Sony Bend’s Unannounced PS4 Exclusive to Have Inverse Kinematics, Physical Animation, Minigames

on May 13, 2014 3:09 AM

We know that Oregon-based Sony Bend studio is working on a PS4 exclusive, but Sony has managed, surprisingly, to keep its nature closely under wraps so far, even if we got a few hints from career opportunity ads. Today we get two more, seeking a Senior Animation Programmer and a Senior Game Programmer, that add a few more pieces to this growing puzzle:

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We are looking for an Animation Programmer to help develop next generation animation systems for a current working title being developed by Bend Studio.
This is not an entry level position and applicant must be able to demonstrate current working knowledge in the field of animation development for recent game applications. This role is closely related to both a physics and animation engineer.

Responsibilities

  • Key contributor to the development of state-of-the-art animation systems, influencing improvements to engine architecture, performance optimizations, and supporting production animation staff through improvements to tools and pipelines.
  • Develop robust animation frameworks that will interface with physics and AI character behaviors, such as IK, procedural / physical animation, and facial animations.
  • Maintaining a strong collaborative work relationship with programming peers, animation artists, and design staff.

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We are looking for a senior game programmer to architect and implement game engine code systems that are used for the creation and development of a game application. This will involve writing game code systems for the use of the art and/or design teams for handling the creative aspects of game-play development. Some tools development is occasionally required for handling data needed by the game engine.

Principle Duties / Responsibilities:

  • Is a key contributor to the development of technology, systems and tools that support game design needs. This includes, but is not limited to game logic, character behaviors, state based animations selection, motion systems, scripted mini-games, physics systems, collision systems, rendering, particle effects, entities systems, camera logic, sound support.
  • Maintain a thorough knowledge of the games design to manage communication and enable early identification of issues to ensure issues within direct areas of responsibility are strategically managed.
  • Collaborates with the production team to develop all aspects of the specified game-play experience from a technical perspective.
  • Provides input into the technical design and vision through all phases of the game development cycle from pre-production through final product release. This entails ensuring products are of the highest technical quality and uphold the integrity of the games design.
  • Maintains a clear understanding of personal task lists and project milestones to ensure set goals will be met from a scope, schedule or game-play perspective.
  • Clearly communicating updates and concerns to their manager.
  • Manages requests or information needs regarding any aspect of the technical creation process with the appropriate members of the development team.
  • Actively maintains skill-set and knowledge base by keeping track of the latest innovations from the industry.

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The Senior Game Programmer ad mentions scripted mini-games, meaning that Sony Bend’s upcoming game probably will have some, even if we have no way to know what kind of weight they’ll have compared to the whole experience.

The post seeking a Senior Animation Programmer is extremely interesting, and shows that Sony Bend is really pulling all the stops to provide characters with state-of-the-art animation.

We learn that the game will use “IK” animation, which stands for “Inverse Kinematics.” It’s an animation technique that instead of having characters move according to direct input given to the joints, makes them interact with the environment dynamically and naturally, causing limbs to effectively land on certain objects. An example is a character that walks near a railing and keeps his hand on it. We saw the same technique applied in the semi-recent gameplay shown for The Order: 1886. It’s a very relevant method to make characters fit naturally in the environment and increase immersion.

And that’s not all. The ad also mentions Procedural Animation, that basically involves the use of real-time automatically generated animation sequences that allow for a more diverse set of movements. It’s often used for cloth and hair, but also for other parts of a character.

Physical Animation (or Physically Based Animation) is similar, but instead of randomly generating movement, it simulates it based on physical interaction with other objects or the environment, like the wind, or collisions. Physically simulated cloth is a relevant example, and it’s often used in combination with procedural implementations.

It’s worth mentioning that the ad also basically confirms that the game will use Unreal Engine, even if the version is not specified.

According to quite a few recent rumors, we’ll see more of this game at E3. Your guess about what it’ll be is as good as mine, but from what we’ve seen so far it certainly seems to put a lot of focus on its characters.

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.
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