Real-Time Motion Capture on a Budget

  • Tami GriffithEmail author
  • Tabitha Dwyer
  • Jennie Ablanedo
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10909)


The U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Simulation & Training Technology Center, along with Cole Engineering Services, Inc. and the University of Central Florida have set out to leverage commercial technology with the goal of improving realism, and reducing cost for Army training tasks. The focus of this task is to establish a prototype functionality that allows a live person to take control of a virtual character. This is done using the Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment, which is an Army-owned simulation built upon the Unreal Engine 4.

Commercial games and movies make use of motion capture capabilities to animate characters. This functionality is needed in real-time to allow person-to-person interactions within a simulation. The goal is to have puppeteers that can take over Artificial Intelligence (AI) characters when in-depth interactions need to occur. While AAA games and movie budgets allow for more expensive systems, the goal of this team is to keep the cost well below $10,000.

A market analysis along with this team’s experience utilizing and integrating the market capabilities to meet these goals are described in this paper.


Virtual training Avatar puppeteering Virtual humans Real-time motion capture 



The ARL STTC, Cole Engineering Services, Inc., and the Institute for Simulation and Training and the University of Central Florida would like to express our appreciation for the support of the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute for resources and expertise provided to this technology area.


  1. 1.
    Griffith, T., Dwyer, T., Kinard, C., Flynn, J.R., Kirazian, V.: Research on the use of puppeteering to improve realism in army simulations and training games. In: Lackey, S., Shumaker, R. (eds.) VAMR 2016. LNCS, vol. 9740, pp. 386–396. Springer, Cham (2016). Scholar
  2. 2.
  3. 3.
  4. 4.
    Summers, N.: The real-time motion capture behind ‘Hellblade’. How a tiny team in Cambridge, England, brought Senua to life. Accessed 8 Aug 2017
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
  7. 7.
  8. 8.
  9. 9.
    Ninja Theory: Hellblade: Diary 21 - Making a Virtual Human | Real-time performance capture. Accessed 17 Mar 2016
  10. 10.
    Maxwell, D.B., Griffith, T.S., Finkelstein, N.M.: Use of virtual worlds in the military services as part of blended learning strategy. In: Handbook of Virtual Environments, pp. 959–1000. CRC Press-Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Griffith, T.S., Ablanedo, J., Nenneman, M.: Taking it to the EDGE. In: Proceedings of the International Defense and Homeland Security Simulation Workshop, Bergeggi, Italy (2015)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Moore, M.E., Novak, J.: Game Industry Career Guide. Cengage Learning, Delmar (2010)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Glanville, S.: Object editor. In: Anim8 or Manual (2006)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Brier, D.: E3: New info on Microsoft’s Natal – how it works, multiplayer and PC versions. Accessed 3 June 2009
  15. 15.
    Marquand, R.: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi; George Lucas Commentary (Film). 20th Century Fox (2004)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    da Silva, D.B., Vidal, C.A., Cavalcante-Neto, J.B., Pessoa, I.N.S., Nunes, R.F.: A robust balance strategy applied to real-time animation data with Kinect sensor. In: 2017 19th Symposium on Virtual and Augmented Reality (SVR), pp. 8–17 (2017)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Originating Technology/NASA Contribution: Inertial Motion-Tracking Technology for Virtual 3-D (2005).
  18. 18.
    Baraniuk, C.: Faceshift: Apple buys Star Wars motion-capture company. BBC News. Accessed 25 Nov 2015
  19. 19.
  20. 20.
    McAlone, N.: See the amazing tech behind the original Jabba the Hutt puppet - which managed to fit 3 people inside of it.–11. Accessed 10 Nov 2015
  21. 21.
    Ninja Theory: Hellblade Development Diary 5: Business of Creation (2014).

Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Army Research Laboratory Simulation & Training Technology CenterOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.Cole Engineering Services, Inc.OrlandoUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Simulation and TrainingUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

Personalised recommendations