Developing ground-breaking software for the gaming industry

Natural Motion Ltd, a spin-out company from the University of Oxford, was formed in order to commercialise research conducted by Torsten Reil and Colm Massey at the Department of Zoology.

The original research was targeted towards achieving a better understanding of the neural basis of animal and human motion. However, in designing new computer-based technology to gain further insight into this problem, the researchers created a novel IT application with enormous commercial potential.

Natural Motion’s technology, Dynamic Motion Synthesis (DMS) uses artificial intelligence to simulate the human nervous system. Its euphoria product synthesises 3D character animation in real-time on the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC: it has already been incorporated in blockbuster video games such as Grand Theft Auto IV, and Star Wars: the Force Unleashed. Another product, endorphin, is also widely used in the film and game industry.

In January 2014, Natural Motion was bought by gaming firm Zynga for £320 million.

Related case studies