Supermassive Games are a BAFTA-winning, independent game developer, with a reputation for innovation in both storytelling and VR. They have released many successful titles but are best known for the critically acclaimed PS4 hit Until Dawn, published by Sony.
With a Hollywood cast, Until Dawn brought emotional performances to life in this terrifying yet entertaining homage to horror. The project relied heavily on our digital doubles pipeline with all actors appearing as themselves in the game. This would present an additional challenge where the accuracy of the characters would come under additional scrutiny by a highly discerning audience, immersed by the “interactive movie” genre where cinematic experience is especially important. 3Lateral characters and technology have demonstrated once again to be a great fit with an “interactive movie” game, like The Order: 1886.
For this game we relied on a similar pipeline to that which we used for Ryse: Son of Rome resulting in excellent blendshapes from the acquired scans. We didn’t have the pore-level tracking of motion we use today but it was still accurate enough to give us very believable skin motion and key facial expressions.
Once we had processed the scans to blendshapes, our team built very extensive blendshape sets which considered skin stretching and compression, and multiple contexts for every principal facial expression. All of this data was later connected to the Rig Logic code, communicating with the rig GUI before activating the correct combinations of shapes during the animation production process.
Due to the nature of this Until Dawn, our face rigs were often driven through the very challenging poses of fear and pain in combination with the lip sync. This is pretty close to an actual worst-case scenario with regards to stressing a rig. Fortunately, wherever we noticed that Rig Logic couldn’t handle certain combinations, we worked hard on upgrading and improving the system.
This extra effort resulted in improved deformations for each specific character finding himself or herself in similar situations. Since the project also featured very large amounts of animation for each character, we refined Rig Logic for each of them, to a very refined state. As with any rig, it’s still an approximation of reality but we feel very confident that this iterative approach, refining the code as required, gave a result that accurately mimicked the deformations of the human face.
The characters in Until Dawn were testing but we think we rose to that challenge. Supermassive Games gave us their full trust and left it to us to organize facial scanning, scan data processing, head creation and facial rigging. We worked closely with both the Supermassive team who executed the final head asset engine integration and Cubic Motion who produced the outstanding animation work; impressive both in volume and in quality.
Until Dawn fast became a critically acclaimed PS4 hit that won a 2015 BAFTA award, as well as the TIGA Best Action Adventure Game recognition along with many other accolades.
Our team is very proud of all the success that followed!