In the 1990s, video games made the leap from two-dimensional pixel graphics to three-dimensional polygons, and since then games have been striving for the most realistic graphics, physics and movements in their virtual worlds. Progress has been made quickly in solid-state 3D objects thanks to improvements in textures, shading and relief display. Now this progress has slowed down as AAA games have reached a very high standard of graphic accuracy, but the publisher Electronic Arts is still looking for new advances in graphics technology. A major game publisher, such as EA, is interested in making its games the first to see these important achievements, since it can also claim patents for them.
It would also mean that EA could promote its games as the most graphically rich games available, and in the incredibly competitive market of almost photorealistic AAA games, this is what will attract more potential players. For this reason, EA is constantly using new technologies to make its games better.
The latest video game graphics software patent filed by EA aims to address an easily overlooked aspect of 3D game design, namely deformable objects such as clothing. As a rule, a character’s clothes are designed as part of a ribbed character model, and they cannot be manipulated or moved like real clothes, unless specially animated for this purpose. Characters who wear long coats or robes also often have this element acting separately from the main character’s model, but this loose part usually contrasts sharply with the rest of the model, since it is the only part of the character’s clothing that is affected by fashion. the game’s physics engine.
However, EA’s new patent uses machine learning to predict the realistic movement of clothing superimposed on a 3D model. Hopefully, this will lead to the fact that the character’s clothes will react realistically to his physical movements. An example of what this might mean is that if a character raises his arms above his head, the lower part of his shirt may be pulled up, and his sleeves may be pulled off his wrists, instead of the texture of the clothes simply stretching along with the character model. The patent also describes how clothing is procedurally folded and stretched when it sits on a character model.
The description of the clothing layer in the patent describes it as a kind of ethereal texture that is located on the character model and is procedurally influenced by the movement and animation of the character. The predictive nature of the machine learning system should also reduce the computing power required for the system to work. This patent is likely to be used for a wide range of EA sports games, such as Madden NFL, to make players’ T-shirts move realistically like a character.
The deformable clothing will still act as a texture applied to the character model, rather than as a separate fabric model. Deformable fabric models in video games are often a nightmare for pruning problems, unless they are handled with extreme care, like, for example, the Spawn cloak in Mortal Kombat 11.