Thursday, January 14, 2010


Call me a diddler, folks. I like to sit around and diddle with things. Videogames, corn chips, art, you name it; chances are I've diddled with it. So anyways, the other night I'm sitting in my room diddlin' away like always, and this particular time I'm diddling with line drawings. I spent high school and college creating a lot of line drawings in my notebooks (this existed separate from my coursework) so that has become a bit of a style for me. So I'm drawing this epic scene from the Sci Fi Novel I've got stored in my brain, The Crimson Star Saga, and it gets me thinking about the things we as a people create.

My drawing that night was of a space battle, in the moment when both sides of the war are face to face in outer space and nobody's opened fire yet but hot damn somebody will any second now. The perspective of the drawing was from the front lines of the Gedo (antagonist) army ships, staring straight ahead at this massive fucking phalanx of MSO (good guys) army ships. All the ships are different and unique because these guys literally flew everything they had out there on this specific occasion just to be like "Yo, don't FUCK". And as I began to look over all the different ships I was drawing on the paper, the big science frigates and the bombing cruisers and the massive "diplomatic" ships, I reflected on how I had gone about creating this tableau in my mind.

As fucking crazy and schizoid this all may sound, it's actually culled from a fictional history I've been creating in my head and in various drawings/writings since about 1999. As dense as it is, The Crimson Star Saga basically focuses on a main cast of characters involved in this conflict some thousand-or-so years in the future, wherein Earth is totally restructured as a Multinational Oligarchy and as such has created this expansive Space Military in order to fight this New Mutant Enemy that's started attacking from somewhere out in space. Our cast of heroes is a platoon of 8 men sent to a Military Boot Camp and Base of Operations on the planet Mercury, which has in the past hundred years been knocked away from the sun by a comet and since been deemed colonizable.

That's the setup, don't wanna spoil the ending for you, but suffice to say a lot of warring ensues. And my drawing is basically a depiction of one of these massive, history changing battles. So as I'm drawing and reflecting on this iteration of our solar system I've created, I consider where the fuck any of this is going.

After all, I'm not really doing this out of a desire for some award or a contract to make an epic film trilogy out of this immediately marketable story although I would... I just make this because it's there in my head and I want to get it out on paper, and on screens, and in text, and basically anywhere I can create something from this alternate reality. And this specific desire, which I guess a lot of artists share, gets me thinking about: To what extent am I actually CREATING this alternate reality?

Humor me for a second, and let's assume I can use any number of artistic tools in building the Crimson Star Saga from scratch. Let's say that I have my own army of CG designers and production people and writers and everybody's intent on creating these characters and this world they inhabit, and let's even go so far as to say the computer people put Artificial Intelligence into the characters (c'mon, we'll have it soon enough). Technologically, it's already possible to build a To-scale version of this imagined Solar System in the digital realm, so long as the right super-computers are at the helm. Is it such a stretch to imagine this universe inhabited by advanced artificially-intelligent 3-dimensional characters, each one preprogrammed with their emotional and cognitive range relative to that point in the story's timeline? Could be doable in a few years, right? Well then, if such a creation is possible, how are it's creators distinguishable from God (whatever you take God to be). Have the people not created life there, as long as the electricity feeds it? If that world is changeable, malleable in its own precoded way, is it so different from our own? Sure, its core constituents exist in a complete different form, but the rules and the chaos of both start to look strikingly similar.

Are we then not Gods of all we create, as we are the ones who have willed it to be? (I guess this argument is nulled for people who believe that God ordains everything you do). I think that as long as we create these worlds and stories within our heads, we are basically confirming their existence. By knowing that such a place CAN exist, we are opening to the possibility of infinite alternate realities, and thanks to the concept of Infinity, there is a reality set aside for each and every story we dream.


Harrison said...

Interestingly enough, there's actually a program called Massive that sort of accomplishes this. Avatar employed a similar it when creating the forests for Pandora. In essence, they planted digital seeds for all the plants, and let the plants grow and die "organically." It was less that someone placed plants all over the forests, and more that they grew the digital forest. Massive is also used to tell digital characters how to interact with each other. In big CG battle scenes, many of the characters are programmed through Massive to defend when another character attacks, attack when a character lets his guard down, etc. So, an artist isn't telling detailing specific movements. The character is essentially being taught how to act when faced with certain interactions.

You can read about Avatar's work in the "Building the Jungle" section of this article:

Harrison said...

um, pretend that "a similar" isn't in the second sentence


Everyone fastens where there is gain.........................................