After lunch Erin and I walked over to say hi to Jordan Maynard. Erin took off for her appearance at Stanford and Jordan sat me down and showed me what he was working on. He helps with the animation on Bond–he develops some of the custom tools they use and the capabilities are seriously ahead of the pack.
As far as I can tell, hes working on the holy grail of character animation: hes building and tweaking a tool that allows a programmer to take a character and just tell him what to do from this inventory of moves–and the character moves properly, transitions and all. The animators still have to build all the moves, but the intermediary states arent a problem anymore. On top of that, hes found a way to get the number of key states for the skeletons down dramatically by using this method–for a substantial memory savings. Really brilliant stuff.
Jordan showed me some of the gameplay and it looks great. Bond can do all manner of badass stuff. I especially like how they handle aiming–I’ve always found aiming on a console to be frustrating compared to using a mouse on a PC. Bond aims for you, but leaves you with enough control and other gaming elements that you dont miss it at all. I looks like it allows you to focus on doing badass Bond moves and enjoying the plot of the game instead. Sweet.
I still cant quite get over what a great vibe I get from everybody I’m meeting. Jordan is cool. Erin is cool. Neil is cool. I mean, not only are they talented, theyre the kind of people I would totally hangout with and the kind I would like to work with (up to this point, I haven’t been able to say both about too many people). I dont know if I’m just getting really lucky with the people I’m meeting so far or what, but its quite a pattern.
Before I took off Jordan showed me the EA manifesto from the mid-80s (or around then). I’m going to ask him to email me a copy, it looks really cool. It asks if a computer can make you cry–I think it means in a good way. ;) And I think thats the right question.