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Kaydara FiLMBOX Takes Off in Sony Team Soho's 'The Getaway'

(October 29, 2001)
For the past two and a half years, the development team at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Team Soho office has been hard at work building what is turning out to be one of the most highly anticipated games for Sony's popular Playstation 2 console. Entitled The Getaway, this game has the player taking on the role of Mark Hammond, an ex-criminal who has long-since retired from bank robbery and wants only to enjoy the mundane comforts offered by his new role as family man.

Unfortunately for our hero, London mob-boss Charlie Jolson has other ideas. Bad things happen, leading to Hammond's son being kidnapped by the mobster, and what ensues is a series of heart-stopping car chases through London's crazy streets, with the player working their way through the story-driven game in the attempt to rescue the boy. Of course, sometimes to fight dirty people you have to play dirty yourself, so The Getaway's plot has you playing on both sides of the law.

What makes The Getaway so unusual is not so much the setting but rather how that setting is used. The team at Sony Team Soho has painstakingly recreated about 70 square kilometers of London's streets, buildings, sidewalks, and alleyways. This faithful recreation, along with the plot's frenetic pace, promises to make The Getaway one of the hottest games of the upcoming year, and they couldn't have done it without Kaydara FiLMBOX®.

"FiLMBOX has become a major part of our pipeline," said Gavin Moore for Sony Team Soho. "It is a one-stop shop for the animators on this project. Using FiLMBOX has saved us time and money, because we are able to create with 10 animators what it would normally take us 100 animators to produce. FiLMBOX is second to none, and it was really a god-send to the way we work."

The team of over fifty at Sony Team Soho used FiLMBOX to break new ground in how motion-capture is used for game development. For in-game character animation, the team used FiLMBOX to clean motion-capture data from an Ascension system for direct export to the Playstation 2. With FiLMBOX The Getaway's animation team had a great degree of control over their work, and FiLMBOX allowed them to animate over motion-capture data, giving them excellent results in little time.

When creating cutscenes, the team at Sony Team Soho was able to capture and apply the motion-capture data straight to the character models (created in Alias|Wavefront Maya) inside the actual in-game scenes. Using FiLMBOX, the team was able to both clean up the motion-capture data, and animate any dynamic objects within the game (car doors, tables, chairs, etc.). Once all the audio, lighting, and camera cuts were completed, the whole package was then exported to the Playstation 2.

FiLMBOX manipulated motion data fed from both optical and magnetic motion-capture systems (optical was used for in-game movement, magnetic for cutscenes), and using a full series of props the team at Sony Team Soho was able to capture 5 actors in real time, taking data from wireless gloves. After putting the animation and cutscenes together, the team would handle up to 25 characters in FiLMBOX at once, all in real time.

For a long time, motion-capture has been overly complicated and not cost-effective enough to be used in game development. But thanks to FiLMBOX and projects like The Getaway, game development houses are realizing that motion-capture can enhance the overall quality of their character animation, and that FiLMBOX has a powerful set of tools that not only makes motion-capture a possibility, but adds many other useful features to the game development pipeline. From motion 'clean-up' to handling any kind of capture hardware, from 3D character animation to lip-synchronizing audio to facial movements, Kaydara FiLMBOX is the 3D animator's all-in-one toolkit.

The Getaway, is due out for release December 1, 2001.

More on FiLMBOX Kaydara FiLMBOX is an easy to use animation tool that forms the hub of all your 3D character animation and content creation for games. FiLMBOX allows you to impoart your 3D models from any major package, and use FiLMBOX's advanced animation tools to manipulatee your characters in real time.

To find out more about Kaydara, visit

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