Ahead of its MLSPA and OneTeam partnership announcement for eFootball, SGO got to go behind the scenes at the Hawthorne, California based KONAMI building. While we were there, we got to see what it takes to scan new players into the game. In addition, we got a first look on on how KONAMI captures their content for marketing campaigns. You can check out coverage of the MLSPA announcement here.
Unfortunately, we were not able to talk to the players due to time constraints. However, Sietaro Kimura, producer on eFootball, was kind enough to answer a few questions on behalf of the development team.
eFootball: Free-to-Play, MLSPA Partnership, and more!
In addition to a short Q&A, we also spoke with the team from The Scan Truck. Check out both discussions below.
Seitaro Kimura, eFootball Producer
On player scanning…
What’s the turnaround time for one athlete to go from scan to in-engine/in-game?
It takes about 5 to 15 days from the delivery of the scan data to the completion of the face model. Since hair cannot be generated from scan data, there is a difference in production time depending on the hairstyle.
If possible, can you elaborate on what happens next, following the player scanning?
Beginning with the 3D shooting, we generate a scanned model from the captured photos. Afterwards, we do some cleaning-up of the model and it is delivered to the production team. Once the scans are in the hands of production, we convert them into a game model. We then manually adjust details based on the photos taken.
From there, we create hair and build the model to express finer details and fleshiness. After we check the quality and iron out any defects in the checking environment, we move on to the implementation phase where we set the body shape and add-in the accessory information for each player. At the final stages, we implement them in-game and check how they are displayed on actual devices.
Does the studio [Konami] have a particular approach to getting players scanned? For example, is there a focus on getting popular individuals (like ambassadors) first? Or is it a more shotgun approach, getting whomever whenever possible?
In order to use the scanned data effectively, we will first prioritize taking pictures of ambassadors and popular players to be included in the game. In the case of new partnerships like this one, we want to scan as many players as possible, so if we have the opportunity, we would like to take as many pictures as the rights and costs allow.
On eFootball going F2P…
Recently, eFootball PES became just eFootball as well as a digital-only Free-to-Play game. Has this new direction changed the core design philosophy behind the series? Can players continue to expect the same commitments to authenticity in regards to player likeness, licenses, and gameplay?
We have been and continue to present the “realness” of football, and although the game is now free to play and digital-only, the design concept has not changed.
Obviously, locations and schedules play a pivotal role in the scanning process. Does the change in format require adjustments to the development cycle and workflow?
To keep-up to-date with the seasons cycles of football “in real life”, the cycle of one major in-game update per year will not change. However, minor updates and additional download contents will be implemented when necessary, regardless of the yearly break.
If possible, can you elaborate on some of the reasons why the annual releasing eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer has become a digital only eFootball with regular updates?
We aim to make eFootball one big esports platform. We will make it cross-playable, free to play, and digital-only so that all football fans around the world can join in and have fun whenever they want.
In terms of development, are there advantages to this new eFootball as a platform environment versus the traditional annual releases?
We plan to continue to make major updates once a year. So, there have been no major changes in game development.
On eFootball MLSPA partnership…
Acquiring the MLSPA license via partnership is clearly a big deal; are there plans to capitalize on this newly founded connection with the U.S audience in terms of game direction? Are you able to elaborate on any immediate plans?
We are very pleased this partnership will make the content more enjoyable for football fans in the United States. Of course, we are planning tournaments and in-game events that make use of this license, and we are also planning measures that utilize ambassadors.
Will this possibly result in any U.S. based esports competitions or branding?
Specific plans are still in the works, but I think there is a lot of potential for esports in the U.S. in the future.
A few community questions…
If any, what improvements can Xbox users expect to edit modes?
Edit mode will be available in updates after launch. Due to the hardware characteristics of the Xbox, some features may be limited.
Will eFootball allow Xbox players to download kits from an online server?
Please wait for further updates for edit mode.
The Scan Truck Team
While onsite at the KONAMI headquarters, the Scan Truck team was kind enough to allow us a look at the process as well as ask a few questions. The Scan Truck is a mobile photogrammetry studio. With it, the team offers the most cutting edge technologies to deliver high quality 3D assets for Feature Films, VR Productions, Video Games, and more.
The specific truck used in this event housed 162 cameras. Those working within it possessed about four years experience with backgrounds in 3D modeling. Once a player gets scanned, the photos upload to a point cloud where it generates a mesh with millions of polygons. Here, the team then creates a base mesh and generate a variety of maps (normals, speculars, etc.) before rigging for animation and passing on to KONAMI.
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