Computer Graphics World

July / August 2016

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26 cgw j u ly . a u g u s t 2 0 1 6 I n 2015, actor Matt Damon and director Ridley Scott renewed our fascination with the Red Planet in the science-fiction film The Martian, about the crew of the fictional Ares III manned mission to Mars to explore the Acidalia Planitia. When a dust storm threatens to topple their Mars Ascent Vehicle, they make a hasty exit and leave the planet. It's then that one of the astronauts, played by Da- mon, is injured and, believed to be dead, is le behind. When he comes to, he makes his way to the habitat, where he must survive until the Ares IV arrives at the Schiaparelli crater… in four years. The movie was a box-office success. And, it piqued the interest of many who hold a fascination of living on another planet. Although digital artists consulted scientists when re-creating the planet, the movie leans more to fiction than fact. For instance, due to the atmosphere, a dust storm would not have enough force to blow the rocket ship over in the opening sequence, says a one expert commenting on the film's science. Nevertheless, filmmakers attempted to provide a reasonable snapshot of what life would be like on Mars, while remaining true to its main mission of entertaining audiences. Soon, though, the public will have a new opportunity to return to Mars, this time in a scientifically accurate virtual-re- ality experience that is educational as well as entertaining. Called Mars 2030, the experience, created by game developers with a fascination for this faraway planet, will give earthlings a taste of what it is like to be on Mars. Heading up this venture is Fusion, with Julian Reyes at the helm, as lead VR producer. Reyes, like most of his crew on Mars 2030, has an extensive background in game development. Most of them, in fact, have full-time positions at game companies, working on Mars 2030 aer-hours. It was a combination of his fascination with science and his expertise with real-time imagery that led to this novel project. Gravitational Pull GAME ARTISTS USE SCIENTIFIC DATA TO RE-CREATE MARS FOR A COMPELLING VR EXPERIENCE BY KAREN MOLTENBREY

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