Video games used to come preprogrammed with canned movements that expert players eventually could anticipate and figure out. But recent advancements in video game design -- and new game consoles with dazzling computing power -- have endowed computer-controlled characters with a sense of self-preservation and unpredictability not seen even a year ago.
Called "euphoria," the technology generates animation on the fly, so each moment in a game is unique. The first game to feature it was Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.'s "Grand Theft Auto IV," whose April debut rivaled -- and in dollar terms bested -- blockbuster movie openings.
NaturalMotion grew out of research Reil and colleague Colm Massey did at Oxford University on the way animals and humans move. The resulting technology creates 3-D character animation in real time, simulating the way the body moves so it looks authentic.