1st of July 2009
Impulse Gamer recently
spoke with Chris Michaelides, the project manager from Zero One whose
team was responsible for the development of the 3D movie for the A Day Pompeii
exhibition which is currently on display at the Melbourne Museum. Zero One have
also created award winning cutscenes for games such as Space Chimps, Jumper
and Wanted to name a few.
With 6 developers working on the
project which lasted 6 to 7 months, the end results were truly spectacular and
really allowed the viewer to understand what that fateful day for Pompeii may
have been like. Unfortunately it is estimated that over 2000 people died on
August 24th, AD 79 and eight body casts of the Vesuvius victims will be on
display in Melbourne.
Before engaging in this project,
the team needed to research not only the area where it occurred but key elements
such as lighting and how the pyroclastic flow interacted with the real world.
The team worked in collaboration with the Melbourne Museum to ensure the
accuracy of the presentation and interesting enough, there was never any lava
present during the eruption of Pompeii.
Trent, the Art Director informed
Impulse Gamer that Google Earth was used in terms of lighting which allowed them
accurately recreate the lighting before and after the rupture of Pompeii. The
main software package used to create the 3D movie was 3DMax Studio with a
variety of professional plug-in such as Rayfire to accurately portray the
pyroclastic surge, including Max Particle and After Burn.
To create the 3D appearance of
the movie, three layers were created to give the illusion of 3D with every scene
needing to be set dressed. Using state of the art computers and software to
create this movie, the amount of storage required to create such a presentation
was quite inspirational as the film itself ran into terabytes.
Zero One worked in collaboration
with Mick Gord (Game Audio Australia) who came up with the majestic soundtrack
of the movie, including the sound effects and music for the exhibition. The most
challenging aspect of creating such as a complicated short film was that the
project was quite time consuming and there were some lighting issues that needed
to be resolved.
Other challenges included the
layers and creating that 3D effect, however Jay noted that seeing the final
production come together was definitely the most rewarding aspect. As both Zero
One and the Melbourne Museum own the rights to this movie, they are hoping to
lease this movie to Singapore when the exhibition moves their after New Zealand.
After seeing the final
presentation at the exhibition, the end result is truly spectacular and the 3D
effects work wonders in immersing you into one of the world's first recorded
The painstaking research and
work that the development team of Zero One have put behind this project truly
assists in transcending this exhibition to the next evolutionary stage and makes
this exhibition a first. Amazing!