Heavy Rain Dev Calls L.A. Noire's MotionScan Tech a "Dead End"

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Green isn't a good colour on you, David...

I love how any topic that even mentions Quantic Dream immediately turns into a rant thread about how much Heavy Rain sucked.

David Cage is a dick, sure (although, having read his personal blog archives, I think he might actually be suffering from some severe mental ailments), but what did he say here that was false? Rockstar's mocap tech is good, and the game it made looks good (both of which he freely admits), but it IS incredibly expensive and it ISN'T versatile.

Yeah, pots and kettles and all, but still, this is bordering on ad hominem attacks.

Oooooooooooohhhhhh, buuuuurn.

This is great, some good ole fashioned competition!

Put your money where your mouth is, Quantic Dream! Show us what you got!

All that said, Cage does have a point. What Rockstar is doing is capturing the body and face separately, and that's a pretty big hurdle when animation for anything, especially for video games. The facial technology looks absolutely astounding, but when you look past that it doesn't seem to really excel in other places (textures are kind of flat, mainly on the face, and the eyes of course are off.)

However, it's a pretty bold claim to make with this guy. At first I didn't mind his pretentiousness because, well, sometimes you need to be pretentious to move forward. Nowadays, though, it is starting to backfire against his favor as some people have pointed out (I don't think I need to restate what they've been saying, just read this thread).

Fuck that guy. He made a bad movie. He's not an authority on anything.

Actually if they are trying to emulate movies it makes sense to capture the face and body separately.

The way you act to a camera changes according to how close that camera is; when the camera is in tight focus a lot of the actor's tools are taken away from him. Body language is no longer part of the performance, and you have to compensate for that - your taught to compensate for that. So if a camera in game is up close to a character's face, it makes sense to put the actor in the same situation so that they can adapt their performance for that situation.

So it makes sense for facial expressions to be filmed in that way, since the majority of the time a player sees the face of a character up close they are unlikely to see the characters body language.

That said, I've not seen the system in action yet - for all I know its a path strait into the Uncanny Valley.

Of COURSE its not as good. Its ABSOLUTLY not like hes just trying to get publicity to his game and talk it up. Its NOT like this technology is better than what he has

IMHO cage has a point where he says that capturing only face movements and capturing face AND body movements can make a world of a difference. As for whether his tech will actually be better, we'll just have to wait and see. Also did some of you miss the part where he said that LA Noir looked good? He just raised concerns that the standard set by LA noir may be abut the best that can be done with that particular method.

If their next game is like heavy rain no one will give a shit how it look like. That wasn't even a game.

Sure sounds like they are quakin' in their boots over at Quantic Dreams

The Dev seems kind of arrogant if you ask me.

Shameless self-promotion count: 1.

He's right. On a frame-by-frame basis LA Noir characters look genuinely really ugly. You can't have normal mapping, or reflectivity (or as stated, scripted eye directions) for the yes, or 3D hair. Everything is just a video projected onto a deforming mesh by the looks of it. You get amazing animation but it is a dead end. They need to be able to have meshes and texturing that look up like you'd expect from other games.

jhlip:
The Dev seems kind of arrogant if you ask me.

My thoughts exactly. Maybe when this guy manages to make a statement without sounding like a self-important twat, I may listen to him. Until that day though, I'm not paying attention.

David Cage actually has a fair point and if you read the source he presents his point well enough and doesn't "shit talk" as much as you think. I think this is a case of Rockstar fanboyism or something (also by the way, Team Bondi is also making the game too, give them a little credit)

Quantic Dream knows what they are doing and I already myself know a little bit about one of their upcoming projects and I think they have some really good technology in the making at the moment, the only problem is they have trouble finding ideas it seems.

