“Saints Row: The Third’s Real Time Capture Tools”

Lecture by Alexander Mejia at GDC 2012.

In the past, we had several outsource partners that worked with us to help create marketing videos for Saints Row 2. Every cut we got back had bad footage because It was simply too hard for outsourcers to capture good visceral gameplay. Creating custom cinematics was out of the question due to personnel shortages and time restraints. that meant long nights at the studio replacing each shot with our existing tool “Slew mode” which had existed since our first game, Descent. It was designed for flying around levels, not for video capture.

For Saints Row the Third, we set out to create a tool that would minimize the use of our personnel on trailers. Machinima_Mode was created: a real time camera control system that would allow our outsourcers to create great dynamic footage with very little training. Our programmers spent 2 days implementing this mode, and it was worth the effort.

With Machinima Mode, the amount of capture requested by outsource companies has dropped 90% and we can spend more time focusing on making the game instead of trying to support marketing. In this post-mortem you will learn how tweaking existing tools made a huge difference to outsourcers who capture live action footage to market our game.