MK vs DC E3 2008 Trailer is out

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I’ve been waiting for this forever. Actually I’d rather see the cinematic intro, but short of that – the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2008 is going on right now and Midway Games finally has a new trailer for the new kid on the block – Mortal Kombat vs DC Comics.

Keep an eye out for the Sonya handstand throw at 49 seconds into the trailer. That was yours truly baby.

I have to say, this is probably the one MK game that I’m most excited about. After having seen the game in development, I feel like this is the best one that we’re doing so far. The graphics are by far the best that I’ve seen. This of course is due to the fact that it’s going to be one the new platforms Xbox360 and PS3. Sadly I have neither.

For more of my articles related to Mortal Kombat click here.

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6/27/2008 Weekly Favorite Links

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This week will be a mixed bag of links from every and any subject matter. It’s whatever I thought was funny or cool or just wanted to share with my readers.

I want to finish off with this really cool video of Carnegie Melon’s slithering robot that swims in the water.

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Mortal Kombat Intros – All the Ones That I Did

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So this is my 5 minute brush with fame. Since 2001, I’ve been involved with the Mortal Kombat video game franchise as a motion capture artist. In layman’s speak, I do the martial arts moves that the video game characters do in the game. When it’s mentioned people always wonder what my involvement was and I always tell them to look on Youtube. To make it easy for me, I’ve decided to consolidate all the stuff I did for the Mortal Kombat games so far in one easy to find blog post.


Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance

This was the first MK game I was involved in. So I lied about the title because this is not technically an intro, but I didn’t have anything to do with the intro of this game. However, I feel like this teaser trailer clip is reflective of the work I did for the game. Keep an eye out for a 720 front sweep with a broadsword at 0:34. Ah, those were the days.


Mortal Kombat Deception

I have a little beef with this game because somebody at Midway dropped the ball and as a result, my friend Kevin and I were not credited. That said however, I really loved the intro. Kevin, Carlos (Pesina) and I pretty much did the whole intro. During the 3 man fight, I was Raiden – how cool is that? When it was just the 2 bad guys, I was Shang Tsung and Kevin played Quan Chi. What’s funny is at the time – I had long hair and Kevin shaved his head. I wonder if that had anything to do with the characters we played. Personally I had a different idea of where to take the fight. If Raiden could teleport at will, I would have had him simultaneously fight the 2 bad guys, teleporting all over the place. Imagine a Dragon Ball fight scene where he teleports behind, kicks the guy, guy flies over, he teleports above, bashes them down followed by a lightning bolt. I think that would have been pretty cool.


Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks

This game is a departure from the regular MK franchise in that it wasn’t a one-on-one fight game, but a platform fighter ala Double Dragon or Golden Axe from the old days. I don’t recall doing too many moves for the actual gameplay but we were heavily involved in the cinematic intro. Although you see many characters on screen at once, most of it was done by Kevin and I. I got to play Liu Kang in this one. Apparently I ham it up pretty well.


Mortal Kombat Armageddon

The MK Armageddon cinematic intro was probably one of the biggest undertakings of the MK franchise as far as intros were concerned. All the characters in the MK universe were present for one big battle. This cinematic was fun for 2 reasons: 1 we got to play with weapons and 2 we had to work with a staircase for the pyramid fights. I got to reprise my role as Liu Kang – this time as a cool undead zombie wield double chains.

Recently, my friend Ray and I have been working on MK vs DC. I don’t want to give too much away, but from what I’ve seen of the game so far, it’s going to rock. You guys at E3 are going to be in for a real treat. If only I can get Ed Boon to let me go to E3 on Midway dime. One can dream. Click here for some photos of me doing motion capture for the MK vs DC.

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A Day in the Life of a Motion Capture Talent

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*Updated October 14, 2008*

Every once in a while I’m asked by Midway Home Entertainment to perform motion capture for the Mortal Kombat games due to my martial arts experience. Today was one such day, and I thought it would be interesting to some of my readers to know what that entails.

When I arrive at the office in the morning, I usually head straight to the motion capture studio. If I am early, I might drop in on some of my friends and chat a bit. Once in the studio, I suit up while the motion capture team set up and calibrate the system.

For those not familiar with motion capture, according to wikipedia

Motion capture, motion tracking, or mocap is a technique of digitally recording movements for entertainment, sports, and medical applications. In the context of filmmaking (where it is sometimes called performance capture), it refers to the technique of recording the actions of human actors, and using that information to animate digital character models in 3D animation.

The motion capture talent is suited up in a tight black outfit with many small reflective markers velcro-ed onto them. Cameras or sensors around the room pick up the position of these markers and record the data into the motion capture software. By recording human movement this way and applying them to 3D models, you can get much better and more natural movement for much cheaper than you could if you were to use key framing.

Once I suit up, I help one of the guys put all the reflective markers on me. You might think that the markers go on joints but in actuality, placing them on joints makes the data less meaningful because you can’t detect joint rotation as well. So the markers generally go between joints like forearms, biceps, shins, etc. I’ll start warming up by doing some wushu basics, jogging, and some stretching.

When we’re ready to begin, they’ll do a “range of motion” test. I stand in the middle of the capture space and do things like lift my arms up, bend my elbows, bend my knees, swing my arms around, kick, bend my neck, and move around. I’ll talk with the team and try to understand what they want us to do. Usually there’s 2 or 3 motion capture artists at any one shoot. Today it was Carlos, Ray Wu, and I. Once I get what they want me to do, if it’s a cinematic intro, we’ll come up with a sequence on the spot given the direction and rehearse it a couple of times before we shoot. We’ll shoot until lunch at which point some of the people I know might drop in the capture studio to chat while we eat. After lunch we resume shooting until end of day.

On this particular day, Ray did a flash kick as part of a move. Mostly we shot some in-game moves. One thing to note is that for each sequence, we start in a T-pose and end in it. A T-pose helps map our motion capture skeleton to the 3D character they’ll map to. Motion capture is a fun and cool experience. It’s neat to see your moves mapped to a stick figure in real-time during the capture session and also to see it in the actual game.

* Sachin Agarwal, CEO of Dawdle.com has a good write up of another one of my motion capture sessions at Midway Games over at the Dawdle blog.

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Mortal Kombat vs DC Teaser Trailer Is Out

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The teaser trailer for the new Mortal Kombat video game was just released earlier today. My colleague Dr. Raymond Wu and I performed motion capture for this trailer last year in the summer.

Duuuude. I was sooooo disappointed. We spent a whole day choreographing and shooting and this is what they have to show for. I was so looking forward to seeing what they did with all the motion capture footage. Over two thirds the trailer doesn’t even show anything, just a bunch of shapes and text. What a waste. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

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