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Science, Art and Data Visualisation

The War of the Worlds

Spielberg's version of the novel is one of those things that incites within me the kind of unique fiery passion that only comes of true nerd rage. It is seriously, utterly abysmal. As was a later BBC adaptation... and I don't know why this is difficult. The novel is brilliant. The Jeff Wayne musical is brilliant. All you have to do to make a brilliant adaptation is : Film. The. Book. Okay, you need  judiciously cut a lot of the extended walking scenes to be sure, but that's it. Everything else you need for a surefire hit is there : epic battles, vampire aliens in giant tripods, razor-sharp socio-political commentary on man's hubris, one man's quest to find his wife in a WOLRD GONE MAD... all of it.

But I digress. Beset with woe over the Spielberg tripe, I decided to make my own. Now I had not the skills, sadly, to recreate Victorian London or indeed anywhere else from the era, so I figured that if it had to be somewhere modern-day, it'd at least better not be bloody America again. Naturally I therefore set it in Cardiff. Alas there have been substantial changes to the area since I modelled it, although the major buildings are all still there.

Unfortunately the main goal of this one was always the panorama. In QuickTime format, I'm going to have to try and convert this into something modern browsers can handle. Nevertheless the file is available for download here, and the gallery of the images is below. Because I aimed from the start at making this an immersive scene, and this required a lot of memory use for my PC of the time (I think the final rendering speed per frame was measured in hours), I couldn't also just go ahead and render some other vantage point to make a nice conventional still image – that would have required modelling even more parts of the scene, and likely exceeded the computational power I had available.