Zurich-based artist Mario von Rickenbach is a fine representation of what the new generation of visualists looks like. Adept in code and art alike, turning his talents in illustration beyond pretty pictures to experimental game design, he’s part of a breed of artists who expresses visual ideas in interactive, live form. Those real-time game engines are moving feasts of animated art, so it’s little wonder he takes his game engine of choice (Unity) and applies it to live performance, too, as he did in projections for a sci-fi musical theater work at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts in Beijing.

Game or theater – or game as theater – his non-linear live animation looks brilliant. It’s best to simply show it. Remarkably, a lot of this work is undergraduate student work – even as it rivals some of the best-looking games out there.

Via the A MAZE Festival, which will bring machinima to a screening at Berlin’s epic Campus Party Europe. (It’s hard to describe that event, other than to say it’s what happens when a humble LAN party grows into an international geekgasm of technology in all forms – the sort at which the inventor of the Web makes an appearance.)

Let’s watch the game films:

Mirage (also at top)
Unity, Blender, Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Photoshop, FMOD Designer

Unity, Maya, Photoshop, Logic Pro

Krautscape (also a nice use of procedural levels)
Blender, Unity, FMOD, Logic Pro
with Michael Burgdorfer

EMC trailer from Etter Studio on Vimeo.

EMC (anyone for a game of nuclear physics?)
Unity, Blender
with Etter Studio