July 17, 2015 Christian

Dev Blog 2 – The Capture Zone!

Hey everyone :)

I’m Christian, the Lead Developer here at NVYVE Studios. I’m in charge of leading the programming team (we’ve expanded to two people!), AI programming, in-engine development, our character and animation pipeline and all sorts of other random things.

I thought some people might like a bit of a peak into our motion capture studio this week since it’s probably the coolest thing that we own. We are super excited to have the opportunity to have access to such an amazing piece of technology. It’s so much fun to bring the characters you create to life using your own body, definitely something you don’t forget. We got the mocap studio right before GDC 2015 and the release of our first trailer, so essentially every single animation that was shown back then has been completely re-done and we’re still deep in the middle of recording, cleaning up and solving [more on this below].

Check out a quick time-lapse of the team unboxing and constructing our setup:

Timelapse

We currently have 24 cameras and a capture zone size of about 6m x 6m (20ft x 20ft) and can safely record 3 people at the same time which is super cool for things like grapples and group interaction. It also allows us enough space for things like recording run cycles with some room to spare.

Since our characters are so unique (there’s a bunch that haven’t been announced yet *wink* *wink*) we needed complete control over how they all look, move, and feel in the game. This required literally hundreds and hundreds of animations that needed to be created and prototyped in a relatively short amount of time with very few people. The only way we were able to accomplish this was through the use of motion capture technology. Here’s a quick step-by-step of the entire process, start to finish:

#1 – Calibrating the zone:

First we have to calibrate the zone by waving around the magic wand.
wanding

#2 – Setting up the actor:

The actor(s) then get suited up and markers get placed all over them.
SuitingUp

#3 – Recording:

We then record all of the planned animations for the day.
Recording

#4 – Clean up:

The raw data in the form of point cloud data needs to get cleaned up to make sure there aren’t any errors.
Motive-Screenshot

#5 – Solving:

The cleaned data is then solved on to the character (this makes the character follow along with the data). [Does not represent final art or product]
MoBu-Screenshot

#6 – Behold in-engine:

We then import this into the game engine and witness the final product!
Walking-Feet

 

I hope you guys enjoyed a little sneak peak into our mocap studio and the process of how characters get animated. This list was definitely simplified, there’s actually hundreds of steps but it’s good enough to get an idea of the wizardry behind the scenes. Next week we’ll have our Lead 3D Artist, Patrick, talk about some fancy art assets in…

Dev Blog 3 – Highpoly Hijinks

Check it out next Friday! And if you’d like to receive monthly updates as well as important news…

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About the Author

Christian
Christian Christian is the Lead Developer at NVYVE Studios.