2010 Winter Olympics

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With its 200 square mile area of dense mountains, 2010 Winter Olympics is a promising project indeed - let's find out more about it.


Q: Could you give us some information about the team behind 2010 Winter Olympics?

A: Remarkably, we only have two full time staff at this point. We have managed to keep our products viable by employing a combination of long range planning and lots of innovative short cuts.  First off, all the game environs are renditions of actual places so design overhead is minimized by utilizing existing terrain data.  I personally handle the level design and the integration of terrains with skins. I also handle various physical model design and all the graphics. The vast majority of the code work is handled by my long time cohort Correy Allen Kowall.  Correy is a recent graduate of my alma mater Northern Michigan University where we met while I was working on my Masters and at the same time under contract to produce an immersive version of the University Campus.


Lets see… the rest of the team, including all the folks who create and maintain 3DGS, are all those individuals who have added content to the 3DGS web site (and the internet) that have made their work available for any of us to experiment with and to use in our own projects. Then there are all those companies who have been creating new integrateable software and data for Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) software. Beyond that, please see the scrolling credits at the end of the game for personal thanks to all those who helped in the production of our projects.  


Q: What is the typical size of the levels? And how do you populate them with vegetation?

A: Firstly, we put the entire game into just one level. We do this for several reasons not the least of which is the importance of panoramic landscapes in mountains.  We figure when you are in our accurate mountainous terrain, you should be able to see it all. Of course, we defer to the user to choose the window size and resolution through the Main Menu -> Video menu path. We clip our range and fog with various settings so the higher the resolution – the farther the clip and fog settings. If your computer can render a 1920 x 1200 resolution and has enough power to maintain a decent frame rate, then you can get to view what we have been shooting for… an accurate view of the real mountain range.  As far as real spaces are concerned, we have been able to maintain a reasonable frame rate in a world which is a 200 square mile region of dense mountains at resolutions less than 10 meters per altitude.     


The second part of this question is a bit more complicated to answer. We started with an idea… then that idea grew… and we accomplished one goal at a time… Then we kept adding to the original idea… Other than that, I think that I should avoid the long tedious description of the code and all the technical jargon. Need-less-to-say, we were pretty happy to get all those concepts to work together. Getting the gliding physics to work properly, now that was much more difficult…    


Q: Do you plan even more features for the final version of the game?
A: Of course...  Our design concept is as limitless as the possibilities you find on the Mountains themselves.  The costly aspect of the game is in the massive terrain, additional  play and game options are just a matter of development time.


Q: What is the most complicated part when you are designing a game like 2010 Winter Olympics?

A: There are a lot of complicated parts! Even finding good legal music demands a learning curve.  Also setting up the games 30 day limited trial version.   But seriously… Without a doubt, the toughest most complicated and tedious part has been figuring out how to create the accurate terrain skinned with satellite imagery and get it working through a 3D Game Engine. 


Q: How do you plan to market the game? Did you find people interested in it already?
A: Both our 2010 Winter Olympic Games Project and our Aspen project are designed to serve as demonstration tools to show our unique marketing technologies. We plan to use these as  tools for marketing to destination ski resorts and communities where we plan on directly shipping the product. We also offer our projects as limited versions available for free download on our website.


Q: Did you have any problems integrating SoftwareKey Trial Creator in your game?
A: Good question… I found their web site while I was looking for just such a software. After reading their E-Commerce documentation I began playing with their product. It works very well and their service is excellent but taking it to the next level and using their full product can be a major let down. There seems to be a bit of a problem wrapping it into the .exe file where after compiling… the game picks up a bug that freaks out the camera and your project gets really messed. You will find that the final compiled project works as intended but the entire original folder is no longer usable. Take heed and make a back-up copy before wrapping your exe file. Be very… very careful…   


Q: I know that you are also working at the Aspen project. Could you give us a few more details about it?

A: The Aspen Project is the first project that we undertook, after two years of research, we finally figured out how to get a real Digital Elevation Map (DEM) to work through 3DGS. The first time we could actually walk on the terrain, we jumped up and did a jig like a prospector does when he strikes a gold vein… The terrain was huge and the skin was even bigger… The game ran very slowly but we took our first steps. Another 2 years of experimentation and here we are today. We are presently speaking with the Aspen Ski Company who is interested in obtaining our work to offer as an interactive downloadable ski map.


Q:Please give us a few tips for the beginners out there.

A: When I first spoke with Luke of 3DGS about the Winter Olympic Games Project, he suggested that I do not undertake such a large project from the onset. He suggested I start small with room to grow… That was very good advice.  That tact, we have subsequently discovered, is not our style. We like to think big, so we cannot recommend any other course to a beginner, just go big and just keep pounding on the keys!


Thank you a lot, Paul!