In a project produced and designed by ABC – Behind the News, Torrens Valley University and Novus Res, our animation team contributed to this world-first VR project to bring the Kokoda story to life like never before.
The experience sends students back to 1942 with a first-hand experience of the famous Kokoda Track campaign where they can pick up weapons, run through the battle fields and witness the victories and failures first hand.
Monkeystack was brought onboard to populate highly detailed, photogrammetrically created scenes with believable soldiers with the final product processed to work in a real-time VR environment.
As this project came into the studio with significant time constraints, it was crucial to work efficiently using a range of software programs to deliver quality work within tight timeframes.
First, we tackled character modelling using Zbrush and Substance painter to create a set of believable CG soldiers. Using captures of the original uniforms, hats, backpacks and boots, our experienced team of character animators brought the soldiers to life with realistic, real-time animated actions. By using a mix of motion capture for more generic movements and hand keyed animations for more specific actions, we’re able to streamline the animation process while still delivering a quality outcome suitable for VR.
We then called on the high level of skill and experience from our environmental animators to process complex photogrametry assets to recreate realistic, real-time CG representations of the battle fields from 1942. There was significant volume of processing work required to optimise the scenes as the photogrammetry assets ran in the hundreds of millions of polygons and needed to be significantly reduced to run in a real-time environment. Fidelity was retained by using Substance Painter and ZBrush. The final result is an immersive and powerful educational in both a VR and AR App experience.
“This project is a great example showing VR is about more than just sci-fi games and gimmicks. It’s a legitimate media platform that will allow us to tell real stories more like how we live them in the first place; as active participants with action unfolding all around us.” Executive Producer, Nathan Bazley, ABC – Behind the News
Want to check it out for yourself? The full playthrough is available in the video or you can find out more on the ABC Kokoda VR website.