Canadian video game developer uses handheld Artec 3D scanners to capture real world items and enhance the player experience

In Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, a team of gifted video game developers is creating authentic gaming experiences for discerning players around the world.

It’s the home of Javelin customer HB Studios, which has shipped 51 game titles and contributed to another 20. Just released in August 2020 is PGA TOUR® 2K21, a high-end golf simulation game.

A key feature of the game is a player’s ability to customize both their look and equipment selections. You can outfit your virtual self from head to toe, in big brand apparel and accessories you mix and match to make your five core outfits. To customize your equipment, you can select your golf bag and preferred clubs. With control over each club, you pick according to your personal style of play.

3D scanned player in the video game

Player in the PGA TOUR® 2K21 game

3D scanning ensures authenticity

The virtual garments and gear are intricately detailed and true to life because 3D scanning ensures one-to-one replication of real-world items, from pin stripes to putters.

Trevor Green is an Art Lead who heads up the 3D object scanning operations at HB Studios. He said that up until this year, when HB purchased handheld Artec 3D scanners, photogrammetry was the main method his team used to generate digital models of real objects and spaces. Photogrammetry involves taking overlapping photos and running them through scanning software to produce point clouds and 3D geometry.

For fine elements on clothing, like buttons and stitching, photogrammetry cannot capture the level of detail Trevor requires. Subsequent hand design work is needed, and the process is slow, with long processing times. Tweaks by hand also result in unwanted inconsistencies.

Trevor started researching ways to improve fidelity and landed on the Artec Space Spider. It’s a handheld, high resolution 3D scanner that uses blue light technology to capture small objects and intricate details. The Space Spider’s ability to render fine texture and sharp edges, all in brilliant colour, make it the perfect problem-solver for Trevor.

HB Studios using the Space Spider to scan clothing

HB Studios using the Space Spider to scan clothing

Before purchasing, HB Studios worked with Javelin Technologies to learn more about and evaluate the Space Spider’s capabilities. Because of the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, all the communication and work had to be done remotely and online.

Javelin’s Wayne Keller brought a few golf clubs to Javelin’s Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Oakville, Ontario. The scanning services team scanned the clubs, to show HB Studios how the Artec hardware and software would be used in their specific application.

“The guys who did our demo were great,” Trevor said.

“We saw an accurate representation of the clubs and we pulled the trigger right away to buy. The Artec Space Spider far outweighs the competition. Nothing out there can touch it in preserving the accurate level of detail we require. It’s a far superior scan.”

The right tool for the job

For scanning larger areas, HB Studios purchased a second Artec 3D scanner from Javelin, called the Leo. The Leo is known for its portability – it has a built-in battery and WiFi connectivity. With onboard automatic processing, scanning is as easy as shooting video. A 3D replica develops in real time on the Leo screen.

The HB Studios team travels the world, visiting elite golf courses, capturing landmarks and reference points. Trevor said they can grab the Leo, quickly scan item after item, and easily store those files in the memory.

“It’s important for us to have as many real items as we can, to add to the views that players expect to see in the game. Our job is to simulate the feeling of playing a golf game on a real course. Details matter.”

Finding new uses for 3D scanning

Trevor reports that everyone at HB Studios is happy with the decision they made to bring a variety of 3D scanning capabilities in house.

“We certainly wouldn’t turn back,” he said. “These are irreplaceable tools we believe in strongly. We’ll be expanding the use of the scanners as much as possible and get more and more use out of them. Keep an eye out for our next game release!”

To learn more about HB Studios, visit hb-studios.com.

FEATURED TECHNOLOGY:

Artec 3D Scanners

Lightweight, mobile, handheld 3D scanners compatible with several popular tablets.

Artec scanners can be used absolutely anywhere to ensure a smooth capturing process without having to relocate objects to a particular place.

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