v1 – Friday, 25 August 2023
- This is a continuation of the v r series, which is to say it’s fundamentally about looking at Unity (as a stand-in for 3D game production in general) and the technologies it provides.
- I really enjoy the essay/book In Praise of Shadows, particularly the first part, and most memorably the evocative language around the gleam of lacquer on a cup in an alcove in a dim room - the idea of light and shadow being highly evocative.
- I want a project I can chip away at.
- Looking at shadows is a way of looking at light.
- Like many parts of the videogame visual assemblage, shadows don’t necessarily get looked at for their own sake very much - either as painterly substance or as technical achievement - so drawing attention to them is worthwhile.
- Shadows have a strong but also dissociated relationship with the light and object that casts them, they’re sort of “this, but not” in a way that’s intriguing to look at.
v2 – Thursday, 5 October 2023
- Much of the “why” here is the same as it was for v r 3, v r 2 and v r $4.99: game engines and assets represent a tremendous amount of labour and craft and is worth contemplating the details individually so that we’re not swept past them by the necessities of gameplay, narrative, and good old fun.
- The why of shadows specifically stems from In Praise of Shadows which felt like an inspiring “call to attention” to the dynamics and value and aesthetics of shadow specifically (the evocative gold leaf in an alcove). (This also has led me at times down slightly tricky paths of wanting everything to be beautiful, which is not necessarily ideal.)
- The why also relates to the shared journey (split across time) through the technical nature and parameterization of shadows in a specific engine and environment (Unity in this case). A reason to do this is specifically to surface for contemplation (and play) the ways in which an artifical world (and its inner engine) presents shadow.
- I get to experience this through the process of making, running into problems, discovering potential parameters and combinations to explore.
- I similarly then experience it through curating and presenting these ideas in the form of an “exhibition” (world) and thus deal with those questions too: how does one show shadows and their possibilities?
- The user gets to experience this through my curation and their own exploration and understanding and perception of the shadows themselves
- Shadows specifically in a game engine are a really good way to experience and think about how light functions in a game engine. They’re a kind of subset, they’re easier to see because they’re literally cast onto the environment and are in some ways almost “not of the world” or belong to a separate idea of it, almost like they can be separated from the world in our minds (but also tell us about the world and its form). And thus they’re a way to think about the lighting that happens in games and particularly the degrees to which it revolves around physical simulation and modelling in particular