Matrix-style ?bullet-time? in Multi-User Environments
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Date posted: 20/07/2005
Posted by: Site Administration
This story is from the category
Total Immersion

Finnish researchers have developed a way to achieve the ?bullet-time? effect of the movie The Matrix in real-time multi-participant environments. The challenge had been to achieve the slowing time effect for one participant, whilst none of the others were affected by it.

Previously, the closest anyone had come, was to speed up the player, rather than slowing down the environment around them ? which required lightning-fast reactions to effect.

Jouni Smed at the University of Turku exploits something called a local perception filter (LPF). This is software that compensates for the natural communication-time delays of collaborative environments, by rendering objects and players at slightly out-of-date locations.

When all the participants, and the server are close together, update delays can be just 10 milliseconds, to see where everyone is. If however, the distance is greater, the time delay is far more severe. For example, a London server with a participant in New York, would have up to a 60 millisecond delay between the two.

The use of LPFs means that no-one notices any time lag because events are ever so slightly slowed down until the world catches up with itself.

Using a test-bench game called MaxMaze Demonstrator, Smed and colleagues found that they could also artificially introduce delays of up to a few seconds, allowing one player to slow down their environment and gain a strategic advantage, while time appeared normal to their opponent.

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