One of the most secretive titles currently in development for PlayStation VR is Highwire Games’ Golem, originally revealed back in 2015 before reemerging in October. As part of Golem’s development Highwire has revealed its been working with MocapNow to performance capture the characters in the virtual reality (VR) experience.
Seattle-based MocapNow has become a premier mocap service provider in the Pacific Northwest, with co-owners CJ Markham and Ander Bergstrom having almost 25 years of combined animation and mocap experience. MocapNows performance capture setup features a spacious 70 x 30 foot stage with 17-foot high ceilings for full body capture and an 18 x 18 foot sound stage for simultaneous audio and facial capture with OptiTrack systems.
Utilising 34 cameras, combining a mix of Prime 41s, Prime 17s, Prime 13s and Prime 13Ws all running through Motive software, MocapNow can deliver a range of motion capture services from full performance capture to creating custom rigs, cleaning up data, and building or optimizing external motion capture systems.
“Motives one-button click character setup is huge. Part of the reason people use mocap is for speedy turnaround at high quality, and that feature saves at least an hour each session,” Markham shared in a statement. “Connected to that is the ability to export the FBX actor file directly into content creation pipelines allowing animators to make edits without significant time or budget costs. When data goes directly to a skeleton, like with some other software, it can limit an animators artistic influence and control over the pipeline to fix issues, resulting in subpar deliverables.”
The studios credits span various feature films, videogames and of course VR productions, including HBOs Emmy Award-winning Westworld VR experience, Epic Games’ Paragon, King Kong, Happy Feet, Halo Wars, Halo 5 and many more.
As for facial capture the company uses 24 Flex 13 cameras, Motive software and plenty of facial markers. The setup is designed to capture two performers simultaneously, a process MocapNow has tailored for VR experiences due to the way the technology works.
“We’ve taken a new approach to facial capture, addressing the specific pitfalls facing VR companies,” said Markham. “Capturing high quality audio and facial for two performers simultaneously is unprecedented, and our clients couldn’t be happier with the results we deliver with help from the OptiTrack systems.”
Golem is due for release in early 2018, so PlayStation VR gamers will get to see the results then.