Motion Capture Uses

Motion Capture
Game Content Creation

Use of motion capture for games generally consists of:

Content Creation for real-time game play

In the case of real-time game play the production team will need to create quantities of looping motions - allowing the gamer to use the controller or input devices to direct what is happening in real-time. This involves creating loops that share the same start and end positions.

Consider a character in a neutral pose. With a click of the controller the game player needs to have the ability to make it walk or run or jump or turn or back-up, etc. All the motions to be looped are captured separately (or cut apart from longer takes) then a tool like Autodesk's MotionBuilder is used to modify the various takes so that they all have exactly the same starting and stopping pose. This involves blending between recorded motions and the chosen pose. As the group of potential moves are being developed they can be triggered in real-time by keyboard keys or a joystick to preview the motions and the way they fit together.

Once the moves are edited to flow smoothly together they can imported into to the game engine's development software for incorporation into the game.

Though content creation for real-time real-time game play used to be animated mostly by hand advanced editing tools like MotionBuilder make motion capture technology an ideal choice for the starting point for creating groups of looping moves. Motion Capture input is also an ideal starting point for tools by Natural Motion.

Content Creation for cinematics or 'cut-scenes'

In games the cinematics are represent an important tool for the game designer's telling of his or her story telling. Whereas the real-time game play provides various forms of challenging entertainment for the gamer the cinematics enhance the story-telling (and reward aspects of the games. Though real-time game play animation might be constrained by the ability of the game console or PC to display 'as many polygons as possible' along with real-time special effects the cinematics are more like movies where the production team can go all-pit to create as enticing a 'movie' as possible. The real-time capabilities of gaming hardware and computer system keeps improving of course -- eventually the real-time playback quality will match (and exceed) the quality of pre-rendered cinematics being produced today. Of course the cinematic quality will keep increasing to the point where movies and games sort of merge together. We look forward to the storytelling abilities of the designers keeping pace with the hardware developments and capabilities.


Considering how 'animated' game animators tend to be, with our motion capture systems by PhaseSpace and Animazoo game companies gain an exponential advantage when they have a game system in-house - usable 7/24 to capture inspiration the moment it occurs. Considering how clean the data is from the PhaseSpace Impulse system and Animazoo's IGS-190 system - having a mocap system in house pays for itself in a hurry. Another factor helping our clients gain a fast ROI (Return On Investment) is the fact that many of our systems cost about the same (or less) than a week in a motion capture system. Having one of our mocap systems in-house (rather than going out-of-house) also provides an enormous time-savings just from a scheduling standpoint. (Companies that go out-of-house for mocap can phase major scheduling issues getting their work done -- even without considering the time lost having to do pickup shots or repeat performances for changes or re-do's.