Our Experts Presenting at GDC 2022
We’re coming to GDC 2022! Our experts are very excited to discuss a variety of topics ranging from audio, accessibility, animation, narrative and more, particularly in the context of our latest game, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It just recently won Adventure Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Story at the DICE Awards, by the way! GDC 2022 is a great opportunity to share knowledge and learnings, and we hope you’ll be checking out our talks. Here is the full list in chronological order.
Game Narrative Summit: Narrative Tools as Powerful as ‘Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy’s’
Rayna Anderson, Senior Coordinator, Narrative
Monday, March 21 at 3:50PM PT
For Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Eidos-Montréal beefed up their in-house writing tool to handle the Guardians’ intense banter system. You need a reliable recording pipeline when there’s five characters on-screen, and in the recording booth together, who always have a sarcastic quip on the tip of their tongue. From generating TTS to managing localized audio, find out how a company known for their narrative-driven games continues to improve their tools so that they can test their content in-game as early as possible. Learn some of the tricks they’ve learned along the way that have automated weeks worth of work throughout their pipeline.
The Facial Animation Pipeline of Marvel’s Guardians of The Galaxy
Simon Habib, Lead Technical Animator
Monday, March 21 at 3:50PM PT
In its early days, the team behind Marvel’s Guardians of The Galaxy knew it would be a performance-driven narrative video game with an ensemble cast of 5 well-known characters. Performances needed to be realistic and depict a wide range of believable emotions. The goal was to deliver both quantity and quality. In this talk, Simon Habib, Lead Technical Animator at Eidos Montreal, presents the innovations that were implemented to accomplish this.
From simultaneously capturing the actors’ performances on an in-house mocap stage to delivering final polished facial animations, their pipeline offers quantity without sacrificing quality. Batch processing with Faceware allows them to generate hours of facial animations for both in-game dialogue and cinematics. Furthermore, scanning real-life models in their photogrammetry room ensures that the characters’ expressions remain believable and anatomically correct.
AI Summit: Controlled Chaos: The Combat of ‘Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy’
Rodrigo Barros Lima, Lead AI Programmer and Olivier Tremblay-Ross, Principal AI Programmer
Monday, March 21 at 4:40PM PT
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a single player narrative experience where the player takes control of Star-Lord, the so-called leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. One of the core pillars of the project is that we should sell to the player the fantasy of actually “hanging out with the Guardians”. In order to achieve that, AI companions should feel alive and capable of engaging in convincing interactions with the player. By having four AI companions, and a great variety of enemy archetypes during combat, we had to learn to embrace its chaotic nature and really push the limit of our AI and gameplay systems. On this presentation, we will focus on an overview of some core AI systems, such as, combat behavior tree, threat management, range and melee combat systems, brawling motion matching, combat acting and contextual barks, their evolution throughout production and some of the lessons we learned along the way.
Panel: Experimenting with USD in Game Pipelines (Presented by Autodesk)
Panel with Francois Devic, Lead Tools Programmer and Bruno Vaillancourt, Principal Physics Programmer
Tuesday, March 22 at 10:50AM PT
You’ve heard of USD, but is this open-source technology suitable for games? Join us for a panel discussion featuring Eidos Montreal as they dive into the challenges USD can solve for game studios, share a glimpse inside their experimentation journey of adopting USD, and how they see it evolving in the future.
Machine Learning Summit: Emotion Detection for Expressive Characters in ‘Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy’
Romain Trachel, Senior Machine Learning Specialist at Eidos-Sherbrooke
Tuesday, March 22 at 3:50PM PT
Romain Trachel (PhD) is going to present a machine learning project in collaboration with a production team at Eidos-Montréal for the game development of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. He will talk about emotions and facial expression recognition, share his experience with model deployment in the build system to bake animation curves of actors’ emotions. At runtime, the animation system uses these curves to control the guardians body/language for enriching traversal gameplay with entertaining dialogues. This project saved hours of annotation work to senior animators during the production and let them focus on more creative work.
GDC Main Stage: The Developer’s Renaissance
Reimagining Eidos-Montréal: Shifting Our Organizational Structure
David Anfossi, Head of Studio
Wednesday, March 23 at 12:30PM PT
The pandemic pushed video game studio Eidos-Montréal to rethink their balance between well-being and efficiency in a remote/hybrid work environment. They worked to adapt their organizational structure, exploring ways to do things differently and engaging their staff in between ways. Sometimes, the results were great; other times, they had to go back to the drawing board. In this Main Stage session, head of studio David Anfossi will be sharing some of Eidos-Montréal’s findings during this transition.
An Epic Journey through the Audio Universe that is ‘Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy’
Steve Szczepkowski, Senior Audio Director
Wednesday, March 23 at 2:00PM PT
A candid look at the Audio journey from preproduction to mix with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Come along for the journey and experience the cosmic scope of the game. In this talk, Steve Szczepkowski will show you how we identified the audio pillars of the game and how each was achieved. He will speak about the score, the process that went into designing all the creatures and aliens by working with Death Metal singers, the Star-Lord band album and more.
Where To Next? Accessibility Roundtable (Presented by the IGDA)
Thursday, March 24 at 2:00PM PT
Panel with Améliane Chiasson, Accessibility Lead at Square Enix West
Accessibility has come a long way in a short time. Advances like the Xbox Adaptive Controller and The Last Of Us 2 have become the norm, and consumer expectations are shifting. Studios across the entire development spectrum are making great strides. Yet we’re still only at the start, and a long way from where we need to be: with as many people as reasonably possible being able to benefit from all that games have to offer. So where do we go from here? And are there ways in which we can collaborate on next steps? Join us for a frank and open conversation about the current state of the industry, and how we might all help to push the bar further.