How does motion capture technology work in games? (Topic)

World Of Topics » Games » How does motion capture technology work in games?

How does motion capture technology work in games?


If you ask people working in the field of creating new technologies what Motion Capture is, they will either give you a boring lecture, or they will offer you to read Wikipedia. If you ask a movie fan or a gamer about this, he will start screaming with delight, wondering or laughing: Ooooh, don't you know how films are made? How was Avatar filmed? Do you know how Golum was made from The Lord of the Rings? " and so on.

Therefore, we will answer this question. Continuing our series on how video games are made, we'll show you how Motion Capture or mocap is used.

Doctors and Fatalities

Guess what medicine has to do with Mortal Kombat? Maybe the creator of MK Edwart Boone had a higher education as a surgeon to know exactly where and what organ in the game his characters should rip out? An interesting option, but incorrect. You will find out now.

The history of Motion Capture begins in the distant 70s, when Walt Disney's studio released its most famous cartoons using an old-fashioned method called rotoscoping. Live actors performed all the movements. They were filmed and then outlined with a pencil, give the cartoon life. Everything was done with tracing paper, pencil and hundreds of hard hours of work of animators. This method was the forerunner of today's technology.

And so progress went forward and computers appeared, which spread in American medicine at that time. Doctors began to use them for new methods of analysis and examination. Professor Tom Calvert turned out to be especially inventive, who decided to attach potentiometers to the sore joints of a person, which transmitted the movement of the patient's skeleton to his computer.

The system was not perfect and slowed down, so Calvert modernized it and decided to test it on dancers. Who knows what was in this man's head when he saw how motion capture occurs ideally and realized that it could be sold for a lot of money!

"Well eeeeee?" - you ask. So, he earned them, because in 1993 Edward Boone took advantage of the principles of its development, whose studio released the very first Mortal Kombat, whose characters moved using the Motion Capture optical system. The heroes of the game were so different from everything that gamers had seen before that everyone was cut into it. So the game became a cult, and the mocap technology got into the gaming industry.


Praise for Peter Jackson and Golum!

Of course, it is thanks to the trilogy "The Lord of the Rings" by Peter Jackson that mocap staked out and reached a new level of development. Most importantly, after the triumph of films, Jackson's digital special effects studio WETA Workshop became famous all over the world as the best (without exaggeration) in the implementation of motion capture technologies. Her services were used in the future to create films "Transformers", "I am a robot", "Avatar".

After the studio shouted to the competitors, “You won't pass!”, the technology began to improve. Suits were made lighter, with more gauge and less constraining.

Shouting "Gip Gip Hooray!" we also owe Andy Serkis. Do you know who it is? Hah, not surprising, because this man is just god of acting in a mocap suit. Andy is the same person who played Golum. He also played King Kong in the film of the same name by the same Jackson and the Chimpanzee King in the reboot of Planet of the Apes.


In addition, Andy Serkis, without dropping his costume, played the character and oversaw the filming of Heavenly Sword for the third curling iron in 2007, which took place at the WETA Workshop. He set the bar for quality mocap actor work.

Man in a suit, who are you without him?

Today it is impossible to imagine computer games without motion capture technology. That when Half Life 2, Mass Effect, Mortal Kombat came out, and even more so now, when absolutely all studios making AAA games use motion capture. Our technical progress at the end of the second decade has led to the fact that you can use Motion Capture even at home, the main thing is not to hit your head on the chandelier and do not break the vase when you do the tricks. Putting a bunch of sensors on the face and making a couple of grimaces, you can easily transfer them to the face of the character model.

Yes, at least kinekt can be used with Xbox, which also recognizes your voice, if the prerogative of sensors on your face does not appeal to you. Everything depends only on your skills, and of your financial capabilities.


Let's not hide the fact that high-quality motion capture requires very expensive equipment. And if the big studios doing all sorts of Detroit Become Human, God of War, Marvels Spider Man, The Last of Us laugh when they see the budget for the mocap of an amateur indie studio, for this indie team this is a cosmic sum and it will be easier to resort to the good old computer animations.

You also need hands from the right place when working with mocap, as the cooler the equipment, the more technical and professional red tape.

More mocap, more!

Here are some more facts about the technology:

  • Today there are two technologies of motion capture - marker and markerless. The first is that a person is wearing a special suit with a bunch of sensors.


Second, when the actor is in ordinary clothes, and special cameras capture all his movements and process them in programs. The most famous example is LA Noire


  • In addition to WETA Workshop, the title of rulers of the motion capture kingdom is shared by three other giants: Industrial Light and Magic by George Lucas, Rhythm & Hues, which gave us Life of Pi and Golden Compass, and Digital Domain, in which they forged Transformers "and" Real Steel "


  • If you are still eager to make your game with a motion capture system, then for budget equipment there are good programs that will help you. Specifically, these are Autodesk Motionbuilder, MatchMover, Movimento.

Take over the world

Without Motion Capture, the games industry today cannot exist. This technology will only develop, but is unlikely to disappear. Right now, it is being modernized for both professionals and amateurs. She went through an unnatural selection and proved to be the best thing in bringing characters to life!

The Topic of Article: How does motion capture technology work in games?.
Author: Jake Pinkman