Oxford to profit from GTA IV

first_imgA spokeswoman for the University described the upcoming release as “a huge success.”She continued, “GTA IV’s use of technology from an Oxford spin-out company is an illustration that the fruits of Oxford research get all over the world and into all sorts of arenas.”The game itself is the fourth installment in one of the world’s best selling series. Grand Theft Auto players take control of a central figure who seeks to rise to the top of the criminal underworld. The game is set in a version of New York named Liberty City and the protagonist is an illegal Eastern-European immigrant. This controversial choice of hero is nothing new to a GTA series which has repeatedly attracted media attention over its explicit depictions of violence. The previous version, GTA III: San Andreas, also raised controversy after a hacker discovered a secret ‘sex-game’ within its code. Parents and pressure groups have continued to voice concerns about the impact the game has upon young children, millions of whom play the game obsessively, despite its adult-rated certificate.Despite this, GTA has always met exceptional critical acclaim, with both IGN and Gamespot giving it full marks out of 10. Reviewers have consistently mentioned the astonishingly life-like atmosphere of the game, something only further heightened by the Euphoria engine.A spokesman for Take Two, the UK distributors of the game, said that it can now be confidently ranked as one of the most realistic and gripping games on the shelves with this added technology.“It feels a lot more lifelike, less scripted. It’s always been good, but in the past it’s been more about the game-play than the physical look of the game. Now the environment itself is just absolutely amazing.”“It’s more than anything about the sense of realism in the game… everyone notices it.”Euphoria will also be used in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and a new Indiana Jones game, both expected to be released later this year. The world of GTA is a far cry from Oxford life. Oxford University is set to rake in a hefty profit from this week’s release of Grand Theft Auto IV.The game, which is projected to earn £200 million worldwide, uses a game engine developed by two University graduates.Torsten Reil and Colm Massey used research undertaken at Oxford’s Zoology department into human and animal movement to create the Euphoria game engine.Their company, Natural Motion, teamed up with the University’s technology transfer company and as a result the University retains a share.Reil and Massey have developed a game engine which eliminates the need for pre-set animations, replacing them with real-time simulations that create more interactive characters.Their innovation has set a new bench mark in the gaming industry by instilling computing-controlled characters with an unprecedented level of credibility.The Euphoria engine creates 3D character animation in real time through a combination of artificial intelligence, biomechanics, and dynamics simulation. The ultimate aim is to create game situations which unfold in unique ways every time.Each computer character has a 3D skeleton, complete with muscles, nervous systems and intelligent behaviour patterns vital for a game such as GTA IV where most computer behaviour involves violent conflict with the protagonist.The two graduates teamed up with the University’s transfer company, Isis Innovation, in 2001.Isis Innovation has generated over 60 companies which now have a collected value of around £2 billion. The University retains a share in all of these companies. last_img

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