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Astr0

Fantasy games use motion capture?

10 posts in this topic

Hey

Do MMORPG fantasy AAA games like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars use motion capture to create their character animations for movement, spells and abilities?

Also im wondering, do anyone have any idea what the software and equipment to start using motion capture costs? Edited by Astr0
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[quote name='jbadams' timestamp='1348398095' post='4982874']
Moving you to our Visual Arts forum.

Yes, some AAA games use motion capture, but not all of them do.
[/quote]

For those studios who don't use motion capture. How are they able to create such smooth and realistic movements?
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[quote name='Astr0' timestamp='1348398909' post='4982877']
For those studios who don't use motion capture. How are they able to create such smooth and realistic movements?
[/quote]

Not all AAA games have characters that need realistic animations and it is entierly possible to make realistic animations by hand.
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In any game, motion capture is always just a [i]starting point[/i] for animators anyway -- the data is always very noise and needs to be cleaned up, and then tweaked, and further animated by hand.
It's not a full solution, just a time-saving tool.
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One frame at a time. That's how every animator and capture software does it. Think this link should start you off in terms of pricing and easy gear to use.[url="http://www.ipisoft.com/index.php"] http://www.ipisoft.com/index.php[/url]
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You can also use physics models and various tools to do a lot of the work for you. Factor in a solid physics and "AI" modelling into an animation system, throw in a few key points of what you want to have happen (Such as primary reference nodes, hands, tip of weapon, feet, point head is looking at, point eyes are looking at, etc.) over time, start your easy bake oven, wait for the ding, and out pops smooth ready to go animations.

Trying to remember the name of the researchers working on it, but there was a professor with the University of Toronto that had a really interesting project for walking, was designed to pull accurate 3D models of walking from 2D video, and there were a few projects spun off from that. Sadly I am drawing a blank on names.
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[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1348403641' post='4982894']
In any game, motion capture is always just a [i]starting point[/i] for animators anyway -- the data is always very noise and needs to be cleaned up, and then tweaked, and further animated by hand.
It's not a full solution, just a time-saving tool.
[/quote]
[quote name='SimonForsman' timestamp='1348399240' post='4982878']
[quote name='Astr0' timestamp='1348398909' post='4982877']
For those studios who don't use motion capture. How are they able to create such smooth and realistic movements?
[/quote]

Not all AAA games have characters that need realistic animations and it is entierly possible to make realistic animations by hand.
[/quote]

I posted another thread earlier (http://www.gamedev.net/topic/631482-animations-in-good-and-bad-games/). The answer i got there was this:

"Animation is a vast domain with not a lot of focus put into it, it's often a sidenote to rendering or AI. For example, there isn't even an animation specific forum on gamedev, which I find odd.
I've worked on animation as a programmer for a few years now on a couple of AAA titles, and I think that it would be VERY hard (maybe not impossible) for a 10 man team to compete with the big boys for the following reasons:
-Access to motion capture: Without access to motion capture or without a pipeline to process motion captured data into a game usable format, animators will have to hand code their animations which is painstaking. Even then, it's hard to capture subtle, realistic movements by hand. Big inhuman movements (i.e. a dragon flying spewing fire) are more forgiving.
-Animation tools: big studios have sophisticated animation solutions that have been built up over time and can be shared across games with tons of animation assets that can be re-used.
-Manpower: 10 people for an entire game is probably slightly bigger than the size of a dedicated animation team for a AAA title. There is likely one or two people dedicated to animation at most on a 10 man team, and even then they are likely split between AI and animation work (or perhaps even more domains). For smaller teams to be able to compete with bigger teams, you need better people, which can happen, but it is probably the exception rather than the rule.

Even big games often get lazy with animation. The Elder Scrolls titles look decent from a first person perspective, but switching to 3rd person view, you can see how terrible the locomotion of the player's avatar is. The reason this is ok is that few people actually play from this view, so it makes sense to not spend too much time or money on that particular feature when the visible characters can be constrained to always move in ways that look good."

This makes me a bit confused having received different answers.
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Of course you've received different answers: different games are made by different developers using different processes. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/cool.png[/img]
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None of those answers really contradict each other -- you can reconcile them.
* Without access to motion capture, animation is slower to create ([i]no short-cut[/i]).
* Animation of the same quality can be done by hand, but would require great talent.
* Even with motion capture, you still need an animator to turn it into a final asset ([i]It's a great short-cut, but still just another tool[/i]).
* Assets of any kind ([i]including animations[/i]) can be reused by big companies.
* 10 people is a small team. $1M is a small budget.
* Not every game can afford to put a lot of effort into every feature, some games skimp on the animation budget.
* Some games don't need expensive animations (e.g. a car racing game compared to a humanoid fighting game, or a game about cartoon bears compared to a Hollywood adventure like Uncharted). Edited by Hodgman
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With animation u can compete (with larger studios) by being good or better in one or more of 3 areas. You can be the better animation programmer and solve the animation problem procedural, or you can be the better animator and trump the competition through better hand animation or you can find a better mo-cap solutions and solve it through your physical performance. There are cheap mo-cap solutions using Kinect, much less than a mo-cap studio, but you'll have to do more cleanup and since it is mo-cap your physical performance has to be good, otherwise it will show up in the game. It's definitely possible for small studios to compete on animation.

Here are some links demonstrating the 3 principles..

[url="http://www.reallusion.com/iclone/iclone_mocap_device.aspx"]http://www.reallusio...cap_device.aspx[/url]
[url="http://www.3dmd.net/forum/3d-discussion-5708.html"]http://www.3dmd.net/...ssion-5708.html[/url]
[url="http://www.naturalmotion.com/products/euphoria/"]http://www.naturalmo...ducts/euphoria/[/url]

Good Luck! Edited by ddn3
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