In a Develop guide to creating high quality video-content for games, Lightning Fish’s creative director Phil Marley has suggested that the technology offers huge potential as the likes of Natal loom on the horizon.
"In a self-improvement title we often want to have a character demonstrate something and show the player how they’re doing at the same time" said Marley. "The logical solution, with Natal and the EyeToy Wand on the horizon, is to show live video of the player. A CG trainer overlaid on top will look strange. A video blends perfectly."
Lightning Fish’s own fitness title NewU is built around live-action footage, which Marley describes as "a better blend with the future" in contrast to CG for many projects. Developing the game has given the studio a wealth of experience working with actors, rehearsals, cameras and the other elements inherent in the technique.
Live action footage found fashion with the games industry in the 1990s, as laser disk technology and systems like the Phillips CDi painted a misguided vision of the future. However, with exercise titles like Wii Fit continuing to court high sales, the technique could make a return.
"Of course, I’m talking specifically about self-improvement titles here," admitted Marley, adding: "Video certainly isn’t suitable for most genres."
In Marley’s feature written specifically for Develop, he shares his experience working with live-action footage, offering a detailed run-down of the advantages the technology delivers and a list of pointers for those embarking on a live-action project.