Japan’s Five for Co. Goes VR with Blackmagic
Blackmagic Design has announced that Japan’s Five for Co. Ltd. has built a system for its new original interactive VR game, “Circle of Saviors,” using Blackmagic products, including ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K and ATEM Television Studio HD. The game includes one of the first introductions of Mixed Reality (MR) technology, which allows for live, free moving VR game play by the main player, and a second player using MR.
Five for Co. Ltd. is a Tokyo-based company offering various services including game development, VR system development and 360° video productions. Its newest game, “Circle of Saviors” is an interactive action VR game that was shown at the recent Tokyo Game Show and the 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in the U.S.
MR images are a mix of VR and regular footage, allowing a player to play in the game while maintaining awareness of the physical world and allowing audiences to watch gameplay anywhere. With MR technology, Five for Co. Ltd. is able to produce two different virtual images in real time, one for the player’s POV and the other a real time composited image of a virtual set. To do this, Five for uses ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K and ATEM Television Studio HD, SmartView Duo and Teranex Mini Rack Shelf.
The game, which is being played at arcades around Japan, allows a player to join the game wearing a VR viewer. A second player can join the game using MR technology, viewing the game on a small monitor fixed on top of a game controller in the shape of a crossbow. The players’ actions are captured from multiple fixed cameras mounted around the game stage and a camera mounted on the crossbow shape of rear guarded support weapon for the additional player.
The images from the cameras are sent to an ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K. Each image is then mixed with VR images and sent to a large audience monitor and small monitor mounted on the rear guarded support weapon. The videos are automatically switched at a certain time interval. The audience can enjoy MR videos from multiple angles, including the player’s POV, which allow them to advise the player from which direction the enemy is coming toward him or her, or to participate in the game as an extra player using the support weapon. A SmartView Duo monitor is also used to check the output of mixed image and Multiview from an ATEM switcher.
“We deliver this game system to gaming arcades or other kinds of amusement facilities. This kind of game has been around but only the one player can enjoy it. It can output a player’s POV image to the audience monitor, but it was impossible to show how the player is in the virtual set environment through the eye of an outsider. It is difficult to show MR images in real time and the system had to be easily operated by anyone in the amusement facilities, so it made it even more difficult. With this system, the audience can also enjoy watching the MR image and share the experience with the player. For example, they may advise the player where the enemy is coming to him/her, so it is more interactive experience,” said Tamaki Omoto, CTO and senior producer of Five for Co. Ltd.
He continued: “We tested other switchers and software for the development of this system. We chose ATEM because it has lower latency and more layers for composition and reliability of SDI connections. Using professional broadcast products gave us low latency video and real time mix with full HD resolution that cannot be done with just software.”
The earlier models they made were built with ATEM 1M/E Production Studio 4K and have been used in several facilities. They decided to make a smaller system, so now the systems are built with ATEM Television Studio HD along with the other gear rack mounted within a 6U rack, including a computer. “For rack mounting the ATEM Television Studio HD, we use Teranex Mini Rack Shelf. Now we could shrink the system to one third of the original model, which makes the installation process more efficient,” Omoto concluded.
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