Tag Archive for mouth

The Super Bowl

A Cook’s tour of the field, watching the players gambol about, was enough stiction to send his mind careening through recollections of his heyday and his mouth to gamming away about them between lymphatic swigs of his alcoholic elixir.

Any Given Sunday

Bypassing the Uncanny Valley

If you are familiar with computer graphics, be it in movies or games, you have probably heard the term The Uncanny Valley.  In short, the idea is that the closer you approach realism without reaching it the more striking the tiniest flaws become that actually cause the viewer to become more aware of the “falseness” of it.  Often you’ll hear people talk about the “dead eyes” because they don’t blink or twitch enough, or problems with the way the mouth forms words not being quite right.

For me, new games that try so hard to be super realistic actually result in me not wanting to stare at their graphics for hours on end.  Even my current favorite game, Red Dead Redemption, has issues.  Many of the people in that game look overly dirty, and most of the female characters are downright hideous.  You could brush that off as “people were dirtier in the Old West” and that might be true, but it still doesn’t look right.  That’s why most of the game is played pulled back behind your character.  If it was first person and you had to look all these people in the face to interact, it would be very off putting.

All of this is why what a company called Depth Analysis showed off at E3 this year is just so cool.  It’s called MotionScan and essentially it takes the current motion capture (the suits people wear to get things like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films) to a whole new level.  It scans the entire body, so that not only motions of the limbs are recorded, but facial ticks and lines as well.  Just check out this comparison from the above linked article:

John Noble in real life and in MotionScan.

John Noble in real life and in MotionScan.

It does look pretty damn impressive.  This has me really looking forward to Rockstar’s L.A. Noire which is going to utilize this technology.

Scenes from the Apocalypse

My process for writing is often that I think of a setting, a situation, and then I think about how it is going to end, then I start writing scenes, chunks of text that might be interesting from wherever I decide to start along the way to the end I have envisioned.  Many of these scenes don’t make the final cut, either because they don’t end up working in the overall story, or because the characters I needed for them to work ended up being somewhere else, or not surviving long enough to be in the scene.  For years I’ve been crafting scenes for an apocalyptic zombie story, some are better than others, some are really bad.  What follows is one scene that was dropped from the story because the two characters involved got split up before this could happen.  A version of this still exists, but it is completely different now, with different characters and a modified setting, although much of the dialogue remained the same.

Anyway… enjoy…

“Do you believe in God?”

Robert rolled his eyes.  For the first six days Martin had barely spoken at all, but now at just over a month since the world went to Hell he was getting more prone to long winded often philosophical diatribes.  Robert did not have an answer to the question, nor did he need one.  He only needed to wait for Martin to take up the conversation all on his own.

With the spoon of franks and beans held just inches from his mouth, Robert sat motionless waiting for Martin to continue.  He looked over the boy wearing jeans and flannel shirt whose hands lightly gripped the rifle.  Martin never turned to look at Robert, he had kept his eyes focused out the window.  They both smelled like rotted flesh.

Tired of waiting, Robert started eating the room temperature food again straight out of the can, occasionally pausing to wipe his mouth with his hand and then wipe his hand on his pants.  Every time he wiped his face he was reminded that he really wanted to shave.  And a shower, but they could not afford to be clean for the time being.

“I’m pretty sure I used to,” Martin said at last.  “No, I’m certain of it.  Went to church every Sunday with Mom growing up.”  His eyes darted this way and that, tracking each and every movement outside.  “I believed in God, and God believed in us.  Maybe that’s what this is, maybe God stopped believing in us.”

Martin shifted slightly in his crouch.  Gently he lowered the rifle to the ground and picked up the crossbow.  He pulled the crossbow up to his chest, made sure the bolt was sitting proper and started sighting something out the window.

Robert craned his neck to peer over Martin’s shoulder.  There was a man in overalls shuffling down the street.  The overalls looked frayed at the edges, and their denim blue was lost in a dark stain that covered nearly the whole of it.  His left foot never left the ground, dragging the gravel when it was its turn to move.  Both men caught their breaths and the sound of the shuffling man’s feet swallowed the world.  One crunching step followed by the scraping drag of the other, then the crunching step again.

The crossbow made a quiet twang and the bolt sailed with a whisper until it drove home with a thunk through the temple and into the brain.  The man in overalls slumped the ground in a heap next to three other corpses in the street, each with a crossbow bolt protruding from the head.

Martin drew back the string and nocked another bolt in the crossbow.  He placed it back on the floor, picked up his rifle again and settled back into his resting crouch position.  His eyes never left the view outside the window.

Robert rolled backwards and leaned against the wall.  “Getting slow out there.  Might be time to burn them and move on?”

“Maybe.”  Martin turned his deep blue eyes on Robert.  They were his mother’s eyes, clear and pure.  “Maybe this is God believing that we can overcome anything.  A test of faith.”

And with that Robert knew they were here another night, Martin was not listening again.  But they were out of beans, which meant they needed to go foraging for canned goods before dark.