Table tennis star Andrew Baggaley is not only an Olympic Ambassador, a two-time Commonwealth champion and triple national champion – he’s also the man behind your avatar opponent in Kinect Sports.
Early last year, Andrew took time out of his training schedule to let us motion capture his movements for the game. You can see the process in this video, and it explains a lot about why Rally Tally and Paddle Panic are so lightning fast. We recently caught up with the young champion to find out what it was like starring in Sports and how his plans for the future are shaping up.
Rare: What’s it like to see your actions being played out in a videogame?
Andrew Baggaley: It’s absolutely amazing to see my personal playing techniques and characteristics on a Table Tennis videogame that is being marketed worldwide! It’s also a rather surreal experience to play against myself as I can clearly see parts of my playing style incorporated into the game.
Rare: Was doing the motion capture fun – and what did it involve?
AB: It was definitely fun, but did involve many ‘takes’ to get the exact techniques ideal for the game spot on! I had to wear a motion capture suit for an entire day’s shoot, which was extremely hot inside as you are covered from head to toe, but extremely rewarding when you see the finished product.
Rare: Roughly how many different actions did you have to capture?
AB: It’s hard to say exactly how many actions were captured, but all the strokes were filmed time and time again. Basically, most of the shots and even the emotional responses you see being used in the game were me.
Rare: Have you played the game much and can you beat the computer easily?
AB: I have played the game once. At Beginner level I was able to beat the computer, but I did struggle to win on Professional level and have not yet taken on the Champion level. I suppose I don’t mind losing, as I’m only losing to myself!
Rare: What was the experience like overall?
AB: It was a brilliant experience and I was really tired at the end of the shoot but it was still extremely satisfying. I would certainly like to be involved in the production and promotion of future video game projects.
Rare: Can we expect to see you at the Olympics next year?
AB: I certainly hope to compete in the London 2012 Olympics with a genuine chance of winning a medal. I have won 5 medals (2 Gold, 2 Silver & 1 Bronze) in the Commonwealth Games and believe I can prove just as successful on the Olympic stage.
If you’d like to know more about Andrew Baggaley and his training for London 2012, check out his official website.