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August 31, 2006 2:55 PM   Subscribe

Frank Lloyd Wright in Half Life 2 a machima walkthrough of the Falling Water / Kaufmann House. (youtube) (higher res version - 57mb) (slightly more information)
posted by crunchland (37 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I wish they'd spent a little more time on the audio.
posted by crunchland at 3:00 PM on August 31, 2006

*cough* machinima *cough*
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:02 PM on August 31, 2006

Wow crunchland, nice catch. I'll have to tell my architecture student friends about this =)

but then they'll know how big of an Internet geek I am
posted by onalark at 3:09 PM on August 31, 2006

This is awesome. The last time I loved the combination of two separate great things this much, a man named Reese was involved, and without getting into all the details, let's just say he should have been more careful where he was walking, carrying an open jar of Peanut Butter like that.
posted by jonson at 3:10 PM on August 31, 2006

The lo-res youtube version isn't worth the effort.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:19 PM on August 31, 2006

God, I hate that house...
posted by Marky at 3:21 PM on August 31, 2006

the real house (youtube)
posted by lemonfridge at 3:45 PM on August 31, 2006

Where's the hostage rescue zone?
posted by justkevin at 3:49 PM on August 31, 2006

I just love the promise of never having to go anywhere ever again, and never having to ever again talk to any person. Ever. Again.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 3:51 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

At the end of the video he takes a crowbar and busts the place apart looking for the gravity gun.
posted by drmarcj at 3:51 PM on August 31, 2006

I'm not sure on exactly how the HL2 world editor works, but the problem I've encountered with similar types of projects in older builders is the same one I think I see here... Proportion. Specifically between the viewing perspective of the avatar and the simulated structure. Everything seems 15-20% too small. It's difficult to precisely convert real world meters to game world units.

So, why not if you're Valve or id (or whoever else has a hot 3d-engine and intuitive world editor floating around) branch out and sell a world editor mod specifically for architecture or landscaping? Use real world units, extend the detail and assortment of real world materials via textures with specific names, provide a couple tutorials-from-an-architect's-perspective, and come up with a fair charge. I'm sure the game itself is business enough, but getting a little direct return for world editor development seems at least somewhat worthwhile.
posted by pokermonk at 3:55 PM on August 31, 2006

That last link is to a dead good blog. Thanks, crunchland!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:56 PM on August 31, 2006

Needs more zombies. As do most things, I find.
posted by klaatu at 4:14 PM on August 31, 2006

Everything seems 15-20% too small

Have you ever been in a FLW house? I have, and it looks about right. Low ceilings, hobbit sized rooms, hobbit furniture, etc.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:23 PM on August 31, 2006

Those little tiny waterfalls sound like freakin' Niagara in the machinima! Cool editing job, though.
posted by Justinian at 4:38 PM on August 31, 2006

Die Falling Water, die! Take that Gropius House! Oh, you want a piece of me, House on the Rock?!?
posted by justkevin at 4:47 PM on August 31, 2006 [3 favorites]

The video doesn't show it, but the current version of the map has a dune buggy with an energy cannon parked in the driveway. Now that's attention to detail. Very few people know that about Mr. Wright.
posted by justkevin at 5:03 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

This stuff always impresses me, since I've been thinking a lot about games as teaching methods lately (specifically, in my case, medieval history and culture). Actually, I should be clearer and specify the virtual world aspect of games and their ability to display a believable world as teaching methods. One sees so many “fantasy” buildings with hints of gothic and whatnot in video games, but to build a semi-accurate model of a medieval castle or, to give a specific example, the Plan of St Gall, would be impressive.

I think that in video games many are far more willing to suspend their disbelief and watch the instructor “tour” the building and life on the screen rather than see a reenactment village. To put a spectacularly nerdy comparison, it's the difference between Live-Action Roleplaying (something I know of only by reputation, I assure you), and playing a modern computer game.

An earlier attempt I know of is this, but graphics have improved utterly since then and populating it with people and sounds is another step. Unfortunately, many of the examples I've seen of 3D computer reconstructions of historical buildings are AutoCAD (or reminiscent of that), and while that is useful there is still a huge difference between a 3D architect's plan on a screen and a virtual world/environment. Another aspect of this is that the sort of display function I'm speaking of perhaps does not not need the power of AutoCAD. For example, I don't think it's necessary to act as though one is planning for a building to be constructed physically, with the attendant need for utterly accurate measurements and simulation of building material. It's only necessary that it look good and have proper lighting and texturing.

Of course, the question would be what the best engine to implement this in is...maybe Oblivion, but this Half Life 2 video is also very impressive.

