Eric Jacobus, a veteran stuntman with a career spanning 20 years, recently took to the PlayStation Blog to offer an interesting insight into the amount of work that went into Demon’s Souls remake‘s motion capture and stunt work.
Despite being an experienced motion capture artist and stunt coordinator, Jacobus found that he had to “relearn how to move” over the course of a year and a half because of how precise he had to be. This is because numerous actions like attacks and dodges had to be playable and being too slow or too fast would mess things up.
“When performing combat animations, each move has five stages: opening pose, anticipation (‘antic’), attack, recovery, and end pose,” Jacobus explained. “Anticipations should match the attacks so that they can be anticipated by other players. Recoveries are short for light attacks, long for heavy ones. Being a Japanese game in spirit, the movement in Demon’s Souls is ‘pose-heavy.’ Rather than performing brutal, character-infused attacks, [Creative Director] Gavin [Moore] directed me to be character-less and focus instead on final poses.”
Jacobus had to go through the motion capture process for each of the 20 weapon classes, which included “walks, runs, sprints, pivots, starts, stops, turns, and strafes, all done to a rhythmic metronome.”
“These movements were combined into complex patterns that we called ‘dance cards,’” he continued. “[Animation Director] Chris [Torres] decided to capture the walks in the morning to warm up, build up to sprints, and when I gassed out in the afternoon we captured the ‘encumbered’ movements. The first dance card took us an entire day to capture, but gradually we economized and could finish one in 70 minutes.”
Demon’s Souls released last November to critical acclaim.[Source: PS Blog]