EDIT: None of you read the source and you all jump to the conclusion that Cage thinks he's important or that he's a twat, he actually has a big point and the flaw he's talking about might make L.A Noire suffer from it (almost as much as Bioware's games suffer from having characters with creepy stares and not many facial expressions)

Lol, Heavy Rain developers talking innovation. Heavy Rain has probably the worst storyline I've seen in a game. The predictability was insane and the characters were such cardboard cut-out stereotypes (Beat cop, whore with a heart etc.) that it made the game insufferable. Also you had to hold down R2 to walk and change directions with a thumbstick? What the fuck, I think quantic dreams mistook retardation for innovation with that one.

Sylocat:
I love how any topic that even mentions Quantic Dream immediately turns into a rant thread about how much Heavy Rain sucked.

David Cage is a dick, sure (although, having read his personal blog archives, I think he might actually be suffering from some severe mental ailments), but what did he say here that was false? Rockstar's mocap tech is good, and the game it made looks good (both of which he freely admits), but it IS incredibly expensive and it ISN'T versatile.

Yeah, pots and kettles and all, but still, this is bordering on ad hominem attacks.

This. Thousand times this.

I love Heavy Rain's graphics. I love Heavy Rain as a whole game (yes, a game. Battle sequences are solved with QTE's sure, but the rest is a game, just the interface is very different from others. What exactly makes 'push the right analog stick in a certain way to do certain action' less a game mechanic than 'press F to use', or 'left click to interact'?). It's my all time favorite.

Call me a fanboy, but I agree with him. L.A. Noire's facial animations are looking great (and Cage admits that), but even trailers can show you what he is talking about. I'm ultra hyped about L.A. Noire, because I love detective stories, and graphics, setting, EVERYTHING look damn fine so far... But if there's one studio that can 'one up' this level of graphics and animations - it's Quantic Dream... And maybe Crytek if they'll stop making things look too shiny.

The Youth Counselor:
Stop twisting Gage's words. He's not shit talking, but bringing up a real concern. It's just a shame he's a professional and not entitled to the privilege to make simple comments that we all enjoy.

It's true, if you look at L.A. Noire's MotionScan technology, the actors are confined to a small sphere of stationary cameras and have to sit stiffly without actual real life interactions. That's not natural, and limits the acting and animation potential.

Compare that to say Jame's Cameron's Avatar or Resident Evil 5 where cameras were attached to the actor's heads and shooting their faces and had them actually move around and interact. That makes a load of difference.

Still this great motion capture technology still can't hold if your characters aren't believable. Naughty Dog, VALVe, and Pixar animate mostly by hand. No motion capture just, looking at references and moving sliders! And look where that has taken them.

Whoa whoa wait a second, "Naughty Dog, VALVe, and Pixar animate mostly by hand. No motion capture just, looking at references and moving sliders!". I don't know about the other two but I'm like 100% sure I saw motion capture on the special features of Uncharted 1 and 2

Jonesy911:

The Youth Counselor:
Stop twisting Gage's words. He's not shit talking, but bringing up a real concern. It's just a shame he's a professional and not entitled to the privilege to make simple comments that we all enjoy.

It's true, if you look at L.A. Noire's MotionScan technology, the actors are confined to a small sphere of stationary cameras and have to sit stiffly without actual real life interactions. That's not natural, and limits the acting and animation potential.

Compare that to say Jame's Cameron's Avatar or Resident Evil 5 where cameras were attached to the actor's heads and shooting their faces and had them actually move around and interact. That makes a load of difference.

Still this great motion capture technology still can't hold if your characters aren't believable. Naughty Dog, VALVe, and Pixar animate mostly by hand. No motion capture just, looking at references and moving sliders! And look where that has taken them.

