How millions of bytes of information make a computer game | UNC-TV Science

How millions of bytes of information make a computer game | UNC-TV Science


♪ [COMPUTER GAME MUSIC] ♪>>ALL SYSTEMS WERE GO WITH THE
OPERATIONS OF THE MARS PROBE UNTIL THAT ASTEROID SMASHED INTO
THE SPACECRAFT. [CRASH AND SIREN]>>MISSION ABORTED. THE SPACE PROBE AND ITS ROVER
CRASHED ONTO THE MARTIAN SERVICE. THE CHALLENGE NOW IS TO SALVAGE
THE MISSION.>>Computer: I HAVE WHEELS,
A COMPUTER FOR A BRAIN, AND A BATTERY.>>WELCOME TO NOMAD CRASH
LANDING. JUAN BENITO IS THE GAME’S
CREATOR AND DEVELOPER.>>THE ROVER HAS SOME INTERNAL
RESOURCES, AND YOU’VE GOT TO MANAGE THOSE. SO YOU’VE GOT SO MUCH POWER,
JUST LIKE A REAL ROVER HAS, AND SO MUCH RAM FOR YOUR PROGRAM
TO FIT IN. SO PART OF THE PLAY EXPERIENCE
IS OPTIMIZING YOUR PROGRAM SO IT FITS IN WITH THE MEMORY AND
WON’T USE UP ALL THE ROVER’S BATTERY WHEN YOU RUN IT.>>Computer: THE RED AND BLUE
LINES LOOK MY AXIS. SO THE GREEN LINE MUST BE THE
LINE I’M PLOTTING.>>THE GAME IS NOT EASY,
BUT BENITO, WHO’S DESIGNED DOZENS OF COMPUTER GAMES AND
COFOUNDED SEVERAL GAME DESIGN STUDIO, SAYS THAT’S THE POINT.>>AND SO YOU’RE USING A
PROGRAMMING INTERFACE HERE, USING THESE SIMPLE BLOCKS. BUT YOU’RE NOT JUST MAKING A
PROGRAM. YOU’RE ACTUALLY SOLVING SOME
MATH HERE. IF YOU NOTICE, THESE ARE ALL
ARITHMETIC OPERATORS HERE. YOU’VE GOT SOME VARIABLES THERE. “Y” IS WHERE YOU PLUG YOUR GRAPH
IN. AND WHEN YOU DO THAT,
IT ACTUALLY DISPLAYS THE GRAPH. SO THE GAME PLAYER’S TASK IS TO
MAKE THAT GREEN LINE MATCH UP WITH THOSE TREADS THAT ARE GOING
OFF IN THIS DIRECTION. AND WHEN THEY DO THAT, AS IN
THIS CASE, THEY’LL NOW HAVE A TARGET TO GO TO. BUT TO REACHHAT TARGET,
THEY’VE GOT TO COUNT THE SLOPE OF THAT LINE. AND THEN THEY USE THE NUMBER OF
BLOCKS THAT FORM THAT SLOPE TO DETERMINE THE MOVEMENT FOR THE
ROVER TO THEN FOLLOW THAT LINE. SO IT’S REALLY WE’RE TRYING TO
MAKE A VERY TIGHT COUPLING BETWEEN PROGRAMMING AND THE
MATHEMATICS.>>Computer: SO NOW I KNOW I
NEED TO GO UP ONE AND OVER TWO TO GET TO THE NEXT POINT ON THE
LINE.>>NOMAD CRASH LANDING IS ONE OF
THE NEXT GENERATION OF VIDEO GAMES.>>ANOTHER INCREDIBLY WIDE
DIVERSITY THAT GAMES HAVE NOW ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS THAT
GAMES ARE AIMING TO DO. SO NOT JUST ABOUT TURNING YOUR
BRAIN OFF AND HAVING SHOOT ‘EM UP EXPERIENCE BUT TO —
TO LEARN, YOU KNOW, TO TEACH PEOPLE THINGS, AND — AND NOT
JUST PRACTICAL SKILLS, BECAUSE THERE’S CERTAINLY THAT, BUT ALSO
JUST SORT OF EMPATHETIC SKILLS, WHAT WE’D NORMALLY THINK OF SOFT
SKILLS, CAN BE TAUGHT THROUGH GAMES. I THINK THAT’S A REALLY, REALLY
INTERESTING DEVELOPMENT THAT WE’VE SEEN OVER THE LAST 10
YEARS IN PARTICULAR. “GAMIFICATION” IS MAYBE A TERM
THAT YOU’VE HEARD TO CALL IT. AND THAT’S BECAUSE GAMES ARE
VERY USEFUL IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS FOR THINGS BEYOND JUST
ENTERTAINMENT.>>TO ACHIEVE THOSE LOFTY GOALS,
VIDEO GAMES ARE DESIGNED TO BE ACCESSIBLE ACROSS A WIDE VARIETY
OF WEB BROWSERS AND TO BE PLAYED ON MULTIPLE DEVICES. GAMES CAN NOW BE STREAMED WHILE
PLAYING. THERE’S NO NEED TO DOWNLOAD THE
GAME. AND GAMES BOAST 3D GRAPHICS,
FULL SOUND EFFECTS, AND MUSIC. ♪ [COMPUTER GAME MUSIC] ♪>>IT’S JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN
REALLY CREATE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING. YOU START WITH A BLANK SHEET OR
