Adrian Gargett: Lara Croft: the Post-Human Feminine Cyborg
Articles » March 2002

“Lara herself exists as a 3D high polygon texture mapped model. She is made up of over 38,000 polygonal faces per model...

As Lara exists as a complete 3D model we are able to bend and position her bone structure, and therefore her attached mesh....”(1)

The Lara Croft icon constitutes a representation of the cyber-body phenomenon from a feminist angle.
“Intense pleasure in skill, machine skill, ceases to be a sin, but an aspect of embodiment. The machine is not an it to be animated, worshipped, and dominated. The machine is us, our process, an aspect of our embodiment”.
(Donna Haraway) (2)

It began with Lara Croft the main character of an innovative computer game, which in a short space of time, became a landmark for the software industry, one of the most consistent and best-selling game series of all time and established a virtual goddess who achieved unparalleled media status as a sexy, intelligent icon for the digital age.

Lara was born on the screen of a computer in a video-game studio in 1985. Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider franchise are products of Core Design and Eidos Interactive, its British parent publishing company. The man who produced her was an artist in his early 20’s called Toby Gard. First she had been a pencil sketch on paper; then a series of more detailed, coloured illustrations. Next her vital statistics were plotted in glowing lines on a VDU screen. Thousands of triangles meshed together to build a computerised outline of a female form. At this stage Lara Croft would have appeared as a sculpture maquette in virtual wire. The figure was then “skinned” – wrapped in shaded, coloured surfaces to approximate a clothed human form. Lastly she was “animated” – taught to walk, somersault, run and perform athletic/ballatic manoeuvres, the core design animators moved into action to create a whole series of graceful and fluid moves to denote the intelligence, resourcefulness and independence of what they envisaged as her strong and resilient personality. At the same time, virtual worlds were being built around her that would test her physical abilities to the limit.

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