Train2Game News Simplygon 3D optimization on MGS 5


Simplygon, the leading provider of automatic 3D optimization solutions for digital content creation, and Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd, today announced that Simplygon has been used in the creation of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, available for Playstation, XBox and PC.

Over the course of production, Simplygon was used to process assets for all 42 levels including test data while delivering Level of Detail (LoD) models that optimized the polygon counts to help deliver a stunning visual experience.

Developing what critics have called “greatest stealth game ever“ meant adapting LOD assets to handle a map of massive scope and scale. “We used Simplygon to merge 100-400 assets into a single asset and we used those features to create assets displayed at mid-range from the player” said Konami. “Because we built the automated mid-range asset generation workflow using Simplygon, when we changed the assets layout, we were able to re-create mid-range assets with very low cost.”

“Simplygon saved the labor equivalent of 10 man months” said the development team of Konami. “The benefits are clear as we used the tool to reduce polygons as much as tenfold in models ranging from 5,000 to 100,000 polygons. The best result is that players can’t see the reduction because the models keep their fidelity at all distances which keeps the players immersed.”

“Konami are legends in the games industry and over the past three decades have been at the forefront of high quality games that truly excite players through their gameplay and visuals,” said Martin Ekdal, Co-founder and Vice President of Business Development at Simplygon. “With Simplygon we’re enabling creators to focus more on the creative parts of development while we automate multiple production processes and improve the performance.”

Simplygon is popular amongst developers of mobile games; AAA PC and console games; and large MMOs, and is applicable to any medium where 3D art assets are created or utilized. By automatically generating lower-polygon models that are required for different levels of detail (LOD), an optimization process for making games and visual scenes run smoother, at higher frame-rates, and requiring less data, Simplygon helps digital content creators save important resources where artists would otherwise need to manually re-create large amounts of content.

Train2Game News: Xbox at E3

Xbox OneE3 has begun and the first subject I will report on from the event is the Xbox E3 Conference which was on at 5:30pm GMT, yesterday.

The event began with an incredibly stunning trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain, featuring the voice of Kiefer Sutherland. The trailer displayed incredibly beautiful graphics using the Xbox One system and they are truly jaw dropping. The game play its self looks big, epic and is open world. This new adventure of snake uses interesting stealth mechanics and action to achieve your goals.

It was a beautiful start to the conference.

The rest of the conference was full of the new stunning games for the Xbox One for all audiences and fans.

There was another old favourite game returning to console market, Killer Instinct, the beat-em-up game published by Rare and Nintendo that was made popular in 1994, released as an Arcade machine, then later ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Killer instinct was displayed on stage by Double Helix Games, the creators of the reboot.

Games for the younger audience were also displayed. Minecraft: Xbox One Edition looked beautiful some how. I have no idea how the Xbox One has made simple blocks beautiful but they managed it!

One of the more interesting looking games and mechanics was that of Project Spark. You create the game world using the Kinect Voice Recognition, saying phrases such as “Woodland” and the land would be covered in Woodland. You can then go through and shape the world in a way you see fit and give inanimate objects intelligence to fill many roles. The possibilities are truly endless for the game.

Forza 5 was shown at the event and this was one of the most intelligent features I have ever seen in a game. With their feature known as “Drivatar” as you play the game, it will learn what you do and how you race, with what it learns, when you are not playing the game, your friends and people around the world can use your Drivatar to race against. In a way, there is no AI to race against, instead you race against people matched to your level so there is always a challenge through out the game. It is an incredible idea.

With it being an Xbox conference there was of course a few first person shooters.

Battlefield 4 was shown and looked absolutely beautiful, with incredible action and an exciting pace. They didn’t display any multiplayer game play however.

There was also a teaser trailer for the next Halo game that completely blew me away. As I sat there watching the trailer, trying to work out what I was seeing I was shocked and excited to see the Master Chief unveiled, that was one of the best moments of it for me.

There was several other games mentioned through the conference.

The Xbox it’s self was announced to be very heavily integrated with the Smartglass app. Using it from keeping an eye on other players stats to displaying the user interface.

The price was the biggest downfall of the console however. In the UK the console will be £429. A price many aren’t sure is worth it.

Train2Game News: Snake acquires an A list voice

MGS VSnake from Metal Gear Solid has been given an updated face and a new voice. Kiefer Sutherland has taken over the role from series stalwart, David Hayter.

Hayter confirmed his departure from the series in April. Plenty of names have been suggested as potential replacements since then – Hideo Kojima has often stated his admiration of Hugh Jackman, and suggested he could be a candidate for a future Metal Gear Solid movie – it’s Sutherland, though, who’ll pick up the mantel for Phantom Pain.

“We’re taking on some very heavy subjects, such as race and revenge,” said Kojima. “This makes the tone much darker. As a result, I wanted Snake to have a more subdued performance, expressed through subtle facial movements and tone of voice rather than words.”

“The game takes place in 1984, when Snake is 49 years old,” Kojima explains. “Therefore, we needed someone who could convey both the facial and vocal qualities of a man in his late forties. It’s different from anything we’ve done before, so I asked a producer friend of mine in Hollywood, Avi Arad, for advice. He’s the one who introduced me to Kiefer Sutherland, and I was like, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’”

Sutherland has been busy recording motion capture footage for The Phantom Pain over recent months. In the video (shown below), Kojima explains how the nuances of Sutherland’s delivery are important in conveying the emotion of certain situations – both through vocal cues and facial movements. “I felt that he was the perfect fit in terms of age and performance,” says Kojima.

Apart from Sutherland’s thirty-year-long film career, the actor has made fleeting appearances in the likes of Call of Duty: World at War as well as reprising his role as Bauer in 24: The Videogame. While confessing to not being a gamer, Sutherland recognises the importance of the role. “It’s an honour to be able to play this character,” he says. “This character has an unbelievable legacy but there’s a real personal quality to the character that I’ve connected to.”

If you love David Hayter, you’re probably not going to be happy with anyone else but David Hayter doing the job. Sutherland has some hefty acting chops though – and many of his roles have involved gravelly delivery aplenty. I reckon there’s good chance casual fans might not even notice the difference – although the mo-cap stuff looks about as detailed as we’ve seen and could stand to benefit from the likes of Sutherland filling the capture dots.

Here’s the full pre-E3 Konami show – jump in around 10:30 mark for the Metal Gear Solid content: