Neversoft's Facility - Large and full of Action FiguresNeversoft is the company that's been behind the Tony Hawk franchise, and the company has exploded due to the success of these games. The facility was monstrous, with huge open spaces inside, and one hundred and thirty employees, all working on Tony Hawk's Project 8!(plus one large white husky who just walks around getting petted) The place looks like a fun place to work, with big office areas that the employees can decorate - every space seemed to be flooded with Spawn-style action figures and band posters and whatever else. Along the halls were various signed skateboard decks, and right next to the largest of the three kitchens was a double mini-ramp, for employees to skate on when they felt the need.
Wandering through the Neversoft facility, we saw how they took a full body scan of Bob Burnquist, catching all the folds of his clothes, the way he stands - everything, and then used 22 mega pixel photos of his face to create super high-res images. The result is incredible. Still not perfect - I mean, they still look like cartoons, but they look like GOOD cartoons! But the character models isnt what really sets Tony Hawks Project 8 apart from the rest its the way the characters move.
Tony Hawk's Project 8 Mo-Cap: Why the Game Looks So RealTony Hawk's Project 8 has been designed using Motion Capture (Mo-Cap). You've seen this in movies and the past Tony Hawk games, where they take the actor or athlete and put little white balls all over their body, and then record them doing something. Then, they can make a computer graphic model do the same thing. For Tony Hawk's Project 8, Neversoft has a huge Mo-Cap area, set up just for this. They brought in all the pros from the game (there are 12), and had them perform tricks to record. They've captured about 40 to 50 tricks for Tony Hawk's Project 8, all at 240 Frames Per Second (FPS). Thats a lot of frames. This translates to a seamless look for game play. The animation can be slowed down to super slow motion, and still look fluid and beautiful.
In fact, Tony Hawk's Project 8 will feature a cool mode where you can watch pros doing their tricks - I watched as they showed us Ryan Sheckler doing a kickflip, and then zoomed in and let us watch his feet in slow motion, from any angle. The Ryan Sheckler model is still a cartoon (it's not real video), but the motions that the model takes are all the actual motions that Ryan Sheckler took when he did his kickflip, and you can see if from any angle, at any speed, forwards or backwards. This has HUGE implications for learning tricks from this game! Think about it - you can sit there and watch how your favorite pro actually does a trick, but you can also slow it down, back it up, and pan around it seeing the trick from any angle! The head Motion Capture guy explained that when the animators saw Shecklers kickflip, they mentioned that up to now they've never animated kickflips the way Sheckler does them. But, as you know, every skater is a little different, and now with Tony Hawk's Project 8, each pro will actually do their tricks the way that pro does them.
For example, they showed us how Paul Rodriguez has a habit of hitching up his pants right before doing a trick. Just something he always does. Well, when you play Paul Rodriguez in Tony Hawk's Project 8, he will do the same thing. They also showed us that they left in things like Rodney Mullen wobbling just a little when he lands a trick, or how maybe not all 4 wheels hit the ground at the same time. It's all in there. Little details like this make Tony Hawks Project 8 seem much more realistic.
Read page 2 for Tony Hawk's Project 8 Gameplay info: