Welcome to the first anniversary issue of the ACM Computers in Entertainment! It has been a year since the magazine was launched in October 2003.
In this anniversary issue we publish eight interesting papers on entertainment technologies, including games, audio media, user interface, live HD media streaming, and digital cinema. Two of them were selected from the best papers at the ACM SIGCHI 2004 International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology. Four of the papers in this issue have accompanying videos and audio, making for a lively demonstration.
To get started, the Interviews column features video interviews with two of our distinguished advisory board members, John Gage and Tomlinson Holman. John Gage, chief researcher and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, talks about the volunteer project NetDay, the wireless and broadband Internet, digital media, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Tom Holman, creator of the THX sound system and professor at USC, speaks of the history of THX, the 10.2 channel sound system, multichannel music, and digital cinema.
In the Games section, Michael Haller et al. (Upper Austria University) describe non-photorealistic rendering techniques for motion in computer games. Their approach focuses on three methods to stylize motion: squash-and-stretch, multiple images, and motion lines. Carsten Magerkurth et al. (Fraunhofer IPSI) in their paper and in a 4-minute video present their vision for creating future entertainment by adding physical and social components to traditional computer games.
In the Games and User Interface section, Newton Lee (Disney Online) depicts the use of open-source Jabber for multiplayer Flash games, in hopes of encouraging the use of open-source technology in game development. Ryoichi Watanabe et al. (Osaka University) introduce ActiveCube as a novel user interface to construct and interact with 3D environments via physical cubes equipped with input/output devices.
In the Audio and Media Streaming section, Bernard Krause (Wild Sanctuary) discusses the importance of designing sound for public spaces such as museums and theme parks to engage visitors acoustically as well as visually. Roger Zimmermann et al. (USC Integrated Media Systems Center) present the HYDRA (High-performance Data Recording Architecture) project, which focuses on the acquisition, transmission, storage, and rendering of high-resolution media such as HD-quality video and multiple-channel audio. They elaborate on the live-streaming capabilities of HYDRA, which enable media streaming across an IP based network with commodity equipment.
In the University and Industry column, Dana Plautz (Intel Research Council) presents two collaborative projects - one from UCLA and Intel on "Sensor Networks for Feature Film Production" and one from Georgia Tech and Intel on "Artificial Intelligence-Based Interactive Drama." Charles Swartz (USC Entertainment Technology Center) talks about bridging the gap between research and applications in commercializing the technology for digital cinema and digital homes.
Before diving into the exciting content, I would like to take a moment to congratulate 26 of our distinguished editorial board advisors (their names appear in boldface):
- On October 29 at UCLA, Leonard Kleinrock organized a successful and stimulating day-long forum to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Internet. Thirty-five years ago, on September 2, 1969, UCLA became the first node of what was then known as the ARPANET. A month later, on October 29, the first Internet message was sent from Leonard's laboratory at UCLA, ushering in a new method of global communications that forever changed the world. Alan Kay, Bran Ferren, Danah Boyd, Leonard Kleinrock, Robert Aiken, and Xeni Jardin gave some most interesting presentations at the forum. Other great speakers were Eric E. Schmidt, Gordon Bell, John Perry Barlow, Lawrence G. Roberts, Patrick P. Gelsinger, Robert E. Kahn, Tim O'Reilly, Vinton G. Cerf, and other influential technologists and business leaders.
- ABC Enhanced TV and Zetools' "Celebrity Mole: Yucatan" won the 2003-2004 Creative Arts Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Television. The award was presented to Rick Mandler, Jason R. Grant, Richard Cardran, David Jensen, and Michael Petrusis at the 56th Annual Emmy Awards. The iTV application runs on Windows XP Media Center Edition platform and on ABC's proprietary two-screen interactive television platform. Leading the team at the American Film Institute, Shelly Palmer helped create the Emmy-winning project from its inception, and line produced the project.
- Richard Edlunds was the visual effects supervisor for HBO's mini series "Angels in America," which won 11 Emmys and received a record-breaking 21 Emmy nominations in 2004. "Angles in America" won more than the 9 awards won by "Roots" in 1977, to become the most-honored mini-series. It matched the 11 awards won by "Eleanor and Franklin" in 1976, the most for any program in one season.
- On September 9, 2004 in a White House ceremony, Cyrus Shahabi received the 2003 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for his pioneering research on the management of streams of sensor data created when humans interact with virtual reality environments. Only 20 out of the 400 recipients of the National Science Foundation's annual Early Career Award were selected to receive the Presidential Early Career Award.
- Cynthia Breazeal gave a very well-received and stimulating presentation on "Designing Socially Intelligent Robots" at the National Academy of Engineering's 10th annual Frontiers of Engineering symposium in September 2004. Eighty-six of the nation's brightest young engineers were selected to participate. In February 2004, the National Academy of Engineering awarded the Charles Stark Draper Prize to Alan Kay, Butler Lampson, Robert Taylor, and Charles Thacker.
- Elaine Chew was appointed the new Research Area Director for User Centered Sciences at the USC Integrated Media Systems Center, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center. Elaine joined the Center in 2001 and has made unique and substantial contributions to the IMSC research program, most notably on the Distributed Immersive Performance project.
- Cyrus Shahabi, Elaine Chew, Roger Zimmermann, Tomlinson Holman, Ulrich Neumann, Alexander A. Sawchuk, Chris Kyriakakis, Christos Papadopoulos, James Donahue et al. demonstrated the first-ever live immersive environment over the Internet performed by the Miró Quartet, a nationally known chamber music group, at a meeting of the Internet 2 organization at the University of Texas, Austin, in late September 2004. While the quartet performed for one audience, researchers transmitted the performance in real time to a second audience in another auditorium equipped with four 16:9 vertical HD screens and 10.2 channel sound. At intermission, the two audiences switched places, and at the end of the show, were surveyed to assess their immersive environment experience. The streaming technology - HYDRA - is presented in this issue of CiE.
- In 2004, Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Freeman, Bert Bates, and Kathy Sierra published Head First Design Patterns (O'Reilly 2004). This book combines good humor, great examples, and an in-depth knowledge of design patterns to make learning fun. Understanding design patterns not only helps us create reusable and maintainable quality software, but also sharpens our problem-solving skills across all problem domains.
- In Fall 2004, the ACM Computers in Entertainment and UCLA Extension co-sponsored the successful and well-received University Project at Digital Hollywood, organized by Victor Harwood. On September 28, Athomas Goldberg, Charles Swartz, Dana Plautz, Richard Weinberg, Celia Pearce, and Mark Bolas spoke on a topic entitled "Research, Development and Investment in Entertainment Technologies and Media Studies Innovation: From the University to Industry Application." Two of the presentations are published in this issue.
- Juan Carlos Soto was named the Software CTO of Sun Microsystems, in addition to running Sun's Worldwide Market Development organization. He continues in the first role, that of leading the advanced development organization, which includes the Game Technologies Group, JXTA (P2P), Java Advanced Graphics and Media, RFID, Project Looking Glass (3D Desktop), and some work in Advanced Desktop Collaboration.
- Abdennour El Rhalibi, Jesse Schell, Madjid Merabti, Craig Lindley, and I are the editors of the Proceedings of the Second International Game Design and Technology Workshop held in September at Liverpool John Moores University. The best papers will be selected for revision and publication in this magazine.
- Bill Kinder of the Pixar Animation Studios is the Director of Editorial and Post Production for the highly acclaimed animated film "The Incredibles." The movie's first 10-day box office total was an impressive $144.1 million. "The Incredibles" is Pixar's sixth animated film after "Toy Story," "A Bug's Life," "Toy Story 2," "Monsters, Inc.," and "Finding Nemo."
Congratulations to all 26 of our distinguished editorial board advisors! 2004 has been a wonderful year for many. I have met many extraordinary people and friends in great conferences at UCLA, USC, SIGGRAPH, Digital Hollywood, and Digi Foo (Digital Media Friends of O'Reilly), among others.
On a sad note, many great people have died in 2004 - President Ronald Reagan, Nobel laureate Francis Crick, music legend Ray Charles, "Superman" Christopher Reeve, and my beloved grandmother. Their contributions to society and their families will be remembered.
I fondly recall that in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the great novelist Douglas Adams (1952-2001) wrote that "The answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything is 42... I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is... So once you do know what the question actually is, you'll know what the answer means."
"42" is such a simple answer. How insightful Adams was in his profound observation that oftentimes the most complex problem has the simplest solution, if we fully understand what the problem is.
As I look forward to 2005, I wish to thank you for your continuing support. Please feel free to contribute interesting articles, innovative ideas, and happy news about yourself. Happy and joyful holidays to all! See you next year.
ACM Computers in Entertainment
Los Angeles— November 2004
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