Whoa whoa wait a second, "Naughty Dog, VALVe, and Pixar animate mostly by hand. No motion capture just, looking at references and moving sliders!". I don't know about the other two but I'm like 100% sure I saw motion capture on the special features of Uncharted 1 and 2

When I say animate mostly by hand, I meant the facial aspect. Maybe "no motion capture" shouldn't have been the best choice of word. They use limited motion capture. These three companies have a popular animator mindset that using real facial motions will limit expression and lead to the uncanny valley and the most emotional animation needs the exaggeration that only hand animation can provide.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bnru0qLBHRg#t=3m30s

The Youth Counselor:

Jonesy911:

The Youth Counselor:
Stop twisting Gage's words. He's not shit talking, but bringing up a real concern. It's just a shame he's a professional and not entitled to the privilege to make simple comments that we all enjoy.

It's true, if you look at L.A. Noire's MotionScan technology, the actors are confined to a small sphere of stationary cameras and have to sit stiffly without actual real life interactions. That's not natural, and limits the acting and animation potential.

Compare that to say Jame's Cameron's Avatar or Resident Evil 5 where cameras were attached to the actor's heads and shooting their faces and had them actually move around and interact. That makes a load of difference.

Still this great motion capture technology still can't hold if your characters aren't believable. Naughty Dog, VALVe, and Pixar animate mostly by hand. No motion capture just, looking at references and moving sliders! And look where that has taken them.

Whoa whoa wait a second, "Naughty Dog, VALVe, and Pixar animate mostly by hand. No motion capture just, looking at references and moving sliders!". I don't know about the other two but I'm like 100% sure I saw motion capture on the special features of Uncharted 1 and 2

When I say animate mostly by hand, I meant the facial aspect. Maybe "no motion capture" shouldn't have been the best choice of word. They use limited motion capture.

Ah, I see

Jonesy911:
the characters were such cardboard cut-out stereotypes (Beat cop, whore with a heart etc.) that it made the game insufferable.

First of all, you are referring to the two background characters (I'm assuming your examples are Blake and Lauren). The main characters (except from Madison, who suffered greatly from the cut out content) are better in this department. Sure, it's easy to dismiss Ethan as a 'papa wolf', or Jayden as the 'by the book' cop, but I think there's more to that in those cases. For example, the scene with Nathaniel perfectly shows how 'I'm not killing anyone' behavior can be right, but also how dangerous, and how your emotions combined with a split second decision can either save or ef up the day. Jayden's reaction to his decision in the following scene (especially in case of his moral hangover if he'll decide to pull the trigger) shapes him really well as a character. This actually brings me to my two other points, which are...

You used two background characters to call the game on flat character stereotypes. Let me ask you - which game, movie, book or whatever has a cast made fully of original characters? Even the glorious examples of personality characterization, like Persona 4, have some. Why? Because it's impossible to make it otherwise. If you'll put 30 characters in the game, you're not going to make all of them look original, unless you're some kind of a prodigy.

And finally - you can boil down 99% of fictional characters into cardboard stereotypes. In Se7en, we have a story of a calm, veteran, 'I'm too old for this crap' cop accompanied by young, unexperienced, impulsive partner. They're both chasing a religious freak and fanatic. You have an avatar from Cowboy Bebop. That's an anime about 'cowboy' type badass with a dark past. Faye Valentine? Dirty thief, who's actually a nice person inside. Ed? A typical prodigy cloud cuckoolander. I can go on an on, but there's no need to. It's not about about original concept, it's about execution. This is the thing that made detectives Sommerset and Miles, John Doe, Spike Spiegel and the rest an awesome characters. And in my opinion, in Heavy Rain the execution is very good as well.

MarsProbe:

jhlip:
The Dev seems kind of arrogant if you ask me.

My thoughts exactly. Maybe when this guy manages to make a statement without sounding like a self-important twat, I may listen to him. Until that day though, I'm not paying attention.

Amen man. Seriously, what type of dick trys to pump up his own product when asked about another one. And not only that, who insults a work that is considered a revolution by some just to left themselves on a pedestal?

So now that Quantic has Ultimate Motion Capture perhaps they will have time to do something about the incredibly bad game mechanics and screamingly bad plots.

I smell a little jealousy here, actually...

