WET: A2M Embraces Autodesk Middleware, Animation Tools to Boost Game Pipeline
October 14, 2009

WET: A2M Embraces Autodesk Middleware, Animation Tools to Boost Game Pipeline

San Rafael, Calif. - Autodesk Inc. has announced that Montreal-based game developer Artificial Mind & Movement (A2M) relied on several Autodesk software applications to create the new game title WET. The game's characters and levels were built using Autodesk Maya and Autodesk MotionBuilder 3D animation software. Autodesk Kynapse middleware was used to implement artificial intelligence (AI) to drive the game's many nonplayable characters.
Rubi, the third-person shooter's main character, is a feisty problem fixer trying to figure out who double-crossed her and why. She combines shooting, acrobatics, and swordplay to combat enemies. The game's dual-targeting system lets players control one of Rubi's weapons and auto-targets the other.

With a combination of photoreal 3D and stylized graphic novel-type visuals, the game's gritty look and feel can be compared to such films as Kill Bill, Desperado, and Sin City, says a representative. In key moments, Rubi goes into "Rage Mode" and becomes faster and stronger; and, the game's graphics transform to a minimalist color palette with enemies in contrasting colors.

Using Autodesk Kynapse enabled A2M to focus its development efforts on the creative look and feel of the game and high-level game-play interactions, rather than the time-consuming processes of path finding and location awareness.

"Our main philosophy with regards to development tools has always been that if it's good and it already exists with the right price tag, why reinvent it? That's why we chose to work with Kynapse as our AI engine for WET. In the game, the player confronts a large number of enemies. We needed a path-finding and location awareness system to control decision making for these characters in a coherent manner," says Martin Walker, CTO, A2M. "Kynapse has a fantastic hide-and-shoot algorithm that was used to conceal
and disperse the enemies in a natural way throughout environments."

Maintaining a stable and consistent pipeline from one title to the next is key for A2M. With a staff of 500 and a dozen projects a year, standardizing on reliable off-the-shelf tools like Maya is essential. MotionBuilder was also used heavily by the A2M team to help enhance motion-captured sequences.

"MotionBuilder was used extensively to clean up motion capture data," explains Walker. "Also, when we did our mo-cap, we weren't sure which villain would take on which moves. With MotionBuilder, we were able to retarget motion data onto different characters even if the skeletal data wasn't necessarily a perfect match. This saved a tremendous amount of time and allowed for experimentation."

WET is A2M's first mature-rated game title. "Titles like WET are almost interactive films at this point, and the quality of the content is more important than ever. So if we can optimize our pipelines to enable more
iterations at a faster pace, then we're ahead of the game. Tools like Autodesk Maya, MotionBuilder, and Kynapse help us get there," says Walker.

Published by Bethesda Softworks, WET released on September 15, 2009. The game was written by Duppy Demetrius and actress Eliza Dushku ("Dollhouse" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") voices the game's main protagonist, Rubi Malone.

Images (C) 2009 WET, Artificial Mind and Movement. (C) 2009 Bethesda Softworks. Image courtesy of Artificial Mind and Movement.