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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 09:57am 04/11/10 | 6 Comments
We knew Irrational were working on a modified Unreal Engine 3 for BioShock Infinite when Dan had a chance to chat to the guys earlier this year, but just how much they altered Epic's SDK was still somewhat unknown. Thankfully, after an awkward post on the official IG forums, one fan's desire to know more lead to Irrational's technical director, Chris Kline, jumping in to let us know just what they've changed under the hood of UE3 for BioShock Infinite.

Turns out they're using Natural Motion's 'Morhpeme' technologi on top of their own animations system, and on the idea of most games offering static environments to traverse through, Kline points out that in the world of BioShock Infinite, the whole world moves and that to cater for this they created their own tech called "floating worlds" (original, I know).

He also talks about rewriting the SDK's renderer and developing a "proprietary per-pixel dynamic relighting scheme" that "allows characters and dynamic objects to receive global illumination".

There's oh-so-much more to read in the lengthy post, which can be found right here, but it's awesome to see that, while the team are using a licensed engine, they're not settling for it out-of-the-box.

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Latest Comments
Steve Farrelly
Posted 10:28am 04/11/10
super surprised they're using natural motion, but am pretty stoked to hear that - the time of the ragdoll is slowly coming to an end
Posted 04:14pm 05/11/10
Is there really that much of a difference between natural motion and ragdoll? NM is used in the force unleashed right? The game didn't seem to have an edge over anything I'd seen that uses ragdoll :o
My knowledge of such things isn't very extensive though D:
Steve Farrelly
Posted 04:16pm 05/11/10
well, it's more that animation doesn't end when the enemy is hit or killed or thrown or something - with natural motion, it's a physics-based response to the environment or what you're doing, equally based on a skeletal system. Also, AI is imbued with a desire to survive, so they grab or turn and run or whatever, it means you never get the same animation twice
Posted 09:26am 06/11/10
I see! This can only mean good things then. I pretty much decided I was going to buy this when i saw that game play footage a while back.
Posted 10:14am 06/11/10
Its also really hard to un-ragdoll something and make it animation controlled again, once you've ragdolled it, in traditional ragdoll systems. Thats why it often is only done when something dies, because then it can flop around and you can leave it in whatever pose you want and it doesn't matter.

I don't know about Natural Motion specifically (though I'd assume it does this), but one of the other key things these systems often allow is being able to ragdoll something, have it get thrown around or fall over or whatever, and then switch back to being animation driven and have them transition back from ragdoll to animating again (so getting back up off the ground or whatever). Sounds like a small thing, but when you consider that theres no way to know in advance what position the ragdoll's limbs are gonna be in, or where the ragdoll is going to end up, then you have to transition back into it animating and standing up or whatever again, it takes a fairly hefty chunk of procedural animating, logic and AI.
Posted 10:27am 06/11/10
Ooh that sounds like a fun challenge, I'm thinking - a max rotation per limb, can either situp or push up, has to tween/roll into closest position, bit of tricky stuff when it comes to rolling over an arm and the arm following the shoulder... but the destination position is taken into account for the arm tween. In theory is always easy. :P
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