Yossarian1507:

Jonesy911:
the characters were such cardboard cut-out stereotypes (Beat cop, whore with a heart etc.) that it made the game insufferable.

First of all, you are referring to the two background characters (I'm assuming your examples are Blake and Lauren). The main characters (except from Madison, who suffered greatly from the cut out content) are better in this department. Sure, it's easy to dismiss Ethan as a 'papa wolf', or Jayden as the 'by the book' cop, but I think there's more to that in those cases. For example, the scene with Nathaniel perfectly shows how 'I'm not killing anyone' behavior can be right, but also how dangerous, and how your emotions combined with a split second decision can either save or ef up the day. Jayden's reaction to his decision in the following scene (especially in case of his moral hangover if he'll decide to pull the trigger) shapes him really well as a character. This actually brings me to my two other points, which are...

You used two background characters to call the game on flat character stereotypes. Let me ask you - which game, movie, book or whatever has a cast made fully of original characters? Even the glorious examples of personality characterization, like Persona 4, have some. Why? Because it's impossible to make it otherwise. If you'll put 30 characters in the game, you're not going to make all of them look original, unless you're some kind of a prodigy.

And finally - you can boil down 99% of fictional characters into cardboard stereotypes. In Se7en, we have a story of a calm, veteran, 'I'm too old for this crap' cop accompanied by young, unexperienced, impulsive partner. They're both chasing a religious freak and fanatic. You have an avatar from Cowboy Bebop. That's an anime about 'cowboy' type badass with a dark past. Faye Valentine? Dirty thief, who's actually a nice person inside. Ed? A typical prodigy cloud cuckoolander. I can go on an on, but there's no need to. It's not about about original concept, it's about execution. This is the thing that made detectives Sommerset and Miles, John Doe, Spike Spiegel and the rest an awesome characters. And in my opinion, in Heavy Rain the execution is very good as well.

1. None of Heavy Rain's characters are original except maybe one. I've seen Ethan 100 times before, he's a man pushed to the edge ready to do anything to save the one thing in this world that he still loves. I've seen Jayden 100 times before, he's the most bland version of the cop with problems I've seen. The only one whose everyline of dialogue I could not predict was Shelby's and even then it was obvious exactly how his story was going to pan out

2.There were no original set pieces. Everytime I could list movie after movie where I'd seen it done before (car compacter, strip at gun point, drowned in car, mexican stand off, driving against traffic, so on and so on)

3. You're right, 99% of fictional characters can be boiled down to stereotypes. That's why it's vital that they have strong dialogue, characterisation and peformance, 3 things that Heavy Rain lacks ("AAAAAM DI-TEK-TIV NAAAAHMAN JAAYDEN", "JASOOON? JAAYSON?")

However that's not to say Heavy Rain was all bad. I think it did well in creating a sense that this was your story by constantly bombarding you with chioces. Also, unlike most, I actually enjoyed the brutality of the QTE's. They were really effective at making you feel like victory/death was just a heartbeat away.

But it's entirely possible that I'm being overly critical, as a film student I've had to literally watch hundreds and hundreds of detective/mystery films. At this point when someone puts on a crime thriller I'm basically seeing Matrix code like I'm fucking Neo.

InsomniJack:
And all this coming from the guy who gave us this?

And he's saying this is a dead end?

No, go on, Mr. Cage. I'd love to hear more. Just pardon the stifling of my uproaring laughter.

It's the technique behind the result. Rockstar does two takes, one of the body and one of the face, and then meshes them together, but this provides some serious hurdles to jump over, like lighting and certain adjustments and whatnot. Quantic Dream is supposedly using technology that captures both the body and the face at the same time or something like that, and that gives much more freedom to animators and developers.

By all means, the faces in Heavy Rain weren't exactly the best. It was Quantic Dream's first "next/this-gen" game, so some flaws are to be expected, but for what it is it does it fairly well.

