LA Noire has 2,000-page script, dev has 200-terabyte capture “facility”

Monday, 15th November 2010 19:42 GMT By Patrick Garratt


This had better be good.

Following the release of LA Noire’s first proper trailer last week, a full-sized Game Informer preview‘s revealed that the Team Bondi thriller has a 2,000-page script, and that the developer has formulated a process of simply filming actors and gaining an instant 3D model, instead of using the traditional facial capture method of bone-marking.

The switch to working in this way has given need for the studio to create a 200-terabyte capture unit in Australia.

“I’d been doing some research in the U.K. for a number of years on how you could do capture without markers,” game director Brendan McNamara told the mag.

“What we wanted to do was capture the exterior of people instead of the bones. What we have here is the final end of that process, where you put an actor in the chair and as we record it’s instantly turned into 3D. We think it’s pretty significant. The great thing about that is we think that the whole uncanny valley thing is out the window, because you can see people in the game and literally lip-read what they say.”

To put the script-length into perspective, a long movie will have a script of around 200 pages.

The game looks mental. Last week’s trailer dropped jaws with what looks to be by far the most advanced lip-synching yet seen in a game. McNamara reckons LA Noire will change human characters in videogame development forever.

“Even the [games] I look at now that are great, there’s something about [the characters] that makes me think of a goldfish,” he said.

“You have a million years of evolution that tells you how to read faces, so you just have to see one thing and it throws you off. With this game, it’s a line in the sand – before and after. That’s what it feels like to me. We used to do that; now we do this. In the end, we want you to interact with this and you don’t even ask the question ‘Is this real or not?’”

Must-read. There are new shots there, too. It’s out next spring for PS3 and 360.

The game’s been in development since at least 2004.



  1. OrbitMonkey

    Please don’t drop the ball with the gameplay guys!! I got me some high hopes :D

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Anders

    The sad thing is that no matter how well LA Noire does, Team Bondi will never make back the money they invested in it. Seen from a economical standpoint, they would’ve been better off developing Call of Duty map packs for Activision.

    Also, I am posting comment to quickly.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Vastluck

    Terabits (Tb) and Terabytes (TB) are different measurements. Which one of these two is used in this article?

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Patrick Garratt

    It’s terabytes. I’ve edited it.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Freek

    Faces still look fake. Verry good, excited to see where this goes, but no, the faces are still fake. It’s the eyes, they’re lifeless.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Patrick Garratt

    The mouth animation’s amazing. It’s definitely a proper move forward.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Razor

    Faces looked good, but I wouldn’t say it was anything earth shattering. If Uncharted 2′s characters’ eyes didn’t look like creepy bugs, I wouldn’t be able to really tell the difference.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Dr.Ghettoblaster

    Any idea what game is like? I mean is it straight up GTA, perhpas some Mafia, maybe some Max Payne, I don’t know, any ideas?

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Hybridpsycho

    I love the facial expressions the characters make in this game, imo I’ve not seen anything as well done (Not even Uncharted 2 ;p )

    But yeah, it just sounds more and more promising! :O

    #9 4 years ago
  10. osric90

    Only? Anyway this is another inside the bunch.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Psychotext

    Probably worth noting that what you’re seeing here isn’t animation as we’d normally understand it… it’s literally the actors real facial movements scanned and put into the game.

    “MotionScan uses 32 HD cameras to capture true-to-life three-dimensional performances at up to 30 fps. It’s capable of capturing up to 50 minutes of final footage and processing up to 20 minutes of facial animation automatically per day. No markers or phosphorescent paint need be applied, and no manpower is required to clean up data and animate the finer details by hand after the shoot. An additional advantage is that directors can view a performance from any angle, and re-light it in any way with the press of a button.”

    There’s some videos out there (another company rather than the one the La Noire devs are using)… but I can’t for the life of me remember their name.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Psychotext

    Ahh, here you go:

    That particular example is two years old… I’d imagine they’re even better now.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. joshua nash

    this could either be the game that finally gets everyone in the world to realize that games are kids toys or it could wind up being the bigest flop of all time

    #13 4 years ago
  14. fdelfino

    This game can be the reason I’ll buy an XBOX 360.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Dr.Ghettoblaster

    ^ Interesting comment for a multi-plat game lol

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Zana

    What if it’s 2,000 pages of bullshit? Quantity doesn’t mean quality.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Captain Fruitloop

    Yes, and Free Radical Design were putting out press releases boasting about Haze having a 1000 page script, and you ran the story here – and how did that work out in the end?

    What is it with the games press and the way they go all goggle-eyed when someone wheels out the big numbers?

    (Disclaimer: LA Noire still looks light years better than Haze.)

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Blerk

    Plus they might have used a really big font.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. Freek

    You can mocap as much animation as you want, but you are still limited to in-game real time models for the characters. Where there’s still not enough detail to be convincing.
    Even movies that use that technique, see Tron Legacy and Avatar, don’t get it fully 100% convincing yet.
    Close, verry close, but still not fully natural.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. NightCrawler1970

    Fuck Mafia II, all praise for RockStar!!!!

    Yeah baby, time to lock n load!!!

    #20 4 years ago

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