Jul 28, 2008, 11:59AM

Making Digital Lightsabers Just Like The Real Thing

Using technology called Digital Molecular Matter a computer scientist is working hard to make sure the next Star Wars video game environment is as realistic as possible. Glass will shatter differently depending on whether it's hit by a lightsaber or a blaster. Trees will sway in the wind and Jabba the Hut's fat rolls undulate realistically. That all sounds very impressive, but really we're just waiting for the Luke Skywalker sex simulation.

Working with Pixelux Entertainment, a Swiss computer graphics company, and LucasArts, the company behind all Star Wars releases, O'Brien is partly responsible for the ultra-realistic movements in the game environment that users will be able to experience when the game is released in mid-September.

O'Brien's developments allowed game designers to more accurately reproduce the movements of stationary objects like trees, walls and window in response to force. For gamers, this means that a glass window, for example, whether struck by a lightsaber or gun blast, will shatter much more realistically than in most games.

Instead of having to individually animate what happens when glass shatters, for example, O'Brien's developments in a field known as Digital Molecular Matter allow game designers to simply run the specific simulation and watch the reaction.

"You could play this game and have your friend sit on the couch and watch, and I think your friend would enjoy the experience almost as if he was watching a movie," he said.


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