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5 ways mocap animation has transformed the gaming industry

Updated: May 23, 2023

Motion Capture has become more commonly used across many industries to provide accurate and organic movement of humans. One of the driving forces for mocap progress comes from the video game industry. Ever since the Sega Model 2 arcade game - Virtual Fighter 2 in 1994 - motion capture has rapidly increased throughout the years.  Motion capture technology is able to provide easier and smoother workflows for both indie game developers and larger games companies.

When it comes to mocap, there are multiple solutions available but it really comes down to what the use-case is and budget. Systems vary in accuracy and price but all require a certain amount of clean up to be done in post.   Starting with optical systems, OptiTrack and VICON are the leaders in the industry, providing solutions in animation, movement sciences, virtual reality and robotics. They are most commonly used in AAA games as they provide the highest fidelity tracking available as well as handle batch recordings in a more flexible way.

Inertial suits on the other hand such as Xsens and Perception Neuron, are mostly used in indie games companies as they are more affordable and do not require a large capture volume. They do tend to require more post clean up as the data is easily interfered but with an ideal setup, game developers can achieve smooth and lifelike animations for a fraction of an optical system’s cost.

Mostly every game nowadays contains a certain number of mocap animations, whether it is human or animal animations. Rockstar games have taken mocap to the next level with Red Dead Redemption 2. The particular game has around 2,000 page script that required 1,200 actors some of which had mapped dialogue. To execute such a script, the game required 300,000 animations and 500,00 lines of dialogue, which ended up taking 2,200 days of motion capture recordings. More games that are usually narrative based such as Assassin's Creed, Resident Evil and World of Warcraft have an outstanding number of mocap hours in their development using both full body and facial tracking.

Motion capture is a vital part of most video game development pipe

This is commonly referred to as hybrid animation where both motion capture and keyframe animation is combined to create the final animation. This allows the animators to exaggerate and push areas of the mocap data to make it more appealing. What was once an extremely costly procedure that took a huge amount of preparation can now be accomplished at a much faster and cheaper rate.

To find out more contact Target3D.



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