Pitch & Produce | PROJECT W: Sandfall Interactive studios develops ambitious RPG game with Real-time tools

Guillaume Broche – CEO / Creative Director

Guillaume Broche – CEO / Creative Director

Founded in 2020 in France, Sandfall Interactive is an independent video game studio focusing on PC and next gen console development of high quality premium games. With a focus on single player experiences, they are looking to deliver incredible stories with fascinating characters in gorgeous worlds for all players to immerse into.

Their first game currently in development – Project W is an RPG experience aimed at next gen consoles and PCs. Set to release on Unreal Engine 5, the game will immerse the player in a beautiful post apocalyptic fantasy world through an epic single-player narrative-driven adventure.

Guillaume worked in game production at Ubisoft for 4 years before founding Sandfall Interactive. They won support from Reallusion’s Pitch & Produce program, where they received the help of real-time creative tools like Character Creator, SkinGen plugin for Character Creator (CC), iClone, the Rokoko Smartsuit profile for iClone, and AAA mocap motions from the ActorCore online platform, to be used in the Unreal Engine.

“The promise to get realistic characters, fully customizable, automatically rigged to the UE4 skeleton, and with blendshapes seemed too good to be true — but Character Creator actually delivers in all these areas.”

Guillaume Broche – CEO / Creative Director

“Cardi Tries” Facebook Watch series takes Cardi into the game with Reallusion & Actor Capture

The 2020 Billboard Woman of the Year and Grammy-winning artist – Cardi B teamed up with Facebook for a series that featured Cardi in a number of experiences which were all caught on camera.  Cardi B was joined by her husband – Offset, to experience motion capture, create a game character and get themselves into the game as they go through the motions at a rapid pace to see what it takes to build a game featuring custom characters from Character Creator, animations from Reallusion’s ActorCore, mocap with Xsens motion tracking, iClone motion editing, all into the Unreal Engine.  This is “Cardi Tries… Gaming”.

The reality TV series features custom characters, motion capture and animation from the Reallusion pipeline wielded by Atlanta, GA based crew from Actor Capture featuring James Martin (master of ceremonies and TD), Joel Mack (Unreal Engine, Xsens MVN, iClone), Max Thomas (Unreal Engine, LED wall), and John Martin (Reallusion Character Creator).

Cardi Tries Gaming – Facebook Watch – 2021 – Episode 7

Episode 7 was filmed December 2020 in Pacoima, CA near Burbank on the XRStage. The team from Actor Capture worked with Jesse Collins Productions, Director Brenden Carter and Facebook’s production team to plan the shoot, find the location at XR Stage and develop the experience of the characters, mocap, and  game levels from start to finish. Actor Capture utilized Xsens, iPhone, Character Creator, iClone with Unreal Engine to bring everything together for the two games. 

James Martin, Joel Mack and director – Brenden Carter during pre production with Xsens MVN

The motion capture was made possible through the Reallusion pipeline, Xsens and the iPhone powered by iClone Motion Live to animate the Character Creator characters of Cardi and Offset.

James Martin welcomed Cardi and Offset to the stage after they were briefed on the events of the day and suited up in their Xsens Link motion capture suits. The motion capture led Cardi and Offset through sword fighting, melee combat and special finishing moves. James directed the combat scenarios while Joel Mack and Max Thomas were engineering the stage and capture workstations. A camera and production crew of over 40 people were surrounding everyone to shoot the show during the capture.

The character building process for the game characters included feedback from Cardi and Offset during the shooting as they directed their design in realtime. We started with four characters prepared in different game genres using Character Creator

Cardi even got in on the creation and took the controls to customize her digital double’s body, face and hair.  Character Creator enabled fast creation, on set collaboration in real-time and quick export to the Unreal Engine projects.

Cardi and Offset selected items from the Character Creator library to customize their characters during the production filming.  The entire episode was filmed in one take with the duo truly sharing their reactions of each step of the process.

The character creation process was displayed on the XRstage LED wall while John worked with Cardi B and Offset to design their game characters.  The couple enjoyed making some tweaks to their characters and experienced the speed of building digital humans in real-time with Character Creator

Behind-The-Scenes iClone Animation Cardi B and Offset for Cardi Tries Gaming

After Cardi and Offset finished their motion capture session with James, and they each worked with John to design a character with Character Creator, we captured some impromptu dialog with iClone.

