King Art Games’ upcoming dieselpunk RTS game, Iron Harvest, is still heavy in development, but the developers let loose a video not too long ago showcasing what sort of steps they’re taking to bring the cinematics to life in a dynamic and high quality way without renting a giant performance capture studio, or spending millions to have top-notch CGI studios like Blur bring the story to life through cinematics.
Instead, King Art Games are experimenting with the camera-free mo-cap technology provided by Xsens, a company that specializes in advanced performance capture technology that reads 1:1 kinematic data from biometric body bands, very similar to the Myo gesture technology.
King Art published a video teasing gamers with some test footage of the Xens in motion for possible use with the cinematics for Iron Harvest, which is an alternate history war game that sees industrialized mechs fighting on the battlefield. You can check out the test footage below.
We can see how the data from the suit works with the both the humans and the mechs in the game, showcasing a lot of potential for how the studio could put together the cinematics in Iron Harvest. It would definitely be a heck of a lot cheaper than having someone manually keyframe the animations for the characters, and it would also work wonders for bringing the human characters to life with life-like motions. They would still need to find a solution for the faces if they plan on doing any close-ups during the cinematics. However, with tech like Faceware Technologies, it’s very possible to rig up the cinematic meshes and use a camera to capture the facial data.
The team still seems to be working on figuring out how they want to utilize the Xsens mo-cap tech for Iron Harvest, but if the tests above are anything to go by, it looks like it could be a great solution for the game.
The technology uses wireless biometric feedback to capture movement data using high-frequency wireless transmitters. You can see how well it works even in high-magnetic environments, which demonstrates just how accurate the capture ratio is compared to the classic ball-joint performance capture techniques.
The dance routine paired with Trevor James Tillery’s “Numb” is just about perfect. It really highlights both the fluidity of the tech, the range of the motions, and the fact that Xsens has a lot more range, so it’s possible to film outside with tracking as opposed to be contained within studios utilizing filming blocks.
It’s a lot like iPi Soft but greatly evolved. The setup video also reveals that it utilizes Wi-Fi data transmissions very similar to how the new wireless VR adapters transmit data, like the TPCast adapter, via a router hub.
This kind of tech could greatly reduce costs of performance capture. There’s a lot less maintenance, moving parts and clunky hardware to keep track of.
I would love to see more games making use of Xsens, because it could really open up cinematics for a lot more creative gameplay and realistic character and object motion.
It’s always cool to see smaller studios experiment with new technologies, especially when it means they can cut costs and expand on their vision of the game in new and unprecedented ways.
You can keep track of Iron Harvest, which is due out for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, by visiting the official website. Alternatively, if you’re working on your own game and you’re in need of some new and inexpensive motion or performance capture technology, you can learn more about the camera-free biometric kinematic capture tech by visiting the Xsens official website.