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Kaydara FiLMBOX Fuels Sony Team Soho's 'The Getaway'

by Thomas on Feb. 3, 2003 @ 1:55 a.m. PST

Fast-paced driving, intense fight scenes, and unprecedented realism prove to be a winning combination for Sony Team Soho's London gangster game, "The Getaway," and they couldn't have done it without Kaydara FiLMBOX (now named MOTIONBUILDER). Using MOTIONBUILDER as a hub for its production pipeline, Sony Soho's team of over 50 developers were able to break new ground in advanced character animation and motion capture to produce one of the hottest action games of the year. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) released "The Getaway" in December 2002.

"MOTIONBUILDER has become a major part of our pipeline," said Gavin Moore for Sony Team Soho. "It was an indispensable tool for the animators working on "The Getaway," and saved us significant time and money. Using MOTIONBUILDER, we were able to create with 10 animators what would normally take us 100 animators to produce. MOTIONBUILDER is second to none and a god-send to the way we work."

MOTIONBUILDER manipulated motion data fed from both optical and magnetic motion-capture systems (optical was used for in-game movement, magnetic for cut-scenes) and was able to process over 512 megabyte files in real time. Using a full series of props and taking data from wireless gloves, the team at Sony Team Soho was able to capture motion for five actors and manipulate up to 25 characters in MOTIONBUILDER simultaneously and all in real time, which allowed the producer to have a clear picture of how interaction was best played for realistic game.

For animating characters and creating cut-scenes, the team at Sony Team Soho was able to capture and apply the motion-capture data straight to the character models (created in Alias|Wavefront Maya) inside the actual in-game scenes. With MOTIONBUILDER, the team was able to both clean up the motion-capture data and animate any dynamic objects within the game (car doors, tables, chairs, etc.). Once all the audio, lighting, and camera cuts were completed, the whole package was then exported to the Playstation 2.

For in-game character animation, the team used MOTIONBUILDER to clean motion-capture data from an Ascension system for direct export to the Playstation 2. With MOTIONBUILDER "The Getaway's" animation team had a great degree of control over their work, and MOTIONBUILDER allowed them to animate over motion-capture data, giving them excellent results in less time.

From motion "clean-up" to handling any kind of capture hardware, from 3D character animation to lighting and camera editing, MOTIONBUILDER provided Sony Team Soho with an all-in-one production toolkit for creating cutting-edge games.

"The Getaway"

For the past three years, the development team at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Team Soho office has been hard at work building what is turning out to be one of the most highly anticipated games for Sony's popular Playstation 2 console. Entitled The Getaway, this game has the player taking on the role of Mark Hammond, an ex-criminal who has long-since retired from bank robbery and wants only to enjoy the mundane comforts offered by his new role as family man.

Unfortunately for our hero, London mob-boss Charlie Jolson has other ideas. Bad things happen, leading to Hammond's son being kidnapped by the mobster, and what ensues is a series of heart-stopping car chases through London's crazy streets, with the player working their way through the story-driven game in the attempt to rescue the boy.

What makes The Getaway so unusual is not so much the setting but rather how that setting is used. The team at Sony Team Soho has painstakingly recreated about 70 square kilometers of London's streets, buildings, sidewalks, and alleyways creating an impressive realistic game scenario.

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