A Horse Covered in Ping Pong Balls — The ‘Age of Conan’ Mo-Cap Shoot

I’m not sure what the animal cruelty laws are in Norway, but I guess they don’t include covering a horse in ping pong balls.

A few weeks ago, I saw a demo of “Age of Conan,” the new MMORPG from Funcom.

With the game due out next month, we’ve heard lots of things about it already: how difficult it is to adapt the controls for the Xbox 360 controller, and whether or not the game features nipples.

But there was one fact during the demo that caught my attention: in order to capture realistic movement for the in-game horse mounts, they motion-captured real horses.

I had to see it to believe it.

So I asked for proof, and Funcom gladly sent it to me. From Product Director Jorgen Tharaldsen:

“In order to make [the horse movement] believable, we looked for someone who could help us to make it look as you would expect in a real-life situation, and we found this in a team of crazy British guys who lined up an entire stable and even a stadium for motion capture. As a thank you to the Brits, we naturally had to put the jolly old lance in the game when fighting mounted! I’m not sure if we are the first or only ones to do this, and it really doesn’t matter. What I do know is that riding a horse in ’Conan’ looks mighty cool, and even realistic, so as far as we are concerned we reached our goals.”

Click onward to see more photos of the horse and rider in action, as well as the screenshots of the final results.

[Click the images to enlarge them.]