The Finnish developers behind Max Payne and Alan Wake, Remedy Entertainment have thrown the down the motion capturing gauntlet. They claim that their new method for capturing facial expressions will totally blow anything Rockstar is doing with L.A. Noire straight out of the water.
Remedy's lead animator, John Root (Who's also worked for Epic, id and, briefly Disney) says that his new technology will eliminate the need for actors to do capturing for every scene, as it uses scans just to get the ball rolling. From there, animators will be able to use a series of slides to contort the 64 facial movements that all expressions are based off of. It also removes the need for "retargeting", which is the process animators use for tweaking raw mo-cap data. Supposedly these scans are accurate to within a 1/2mm, but without seeing it myself, I just have to take their word on that for now.
Root's tech does sound pretty sweet though, and apparently he's not going to stop there. Next he wants to add color mapping to the process, so that when characters get pissed off or blush, you'll be able to see the adjustment to pigment in the skin tone by having an artery system full of blood under the surface as well.
Since Max Payne is a Rockstar franchise, I can't imagine them being too pissed off at the news that, much like a computer bought six months ago, their revolutionary tech is already a dinosaur. But it's gotta be a slap in the face to anyone working on L.A Noire.
“LA Noire has set a bar for facial animation,” CEO Matthias Myllyrinne says of Rockstar’s forthcoming crime title. Raising one hand, then placing his other significantly higher, he adds: “But [Rockstar’s game] is here, we’re aiming to be here.”
That's kind of a low blow Matthias, especially considering that you guys aren't even ready to reveal your tech demo to the public yet. I'm thinking maybe you should wait until E3 to bring out all the smack talk, as that's when I'm guessing you'll be showing more of this new system off.