MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Looking to tell more complex stories with increasingly realistic looking characters and action, leading videogame production/design studios like Vancouver-based The Sequence Group are turning to markerless motion-capture tools from iPi Soft, which recently put the company’s iPi Motion Capture software to use on the latest version of the popular videogame Halo 4.
"As a long-time gamer myself it is exciting to see how cutting-edge game development studios like The Sequence Group are using our product," Michael Nikonov, iPi Soft's founder and chief technology architect says. "The game development industry has always been early adopters of new technology like markerless motion capture, and we're proud that our product played such an integral role in this massively popular series."
Released in late 2012 with estimated gross of $300 million in its opening weekend, Halo 4 is the first game in the new
Halo series entitled "The Reclaimer Trilogy." For the game, The Sequence Group produced over 20 minutes of original content, including eight "Terminal" animations - hidden content within the game that players can access providing detailed backstory about the characters and the new
Halo world. The content is also available via Microsoft's dedicated
Halo online service,
According to The Sequence Group President and Director Ian Kirby, iPi Motion Capture was used extensively for the full-body motion capture seen in the Terminal animations.
Using iPi Motion Capture and two Microsoft Kinects, The Sequence Group built an in-house motion capture studio that delivered impressive results for a fraction of the cost usually associated with full-body motion capture. For the Terminals, several main character performances were captured, and later integrated with key-framed animation created using Maxon's Cinema 4D for a look that was both organic and dynamic.
"The low equipment cost and ease at which iPi Motion Capture integrated with our existing Cinema 4D workflow meant that captured performances could be a reality for us rather than a pipe dream" Kirby says.
According to Sequence Group Producer Dan Sioui, one scene in particular, in which one character gets shot by another and dies a dramatic death, asked a lot of the iPi Soft technology.
"In the scene the character gets shot, falls to one knee and is shot again and crumbles to the ground," Sioui says. "We aimed for a realistic feel and iPi Motion Capture helped achieve this dramatic moment in a way we couldn't otherwise. Ian was able to act out the scene exactly the way he envisioned it."
Sioui adds, "The Halo audience is extremely sophisticated and the knowledge they have about the game and its evolution is mind-blowing. We knew we needed to maintain that level of quality for most anticipated videogame release of 2012. We are very pleased with the results iPI Motion Capture delivered."
The Sequence Group is just one of many videogame production studios and developers who are turning to iPi Soft for its motion capture needs. Others include BioWare, Mission Critical Studios (developers of mobile games), N3V Games, Realm Forge, Red Cartel, Cyanide Studio and Game Pulp. That list should grow when iPi Motion Capture becomes available through Valve's Steam Store and its 35 million users later this month.
For Wanda Meloni, industry analyst and editor of the industry must-read "Gaming Business Review," notes that "Motion capture has become an indispensible tool in the videogame development arena - particularly among indie developers who are impacting the industry greatly thanks to the creative freedom tools like iPi Motion Capture provide," Meloni notes. "Looking ahead, I see more demand for tools like iPi Motion Capture both on the development and production side, as well as with gamers themselves."