There is not much time left to the release of FIFA 22. It should come as no surprise, then, that Electronic Arts is increasingly mentioning the new game. This includes Sam Rivera, chief gameplay producer at EA Sports, who in an interview with Polygon mentioned one of the innovations in this year's installment of the football series.
HyperMotion is the new technology responsible for animations based on machine learning. As we read on the official FIFA 22 website, the AI analyzed data from over 8.7 million frames recorded during matches with players wearing a special Xsens outfit. Rivera emphasized the immense importance of the technology and expressed his belief that this is the beginning of shifting the responsibility of animation to AI:
"What that algorithm is doing is learning from all the data for that motion capture shoot — how the players approach the ball, how many steps do they do to get to the ball, is it three long steps and one short step; what is the proper angle, with the proper cadence, to properly hit that ball? [...] That is very, very cutting-edge technology. This is basically the beginning of machine learning taking over animation."
Rivera and his team have been working on HyperMotion for the past three years to solve a major problem in reproducing realistic player behavior: the dilemma between recording short or long animations. Although a continuous sequence looks better than even the best-edited series of small shots, such a solution does not necessarily work in a video game, where the situation on screen can change at any time (for example, due to the intervention of another player). HyperMotion enables one to move seamlessly from one animation to another if need be.
In terms of the number of recorded animations, Rivera mentioned in passing that just for FIFA 22 alone, approximately 4,000 animations were prepared. Whether or not all of the effort really translates into greater realism remains to be seen when the game is released. FIFA 22 will be released on October 1, 2021 on PC, Stadia, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch. It's just a shame that we'll only see HyperMotion in action on Google's service and 9th-gen platforms.
- FIFA - official website