Facial animation captured during the shoot was simple with iClone Motion Live, iPhone and LiveFace.  The end result was provided by Actor Capture and used by Facebook Watch as a cut-scene throughout the episode.  The full animation was given to production as 4K video renders from iClone and the producers at Facebook selected clips to add in the episode.  The final edit added animated shots from Cardi and Offset using the iClone capture. This was a great example of Reallusion Character Creator and iClone going from concept to production and approval, for inclusion of multiple shots in the final edit.  

Unreal Engine game characters and scenes were created with Character Creator and the assets from the Unreal Engine Marketplace. Cardi Quest and Cardi Combat featured 3rd person fighting in two different styles that allowed Cardi B and Offset to face off in head to head combat or try and clear all the levels while fighting enemies to win. These vertical slices were made to provide an end to our story and finally get Cardi and Offset into the game. With the massive help of Reallusion tools, Actor Capture was able to make it all happen. The games created for the show are featured in a reel below with some clips for each game level.

The full production took place over the course of one day of shooting and since airing on Facebook Watch the “Cardi Tries Gaming,” episode has reached 3.9 million views. 

For more information about Actor Capture visit:

http://www.ActorCapture.com

Pitch & Produce | YOUXIA: Tech Noir Action Adventure Game uses Artificial Intelligence for 3D Character Creation

Stephane Biesse – CEO of Aardwolf Interactive

Stephane Biesse

Stephane Biesse, is the CEO of Aardwolf Interactive. He studied network security and business management in France and the United Kingdom, before working as a business developer for different companies.

Since his childhood Stephane has been in love with console and PC video games. As a teen he started coding and modding games as a hobby, and kept doing it until 2018 when he decided to quit his job as head of sales for a big company and funded Aardwolf Interactive to make his passion his job.

Since then, Stephane has hired 5 people and are developing their first video game YouXia – which is a tech noir action adventure game that is being developed in Unreal Engine with Character Creator‘s artificial intelligence-based plugin Headshot to create realistic characters, combined with AI generated photos from Generated.Photos to create crowd characters.

“It is truly remarkable how Character Creator, and Generated.Photos are shaping the future of game development with artificial intelligence, by providing a way for indie game studios and solo developers to aim higher than their initial budget, while producing visually stunning games.”

Stephane Biesse – CEO of Aardwolf Interactive

The PhoenIX VR: Animated Sci-Fi created with Character Creator, iClone and Unreal Engine

Abhi Kumar – Creative Director / Warrior9 VR

Abhi Kumar

Abhi has always been driven by the desire to create cutting edge visual stories. He has experience writing for the stage and television and has also written and directed multiple short films. After trying his first virtual reality experience Abhi dedicated himself to creating VR content that would instil the same feeling of awe and wonder in audiences that he felt when he first tried VR. His latest project is The PhoenIX.

The PhoenIX is a CG cutting edge VR series with a complex narrative, truly cinematic 360 directing and innovative storytelling methods that fully leverage the medium of narrative VR. Like all good science fiction it not only entertains but holds up a mirror to society and asks deeper questions such as who we are as a race and where are we headed. Ultimately, the series is about unity, about how we need to come together to survive rather than stand apart. 

The small and passionate team at Warrior9 VR created the series in VR, where they employed tools like Character Creator 3, iClone, Perception Neuron and Unreal Engine to not only provide the most visceral experience audiences could ever have but to also showcase the narrative potential of this brand new medium. This is science fiction like you have never seen before.

“With a team of 6 we were able to create high quality animated VR content and part of this is thanks to tools like Character Creator. “

Abhi Kumar – Creative Director / Warrior9 VR

LAMPBLACK: Voice Actors turn Game Developers with Character Creator 3 and Unreal Engine

Lucas Gilberston & Carol-Anne Day

Lucas Gilberton & Carol-Ann Day

We’re Lucas and Carol-Anne. We’re voice actors, musicians, and visual artists, with a passion for compelling narrative video games. 

Our claim to 15 minutes of fame was doing voice work for anime like Gundam cartoons, some versions of Dragonball and Lucas was Zero in the Mega Man X franchise in the early 2000’s.

