Adventures in Game Animation

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Originally presented at the ANIMIAMI festival & conference (October 2010)

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Adventures in Game Animation

  1. 1. Adventures in Game Animation: Exploring the Limits of the Possible<br />Jeannie Novak<br />Founder & CEO – Indiespace<br />Lead Author & Series Editor – Game Development Essentials<br />
  2. 2. New Ways to Play<br />Social, serious, mobile and casual give birth to new animation techniques . . .<br />
  3. 3. The Social Climb: Flash, Facebook & Frenemies<br />
  4. 4. “Serious” Fun . . . Serious Business<br />
  5. 5. Nomad Culture: Mobile Games<br />
  6. 6. The Casual “Renaissance”<br />
  7. 7. Virtual World Reboot<br />
  8. 8. Online Expansion<br />
  9. 9. Trends<br />Stylized <br />DIY – player as co-creator<br />Indie resurgence<br />Artistic skillset<br />Hybridization<br />Simplicity<br />Covert/stealth learning<br />Team integration<br />Real world in three dimensions?<br />
  10. 10. Brothers From Another Planet<br />Film vs. game animation . . .<br />
  11. 11. Film vs. Game Animation<br />Passivity vs. interactivity<br />Common cause: Captivate viewer/players and involve them in story<br />
  12. 12. Film vs. Game AnimationEnvironments<br />Field of vision only<br />No separate environmental objects needed<br />Must work on a 360 degree level – for environment and character POV<br />Interconnected environments must be maintained (what’s beyond the door?)<br />Triggers / scripted events<br />Film <br />Game<br />
  13. 13. Film vs. Game AnimationPower Limitations<br />Rendering engine constantly creating output based on angle of camera following player character, data, and environmental features<br />Digital output must keep up with player input<br />Low, medium & high quality models needed (world map, combat sequences & cut-scenes)<br />
  14. 14. Film vs. Game AnimationProgramming: AI vs. Scripted Motion<br />Viewed but not interacted with<br />Controlled by animators in “puppet” style<br />Sensitive to user control<br />More “alive” than movie models because they react to stimuli and are capable of learning and storing past behavior<br />Film <br />Game<br />
  15. 15. Cut-Scenes<br />
  16. 16. Cinematics<br />
  17. 17. Modding & Machinima: Changing the Narrative<br />
  18. 18. TOP CINEMATICS & CUT-SCENES<br />Red Alert 2 – Intro<br />Metal Gear Solid 4 – Raiden vs. Vamp<br />Final Fantasy X – Sudeki da ne<br />Descent / Freespace – Intro movie<br />Warcraft III – The Death of GromHellscream<br />The Darkness – Jenny’s End<br />Half-Life 2 / Episode 2 – Ending<br />Command & Conquer – Kain Disposes of Seth<br />Final Fantasy VII – Aeris’ Death<br />Portal – Still Alive<br />Suidoken III – Intro<br />Homeworld – Intro / Mothershiplaunch<br />StarCraft – Terran Campaign Ending<br />Twisted Metal Black – Mr Grimm<br />ArTonelico: Melody of Elemia – All Sorts of Awkwardness<br />
  19. 19. Showdown atthe “Uncanny Valley”<br />Campfire stories from those who lived to tell the tale . . .<br />
  20. 20. Uncanny Valley in the Analog World<br />Bunraku Puppet <br />Humanoid Robot<br />
  21. 21. Uncanny Valley Defeat?<br />Bobby Kotick (CEO, Activision)<br />“This has been the Holy Grail in a lot of respects for video games – the ability to have characters on the screen that you can have an emotional connection with. The medium for the last 25 years has been very visceral, interactive, immersive medium – but it was very hard to have characters to actually have empathy towards or an emotional connection with… or that might make you laugh or make you cry; be some catalyst for an emotional reaction… Call Of Duty: Black Ops is the first game where we’ve been able to perfect the facial animation, mouth movement technology so that the lines that are being delivered are believable. The facial animation looks like a real person”<br />
  22. 22. Call of Duty: Black Ops<br />Call of Duty: Black Ops<br />
  23. 23. Uncanny Valley Defeat . . . ? ? ?<br />Guillaume de Fondaumiere – Co-Founder, Quantic Dream<br />When we showed The Casting everyone agreed it was nice and it really showed that there was a potential for creating virtual actors, but we're still at this frontier where we don't totally suspend disbelief. We still have this uncanny valley to bridge. But today, I can officially announce that there is no uncanny valley any more, not in real-time.<br />Our objective is to make this media a mainstream entertainment form with high creative expectations...To us, the only way to reach the level of quality we were targeting for the animation of our characters was to use Vicon motion capture...Demand has been immediate and we have actually already started to rent the system to high-profile video game and advertising clients. Our new studio is fully installed and is functioning almost every day either for complex full body or facial captures.<br />
  24. 24. Heavy Rain<br />
  25. 25. The Emily Project: Synthespianism?<br />
  26. 26. Level Up . . . Level Down<br />From controllers to real-time “living room mocap” with Move and Kinect . . .<br />
  27. 27. Going the Way of the Wii?PlayStation (Sony) Move<br />
  28. 28. Living Room MocapMicrosoft Kinect<br />
  29. 29. Trends<br />Real world rules<br />Learning by doing  experiential / constructivist<br />Player character customization  self<br />DIY animation (to a point)<br />Move toward less pre-rendered animation<br />
  30. 30. The Great Beyond<br />Pushing game animation past high-end PCs, Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3 . . .<br />
  31. 31. Mobile <br />
  32. 32. Handheld<br />
  33. 33. Interface Simplicity<br />
  34. 34. Dimensionality: Console & Computer<br />
  35. 35. Event Horizon Calling<br />Why black holes and game animation can’t be stopped . . .<br />
  36. 36. The New “Wild Wild West” . . .<br />Anijam collaborative creation<br />Customization<br />Virtual studio<br />Player-controlled movement<br />
  37. 37. What’s Next? <br />3D<br />Life: the game (& the platform)<br />Alternate reality<br />Augmented reality<br />ARGs<br />The new hyperreal?<br />

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