Koch Media and Big Ant Studio released a new behind-the-scenes look at the development for the upcoming sports game, Ashes Cricket. Previous cricket titles haven’t been the most competently made, but Koch and developer Big Ant are hoping to turn things around with this year’s outing of Ashes Cricket.
The two minute behind-the-scenes video reveals that the studio wants the game to be the most visually impressive game made in Australia to date. I’m sure the former members of 2K Australia might have something to say about that… assuming some of them still work in the gaming industry.
Anyway, you can check out the behind-the-scenes video below.
Big Ant explains that in order to capture the movements properly they setup their own motion capture studio in-house, and then had actual cricket players to perform the moves so they could capture the data.
Additionally, they have their own in-house photogrammetry studio as well. They don’t, however, use the newer portable 3D scanners that companies like Visual Concepts use to capture character model data. Instead, they use the old-fashioned method of having 360 degree cameras setup to capture every angle and every inch of the player’s face and then import the data for the modelers to clean-up before handing it off to the animation team.
They captured all the major English and Australian professional cricket player faces, both for the males and the females. Based on the images it doesn’t look like there’s subsurface scattering, which gives the models a mannequin-esque appearance. Hopefully that’s sorted before the game’s release.
The hook for games these days isn’t just in the fidelity of the graphics, however. Many studios have access to 3D scanners, laser scanners, and panoramic photogrammetry capture devices, but even after you get the data into the system you still have to animate it, and that’s where things get tricky.
For motion capture it may be realistic movements captured from a real human, but there’s a lot of jankiness and jerkiness that automatically comes with the data unless the clean-up and animation sets are very properly blended together using procedural blending techniques. This technique is basically how games like Madden NFL 18 or FIFA 18 look so smooth and realistic during certain movement transitions in the game.
So in the case of Ashes Cricket, we’ll have to see how well Big Ant took that motion capture data and fed those sets through the blend-tree pipeline to create that seamless and buttery smooth gameplay experience that gamers have come to expect from high-profile sports games.