BLANK, YOU KNOW, COMPUTER PAGE, AND YOU WRITE THINGS THAT MAKE
THE COMPUTER DO WHAT YOU WANT IT TO DO. THAT’S VERY EMPOWERING.>>BUT TO MAKE IT ALL WORK
DEPENDS ON WHAT PROGRAMMER MARTIN DUPARC IS DOING RIGHT
NOW — WRITING CODE. EACH LINE CONTROLS ONE EVENT ON
THE SCREEN.>>YOU HAVE TO BE PREPARED FOR
ANYTHING. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE PLAYER
WILL DO, RIGHT? SO YOU HAVE TO ANTICIPATE THE
ACTIONS AND PREPARE THE COMPUTER, YOU KNOW, FOR THOSE
ACTIONS. SO IN CASE IT CLICKS, YOU HAVE
TO DO ONE THING. IF IT DOESN’T CLICK,
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?>>Computer: I CAN DISPLAY AN…>>THERE’S A CODE OR LANGUAGE
FOR WHAT IS CALLED THE FRONT END OF THE GAME. IT’S WHAT THE US SEES ON THE
SCREEN.>>Computer: I CAN SEE WHERE I
CAN DRIVE. I CAN CONNECT…>>BUT THERE’S ALSO A SEPARATE
CODE OR LANGUAGE FOR WHAT IS CALLED THE BACK END OF THE GAME. IT CONTROLS WHERE THE USER IS
AND WHAT THE USER IS DOING AS WELL AS THE SCORE, HOW THE
PLAYER IS INTERACTING WITH THE GAME, AND IF THE GAME IS
PERFORMING CORRECTLY. THE CHALLENGE FOR A GAME
DESIGNER AND PROGRAMMER LIES NOT ONLY IN ANTICIPATING WHAT THE
USER COULD DO BUT ALSO IN TYPING THE CODE CORRECTLY. ONE WRONG NUMERAL OR LETTER OR
SYMBOL AND THE GAME WON’T RUN.>>YOU KNOW, IT NEVER ENDS,
BECAUSE EVERYBODY’S DIFFERENT. PEOPLE PLAY, YOU KNOW,
FOR DIFFERENT REASONS, WHICH IS A CHALLENGE. THAT’S WHY IT’S —
IT’S IMPORTANT TO THINK OF THE WAYS PEOPLE WILL PLAY THE GAME
AND HOW THEY WILL PLAY IT.>>NORTH CAROLINA IS ONE OF THE
LEADERS IN THIS GAMING REVOLUTION. THERE ARE ROUGHLY 40 GAME
DEVELOPMENT COMPANIES ACROSS THE STATE. IT IS ONE OF THE LARGEST
CONCENTRATIONS ON THE EAST COAST.>>IF YOU LOOK A COUPLE YEARS
AGO, ABOUT FIVE OR SIX YEARS AGO, YOU KNOW, THERE WAS A BIG
TERM, LIKE, SERIOUS GAMES, YOU KNOW, REALLY OUT WITHIN THE
MARKET. IT WAS THE BIG THING. THEY WERE UTILIZING TECHNOLOGY. HARDWARE HAD CAUGHT UP TO IT. YOU COULD, YOU KNOW, USE IT
WITHIN THE WORKPLACE. BUT THEN A LOT OF INDUSTRY-LEVEL
EXECUTIVES DIDN’T WANT TO HAVE THEIR EMPLOYEES PLAY GAMES. SO THEY KIND OF STOOD BACK FROM
IT A LITTLE BIT. BUT NOW THE SAME PEOPLE, CEOs,
ARE SEEING THEIR CHILDREN PLAYING GAME. THEY’RE SEEING THAT BY PLAYING
GAMES, YOU KNOW, THE COGNITIVE RESPONSE OF THE LEARNING,
AND NOW THEY START TO KIND OF CONNECT THE DOTS. WELL, I CAN HAVE MY EMPLOYEES
LEARN, TOO, BY PLAYING GAMES. SO THEN WHAT YOU DO IS YOU TAKE
THE GAME TECHNOLOGY, WHETHER IT’S A GAME ENGINE FOR A 3D
SIMULATION OR JUST GAMING TECHNIQUES THAT YOU MIGHT SEE
FOR, LIKE, AN ANGRY BIRDS, BUT DO THE SAME THING TO BUILD
AN APPLICATION, TO ALLOW OUR CORPORATE OR EMPLOYEES TO TRAIN
A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY.>>SO JUST WHAT IS POWERING THIS
GAMING REVOLUTION? WELL, IT’S NOT JUST THE
TECHNOLOGY. IT’S SIMPLY THAT WE’VE ALL
BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH GAMES.>>EVERY GAME PLAYER IS A
SCIENTIST, BECAUSE A SCIENTIST BUILT A MODEL OF THE WORLD THAT
THEY TEST THROUGH EXPERIMENT. AND EVERY GAME PLAYER CREATES AN
INTERNAL MODEL OF HOW THEY THINK THE GAME WORLD WORKS, AND THEY
TEST THAT THROUGH INTERACTING WITH IT THROUGH GAME PLAY. AND BASED ON THOSE RESULTS,
MUCH LIKE A SCIENTIST WOULD BE FACED WITH RESULTS,
THEY DETERMINE WHETHER THAT ALIGNS TO THE MODEL THAT THEY
HAD INTERNALLY GENERATED. ♪ [COMPUTER GAME MUSIC] ♪

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