Our powers combined, we’re the Hermit Collective! And we’re making Lampblack. Lampblack is a third person narrative adventure with behavioural, cerebral, and philosophical puzzles. It’s a game that demands mindful exploration, attention to details, and an astute understanding of behavior. All of this is packaged in a beautiful and surreal world.

And that’s where Reallusion came in. The characters are very important in a story and game such as this, and we needed to have stunning characters brought to life in a believable way that could elicit an emotional response from our audience. And that’s what we’ve got! So that’s us! Thanks for being here! We love you.

With Character Creator 3 we cannot only flesh out our core cast, but we can create dozens if not hundreds of iterated characters for an entire village or city. This enables us to make an entire world in an attractive amount of time. Before, we’ve spent over a year making one three minute hand drawn animation. Now, we can accomplish in days what previously took years.

Lucas Gilberston – Game Developer

Cepheus Protocol: Open World RTS Indie Developers employ Character Creator 3 in Unreal Engine

Robert Smith – CEO / Game Director

Robert Smith

Cepheus Protocol is an independently developed top-down open world RTS inspired by XCOM, Company of Heroes, and Parasite Eve.

The team is led by CEO and Game Director Robert Smith, who leads a team of diverse individuals from various backgrounds from all around the world who are utilizing Character Creator 3 in their RTS game due to release in May 2020.

Character Creator solved a lot of problems for us creatively, as we didn’t have the character modelers needed to populate a city.”

Robert Smith – CEO / Game Director

Blaze Sky: Solo Indie Developer creates animatable 3D characters for Space Opera RPG game

Will Iverson – Game Developer

Will Iverson

Will Iverson has been working in the computer and information technology field professionally since 1990. His diverse background includes developing statistical applications to analyze data from the NASA Space Shuttle, product management for Apple, and developer relations for Symantec’s Visual Cafe.

Clients over the last two decades include Sun, BEA, Canal+ Technologies, AT&T, T-Mobile, the State of Washington, and many, many more. From 2010-2016, Will grew Dev9, a premier Seattle-based consulting company focused on continuous delivery solutions for a wide range of enterprises, including the backend for many large entertainment firms.

Starting in 2017, Will transitioned to independent game development, with a new company, Double Robot where he used iClone and Character Creator to complete his game.

I simply couldn’t have those animated characters without CC3 and iClone, full stop. I was able to build characters from my story bible and animate them in just a few days.

Will Iverson / Unity Game Developer

Indie Developer Uses Real-time Tech to Compete against AAA Studios

FYQD-Studio reveals the secrets behind Bright Memory: Infinite game development

A new era for game developers has dawned: small and indie game studios can now compete against triple-A studios with the support of real-time technology.

Bright Memory: Infinite, a fusion of FPS and action genres created by a solo developer at FYQD-Studio, has found success and popularity since its January 2019 launch viaEarly Access on Steam. It received an Unreal Dev Grant in 2019 and was presented by NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang at GTC China 2019.The developer, Zeng Xiancheng, lays out the behind-the-scenes story on how he achieved a spectacular looking game – with the help of Unreal Engine, NVIDIA RTX, and real-time animation tools: iClone and Character Creator.

Developer Zeng Xiancheng is currently working on content for Bright Memory: Infinite, which is slated for release by the end of 2020. He hopes fans continue to stay tuned for the launch. In this article, Zeng shares how he was able to produce the game all by himself with very limited budget and manpower.

FYQD-Studio Interview video:

Unreal VR Game Developer creates NPCs with Character Creator & iClone

Myron Mortakis – Founder of Helm Systems

Myron Mortakis

Myron Mortakis is the President and founder of HELM Systems, a South Florida-based software development company, specializing in interactive and virtual reality software development.

He carries over his expertise and experience of over 13 years in structuring, organizing and directing development teams. Myron has led his company to international recognition, in the form of award nominations, mainstream world-wide online and print publications, as well as to the creation of HELM’s proprietary 3D rendering engine.

Helm systems is now developing their VR project – The SoulKeeper VR where they used Character Creator and iClone for their Unreal game project.

Reallusion’s products are an essential component in our development toolbox, as they facilitate and expedite a lot of complex processes that are involved in a character’s production cycle, without sacrificing quality.

 Myron Mortakis / President-Founder of Helm Systems

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