March 09, 2005 11:13 ET

Artificial Mind and Movement Standardizes on Maya



MARCH 9, 2005 - 11:13 ET

Artificial Mind and Movement Standardizes on Maya

MONTREAL, CANADA--(CCNMatthews - March 9, 2005) - Artificial Mind &
Movement (A2M) announced today that it has based its entire game
production pipeline - from 3D animation and environment creation, to
level design and testing - on Maya®software. In a few short years, A2M
has grown from a small startup to become a 180-employee strong developer
and publisher of games based on licensed content, including Bugs Bunny®:
Lost In Time; Monsters, Inc.: Scream Team; Scooby Doo!: Mystery Mayhem;
and The Grinch®. In 2004, A2M released its latest original title,
Scaler™featuring a shape-shifting-kid-turned-lizard, who jumps, climbs
and slides through adventures.

Putting Game Design and Programming Under One Roof

Moving like its latest action hero, A2M has spent the last few years
nimbly scaling the walls in the way of game development success. Maya
has been there every step of the way.

"We're putting our entire production pipeline, including game design,
inside of Maya," states Martin Walker, A2M chief technology officer.
"While A2M initially used Maya exclusively as its main tool for artists
and animators, the software has shape-shifted within the company to
become not just an artist's tool, but a mission-critical hub for
multiple phases of game development. Game designers are using Maya to
build levels, and game programmers are using Maya to do AI programming
and path finding," Walker says.

A Scalable Solution

As with all game developers, A2M's greatest challenge is meeting the
ever-increasing demands for high quality and innovative entertainment,
while minimizing the time it takes to get work done. In a
"time-is-money" world, there's no room for wasted effort. "Maya has made
us much more efficient at producing good games and actually focusing
more on the quality of the games rather than spending the time just
doing the work," adds Walker.

Standardizing on Maya

A2M has tested many different 3D applications, but a primary
consideration in A2M's company-wide standardization on Maya has been the
application's high degree of flexibility. A2M has relied heavily on
Maya's extensibility to solve the specific problems faced in production.

"The flexibility and extensibility of our development software has
always been a key issue, and will continue to be so with the next
generation of titles and consoles," states Walker. "Given its SDK, MEL
scripting, and so-on, we can really customize Maya to our own needs."

A2M has customized tools with Maya Embedded Language (MEL™) scripts
and Maya plug-ins that positively impact its production pipeline. A key
objective for the development team was for artists to work in parallel
on the same game levels and assets. For example, A2M has harnessed the
Maya referencing system to allow the work of different artists to be
combined and re-combined without having to redo the labor-intensive
tasks of binding, weighting and UV-mapping characters. More importantly,
Walker notes, levels are now designed and assembled entirely inside of
Maya, with the capability to view and play them in real-time on the
Xbox®, PlayStation® 2, and other platforms for which A2M's games are

A2M is thrilled with the outcome. "Everybody has the flexibility to
change pretty much anything at any time," enthuses Walker.
The Ultimate 3D Interface

A2M's adoption of Maya as a hub for game development is based on its
strength as a 3D authoring tool. "Everything is using a common UI --
Maya," says Walker. "Everybody can exchange ideas around the common
user interface; everybody can manipulate the same tool. It's not
necessarily a specialized tool for one discipline within the

"Maya is a big piece for us, because we are not in the business of
writing a 3D manipulation UI," Walker explains. "Maya is very
sophisticated in that regard, and Alias has a team that focuses on UI
and usability, so we don't have to. It all comes down to a simple
objective: "The work we should be concentrating on is making good games."

A2M can be seen on the Alias(main stage (booth #230) at the Game
Developers Conference discussing how they customized Maya for their
production needs.

About Alias

As the world's leading innovator of 3D graphics technology, Alias
develops award-winning software, custom development, and training
solutions for the film and video, games, web, interactive media,
automotive, industrial design, education, and visualization markets. On
March 1, 2003, for the awards year 2002, the Academy of Motion Picture
Arts and Sciences awarded Alias/Wavefront™ an Oscar® for scientific
and technical achievement for the development of Maya software, the
professional 3D animation and effects package. Alias offers a powerful
range of services for new to advanced users in the most demanding
environments; Learning Tools and training, support, and professional
services help meet rigorous production deadlines.

Entertainment customers include: CNN, Digital Domain, Disney, Electronic
Arts, Industrial Light & Magic, Factor 5 LLC, Midway Games, Nintendo,
Pacific Data Images (PDI)/DreamWorks SKG, Pixar, Sega, Sony Pictures
Imageworks, Square Enix Co., Ltd., Warner Feature Animation and Weta
Ltd. Design customers include AT&T, BMW, Boeing, Fiat, Ford, General
Motors, Honda, Italdesign, Kodak, Kwikset, Mattel, Price Pfister,
Renault, Rollerblade, Sharp, Trek Bicycle, Teague and Timex.

Alias is headquartered in Toronto with a Custom Development Center in
Santa Barbara and offices worldwide. Please visit the Alias website at or call 1-800-447-2542 in North America.
International contact numbers include: Northern Europe, Middle East and
Africa, +44 (0) 1494 441273; Germany, East & Southeast Europe, 0049 89
31 70 20; France, Spain and Portugal, +33 1 44 92 81 60; Italy, 39 039
6340011; Japan and other parts of Asia Pacific, 81 3 5797 3500 and Latin
America, 770 393 1881.

About Artificial Mind & Movement

Artificial Mind & Movement is a Montreal-based video game developer
specialized in the creation of interactive action and adventure games
for kids of all ages. A2M has achieved high praise by developing
movie-related games (such as Monsters, Inc. and The Grinch), cartoon
licenses (such as Looney Toons & Scooby-Doo) and even its own
intellectual properties (Jersey Devil and Scaler). The team, counting
over 180 employees, is hard at work producing multiple titles for
current and next generation game consoles (PS2, GameCube, X-Box, GameBoy
Advance, and PSP).

(C) Copyright 2005 Alias Systems Corp. ("Alias"). All Rights Reserved.

Alias, the swirl logo, Can you Imagine and Maya are registered
trademarks and the Maya logo and Alias/Wavefront are trademarks of Alias
Systems Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. Oscar is a
trademark and service mark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences. Bugs Bunny is a registered trademark of Time Warner
Entertainment Company LP. The Grinch is a registered trademark of Dr.
Seuss Enterprises, L.P. Geisel-Seuss Enterprises, Inc., All other
trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
Alias, 210 King Street East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 1J7, Tel:
416-362-9181, Fax: 416-369-6140.


Contact Information

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