Real Time, Live!

The highlight for me today at the SIGGRAPH conference was the “Real Time, Live!” show. This is the event, repeated each year, where people show their computer graphic projects up on stage in front of a large, raucous and very appreciative audience.

The kicker, of course, is that everything you see is happening live. It’s all real-time graphics, real-time performance, nothing canned. Which means that things can go wrong.

And they do. Every year something goes amiss, and a demo doesn’t perform as planned, for one reason or another. But then someone reboots the computer, things start up again, and in the end it somehow always seems to work out.

Every year, as computers get faster, and graphics gets better, the bar seems to raise, and the RTL demos become ever more impressive. But I think this year the excitement was even greater than usual, because VR and AR may really be a thing.

So the RTL event is now especially relevant, and I could feel the buzz in the room. The audience was paying extra attention, looking for cues about what new forms of entertainment and interaction might be just around the corner, what the future might hold.

The SIGGRAPH RTL event, as cool as it is, can’t actually predict the future. But if you are trying to predict the future, you could do worse.

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