Traction Wars Motion Capture Day - Maniche In Action

Dev Blog #17: Traction Wars in Motion

Traction Wars is a PlayforFree WWII Tactical Teamplay Multiplayer Game.

The game brings a vivid and realistic representation of the Second World War to your screens using the stunning CRYENGINE. The game dynamics & balancing are designed to inspire a teamwork orientated tactical style of gameplay which rewards players who work together closely as a single fighting unit.

Hello there my fellow Traction Warriors and welcome to another Traction Wars development blog. In previous updates we have shown some of our “Work in Progress” first person weapon animations, but today I want to talk about the third person, full-body animations such as running, crawling and jumping.

Animations are not my main task and I’m normally working on different things but once in a while I encounter interesting technologies due to my current stay in Sweden. This time I came across a room which caught my full attention. The room contained a fully operational high speed motion capture system, also known as Mo-cap. The first thing that came to my mind was: “**** ****, we need this for Traction Wars”. Using my superior seduction techniques on the person in charge I managed to get a reservation to use this fascinating piece of equipment for a full day. I immediately called up fellow developer [TWDEV] Maniche, who drove the three hundred kilometres from Norway to help me out.

[TWDEV] Maniche lurks in the undergrowth of the Mo-cap studio.

We humans are so used to body movements like walking that it is very easy for us to spot flaws in artificial animation. This makes creating full body animations an incredibly difficult and time consuming task, often taking days or weeks just for a normal walking loop. It is challenging to find the right balance and weight to make a full-body animation feel as realistic as possible. Because of this, Motion Capture is used heavily in current games and movies.

The commercial grade Mo-cap system uses eight infrared (IR) cameras placed around the subject; in this case [TWDEV] Maniche due to his military experience. Lots of very reflective dots are strategically attached to the subject to reflect the IR light back to the cameras. These dots are so bright on the captured image that they can be separated from the surrounding environment. Due to the use of multiple cameras precision of movement can be calculated to an accuracy within 0.2 millimetres, 120 times a second.

They are strategically attached to the subject enabling realistic motion to be captured.These small white dots reflect infra-red light back to the cameras around the room.

During our capture day we tried to get as close to the real movements as we could. Using weights, a full sized rifle prop and help from [TWDEV] VonMudra during a live Skype call, helping us with the correct way weapons were carried and used. From grenades to heavy machine guns, running, climbing and setting up – we went through as many movements we could think of. It was good to see [TWDEV] Maniche running around getting tired while I pressed the right buttons and verified the captured data so anything could be re-done if something went wrong.

We look forward to showing the processed Mo-cap animations on our in-game characters in the future. Until then, stay tuned for more development updates. And thanks for reading!

Interested in joining the team?
The team is currently looking to recruit 3D Artists, Particle Artists and C++ Programmers in addition to a couple of other areas. If you have experience in game/mod development and are interested in being part of our friendly and professional team then please head over to our recruitment page for full details about the team and available positions.

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Julien Ranzijn Interaction Designer
Julien Ranzijn Interaction Designer