the use of machine learning in content generation and real-time-pipelines have me really excited about the programming we are bringing to attendees in Vancouver.”
Beyond but adjacent to Games programming, SIGGRAPH 2018 Real-Time Live! will present the future of interactive techniques, live on stage. Attendees of this one-night-only session have the chance to watch the most innovative, interactive techniques as they are presented and deconstructed in-the-moment by their creators. New this year, Real-Time Live! audience members will get to vote alongside 2018 jurors on the night’s award, Best in Real-Time Graphics and Interactivity, as part of the live competition. From mobile and console games to virtual and augmented reality, creators of cutting-edge real-time graphics will give the audience a look “under the hood” of their creations and share the techniques they use to achieve jaw-dropping results.
SIGGRAPH 2018 Real-Time Live! Chair Jesse Barker said, “Real-Time Live! is such a unique SIGGRAPH event in that it brings together real-time graphics teams who are pushing the boundaries of art and technology. These teams demonstrate their innovations in front of a live audience, and presenting during this event is a real rush as creators show all that is possible in real-time. I am thrilled with the show that our expert jury has selected — those who think milliseconds are too large of a granularity in which to measure time will be well represented during this remarkable event!
Highlights of SIGGRAPH 2018 Real-Time Live! Include:
Virtual Production in 'Book of the Dead': Technicolor's Genesis Platform, Powered by Unity
Presenters: Francesco Giordana and Callum James, Moving Picture Company; Veselin Efremov and Silvia Rasheva, Unity Technologies; and, Gael Sourimant, Technicolor R&I
A team will demonstrate a Unity-powered virtual production platform that pushes the boundaries of real-time technologies to empower filmmakers with full multi-user collaboration and live manipulation of whole environments and characters. Special attention is dedicated to high-quality real-time graphics, as evidenced by Unity’s “Book of the Dead" (also part of the Computer Animation Festival Electronic Theater).
The “Reflections” Ray-Tracing Demo Presented in Real Time and Captured Live Using Virtual Production Techniques
Presenters: Gavin Moran, Epic Games, and Mohen Leo, ILMxLAB
Epic Games, NVIDIA, and ILMxLAB present 2018’s GDC demo, "Reflections," set in the “Star Wars” universe. The team will also record a character performance live using virtual production/virtual reality directly into Unreal Engine Sequencer, and then play the demo with real-time ray tracing live at 24fps.
Democratising Mocap: Real-Time Full-Performance Motion Capture with an iPhone X, Xsens, and Maya
Presenters: Cory Strassburger, Kite & Lightning, and Remco Sikkema, Xsens
Kite & Lighting will reveal how Xsens inertial mocap technology, used in tandem with an iPhone X, can be used for full-body and facial performance capture — wirelessly and without the need for a mocap volume — with the results live-streamed to Autodesk Maya in real time.