3d animation technology developer NaturalMotion has announced that Red 5, the studio founded by a number of World of Warcraft
vets, have chosen to utilize animation middleware morpheme for its forthcoming yet-unannounced titles.
The middleware allows developers and animators creative control over the look of their final in-game animation by allowing them to author and preview blends, blend trees and transition graphs in realtime.
morpheme consists of two components: morpheme:runtime, a run-time engine optimized for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC that ships with full source code, and morpheme:connect, a 3D authoring application that allows animators to graphically author blend trees and transition logic (based on Hierarchical Finite State Machines), modify and edit parameters through sliders and view the results in real-time. morpheme is designed as a flexible and open system and does not require the licensing of any other product, and is also designed to integrate with other middleware and DCC applications.
Red 5, first founded
in late 2005 is made up of a number of World of Warcraft
veterans including team leader Mark Kern (whom Gamasutra spoke to
earlier this year), art director William Petras, and Blizzard Korea operations lead Taewon Yun.
Though little has yet been revealed of their forthcoming MMO project, the company announced late last year
that it had secured $18.5 million in venture capital from Benchmark Capital and Sierra Ventures, and would be partnering
on the Project Offset powered product with Korean publisher Webzen.
In July, MMO focused studio BioWare Austin and NaturalMotion, developers of the Endorphin 3D animation creation software, announced that the BioWare had also chosen
to integrate NaturalMotion’s morpheme run-time animation technology into multiple upcoming next-generation projects.
Said Kern, “We added morpheme to our pipeline because we wanted to give our animators more control over the final animations that would go into the game. In a lot of other systems, after the animators export their work, they don't get to see how the animations interact until it is in the game. If they then need to tweak a transition between animations or states, they have to edit a text file and then run the game again, which usually tears at an animator's soul."
He added, "morpheme has an intuitive graphical interface that allows animators to go in and setup all these transitions and preview them without involving much programmer intervention. It cuts down on the time that a programmer and animator need to work together to get a system working within the game, and let's the animator focus on what they were hired to do - animate.”