It would certainly grab more students than slides of plans.
posted by Gnatcho at 5:05 PM on August 31, 2006

And also, I ought to mention that I don't mean only the famous stone architecture of the Middle Ages, which has sometimes survived, but also some of the ideas of the appearance of humbler, less permanent wooden buildings (so not just the Stave Churches). It would be especially useful for the sort of buildings that are just ruins or archaelogical sites now.
posted by Gnatcho at 5:13 PM on August 31, 2006

The house looks so cold and damp. In pictures, it looks elegant (from the outside), but I had no idea I would dislike the inside. It's so low-ceilinged and dark.
posted by jb at 5:14 PM on August 31, 2006

Game engine map editors are awesome tools for landscape architects too.
posted by tkchrist at 5:14 PM on August 31, 2006

D00d im in ur base franklloydwright
posted by brain_drain at 5:51 PM on August 31, 2006

wizdom from the trenches: always, always add cool bg music to your demos reels.

but is there really a straight drop-off on the rear balcony onto the stairs?

FLW is kinda like the Beatles I guess... partially dated & busted now, but when compared to direct antecedents completely mindblowing.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:52 PM on August 31, 2006

That explains why the house is so ugly--it's Combine architecture!
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:52 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

Okay how the heck do you load a custom map in hl2? I saved the bsp under /valve/..blah..blah/maps

ran the game with the -console switch

and tried "map fallingwater"

No luck.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:56 PM on August 31, 2006

I find the movie particularly interesting because I've had in the back of my mind, for awhile now, the idea of recreating the 1939 New York World's Fair -- which some people argue was the leaping-off point for our modern technological society -- in some sort of walk-through computer visualization like this one. Unfortunately, I don't have the patience or knowledge to actually pull it off.
posted by crunchland at 7:07 PM on August 31, 2006

downloading the map now.
holy crap I love this.

thanks thanks thanks.
i imagine at 1920x1200 res, it'd really pop
posted by Busithoth at 7:27 PM on August 31, 2006

Been done before, and better

How about Chartres Cathedral rendered in Quake III Arena:

Download here, though don't even attempt it if your graphics card isn't fairly decent by today's standard.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:28 PM on August 31, 2006

okay, maybe not better, but still...
posted by Pastabagel at 7:32 PM on August 31, 2006

I think that'd be an awesome map for a game of deathmatch. I'm not kidding.
posted by ®@ at 7:55 PM on August 31, 2006

done before doesn't take away from this in the least.

this map rocks.
It's worth loading Garry's Mod. (which has been flushed out with features since I last downloaded it. damn!)

There can't be enough of these things made, in my opinion.
posted by Busithoth at 7:58 PM on August 31, 2006

See also: Real-life landmarks in GTA: San Andreas. (unlike the Fallingwater and Chartres Cathedral maps, though, you don't get interiors, which reduces the appeal in terms of architectural study.)
posted by arto at 8:05 PM on August 31, 2006

the game version, as expected, was ugly and brutal.

thank you, lemonfridge, for posting a video of the original.
posted by dydecker at 8:20 PM on August 31, 2006

Tell you what, I wouldn't mind living there one little bit, low ceilings and all. But the constant sound of the river flowing below, I dunno, that could get a little tiresome... Before I move in, I'll make sure the place is well insulated for sound. And, yeah, too bad they used that cheesy audio loop. How difficult would it have been to just use a longer recording of a mountain stream? Lazy.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:42 AM on September 1, 2006

I don't know what it is about the Half Life 2 engine, but I swear, even watching a video of someone in the game makes me nauseous. Something about the way it moves just.. sickens me.. within seconds. I've tried changing my viewing angle, my lighting, squaring myself, nothing.. I can only stand about 10-15 seconds of HL2 Engine FPS's before I start to feal queasy.

So basically, :(, and, get off my lawn, and , this was a neat ideA!
posted by cavalier at 8:58 AM on September 1, 2006

Someone call me when I can use this technology to plan my kitchen remodel.
posted by davejay at 2:22 PM on September 1, 2006

cavalier, you're definitely not alone.

I thought this was neat, because when my parents visited Fallingwater in 1964, I was six months old and not allowed in (private property, tours by appointment). My parents had to switch off holding me. ;-) And yes, the crampedness is a hallmark of FLlW buildings. It never struck me before this, either, but the organic approach Wright used is similar to the sometimes nonsensical architecture of good game maps.

Anyway, I've already been to a couple of museums where similar (but vastly more primitive) 3D tech has been used for virtual walkthroughs. If you're a professional, the tools are out there.
posted by dhartung at 5:32 PM on September 1, 2006

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