Uses same technology as major film studios
RICHMOND, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2015) — The Eastern Kentucky University Gaming Institute, the first of its kind in Kentucky, had a ribbon-cutting today to introduce several new tools that employ the same technology that Hollywood and game studios use to capture actor performances in movies and games.
One feature is the Motion Capture Studio, designed by Organic Motion Inc., which allows the movements of an actor to be transformed to a character. For example, EKU President Michael Benson on Monday waved his arms and kicked his legs, and a television monitor showed an image of Daniel Boone mimicking the moves.
The Institute also has a new Game Development Studio, where a four-member game development team is preparing an educational game for Spring 2016 release in the Apple App Store and Google Play Story, and a Game Play Lab, which gives students the ability to play and critique each other’s games in an accessible environment.
“Our students will learn directly how to capture live performance and manipulate the data for use directly in games,” said Institute Director Dr. George Landon. “Student games and animation will directly benefit from recording actors instead of manually trying to manipulate human figures to animate them.”
The Motion Capture Studio, aka Virtual Reality Lab, can record the movement and actions of up to four individuals at the same time and apply them directly to 3D models to be used in video games and movies. “This is exactly the same technology used by Warner Brothers and other studios,” Landon said.
The studio will also be available for a fee to Kentucky’s growing game development industry. “We will be the only motion capture studio in a multi-state region, and the first in Kentucky, offering this type of service,” Landon said. “These new additions to our facilities will continue to keep our program at the forefront of academic game design in the state as well as make us competitive nationally with the best programs in game design.”
Several industry representatives were present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including Wes Keltner, founder of Gun Media, of Lexington, who noted he was just leaving House of Moves in Los Angeles when he received an invitation to the event.
“If there’s something that we need to get done, it’s exciting to know we’re only a 25- to 30-minute drive to come down here and use this technology,” Keltner said. “It’s pretty awesome that this is happening here. This is a program that’s moving forward.”
EKU is home to the commonwealth’s first bachelor’s degree program in game design. The Interactive Multimedia option within the baccalaureate degree in Computer Science develops students’ expertise in game design, 3-D modeling and animation, graphics programming, and multimedia systems. The Gaming Institute focuses on the design, development, and publication of video games within an academic context. The University also offers a minor in Interactive Multimedia.