2006 saw Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) launch the junior range of their highly successful Buzz! franchise, with RealtimeUK producing intros for both Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party, and Buzz! Junior: RoboJam – so we were pleased to be invited by SCEE to produce the intro for the third in the Buzz! Junior series, Buzz! Junior: Monster Rumble.
The brief from SCEE for Monster Rumble was to introduce four very cheeky monsters, in a 60 second intro that would act as a teaser for the game. As the game is aimed at young players aged between six and nine, SCEE’s focus was on fun, humour and mischief – with just the right amount of scariness for our younger audience.
The RealtimeUK team started by playing a demo of the game to gain an understanding of the monsters and the game itself – and to make sure they could reflect the game accurately in their intro piece. SCEE provided some concept artwork and reference material to inspire the team when putting together the script and storyboard for the intro.
RealtimeUK’s Animation Director, Chris Fenna, explains, Our task was to encapsulate all the fun and mischievousness of the game within a 60 second intro. With four cheeky monsters and a Transylvanian Castle to play with, we had plenty of source material to create a movie; the challenge was to distil this into one minute.
RealtimeUK’s solution features a mad professor in his lab performing a Frankenstein style monster creation, which takes a turn for the worse as he ends up creating four mischievous monsters. The monsters then stage an escape, hurtling through the house and into the swamp outside, leaving the mad professor bewildered at what he has unleashed on the world.
While the monsters closely reflected the in-game creations, the mad professor, being a brand new character, was created entirely from scratch by the RealtimeUK team.
One of the more challenging aspects of this project was the highly stylised modelling, as this is one of the most cartoony-like animations we have produced, says Chris. The animation was pushed to be as creative and funky as possible and the monsters were developed to be entertaining and full of bounce.
Low res proxy versions of the monster characters were used to drive the cloth simulation, which features during the opening sequence. We started with default cloth parameters and then went in to make fine adjustments to achieve the best results, continues Chris. Matte paintings produced in Photoshop were utilised for all the outdoor background environments. These were based on concept work and in-game reference and were mapped onto flat planes and layered up in the backgrounds of each shot.
The final animation was a massive success and SCEE felt that the brief had been fulfilled superbly.
Tony Prosser, Managing Director at RealtimeUK commented that our team enjoyed working on the Buzz! Junior: Monster Rumble project. They relished the challenge of creating new characters and bringing these mischievous monsters to life. We look forward to working with SCEE again in the near future.