But regardless of this mudslinging, I take this all as some friendly competition. Cage will either put up or shut up, and in the end, no matter who loses, we win with the best animation in the end (I'm an animation nut, so this is just good news all around for me).

Yossarian1507:

Jonesy911:
the characters were such cardboard cut-out stereotypes (Beat cop, whore with a heart etc.) that it made the game insufferable.

First of all, you are referring to the two background characters (I'm assuming your examples are Blake and Lauren). The main characters (except from Madison, who suffered greatly from the cut out content) are better in this department. Sure, it's easy to dismiss Ethan as a 'papa wolf', or Jayden as the 'by the book' cop, but I think there's more to that in those cases. For example, the scene with Nathaniel perfectly shows how 'I'm not killing anyone' behavior can be right, but also how dangerous, and how your emotions combined with a split second decision can either save or ef up the day. Jayden's reaction to his decision in the following scene (especially in case of his moral hangover if he'll decide to pull the trigger) shapes him really well as a character. This actually brings me to my two other points, which are...

You used two background characters to call the game on flat character stereotypes. Let me ask you - which game, movie, book or whatever has a cast made fully of original characters? Even the glorious examples of personality characterization, like Persona 4, have some. Why? Because it's impossible to make it otherwise. If you'll put 30 characters in the game, you're not going to make all of them look original, unless you're some kind of a prodigy.

And finally - you can boil down 99% of fictional characters into cardboard stereotypes. In Se7en, we have a story of a calm, veteran, 'I'm too old for this crap' cop accompanied by young, unexperienced, impulsive partner. They're both chasing a religious freak and fanatic. You have an avatar from Cowboy Bebop. That's an anime about 'cowboy' type badass with a dark past. Faye Valentine? Dirty thief, who's actually a nice person inside. Ed? A typical prodigy cloud cuckoolander. I can go on an on, but there's no need to. It's not about about original concept, it's about execution. This is the thing that made detectives Sommerset and Miles, John Doe, Spike Spiegel and the rest an awesome characters. And in my opinion, in Heavy Rain the execution is very good as well.

Amen! Amen! I couldn't have said it better, although I think both the game and movie industry can do much better with unique characters and plots.

Jumplion:

InsomniJack:
And all this coming from the guy who gave us this?

And he's saying this is a dead end?

No, go on, Mr. Cage. I'd love to hear more. Just pardon the stifling of my uproaring laughter.

It's the technique behind the result. Rockstar does two takes, one of the body and one of the face, and then meshes them together, but this provides some serious hurdles to jump over, like lighting and certain adjustments and whatnot. Quantic Dream is supposedly using technology that captures both the body and the face at the same time or something like that, and that gives much more freedom to animators and developers.

By all means, the faces in Heavy Rain weren't exactly the best. It was Quantic Dream's first "next/this-gen" game, so some flaws are to be expected, but for what it is it does it fairly well.

But regardless of this mudslinging, I take this all as some friendly competition. Cage will either put up or shut up, and in the end, no matter who loses, we win with the best animation in the end (I'm an animation nut, so this is just good news all around for me).

That's exactly it. Friendly competition. More or less. But you have to admit that in order to reach an outcome where video game animation becomes on par with live-action film or a high-end cartoon series, some options like MotionScan should be visited. It takes one step at a time to get to that high quality level of visuals that cinema and TV can enjoy.

I'm not saying that Cage is wrong. But it's still rather arrogant to say it's a dead end, considering this is the first time we're seeing technology like this, and we haven't seen what Quantic Dream is going for.

Does this guy ever do anything aside from belittle other people's work?
And what has this guy done of worth? Heavy Rain? Please..

Although I love what I'm seeing from L.A. Noire, he's probably right about the limitations. If there's a system out there that allows for the same level of capture detail as what Rockstar's doing, but is able to capture it in tandem with high-quality body capture, it would definitely be a better system. And if it also allows animators to easily modify it, that's even better.

