Vicarious Visions' Making of Skylanders: SWAP Force
Williams College and Vicarious Visions
February 19, 2014 (Wed)
Olin 107
Refreshments will be served at 4:45


Skylanders: SWAP Force is a new video game created by Vicarious Visions and published by Activision that was one of the top 10 best-selling games of the 2013 holiday season. Players cooperate on a fantasy adventure across floating islands, using real-world toys to build and change characters.

In this talk, we describe the interaction between designers, artists, and engineers to create this game, including 3D printing and electronics for developing physical toys. We then explain more deeply the computer science underlying the scalable graphics algorithms that we invented for next-generation PS4 and Xbox One game consoles.

Bios: Morgan McGuire teaches graphics and games at Williams College and collaborates widely within the industry. He's contributed to Skylanders, Call of Duty, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and Titan Quest series of video games series, the E Ink display used in the Amazon Kindle, and NVIDIA GPUs. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Brown University.

Brian Osman has worked at Vicarious Visions since 2002 on more than ten games, including Doom 3, Guitar Hero 3, and Sklanders: SWAP Force. He has many academic publications in real-time rendering, including the Skylanders motion blur algorithm that he recently presented at the Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics and Games. He received his BS and MS in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Please email Kristina Striegnitz ( if you have any questions concerning the seminar series or if you would like to receive the seminar announcements by email.