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Surrogate Interaction Makes Life Easier For Game Developers And Animators

Question asked by kunal in #Coffee Room on May 12, 2011
kunal
kunal · May 12, 2011
Rank D1 - MASTER
A new class of software for 3D image manipulation and drawing editing has been defined by the Purdue University scientists. The technique, termed as “surrogate interaction” is here to reduce the workload of game designers, architects, car designers and many more professionals who ought to use certain software for drawings and animation. The drawing editing in this approach seems to be very simplistic and user friendly. It allows the graphic designers and analysts to alter the features, dimensions, and other parameters of complex three dimensional objects with ease. So now, you can design a car or a video game character without cumbersome menu options and in a lesser duration of time. This surrogate interacting sounds really awesome and is a boon for the professionals who have to do such graphic editing every day.

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This technology is not as new as it sounds and has been in commercial as well as research use for some time. However, it had not been defined officially. So the action of properly defining it as a separate class of software might lead to an exponential growth of a number of its applications. Most of the traditionally used software and computer aided algorithms/modules make use of a host of difficult to understand menus, where each menu is having n number of options to select from. This type of drawing methodology is termed as indirect modulation. Surrogate interacting works on the principle of direct manipulation which has many advantages over the conventional indirect way. It utilizes a sketch or image which is similar to the real object. The drawing editor then allows you to have a more spontaneous, perceptive and insightful interface by getting rid of the obsolete menus. Now, what the Purdue University researchers have done is that they studied the characteristics of this technique and found the possible areas of applications for it. Then they developed and tested software for the surrogate interactions for the present and future applications.

You must be wondering why this particular category of programs is termed surrogate interaction programs. The reason behind it lies in the usage of surrogates in the designing process. Surrogates are nothing but the graphical representations of real objects and have a provision that they can be changed or modified to obtain the users’ desired 3D prototype representation. For example, it can be a car or a video game character with icons on the side that specify the different parts of the figure. So by clicking on a label and changing the values in it, you can the parameters of the surrogate. For example, you can vary the color, shape, border width, etc. You can change a surrogate completely to give it a new avatar without clicking on even a single menu option.

This thing allows the video game developers to add or change one or more attributes of a particular animated player avatar. This was not so easy in the present day computer games with the conventional editors. So if you have to change the weapon or costume of your warrior character that has loads of these gears, then you cannot communicate directly with it but have to use a number of menus and option fields. However, if this character is your surrogate then you can easily interact with it to make any changes. A paper that encompasses the entire research work will be presented in the Association for Computing Machinery's CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems which is scheduled to conclude on May 12. The thesis is written by industrial engineering doctoral student Bum chul Kwon, electrical and computer engineering doctoral student Waqas Javed, Ji Soo Yi, assistant professor of industrial engineering and Niklas Elmqvist, a Purdue assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Besides this, current video game technology lacks an easy-to-use method to issue such simultaneous commands to all members of a group. In surrogate interaction you can manipulate more than one object simultaneously. The technology also has scope for making maps more interactive. All in all, the surrogate interaction interfaces offer simple solution to almost every aspect of graphical designing and animation. I am really excited to know the release dates of user friendly software having such type of modus operandi. Posted in: #Coffee Room

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