The city of Toronto took part in Doors Open Toronto this past weekend and we got the chance to visit Ubisoft Toronto’s motion capture studio to see exactly what is involved when making their best-selling titles. Anyone who missed the experience will definitely want to continue reading to see exactly what took place.
We were welcomed by a team from Ubisoft who went over the layout of the studio and described the technology that was all around us and how it works. It was very interesting to see the steps that were discussed within each project as an initial idea is transferred to a story board, which is then utilized to bring the desired scenes to life. Two actors were geared up in the motion capture costumes which featured numerous markers and they showed the crowd how all of their actions are tracked in Ubisoft’s software. We were also shown the live movements through a basic animation representation, followed by another mode that immediately inputs the movements of the actors as their desired characters in the upcoming Ubisoft title, Starlink: Battle for Atlas. We watched in awe as their movements were presented on screen before us as if they were the characters on a space ship signaling each other, walking up stairs, leaning against platforms, using props as helmets, and minimal dancing to show us the immediate representation within the game environment. They also started and ended each sequence in a T pose, which indicates to the team that this signals the beginning and end points of each scene. It was very impressive to see the technology working right before our eyes.
We were also shown a video of how the markers and costumes have been outfitted on dogs named Harley, Turbo, and Gabe to raise overall gameplay immersion when using dogs as the recordings of their movements offer a sense of realism that is very difficult, if not nearly impossible, to fully capture without the ability of motion capture.
In the other corner of the studio there were countless Canon T7i cameras that, brought together with software, was able to fully capture individuals and their attire. Numerous hours would be saved from designing such items as they could simply capture it, such as a design on a shirt, and then utilize the asset in the game’s 3D workflow.
The Ubisoft team also discussed how games are focusing more and more on overall realism of an actor’s portrayal and likeliness in a game, which becomes such an integral element to a player’s gameplay experience. Facial features is a huge factor to this experience, but it was also mentioned how important teeth were. They showed us how they make molds of an actor’s teeth that is then used as an asset in a game to enhance the overall realistic nature. All of these elements define the experience that gamers love.
We were also informed that Ubisoft has a second motion capture studio in Montreal and that the Ubisoft teams from all over the world go to both Toronto and Montreal to utilize the technology present to enhance each and every game they develop.
Doors Open Toronto 2018 was a great success and it was very exciting that Ubisoft was able to participate for the first time as they opened their doors to the public and gave us all a peak at one aspect of game creation. We definitely can’t wait to see what next year will hold.