Virtually There

Trust us, this computer-generated image of the Cowboys' future home looks way cooler than we can show you here.

Heartwood Studios, the San Francisco Bay-area company that produced that nifty computer-animated fly-through of the Cowboys' future digs in Arlington, isn't through pulling gems out of its bag of tricks just yet. The company has been given a contract by the Pokes to produce a virtual replica of the stadium that will allow fans to get a detailed look from their seats before plunking down cash for a ticket.

Or as the company puts it in a news release:

The scope of the project will include: 3D incorporation of aerial footage shot by helicopter, exclusive renderings of luxury box suites and more than 525 separate views of the stadium from various vantage points, including seats, the concourse and suites.

Put it all together, Heartwood co-founder and President Raj Raheja says, and vistors to the Pokes' Web site will almost feel like they're at the stadium. All that's missing is the guy waving the D-fense sign in front of your face and Bill Parcells grimacing on the sideline.

The Cowboys aren't the first pro team to allow fans to digitally preview their seats, Raheja says, but Heartwood's been asked to produce a virtual stadium that looks nearly as good as the real thing (hopefully) will. "It's been done before," he says, "[but] it doesn't look like the stadium at all. It's kind of cartoony...more like playing Madden." Heartwood's 3D imagery will be "cutting edge," he promises, which is more than anyone can say about the Cowboys' offensive play-calling. --Patrick Williams