real life half life

There’s a lot said and written on immersion into alternative or even virtual worlds, on people getting lost in gamespace or the Internet’s interactive realms, and so on. In consequence thoughts about the questions arising with these ‘other realities’ fly into every direction. As the ‘cyberanthropologist online among the gamemodders’ I deem myself to be, I am especially interested in how the Cyberians themselves tackle this issues. The people I am affected to appropriate all kinds of related artefacts and then artistically slap the demarcations between meat- and cyberspace around with a large trout—big time.


Aaron Rasmussen for example thought creatively, wrote a lot of code, fused an automatic Airsoft replica of an FN P90 that shoots .2 gram 6mm ball bullets with a couple of servos, plywood, a webcam and a dated computer, and presto, another movie- and computergame-fantasy became offline-reality. Read all about it at How we built the quintessential sentry gun. Here’s the abstract:

Okay, “quintessential” might be going a little far, but it’s enough to frighten me. The idea of this project was to create a fully-automated sentry gun, capable of picking out a human target and accurately tracking and shooting him or her in the heart. Really, the idea was to find a cool robotics project for the summer while I was working at an advertising agency, and I’d only ever seen sentry guns in movies (like Congo) and video games (Half-Life 1, Half-Life 2, Team Fortress Classic). I couldn’t find any record of anyone building one, even the military, although it seems likely I just didn’t look hard enough. It’s a pretty simple technology. One of my friends did mention the Phalanx anti-missile gun, which is of similar design, but uses radar for tracking instead of an optical method. The Phalanx has been around since the early 80’s. He was also quick to add that there are some pretty good reasons for not building an optical sentry gun, a big one being that it’s generally a good idea to shoot down any missile headed in your direction, but that same philosophy may not be the best when applied to humans. If you’re here just to see my little brother get shot with it, scroll to the bottom.

At the site’s bottom there’s a download link of a videoclip [01:12 | .mov | 7.5MB] showing off a test-session of the turret. The clip contains views from the turret itself, and views from a camcorder documenting the test. Aaron’s brother Ezra is used as a guinea-pig. Watching the movie somehow gives me the creeps. Just like this does:


M3WANNAB3 followed another path to blurring the boundaries between game- and meatspace. He took character models from Half Life 2 (HL2) and beautifully inserted them into photographies of meatspace via a technique called HDR Lighting—in my opinion some of the results really are astounding. More pictures and links to tutorials & tools at the E46 Fanatics forums thread Coolest thing ever, Half-life in real life. Max Payne as well crossed that border:

Max Payne Hero
Chris Chen completely freed game-protagonist Max Payne from the confines of a computerscreen and made a professional-production-values movie called Max Payne Hero. [↑downloads | multiple formats | 8 to 48MB] Chris says:

I was on a trip and I was in the backseat of a car listening to my tunes when I started to see these images as I listened to the song “Hero” by Chad Kroeger & Josey Scott. To me, this song made me feel a wide range of emotions such as anger, sorrow, frustration, and closure. As a film student at Humber College, I mainly liked to direct action movies. Some gun shooting sequences appeared in my mind as I heard this song. As I listened to it more, I pictured a whole choreographed scene and I thought that this would make a very cool action-packed music video.
    But I wasn’t too sure about how I was going to end it. I had two choices. I was going to have it so the hero would go in and raise some hell and save his girlfriend/wife or his girlfriend/wife is already dead and he avenges her death.
    The latter reminded me of Max Payne and I thought that this is the perfect way to give tribute to one of my most favorites games, Max Payne, and one of my most favorite directors, John Woo. Since the developers of Max Payne really likes John Woo movies, I thought that this is the right company to give thanks to as they have done a great job on creating an action-filled John Woo style video game. ↑[…]

Am alten Laimer Verladebahnhof
And then there’s yet a kind of, well, ‘reverse machinima‘ in the making [I guess after ↑Bryan Alexander has coined the phrase ‘avant-machinima’ in our e-mail conversation, I dare to jump in with another neologism using a neologism]. Back in 2004 KerLeone published at his weblog a series of ten moody pictures [↑1, ↑2, ↑3, ↑4, ↑5, ↑6, ↑7, ↑8, ↑9, ↑10] he took at an old cargo railway station. The ambient setting reminded him of the Half-Life universe and in a meatspace conversation he told me of his plan to shoot a real-life-half-life movie-clip there. Some friends, whom he had told about the idea, already had volunteered to take part and help—unfortunately nothing happened yet; at least to my knowledge. Hopefully my scribbling of this blog-entry puts some pressure on KerLeone ;-)

sentry gun initially via entry at boingboing | half-life in real life initially via entry at boingboing, too
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