Image Metrics to Provide Facial Animation for Codemasters’ “Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising”
Image Metrics, the leading provider of facial animation solutions to the entertainment industry, is creating facial animation for key characters appearing in the cut scenes of Codemasters’ Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising. Slated for release in 2009 for major gaming platforms, the title is the much anticipated sequel to the genre-defining military conflict simulator game released in 2001.
Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising will simulate an immense conflict between advanced forces in which players can choose between a broad range of military disciplines, vehicles and equipment. To immerse game players in the action, Codemasters is using Image Metrics’ facial animation solutions in the cut scenes in order to enhance the range of human emotions expressed in the chaos of war.
“Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising will take players closer to war then they’ve ever come before,” said Brant Nicholas, Senior Producer, Codemasters Studios. “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.”
“With Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising, Codemasters has set out to capture the gritty reality and human drama of warfare,” said Mike Starkenburg, Image Metrics’ chief operating officer. “We’re honored that Codemasters has chosen our facial animation technology to help achieve that realism and to further immerse players in the gameplay experience.”
Image Metrics will develop 57 shots for Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising, totaling 262 seconds of animation in about one month. The rapid delivery from start of production to final animation is a result of Image Metrics’ efficient, automated performance-driven facial animation solution. Without markers or makeup, the solution captures an actor’s entire facial performance, analyzes it pixel-by-pixel, and then transfers it onto the computer generated (CG) character model. The facial nuances, subtleties and details the technology captures perfectly replicate the actor’s performance while helping studios like Codemasters cost-effectively achieve new heights in storytelling.
About Image Metrics
Image Metrics brings digital characters to life. Providing the entertainment industry’s first and only marker and makeup free performance-driven facial animation solution, Image Metrics is creating some of the most emotionally compelling animated characters in computer-generated media today. Developed over the past seven years by a team of computer vision Ph.D.s, the process enjoys widespread adoption by some of the best-known production studios in the entertainment world, including Digital Domain, Activision, EA, Rhythm and Hues, Rockstar Games and Sony Imageworks. The company is located in Santa Monica, California with R&D headquarters in Manchester, U.K. Company investors include Saffron Hill Ventures.
Codemasters is a leading developer and publisher of best-selling interactive entertainment products for a global audience across multiple gaming platforms and channels. Established in 1986, the company’s dominant brands include Colin McRae DiRT, Race Driver GRID, Overlord and Operation Flashpoint; the company recently secured the exclusive worldwide video game rights to FORMULA 1. Codemasters is the recipient of the UK Developer of the Year title from the 25th Golden Joystick Awards and, most recently, Codemasters Studios recently won the UK Development Team category in the MCV Industry Excellence Awards 2008. Codemasters’ cross-platform development technology the EGO(TM) Engine was named Best Technology 2007 in the awards hosted by TIGA, the Independent Game Developers Association. Codemasters is headquartered in Warwickshire UK, with North American operations based in Universal City, Calif. The company also maintains operations in Germany, France, Spain, Benelux and Malaysia. Codemasters receives over two million visitors to its web site every month, discover why at www.codemasters.com.
About Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising
Taking gamers as close to war as they’ll ever want to get, Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising is the much anticipated return of the genre-defining military conflict title. Set to deliver the total combat experience, Operation Flashpoint 2 will challenge players to survive the chaos and rapidly evolving situations of modern warfare in a new contemporary theatre.
Players will experience the intensity, diversity and claustrophobia of a modern conflict from the unique perspectives of an infantry marine, a helicopter pilot, a Special Forces officer or a tank commander, each engaged against the full force of the Chinese PLA on a scale never previously experienced in a military action title. Gameplay simulates an immense conflict between advanced forces and provides unparalleled scope with different military disciplines, vehicles and equipment for players to utilise. For more on the game, please visit www.flashpoint2-game.com.