Saturday , April 13 2024

The Art Of Motion Capture: How MoCap Technology Is Transforming NPC Animation & Behaviour

Gaming is no exception to the way technology has permeated various aspects of our life. In fact, technical developments have made gaming more realistic, intricate, and engrossing for players. Previously, player engagement was limited to some extent, but with increased opportunities, the number of players has upsurged. According to a study by IBEF (Indian Brand Equity Foundation), 507 million gamers were registered in India in the financial year 2022, up from 450 million in the financial year 2021, with a 12 per cent CAGR.

Amongst other cutting-edge technologies causing significant disruptions in the world of gaming, MoCap has set the benchmarks high. From sports to military applications, this technology is used across a wide range of industries but in the field of game development, motion capture caters to the process of recording actors’ live motions and using those models to animate character models in-game. Consequently, it has become feasible to imitate human or animal movement more precisely and naturally, leading to more lifelike gaming experiences.

In addition to how games have evolved as a result of MoCap technology, so has the role of non-player characters (NPCs). Previously, NPCs were primarily in the background, with little to no involvement; nevertheless, they have now become vital fighting partners, operating independently or at the command of players. As a result, gamers now have access to a more dynamic and interesting gaming experience, which makes the concerned game task more challenging and exciting.

NPCs Then vs Now

Technological developments have significantly contributed to the change in NPC behaviour, creating novel opportunities for more engaging gaming experiences. Previously having no important function to play other than existing in the background, NPCs now respond in a variety of ways based on predefined variables. In reality, they have progressed from being pre-programmed and predictable to having communication with the main character and performing as the situation demands.

Given the blocky graphics and poor design, it became difficult to distinguish what NPCs appeared to look like in the past. They largely carried on as usual, minding their own business, which severely limited their capacity to participate. However, as cutting-edge technologies have grown in popularity, their behaviour and look have changed, making them easier to identify. In fact, NPC behaviour has become as diversified as what today’s technology demonstrates, allowing players to interact and engage with them more frequently.

Role of MoCap in transforming NPCs

With the emergence and widespread use of technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), motion capture, and real-time rendering, the gaming technological landscape has radically transformed. Especially if we talk about motion capture technology, gamers can now

experience a more realistic gaming environment than ever. In addition, it has also dramatically changed NPC behaviour and animation, providing gamers with the essential human element.

NPCs are currently more connected and alive than ever before, thanks to MoCap, resulting in a more engaging gameplay experience. In fact, they now engage in more dynamic activities and adapt their behaviour in response to the environment, giving players a more exciting and demanding gaming environment and an increased level of realism. The fact that the main character can now directly interact with NPCs who were previously only used as background characters keeps them more interested and adds to the length and depth of the game.

MoCap and NPC: Revolutionising the gaming industry

Technology improvements have altered how we approach many facets of our life today, and gaming is no stranger to it. Providing players with more opportunities and an enhanced degree of control, technological evolutions have transformed gaming to a great extent. Amidst other technologies making valuable contributions to the field of gaming, MoCap has raised the bar high. While influencing other gaming components in an effort to provide gamers with an immersive gaming experience, MoCap technology has dramatically altered the role of non-player characters. Previously, NPCs played a relatively minor or nonexistent role in gameplay; nevertheless, they have since evolved into indispensable partners in the battle, acting on their own initiative or at the player’s orders.

Written by Asit Ghadge, Head of Art, Sumo India Studios

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