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Adventures in Game Animation


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

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

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  • 1. Adventures in Game Animation: Exploring the Limits of the Possible
    Jeannie Novak
    Founder & CEO – Indiespace
    Lead Author & Series Editor – Game Development Essentials
  • 2. New Ways to Play
    Social, serious, mobile and casual give birth to new animation techniques . . .
  • 3. The Social Climb: Flash, Facebook & Frenemies
  • 4. “Serious” Fun . . . Serious Business
  • 5. Nomad Culture: Mobile Games
  • 6. The Casual “Renaissance”
  • 7. Virtual World Reboot
  • 8. Online Expansion
  • 9. Trends
    DIY – player as co-creator
    Indie resurgence
    Artistic skillset
    Covert/stealth learning
    Team integration
    Real world in three dimensions?
  • 10. Brothers From Another Planet
    Film vs. game animation . . .
  • 11. Film vs. Game Animation
    Passivity vs. interactivity
    Common cause: Captivate viewer/players and involve them in story
  • 12. Film vs. Game AnimationEnvironments
    Field of vision only
    No separate environmental objects needed
    Must work on a 360 degree level – for environment and character POV
    Interconnected environments must be maintained (what’s beyond the door?)
    Triggers / scripted events
  • 13. Film vs. Game AnimationPower Limitations
    Rendering engine constantly creating output based on angle of camera following player character, data, and environmental features
    Digital output must keep up with player input
    Low, medium & high quality models needed (world map, combat sequences & cut-scenes)
  • 14. Film vs. Game AnimationProgramming: AI vs. Scripted Motion
    Viewed but not interacted with
    Controlled by animators in “puppet” style
    Sensitive to user control
    More “alive” than movie models because they react to stimuli and are capable of learning and storing past behavior
  • 15. Cut-Scenes
  • 16. Cinematics
  • 17. Modding & Machinima: Changing the Narrative
    Red Alert 2 – Intro
    Metal Gear Solid 4 – Raiden vs. Vamp
    Final Fantasy X – Sudeki da ne
    Descent / Freespace – Intro movie
    Warcraft III – The Death of GromHellscream
    The Darkness – Jenny’s End
    Half-Life 2 / Episode 2 – Ending
    Command & Conquer – Kain Disposes of Seth
    Final Fantasy VII – Aeris’ Death
    Portal – Still Alive
    Suidoken III – Intro
    Homeworld – Intro / Mothershiplaunch
    StarCraft – Terran Campaign Ending
    Twisted Metal Black – Mr Grimm
    ArTonelico: Melody of Elemia – All Sorts of Awkwardness
  • 19. Showdown atthe “Uncanny Valley”
    Campfire stories from those who lived to tell the tale . . .
  • 20. Uncanny Valley in the Analog World
    Bunraku Puppet
    Humanoid Robot
  • 21. Uncanny Valley Defeat?
    Bobby Kotick (CEO, Activision)
    “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”
  • 22. Call of Duty: Black Ops
    Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • 23. Uncanny Valley Defeat . . . ? ? ?
    Guillaume de Fondaumiere – Co-Founder, Quantic Dream
    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.
    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.
  • 24. Heavy Rain
  • 25. The Emily Project: Synthespianism?
  • 26. Level Up . . . Level Down
    From controllers to real-time “living room mocap” with Move and Kinect . . .
  • 27. Going the Way of the Wii?PlayStation (Sony) Move
  • 28. Living Room MocapMicrosoft Kinect
  • 29. Trends
    Real world rules
    Learning by doing  experiential / constructivist
    Player character customization  self
    DIY animation (to a point)
    Move toward less pre-rendered animation
  • 30. The Great Beyond
    Pushing game animation past high-end PCs, Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3 . . .
  • 31. Mobile
  • 32. Handheld
  • 33. Interface Simplicity
  • 34. Dimensionality: Console & Computer
  • 35. Event Horizon Calling
    Why black holes and game animation can’t be stopped . . .
  • 36. The New “Wild Wild West” . . .
    Anijam collaborative creation
    Virtual studio
    Player-controlled movement
  • 37. What’s Next?
    Life: the game (& the platform)
    Alternate reality
    Augmented reality
    The new hyperreal?