Monday, October 24, 2005

The Fine Art of Hockey

The Slapshot Tour

It's a traveling art show currently touring Canada's fine art galleries honoring the great game of hockey and it's wild characters.
The Ottawa show generated a fair bit of buzz.

Hipsters and jocks played the latest hockey X-BOX game off a set of sweet flat screens while an enthusiastic crowd seemed to marvel that not only is hockey back, it's in art galleries!

Passersby to Artguise pressed their faces to the glass while Vaughn and his business partner Brandon McVittie put up the show. Opening night saw a motley mix of urban scenesters, visual arts aficionados and hardcore hockey players and their fans packing and closing out the place.

Ottawa minor league hockey bruiser Ken Tasker -- who last dropped his gloves for the Toledo Storm --turned up, popped out some fake teeth and posed, gap-toothed, beside the artwork.

American-based artists are the mainstay of Slapshot, which also features some Canadians and a couple of international representatives.
If you figured a art showed called "Slapshot" featured hockey art from the pugilist period... you figured right.
The Slapshot Tour passes over the artful skaters and skillful passers to canonize hockey's most infamous enforcers.

Semenko, who made his living casting menacing glances at anyone who brushed up against linemate Wayne Gretzky, is immortalized by BUCK, a Los Angeles design firm, in an intricate and dominating 4' by nearly 3' silkscreen done in Oilers blue and orange.

New York photographer Heidi Hartwig took the New Jersey Devils' Danekyo as her inspiration for tight focus photographs of knocked-out front teeth and a "loyal 'til death" tattoo.

Leafs bruiser Tie Domi pummels some unfortunate in Toronto-based Greg Durrell's blood-red silkscreen.

"This era of hockey is really easy for Canadians to have a vocabulary for -- these were our goons," says Vaughn. "I also loved there are women in the show... It's not just from a male perspective."
Hockey in Art Galleries... Who'd ever a thunk it? You can find some photos from the party on Slapshot's website. Looks like a good time was had by all.

Cyber Pucks: the next-gen.

Soon XBOX360 will be launched and a exciting new generation of hockey game simulation will begin. Here's an insiders look at what's coming.

The following is from a interview with Ben Bishop NHL2K6 Producer:
IGN Sports: What can we expect to see visually from the game?

Ben Bishop: This is what we spent a great amount of time on, trying to give the game that next-gen look and feel. I think what's special about the Xbox 360 is all of the little details we can now throw in to make the total package that much better and more immersive. You'll see things like ice spray a lot more now.

...The crowd is totally 3D now and they just look so much more like they're alive and vibrant and a part of the game. You'll not only see them going crazy at the right times, but we have specific reactive pockets. You check a guy against the boards and you'll see the fans in that area flinch or get up and bang the glass. The fans just feel like they're so much more involved.

Reflections on the glass is another big thing we've been able to add. Other games have done this in the past, but it looks so much more realistic now, and so does the ice.

...Jumbotrons are part of the experience now. You'll see the score working up on the jumbotron, you'll see cutscenes on the jumbotron, so you can see the view from the fans.

Player models look amazing now. We spent a ton of time just going back over and redoing all of our player heads to give them more detail. Guys with five o'clock shadows have those five o'clock shadows. Guys like Jeremy Roenick really stand out because he has that grizzled veterans looks about him. When he skates by, you're like wow, that's Jeremy Roenick.

...And the last thing I want to mention about the visuals is that we've not only been able to add the reflections that I talked about, but refractions. If you're looking through the glass from the fans perspective, you'll actually see a little bit of a warbled effect. It looks like you're not looking directly at the guy, but you're looking at him through the glass. We're also able to show through the reflections of the ice the textures of the players skating by, the jumbotron, and even the banners that are hanging around the arena
Very cooool, it appears the hockey immersion factor will be kicked up by quite a few notches on the new machines.

Finally, although accurate stats are a little hard to come by the feeling is although scoring is up dramatically around the NHL... Gordie Howe Hat Tricks might be down which have some concerned.

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