On set of Rise of Tomb Rider
article by Lurie Blache
Game industry brings new technologies in our life most of which were not present in the past. It is not until recently that the gaming industry has adopted some new innovative technologies and they have known to make a debut in the cinemas. New technologies have brought into the present life the future. The past gaming technologies have not been neglected but instead they have been incorporated during film production. However, new technology such as Mocap Technologies have been used especially for making cinematic look of the ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’ gameplay. The main purposes of developers were to erase edge between cinema and gameplay. New Mocap Technologies and new skin techniques have been used in the initial video game to make it more real and provide a different experience to the players than what they were accustomed to.
The developers were aiming at creating a video game that offered a different experience and allowed the player to feel connected to the world created in the game. The protagonist, Lara Croft, resembles the real-life actress Camilla Luddington. The developers wanted to make her as human as possible and this was made possible through the use of new technologies. Her face and voice have been used and impersonated by Lara Croft as a way of making her seem humanly as possible.
The Mova Technology
The game director, Brian Horton, in a speech mentioned that a team of experts was selected to create the perfect character that could stand all the criticism from the real human beings. The head of studio, Patrick Naud, mentioned that they used the Mova Technology. In the past, they used normal motion capture, which uses dots placed on the actor’s face for points of reference.
Mova technology is used for facial capture through the use of fluorescent paint, which is sprayed all over resulting in more than 7000 points of reference. This type of technology allows for much more realistic capture and it is visible under a backlight.
The game director describes their objective while creating the character, Lara Croft. New skin techniques were used that involved enhancing her skin, eyelashes, pore and facial movements to look as those of Camilla Luddington. In addition, they had to make her character to suit her environment. The setting of the game is in wintry Siberia, and they had to make her react to the weather and dress according to it as real human beings would.
The creative developer also pointed out that cut scenes and action sequences were incorporated in the game. The character, Lara, was formed using studio scans, the team’s artistic skills and facial technology called Morphology to twist and tweak. The team had to take elements of the scans and add them to create the perfect body that could respond to movement.
The new technology allows Lara to have a feel of her environment and respond to it. Her skin gets red spots due to the cold weather and she gets dirty after encountering with her enemies. The technology is seen to make her hair move as that of a real human being as well as the folds visible on her body as she moves.
Lara’s face is seen to depict various emotions pertaining her current situation. In the video game, she portrays a different emotion form a frown that carries its own nuance and meaning: defiance, confusion, vulnerability, fear. It is hard not to notice how her eyes move in a slightly different fashion for each frown, how the lines around her eyes transfer to the particulars of her smile, the angle of her cheekbones, the jut of her chin.
The designers were aiming to produce something more than a game avatar, and put more effort in creating a resemblance of Camilla Luddington. Her eyelashes are made to move with the skin techniques to ensure that she portrays every emotion.
In concluding, it is important to note that at one point the designers put too much of Camilla into Lara that they had to change. However, we cannot deny the fact that the game will be more realistic, as great motion capture needs equally great textures, physics, modeling, and programming to all work in congress to create something that the human brain doesn't find abhorrent. With motion capture in film becoming ever more advanced, and those technologies making their way into games, it looks like the days of traversing the uncanny valley are nearly over. The video game ‘Raise of the Tomb Raider’ has brought in a new perspective of avatars which has been made possible by the use of new technology and skin techniques. The video game is one of a kind and has incorporated the use motion caption technology to its advantage.