Unsurprisingly, my interest in the aesthetic has more to do with Adorno that it has to do with ray-tracing. I’ve generally been disinterested in the problems of “realism” and 3D-graphics above and beyond the general question of producing experiences of navigable spaces and introducing the various ways of thinking about space that might emerge from them.
I am, however, becoming more interested in the technical problems, and seeing in them (like Panofsky found in perspective in painting) substantial aesthetic and conceptual issues of their own. This interview with Jay Wilsonthe lead designer of Diablo III shows some of the issues in play. Some players responded to screenshots from the game that they found disappointing (for the most part, because they didn’t seem to satisfy the players’ desire for over-the-top goth-metal excess); Wilson notes the difference between rendering still images in Photoshop and rendering dynamic scenes in 3D, as well as addressing questions of visual aesthetic taste and variety.