NaturalMotion

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NaturalMotion Ltd.
Subsidiary
Industry Video games
Founded 2001 (2001)
Headquarters Oxford, United Kingdom
Parent Zynga
Website Official website

NaturalMotion is a British software company with offices in Oxford, London, Brighton and San Francisco. Founded in November 2001 as a spin-out company from Oxford University, NaturalMotion specialises in creating animation technology for the game and film industries. In January 2014, NaturalMotion was acquired by Zynga for US$527 million.[1]

Their main technology products are Endorphin (for the film industry) and Euphoria (for the gaming industry), in addition to videos games such as Backbreaker and CSR Racing.

Technology[edit]

NaturalMotion commercialized their procedural animation technology, which they call Dynamic Motion Synthesis (DMS). DMS is based on a real-time simulation of biomechanics and the motor control nervous system.[2] As such, it has roots in biology and robot control theory. NaturalMotion states that DMS allows for fully interactive 3D characters, as it is not based on canned animation. DMS is used in two of the company's products: Endorphin, a 'tool for creating virtual stuntmen'[3] and Euphoria, a runtime engine. The first commercially released title to use Euphoria was Grand Theft Auto IV by Rockstar Games.

NaturalMotion's other middleware product is Morpheme - an animation engine for Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation Vita, Android, and iOS.[4] Unlike the company's other packages, Morpheme does not use DMS and instead provides tools for blending animations, inverse kinematics and rigid-body simulation. Some of the games that use Morpheme include BioShock Infinite,[5] Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Eve Online and Pure.

Customers[edit]

NaturalMotion's technology is in use at many film and games companies, including Sony, The Mill, Electronic Arts, Moving Picture Company, Konami, Capcom, Sega and many more. Movies and games featuring Endorphin animation include Troy, Poseidon, The Getaway, Tekken 5 and Metal Gear Solid.

In 2006, LucasArts announced that it would use the Euphoria animation engine in Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed[6] games. In 2007, Rockstar Games announced it had licensed this engine for many of their new and upcoming games,[7] with the first announced title being Grand Theft Auto IV. Subsequent Rockstar Games titles that use the engine include Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto V.

NaturalMotion Games[edit]

In 2009, NaturalMotion released its first game, the iPhone title Backbreaker Football, which used Morpheme to simulate movement and tackles.[8] The game was a critical and commercial success, with a Quality Index score of 8.1/10[9] and 5 million downloads.[10]

The company created a new division, NaturalMotion Games, on 18 November 2010.[11] In 2011, NaturalMotion Games released its first Free-To-Play title My Horse on iPhone and iPad. It has been downloaded over 11 million times.[12] Its second F2P game, CSR Racing, reached number one in Top Grossing and Top Free App Store charts across the world.[13] The game made over $12 million in its first month.[14] In August 2012, NaturalMotion announced that it had acquired the studio, BossAlien, for an undisclosed sum.[15]

NaturalMotion's CEO Torsten Reil announced a new 'interactive toy' called Clumsy Ninja on stage during the Apple iPhone 5 announcement.[16] It is the first mobile title to use the Euphoria animation engine.[17] The game was originally announced for 'holiday season' 2012, however it was delayed by almost a year. It eventually appeared worldwide on the App Store on 21 November 2013.[18] On release, Clumsy Ninja became the first Application to be promoted with a video trailer embedded in the Application Store.[19]

Games Developed[edit]

Game Release Format
Backbreaker Football 2009 iOS, Android
Backbreaker 2010 Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Backbreaker 2: Vengeance 2010 iOS, Android, Xbox 360
Jenga 2011 iOS, Android, OS X
NFL Rivals 2011 iOS
Icebreaker Hockey 2011 iOS, Android
Backbreaker: Vengeance 2011 XBLA, PSN
My Horse 2011 iOS, Android
CSR Racing 2012 iOS, OS X, Android, Windows
CSR Classics 2013 iOS, Android
Clumsy Ninja 2013 iOS, Android
CSR Racing 2 2016 iOS, Android
Dawn of Titans 2015 iOS, Android

References[edit]

  1. ^ Clover, Juli (30 January 2014). "Zynga Acquires Company Behind 'Clumsy Ninja' App". MacRumors. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  2. ^ inside
  3. ^ "endorphin 2.7". Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Middleware". NaturalMotion. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  5. ^ Phil Meza. "– Irrational discusses BioShock Infinite's overhauled engine". Wouldyoukindly.com. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  6. ^ "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed | StarWars.com". Lucasarts.com. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  7. ^ "Product: Grand Theft Auto IV Using NaturalMotion's Euphoria". Gamasutra. 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  8. ^ "HugeDomains.com - IdeaworksGameStudio.com is for sale". Ideaworks Game Studio. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  9. ^ "Backbreaker Football (iPhone) reviews at iPhone Quality Index". Iphone.qualityindex.com. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  10. ^ Freeman, Will (2011-04-13). "Backbreaker iOS downloaded 5m times | Latest news from the game development industry | Develop". Develop-online.net. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  11. ^ "NaturalMotion Games Announces Formation". Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  12. ^ "Opinion: CSR Racing's success demonstrates sophisticated monetisation but where' | Pocket Gamer.biz | PGbiz". Pocket Gamer.biz. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  13. ^ "How To Survive Saw | GamesRadar". Edge-online.com. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  14. ^ Chapple, Craig (2012-08-15). "NaturalMotion acquires CSR Racing dev Boss Alien | Latest news from the game development industry | Develop". Develop-online.net. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  15. ^ "NaturalMotion acquires Boss Alien". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  16. ^ Chapple, Craig (2012-09-13). "NaturalMotion's Reil showcases hilarious Clumsy Ninja for Apple | Latest news from the game development industry | Develop". Develop-online.net. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  17. ^ "Clumsy Ninja Debut". Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  18. ^ Eli Hodapp. "NaturalMotion's 'Clumsy Ninja' Virtual Pet Stumbles on to The App Store". TouchArcade. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  19. ^ Federico Viticci. "Video Trailers Debut On The App Store With 'Clumsy Ninja' – MacStories". Macstories.net. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 

External links[edit]