A new motion capture session on it's way
For the recent times we've been developing our motion capture tool chain to be able to create better animations more efficiently, as we are preparing ourselves for the massive motion capture session to finalize most of the character animations for the game. We really had to do this at this point to make it sure that we'll get the best possible quality out of the next session in decent time frame. We're really excited about the new features of the system and hopefully we can fire it up within a couple of weeks.
Demo being delayed
The downside is that the intensive tool development has naturally taken time away from other game development areas. There's also license issues open, we already have the names and the skills for the players, but some legal issues need to be taken care of before those can be applied into the game. All this concludes to fact that we need to re-evaluate the release date and the content for the demo. Most likely, the demo won't be released during year 2008. We apologize this, but we'll see that it's good for the product.
Future status updates
We've also decided not to publish new status updates monthly. This is mainly because it seems like the expectations for new content to be monthly released makes the development team to concentrate too much into 'demoable' content. For now on, the status updates are published whenever we feel that there's really something new, worth showing to public. This doesn't mean that there won't be any new status updates or that the next one will be published in the end of the next year. There WILL be status updates but not necessarely monthly. Also their content is just more closely chosen instead of writing a bullet list of misc content which doesn't actually benefit anyone :) The next status update will be published once the animations are integrated into the game and we get another update for in-game graphics. Hopefully at that point, we'll start to have a final look for the game and start having also videos of the gameplay in the website. There's no way to promise any exact dates again, we really don't know exactly how long it is going to take.
New Motion capture system
Just one thing to mention, before going into the 'details'; The animations are really what makes the game look good and they are really one of the key elements of the gameplay (among with the AI). This is one of the reasons why the motion capture system is being so intensively improved. It will pay back in a long term. The new features of the motion capture system allow us to have the whole content path in a single tool. Previously we had to use multiple tools when capturing the animations. Also the calibration system is now a lot better, allowing us to calibrate the system more accurately. Actually the system is now able to tell us where the calibration goes wrong and we'll be able to adjust it according to the results of the error analysis. This should produce better results because now the fine-tuned camera setup can also be stored and re-used. The new system also allows us to see the actual calibration setup already during the motion capture session and hopefully we'll get to see also somekind of results of the capture data in human understandable form already during the session. With a still a bit more work we'll get the system to support realtime capture and preview, but that's probably something which doesn't happen during FBL09 development, more like in FBL2010 timeframe.