Motion capture is a big thing in the gaming industry today. Many developers incorporate the practice into their triple A titles of today and it’s quite easy to forget it’s there. I managed to attend a talk at GameCity 6 to see for myself how much work goes into a product like this.
Eurocom, the company behind motion capture for the new 007 game Goldeneye Reloaded, talked at length about their experiences in the gaming industry. After having worked on other titles such as Quantum of Solace they brought their Hollywood level technology into Activision’s new title. Bobbles and red cameras are used to track the actor in the studio, these bobbles are then connected to make a wire frame upon which textures are overlaid. This can also be applied to vehicles and other large structures. Eurocom also showed us their virtual camera which allows actors to represent the player whilst acting. This means that the company can record much more engaging scenes with the player involved. A representative from Eurocom told the crowd that they wanted to make a “more believable experience for the player” and from the footage we saw, it seemed like they had done just that.
Another cool innovation for the game was the use of virtual glasses during tracking. As the name suggests, an image is projected onto the glasses; specifically of the in-game environment. The speaker told us that their aim was to take “something from real life” and “put it in the game”, therefore Eurocom used some quite elaborate sets for the actors to perform upon.
Furthermore, a large amount of work was done with the weapons in the game. Each gun has been modelled and data recorded so that they look and feel as accurate as possible in the game. As we were shown, this meant that Eurocom had to send out for a professional armourer to test fire all the weapons on-site. Many Eurocom employees were also used during the process. Activision needed many extras for Goldeneye, so some workers found themselves in front of the company’s facial scanner. Such a scanner allows for a 180 degree scan of the face meaning that the tiniest details can be rendered into the game.
In many games such animation techniques are easily overlooked, however they shine within Goldeneye Reloaded, it showcases the great leaps that video-games have made over the last ten years and you will be hard pressed to find a multi-billion dollar developer like Activision not using it in their games. It’s obvious that this is the future of animation in all but indie game studios.
The game was released earlier this month and has so far garnered generally favourable reviews.