Battlerite Cam Crew

Hi! Mockarutan here – what is this, a new person? Yes sir. I’m the “VR Guy” here at Stunlock, you might have seen me on the Microsoft stage at E3!

So, while you guys are pwning plebs out on the arena, we’ve been working on more cool stuff! I want to tell you about Battlerite VR, or Battlerite CamCrew as we named it – because it’s more of a camera tool than anything else. Battlerite VR would be the name if Battlerite was playable in VR, which is not the case. Anyhow, I thought I’d break the silence and talk more about what it actually is.

First things first: since we announced it over a year ago, some people have been concerned that is takes from the development of the core game. And while it’s a valid concern and it has taken a lot of time to build, it really has taken up only an insignificant amount of the time that has been spent on Battlerite as a whole. I’ve actually spent a whole lot of my spare time on this! Just because I’m a bit of a VR nut I guess!

Some history

So where did it come from? From the very start of the project, before Battlerite was even named, we have had a working VR spectator mode in Battlerite. It’s something I was really curious about and an easy thing to try out early. This grew in complexity with motion controls and other tools as time went on.

Then one day when Sebastian Badylack, “Virtual Reality Fanatic” at Coffee Stain Studios, and I were playing around in the spectator mode, he gave the idea of giving the spectator a camera to hold in their hand. This idea grew rapidly in my head and I spent three month implementing and experimenting in my free time, and writing the AI architecture for Battlerite in my work time. About six weeks before our first gameplay trailer was suppose to be ready, I showed it to the CEO, game director, and marketing director. At this point it does not hurt to have an old admin as CEO (Gedan), who loves video production.

They really liked it, and we decided to make it good enough to aid us in the trailer production. This is before freecam was implemented, so it’s because of this all of the non-top-down-shots in the first gameplay trailer exist. Not long after launch we used the system for some live production of an amatur esport tournament at Sweden Game Conference, and we all saw the potential of it – both for video production and for live production. So we decided to put some of my work time into it and see where is could go – and it’s grown a lot since then!

Where we are Today

In principle, the tool is not that different from what we showed of over a year ago. Back then it was really a big elaborate prototype with a lot of limitations and quirks. This time around most of those things have been fixed, and the whole experience is a lot more refined. It’s still a tool in its own category and meant a little more for power users than the average gamer. But I hope it will interest as many as possible!

The tool is divided into three different use cases; private match spectating, live camera control/production and camera animation/video production. It’s quite hard to even put labels on the different parts, but essentially you can do three major things with it: You can be a spectator in a private match and simply watch the game with some rudimentary HUD (HUD is really tricky in VR). Then you can take control over the camera in full 3D and direct what is being shown on the 2D monitor.

Basically: imagine if the “ingame-camera-man” on your average esport production could move the camera as if they where a “camera-god” inside the game. Yeah, that’s what it is like.

The third major thing is the video production tool. You can jump into a replay and scrub around just like in the normal game, but from here you have a whole other level of camera control, control that is not even possible at all without using VR.

There is a plethora of camera movement controls and settings that lets you mimic almost any camera technique in reality you can think of. Most of the normal lens settings like depth of field, field of view, camera motion blur etc. are available right at your fingertips, in real time. All of these values can be animated from within VR. When you have everything neatly animated and you are happy with the result, which you can see in real time in VR, you just render it straight to video with a native video encoder that is built straight into the engine (using the ffmpeg library if anyone is curious).

This render is non-realtime and will produce video with perfect framerate on any computer, although it might take some time. With all these tools you can, I dare to say it, achieve any effect you want! Jokes aside, it’s a really different way of thinking about video production and I think you gonna love it!

This tool is still in some form of alpha state – it’s really a prototype because nobody knows what is can become, but it’s a pretty stable and well working tool. So it’s hard to put a label on it other than experimental. So, Soon™, we will release this tool for free. I know most of you will not be able to enjoy it since VR is still not mainstream yet, but the ones who can will hopefully use it and make some awesome content that everyone can enjoy!

I’ve put together a small and quick demonstration of it. Just to show of a little bit how it looks. It only scratches the surface of the functions but hopefully you’ll find it interesting. Make sure you have caption on!

The design and development of this tool has been a big endeavor for me – much of the concepts and ideas in the tool have never been done before, and there is a whole lot of experimentation and research behind it. Like I said before, I’m a big VR nut and the interest in this might be limited to people like me. But if anyone out there are interested, I would love to do a deep dive into some of the unique challenges and problems I had to solve to make this happen. So leave a comment or tweet me @Mockarutan if this interests you, or if you just have questions!

Finally, one note on the video encoder; a lot of people have requested this feature, to be able to export your replays to video. So I can confirm that it is something we have been working on for a while. It still has some issues, some that is out of our control, but rest assured – as soon as we have this feature running smoothly we will let you render all you replays to video.

Hope you enjoyed having a look at this project!


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