La Noire is a detective thriller set in 1947 Los Angeles (La). You take control of an LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) officer to solve a range of cases across different departments (Homicide, Drugs, Forensics). You must investigate crime scenes for clues, follow up leads & Interrogate suspects to reveal the truth (You are given multiple choice questions to reveal the truth based on the amount of evidence you have gathered).
The game draws heavily from aspects of film Noir, which matches the time period of the game. Classic film Noir was most popular in the 1940-50’s, It even gives you an option to play it in black and white to make the experience even more authentic. Team Bondi (Founded by Brendan) recreated 1940’s Los Angeles by using aerial photographs taken by Robert Spence. In his 50 year long career Spence took over 110,000 photographs of Los Angeles in a plane. The games developers used these pictures to map traffic patterns and public transport routes and even building architecture & position to recreate a 1947 Los Angeles in perfect detail and scale.
La Noire is the first video game to be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival upon release. The game received wide acclaim for its advances in Storytelling & Facial Animation Technology (MotionScan). MotionScan was showcased at E3 in 2010, shortly before La Noire’s release in 2011. MotionScan is a custom engine, combining Facial motion capture & Animation software. It was developed by Depth Analysis (Also Founded by Brendan McNamara and sister company to Team Bondi both founded 2003). La Noire was Team Bondi’s first and only project that spanned 7 years.
The technology itself relies on 32 High Definition cameras arrayed as stereo pairs to capture the face of an actor. The videostreams from these pairs are processed in a computer using stereo vision techniques to produce a 3D model for each frame from the combined streams. The processing of the data is done in the background of the capture process, which can be tuned for the users preference (Quality, Resolution) although the process remains the same.
The game La Noire uses the Havok Physics engine which allows for real time collisions (Traffic collisions or people bumping into each other) and Dynamics of Rigid bodies in 3D. Basically put when a characters body, be it Player or Non Player, is hit by and external force (Car or persons fist) the body doesn’t deform or “Fall Apart”.
After playing the game a short while I realised that the developers really did put a lot of effort into constructing the environment and trying to meet the needs of the player. This links to our lesson on Analysis in which we spoke about the link between Game and Gamer, the developers used the pictures taken by Robert Spence to make a visually fantastic environment to try to make the link between game and gamer seamless. The use of film Noir and live actors (Motionscan) makes such a huge jump in games development that the game could almost be classified as a movie, in which I believe we spoke of briefly in a previous lesson.
I got these pictures from google Images and the links to the sites they can be found are bellow:
- LA Noire lives up to the name “movie-like” video game (venturebeat.com)
- The Most Advanced Motion Capture In Gaming History: The Blooper Reel (buzzfeed.com)
- L.A. Noire developer shuts its doors despite hit game (venturebeat.com)