CGN: Tell us about the ladies, from concept to delivery. Were there actors involved? Motion capture?
Eric: We did do motion capture. And that was one of the more taxing parts of development. I mean, all of those female actresses ogling me. It's like, “HELLO. I have a face.” It just becomes tiresome after awhile.
Josh: Initially we looked for some reference artwork that would help us with our 2D concept art. We specifically looked for artwork that portraying girls in a cartoon style. We contacted girls who had the right style and tried to figure out a way to translate that into 3D. At the same time as we developed the concepts for the girls and building the models, the writers were scripting the game story. There are almost 13,000 lines of dialog in the game. It's a content-heavy game! There's a lot of story there for each character, so writing the script and helping players to get to know the girls was quite a significant part of the whole production. There were 75 different voice actors who worked on the game and a different voice actor voices each of the 15 main girls. All of that combines to be a colossal amount of dialog that needs to be edited and processed.
Eric: This is one of the most gigantic voice recording undertakings for any game. We spent months in the studio. It was very rewarding, very ambitious and we were probably stupid for trying.
Josh: Once we had all the voice actors recorded for the girls. We went to our motion capture studio, put girls into black leotards with reflective balls and had them act out the stuff. Once we had the basic body animation, we took that back here and added the secondary animation for the breasts and the ponytails and all that good stuff. What we ended up with are fantastic cartoon girls who are also life-like and sexy. When I think about the game and its personalities, I'm convinced that you can spend vast amounts of time in the bowels of the game and still be struck by how real Larry is as a person and how life-like the girls are compared to a film or television show.
Eric: We tried a bunch of different ways of doing things too. There was a lot of research and development. We would have liked to have done soft tissue captures with naked actors, but the truth of it was that. Motion capture actors really do not like to mime sexual acts.
CGN: Can you elaborate on the technical aspects of creating the game characters?
Eric: For motion capture, we have our own studio and use 16 Vicon M-series cameras. We use Kaydara Motionbuilder to do the motion blending. For 3D modeling and animation, we use 3ds max and character studio. We also use Optipix for texture optimization. Other tools include Photoshop, Deep Paint, 3D Studio Max, Character Studio, and Mindreader 2.0.
CGN: What sort of challenges did you face while producing Magna Cum Laude?
Josh: The biggest challenge that we had was managing the massive amount of content. It had to come together correctly or it wouldn't work at all. When you're trying to be funny, there's a fine line between pulling it off and falling flat on your face. When you've got a lot of technology involved there. For example, we've got a conversation where you've got the flying sperm mini-game and you're using the thumb stick on the controller to steer the sperm and navigate through the conversation. Hitting different icons on the sperm makes Larry say different things in real-time. So Larry and this girl are having a conversation in what appears to be a cinematic setting, but you're controlling each thing that Larry says and there are multiple things he Larry could say at any time. All this has to blend seamlessly, not only from an animation standpoint and cinematic standpoint, but also regarding the humor. You have to make sure that everything that they say makes sense and is funny. It
was a monumental challenge to have all this content and make it flow together.