Naughty Dog’s upcoming action-adventure, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End gets a revamped facial animation systems better than their previous action-adventure survival horror, The Last of Us.
Speaking with GamesTM, writer Josh Scherr said, “We’ve completely revamped our facial animation systems – the best way to explain is to say, well… the previous Uncharted games, and in The Last Of Us, the characters all had about 90 to 100 ‘bones’ in their faces which we used to moved the meshes around.
Think about that, about how detailed Joel and Ellie’s pained facial expressions were, how well the game captured the respective actors’ – Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson – seminal roles. All that was achieved on the old tech.
Now, the faces have anywhere between 300 and 500 bones. This lets us get much, much more detail and fidelity in there, so you can really empathise with what [the characters] are saying, and it allows us to hit certain poses that we couldn’t quite hit before…
It all allows us to tell our stories better, to animate our characters better – we hope it’s going to be something you all notice, rather than just be a technical marvel; something that really ties into the characters and emotion in the game.”
Lead designer, Ricky Cambier adds, “[The new tech] lets us emote more, with all the ‘bones’ we can put onto [character’s faces] – you pan round the camera to look at Nate’s face when he’s climbing and you see him grimacing and all this kind of stuff… we’re pushing the detail on a macro and a micro level that I think people are really going to respond to.
We still do all the same sort of things we did with our previous games. But now, we can just have more of it. For example, on older games, some of the animations might have been sampled at 10 or 15 frames per second to save memory.
That would have just been interpolated by our code [to run at 30 in-game]. While that looked fine, we can now afford to record it at 30 frames per second so that the animation looks that much smoother.”
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