Autodesk HumanIK Middleware Helps Assassin's Creed II Characters Soar
December 22, 2009

Autodesk HumanIK Middleware Helps Assassin's Creed II Characters Soar

San Rafael, Calif. - Autodesk Inc. has announced that Autodesk HumanIK character animation middleware was tightly integrated into Ubisoft's proprietary game engine for the development of Assassin's Creed II. Released November 17, the title sold more than 1.6 million units worldwide in its first week on the shelf.
HumanIK animation middleware is a runtime solution for creating believable,
interactive character animation for games. Ubisoft first used the software
on the original Assassin's Creed title. As an integrated part of
Ubisoft's game engine on Assassin's Creed II, HumanIK contributed to the
realization of enticing game-play innovations such as climbing, flying and
interactions with dynamic nonplayer characters (NPCs).

Image Credit: Assassin’s Creed II. Image courtesy of Ubisoft.

"One of the most important aspects of the Assassin's Creed II game play
is the ability for characters to climb. HumanIK allowed us to build new
climbing moves into the game and iterate them very quickly without ever
having to worry about the quality of the IK solving," explained James
Therien, lead programmer, Assassin's Creed II, Ubisoft. "Having a package
like HumanIK allowed us to address our IK problems quickly without
sacrificing results or performance."

In creating a sequel to its award-winning Assassin's Creed franchise,
Ubisoft sought unique ways to improve and build upon the original. Having
more interesting and diverse characters, greater interaction with NPCs and
a broader range of moves, including flying and complex climbing for NPCs
were core differentiators facilitated in part by the integration of HumanIK

Ubisoft has been a longtime user of Autodesk solutions, tapping Autodesk
3ds Max and Autodesk MotionBuilder software, in addition to HumanIK, as key
creative tools for its titles.

"3ds Max is our main content creation package. MotionBuilder was used to clean up all of the motion-capture performance data that was used extensively in cut scenes and fight sequences," says Therien.