25th August 2005. London, UK. BAFTA winner and Develop Awards nominee, Morpheme Wireless today announces its unique 'Bodybag' skeleton engine. The studio is at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of mobile gaming development and is well recognised for its creative and technical achievements in this field. The 'Bodybag' engine can be seen in action in the stunning new beat-em-up Blazing Fists.
Matt Spall, Managing Director and co-founder of Morpheme Wireless commented, "Morpheme has been planning to add a fighting game engine to its roster for a long time now, but we found the limitation imposed on graphic size a real inhibitor to gameplay - the 'Bodybag' engine has now not only given us a very viable platform for fun fighting games, it's opened up a whole range of opportunities for games with skeletal based characters - human or otherwise"
Not only has the team developed an animation engine that requires minimal space in the code, Morpheme has also been able to make the Bodybag visually impressive. Blazing Fists includes fighters, which are two-thirds the height of the screen, irrespective of the device, all with their own very distinct appearance (e.g. a robot, a gorilla, a praying mantis).
Most commonly used methods revolve around the use of animated sprites, but the more detailed and complex the requirement, the more frames of animation and space in the code is required.
To tackle this problem, Morpheme Wireless developed an engine that made use of characters composed of separate body parts - head, torso and limbs; each frame of animation drawn at particular coordinates - with the advantage of being able to fit an enormous number of different frames of animation into memory - far more than if each frame was represented as a sprite.
Morpheme's 'BodyBag' Engine offers greater flexibility. Its most useful feature is the ability to procedurally interpolate between animation frames. The nature of the engine allows the team to animate large amounts of movement using very limited memory and simple scripting.
At the heart of the engine is a 'skeleton' built out of 2-dimensional vectors. Key frames, where the skeleton is in a particular position are stored, and the nodes (at the ends of the vectors) are able to move from position to position over a number of frames. As only key frames need to be defined, and interpolate the intermediate ones, much smoother animation is obtained for (almost) free.
The scripting of moves is very simple, each move is comprised of a small set of adjustable values which dictate the destination and length of the animation as well as setting which body part will make the move. By having such a simple script structure, not only can moves be generated and adjusted quickly, but anyone in the development team can create the animations - in the case of Blazing Fists, all the animations were created by the artist and designer.
For further information on please contact: Alison Beasley, Lincoln Beasley PR
T: +44 (0) 1608 645756 M: +44 (0) 7966 449130 E: Alison@lincolnbeasley.co.uk
Catch up with Morpheme's new lineup at Games Market Europe, Business Design Centre, London, 31st Aug - 1st Sept 2005 & TIGA Content Market at GDCE, Café Royal, Piccadilly, London 31st Aug & 1st Sept.
About Morpheme Wireless Ltd. - www.morphemewireless.com
Formed in 1999 and based in London, England, Morpheme Wireless is one of the worlds leading developers of cell-phone based entertainment products. Recent releases include the BAFTA winning Bluetooth BiPlanes, Phantom Mansion Origins and Balloon Headed Boy with his 32 levels of rubberised madness, and in its guise as developer, Morpheme has developed The Fast and The Furious for I-Play, Poker Million: Texas Hold'em for Player One and The London Tube map for Transport for London. In addition to its current portfolio of games Morpheme developed and maintains MorphMark, a revolutionary benchmarking application that in 2005 will see a substantially improved public release making it the definitive system for testing application performance of Java handsets.