When we switched Overkill 3 to 3rd person it became obvious we’d need smooth animations for John Scully, leader of the Resistance, the hero of the people. Crouching, reloading, getting into and out of cover, running, rolling, falling, throwing… You know, all the good 3rd person shooter stuff.
For Overkill 2 we were getting animations from external sources, but it was messy. It took time to get them exactly right. There was a lot of back and forth communication as we had to keep changing the existing animations. Each retake created more and more frustration. In the end, nevermore was the general attitude. So this time around we thought, what if we make our own motion capture studio?
After some research on the good ‘ole Internet, it turns out a low cost motion capture studio can be built. All you need is a few cameras, powerful enough computer, motion capture software, a silly costume and some space.
This is our first motion capture studio setup:
At first all seemed fine. Until the first Christmas party. And the next birthday party. And every other party afterwards. You see, the most time-consuming/frustrating part about motion capture is to align and calibrate all the cameras (we have 6). It took Vojta, the Creative Director of Overkill3, about four hours the first time. The second time it was about 3 hours. Two and a half hours the next.
Unfortunately we never got to see further improvements. Vojta’s rage levels hit the roof, his hair was turning gray, and we didn’t want to risk it further. We had to build solid walls around the cameras to protect them from any future “accidental repositioning”.
Now the studio is locked down and only Vojta has a key. It looks something like this. Notice the first costume we used. We dubbed it “Alien Freakshow Inferno”. Not only does it look stupid, its performance also sucked.
Once the cameras are set, you dress up in a tight costume and fool around. Any animation you want to have in the game, you play out in real life. Then you apply those animations onto your models and put them into the game.
A simplified process is illustrated by the pictures below:
Wanna see how the animations turned out? Right now you can check our teaser. In November, download Overkill 3 and see for yourself. Sign-up below and we’ll remind you!