MOSCOW — The next wave of zombie action is about to be unleashed in Dead On Arrival 2 – the latest installment in the popular mobile video game created by the Queensland, Australia-based N3V Games.
Playing a key role in streamlining the character animation development was the popular markerless motion-capture software solution iPi Motion Capture from iPi Soft. Dead on Arrival 2 is currently in closed beta testing and will be available on Nvidia's Shield in late July.
"iPi Motion Capture was used extensively in the development of all the characters within the game," Paul Olsen, Director/Studio Head, says. "Using the technology saved us countless weeks of character animation production and gave us stunning results that looked triple A in a fraction of the time it would take to do the work manually with highly-skilled animators."
An intense post-apocalypse zombie survival action game designed specifically for Android and iOS mobile platforms, Dead On Arrival 2 builds on the first installment of the game that received a Bronze Medal from Pocket Gamer and was named Top 5 Horror Games on Android.
Using iPi Motion Capture's Basic Edition with a dual Microsoft Kinect setup in conjunction with Unity 4.0's new animation system, Mecanim engine base, and Autodesk Maya and Max 2013, the mocap technology was the basis for all of the games bipedal animation. The software not only made it quick and easy to prototype new characters and enemy behaviours, but also helped get specific with animation cycles.
"iPi Motion Capture software enabled us to improve production turnaround by giving us the tools needed to capture high-quality animations in a short amount of time," Saxon Dixon, N3V Games' Lead Artist, says. "This allowed us to focus on other areas that might have otherwise been overlooked. For a small team, iPi Soft's motion-capture solution has been invaluable."
Improved workflow was especially evident when the N3V creative team wanted to add a new level of player immersion by having their animation team pull from a large selection of zombies to give the appearance of a zombie horde.
"To do this we used iPi's Motion Capture to record the movements of everyone in the office," Dixon explains. "We wanted to get a wide range of diverse attack motions, which we then put into an animation pool with each animator selected randomly, giving the appearance of a mob of zombies. iPi Motion Capture allowed us to alleviate a lot of the time constraints involved with creating over 20 different animation cycles. It really helped with the success of the project."
A game-changer for Olsen was how well iPi Soft's software integrated with their new Unity 4.0 animation system. "We have many detailed animated characters within the game and in order to get the best visuals we needed the best animation we could achieve," Olsen adds. "iPi Motion Capture software allowed us to perform naturally - just be ourselves - when animating our characters and let iPi Motion Capture and Unity 4.0 handle the rest."
"The mobile and casual game market is seeing tremendous growth recently, thanks in part to innovative game developers like N3V Games," Michael Nikonov, iPi Soft's Chief Technology Architect says. "We're proud of the fact that so many content developers are incorporating our markerless motion-capture technology into their workflows, and finding it a cost-effective option to create more immersive playing experiences for gamers everywhere."