[Interview] NaturalMotion's Torsten Reil

We sit down with the man behind euphoria and endorphin to find out exactly how animation is changing on next-gen consoles.
Published: July 20, 2006
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Animation is one of the key areas where next-gen consoles will succeed their earlier brethren. The move to hi-definition video does more than just allow things to run at higher resolutions, it allows more nuanced motion to be better realized.


Beyond all the new textures and the shaders and the various mapping techniques, one of the oldest and most powerful forms of giving a digital character a sense of real-life emotions and personality will get a chance to shine like never before.

The problem is, even with massive budgets and huge chunks of time, it's impossible for animators to hand animate every single movement of a character in-game. Motion capturing live actors helps, but it still requires plenty of man hours to pull off. What if the characters could just animate themselves? Set them up with a basic set of behaviors and let the artificial intelligence routines determine how they react; you'll not only get something contextual, but it'll be a little different every time.

This is where NaturalMotion comes in. Classically, the company has concerned itself with supplying the tools to allow characters to act out on their own to the motion picture industry and special effects studios, but with the increased horsepower of the next-gen systems, it's possible to have characters animate themselves on the fly.

We fired off a handful of questions to Torsten Reil, NaturalMotion's CEO, in an effort to help explain what endorphin and euphoria, the two software suites that allow this kind of breakthrough animation, actually are.
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