UK-based developer and publisher Codemasters is working with Image Metrics to create facial animations for its key characters in upcoming first-person shooter Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising.
Due spring 2009 for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Operation Flashpoint 2 is a "military conflict simulator" that allows players to choose between a range of military disciplines, vehicles, and equipment before heading into combat. Players can take on the role of an infantry marine, a helicopter pilot, a special forces officer, or a tank commander.
Using Image Metrics' facial animation solutions, the developer can capture an actor's facial performance, analyze it pixel-by-pixel, and then transfer it onto a computer generated character model. The software has been used previously to animate characters in games including 2K Games' Top Spin 3, Epic's Unreal Tournament 3, and Rockstar's Midnight Club Los Angeles and Grand Theft Auto IV.
Codemasters is using the software specifically to help communicate key characters' emotions and expressions during Operation Flashpoint 2 cutscenes. Image Metrics will develop 57 shots for the game, totaling 262 seconds of animation created in about one month, the company says.
"Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising will take players closer to war then they've ever come before," says Codemasters Studios senior producer Brant Nicholas. "To achieve that end, we turned to Image Metrics' facial animation solutions because of their unique ability to perfectly capture the range of emotions that soldiers experience in combat."