Storytelling 'must advance' to keep up with mo-cap

Storytelling 'must advance' to keep up with mo-cap
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

January 18th 2013 at 1:10PM

Good stories required to attract top acting talent, says Quantic Dream boss Guillaume de Fondaumière

Storytelling and acting in games must be improved to reach the next level of motion capture, the co-ceo of Quantic Dream has said.

Speaking to Develop in a new feature on mo-cap, Guillaume de Fondaumière said the key challenge for performance capture was slowly moving away from the technical side and into the creative end.

He said that while 15 years ago members of the development team would simply take on the acting mantle, storytelling must now improve greatly to help attract high quality professional actors to make the most of the advanced motion capture technology available.

“Now that the technology is mature, we can only advance to the next stage if we level up the artistic side of things,” said de Fondaumière.

“We obviously need to attach talented actors - even A-list actors - but that in turn means they need to be presented with stories that make sense and have good dialogues. We will also need professional directors, sound engineers, etcetera.

“It is the entire ecosystem around character creation and animation that is required to evolve to reach that next level.”

Although stressing professional acting was important to reach the next level of motion capture, he added there was still work to do on the technical side to improve accuracy, such as in finger tracking.

He said that a change of paradigm in the technology to markerless systems could also help support a new generation of game actors and allow developers to use real costumes and sets to bring a heightened sense of realism to games.

“On the technical side, accuracy can and must of course continue to improve, for instance to track fingers efficiently,” he said.

“Labeling, cleaning and reconstructing complex data is still not a fully automated process and we must continue to develop techniques and software to streamline the pipeline from stage capture to in-game integration.
 
“From a directing and actor performance perspective, a change of paradigm would be necessary to truly mark a departure and enable us to step into new territory. Markerless systems could for instance one day enable us to capture actors in costume – and not in silly suits – and/or within real sets.”

Quantic Dream is well known for its heavy use of motion capture in their games such as Heavy Rain and upcoming title Beyond: Two Souls, starring A-list film actress Ellen Page in the lead role.

Co-CEO David Cage is also a known outspoken advocate of storytelling in games, and has repeatedly called on developers to challenge their users and offer emotional experiences for wider audiences through narrative.

You can read our full feature on the current state of motion capture, including comment from Faceware, The Creative Assembly, Animazoo, AudioMotion and Xsens, here.