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Critically Acclaimed Skyrim Modder Makes Ambitious Game with iClone Character Creator and Unreal Engine 4


Nick Pearce

Nick is an award-winning writer and game developer whose career began with a passion project mod – The Forgotten City, after reaching notoriety with his first Skyrim mod that reached 2 million downloads. Before developing games, Nick worked as a legal and strategy advisor to a multi-billion dollar tech company. ​

Eventually Nick set into making The Forgotten City, by using Character Creator 3, iClone 7 and Unreal Engine, allowing him to win an Australian National’s Writer Guild Award, a 2018 Unreal UnderDog Award, and an Unreal Dev Grant among others.

“I was told it was going to cost a fortune. – That it was going to be about a $500,000 to record the high-quality facial motion capture animations for about 2,000 lines of dialogue. Fortunately, I discovered Character Creator 3 and iClone 7, and was able to create our own facial motion capture animations for about 1% of the cost of traditional facial motion capture.”

– Nick Pearce / Modern Storyteller Studio Founder

Q: Its great to hear from you Nick! Please tell us how you started this exciting journey, along with a bit about your background, and your Modern Storyteller studio.

I started my career by modding a popular RPG, and my first mod – “The Forgotten City”, which has now been downloaded over 2.5 million times. It also won a national Writers’ Guild award, and got some international media coverage from PC Gamer, IGN, and Kotaku among others.

So I decided to take a break from my legal career, set up a studio (Modern Storyteller) and re-imagine my mod as a stand-alone game.

Q: The Forgotten City has won several awards and grants, please us a little about these awards and how they have helped your studio.

Our studio has been very fortunate to have the support of Epic Games, which gave us an Unreal Dev Grant, as well as Film Victoria, a Government arts body, which has generously co-funded our game.

These grants have made it possible for us to build a small team of talented game dev professionals, and go to GDC and PAX East in the U.S. to promote our game.

The Forgotten City (the stand-alone game) also won an Unreal E3 award for making a big splash in a crowded pool of games when it was announced on stage at E3 in 2018, and was voted 3rd most anticipated indie game of 2018 in IndieDB’s annual vote.

Australian Writers’ Guild Award

Q: You mentioned that initially you had many barriers to make your game come true. What obstacles did you encounter along the way, and how did Character Creator 3 and iClone help you overcome them?

When I started making The Forgotten City, I was determined to make it better than the mod on which it was based. That meant it had to have great-looking, well-animated non-player characters, which is a huge challenge for a small start-up studio.

I was told it was going to cost thousands of dollars to model and rig each character, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to animate all of our lines of dialogue. That was going to be a huge barrier. Fortunately for us,
Character Creator 3 (CC3) has allowed us to spin up great-looking character models for next to nothing – and they’re automatically rigged, and easy to optimize thanks to CC3’s in-built tools.

We’re a small game studio making a big, ambitious game called – The Forgotten City. Reallusion’s Character Creator 3 and iClone 7 have allowed us to punch well above our weight and make a great looking game, with high-quality character models, and motion capture animations, on an indie budget.

– Nick Pearce / Modern Storyteller Studio Founder

Game Characters made in Character Creator 3

We’ve also been able to record facial motion capture animations for each line of dialogue, with iClone 7 and LIVE FACE, for a small fraction of the cost of traditional motion capture animations. This software has allowed us to punch above our weight and make a great-looking game on an indie budget.

Game Characters animated in iClone 7

Q: As a video game developer with great experience and development success, what advice can you give to other game developers out there?

Animating video game characters is a complex process with a lot of moving parts, so an end-to-end solution – from dreaming up a character to exporting it for use in a game engine – is invaluable.

I personally think Character Creator 3 and iClone 7 are the best solutions on the market, and have no hesitation recommending them both.


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