They'll need to back up this claim, but I don't think Rockstar's system is a dead end. It may not be perfect, but it's a step in the right direction.

InsomniJack:

Jumplion:

InsomniJack:
And all this coming from the guy who gave us this?

And he's saying this is a dead end?

No, go on, Mr. Cage. I'd love to hear more. Just pardon the stifling of my uproaring laughter.

It's the technique behind the result. Rockstar does two takes, one of the body and one of the face, and then meshes them together, but this provides some serious hurdles to jump over, like lighting and certain adjustments and whatnot. Quantic Dream is supposedly using technology that captures both the body and the face at the same time or something like that, and that gives much more freedom to animators and developers.

By all means, the faces in Heavy Rain weren't exactly the best. It was Quantic Dream's first "next/this-gen" game, so some flaws are to be expected, but for what it is it does it fairly well.

But regardless of this mudslinging, I take this all as some friendly competition. Cage will either put up or shut up, and in the end, no matter who loses, we win with the best animation in the end (I'm an animation nut, so this is just good news all around for me).

That's exactly it. Friendly competition. More or less. But you have to admit that in order to reach an outcome where video game animation becomes on par with live-action film or a high-end cartoon series, some options like MotionScan should be visited. It takes one step at a time to get to that high quality level of visuals that cinema and TV can enjoy.

I'm not saying that Cage is wrong. But it's still rather arrogant to say it's a dead end, considering this is the first time we're seeing technology like this, and we haven't seen what Quantic Dream is going for.

Eh, sometimes you need baby steps, sometimes you need giant leaps. Sometimes you need to be humble, other times you need to be pretentious.

It'll be interesting to see what Quantic Dream is developing. I personally greatly enjoyed Heavy Rain, and even if I didn't enjoy it I would still be glad that it exists and it was as successful as it was because it shows that Quantic Dream have some artistic balls in this industry and that unique games can pay off. Is it flawless? Fuck no, there are a thousand ways it can improve. But for what it is, I am very happy that it exists.

L.A. Noire seems to take a few pages from Heavy Rain and refine elements that it struggled with. I am absolutely psyched for the game, but that doesn't mean it can't improve either.

I think the title makes it sound a lot harsher a criticism then was actually given. Quantic Dream sounds a little over-confident and boastful, but they seem to also praise Rockstar for it's efforts. Usually company's are a little more diplomatic then just saying, "We can do better", but that's usually the gist. I must say that LA Noir looks pretty amazing, and if Quantic Dream exceeds that, awesome.

Doing just the face = Dead End
Doing whole body = way to the future!

Erm, what? Isn't the first really a step towards working with the second (incorporating the entire body)? Sure, the later is better because it encompasses the entire human form rather than just the facial movements, but this Dev should put up or shut up if he's just going to knock something like a child.

In my honest opinion, all video game characters, even the best looking, most realistic, and highly detailed ones, still look freaky.
I don't think we've quite climbed out of the uncanny valley yet, folks. That seems to be a little further away.

LA Noire takes a big risk here. I always thought Rockstar Games character models always looked kinda off. I have to admit, seeing the expression and subtlety that the MotionScan technology brings to the characters' faces is quite amazing, but it still doesn't fully look like a human being's face.
The fact that it moves so much like real a human being's face makes it all the more creepy looking.

If his best attempt at a game is a jumbled basket of unconnected plot elements and a narrative on par with the Saw series, then I'm thoroughly disinclined to give a shit about anything David Cage has to say about video games.

luckycharms8282:
Hmm, seems like he's just knocking on another company's game to try to cause hype for his own.

It sounds more like Quantic is basically saying "That's a nice thing you have there, did you develop it yourself?" "Yes, Yes we did" "Oh. Well. I'VE GOT SOMETHING EVEN BETTER" "Really...Really?" "HA HA STEAL YOUR THUNDER"

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