GDC 2024: Matt Workman shows how Vicon brings AAA motion capture to indie creators

Metahuman MoCap: VTubing and Indie Game Dev

At GDC 2024 Vicon hosted games developer and YouTube creator Matt Workman for a showcase of his work in motion capture. A word that cropped up multiple times during his presentation was ‘lofi’—Workman uses a very modest setup to achieve very impressive results, and he has since become an evangelist of this approach for indie developers and creators. Matt believes that by investing in a small but high-end system, small studios and independent creators can turn around high-quality mocap in short periods of time on a manageable budget.

Here are three key learnings from his presentation:

Optical motion capture is easier to learn than you think

“I had no previous experience with optical capture,” Workman said in his presentation. “I was taught by Vicon over Zoom, but I had no official training. I’d sort of heard of retargeting, but my system helped with that. And they have even better tools for it now, especially combined with Unreal Engine 5.4.”

A day and a half after receiving his Vicon system, Workman was using it to puppeteer an Epic Metahuman and getting solid results in real-time, with no post processing.

“Bodies are just a given,” he said. “Vicon solves the body perfectly, so I moved straight onto the even more fun things—props. The prop tracking is extra special with optical mocap, and Vicon does it really well. It works really well in conjunction with a metahuman skeleton.

Vicon motion capture is a good fit for indie game development

Video game developers talk fondly of the days of bedroom coding, and the garage birthplace of Apple is legendary. For Matt Workman, his basement is where the magic happens. In his presentation, he emphasized the fact that he does all his motion capture in his own home, by himself.

“What I want to stress is that this is in my basement. It could be in your basement, if it’s a good size. And I do this solo. When you think about optical capture you picture [AAA games publisher] Electronic Arts, and there’s this sea of people and it’s this big production. It can be like that, it can scale that far, but we’ve proven that it can be run solo.

“It’s really quick to spin up, to turn on. The time to FBX back to my computer can be 10 minutes. It just turns on, it’s very lofi. There are no batteries, there’s no wifi. It’s purely these cameras pointing at me, picking up very lofi dots on a suit. If you’ve ever tried other motion capture setups, there can be a lot of batteries and charging and connecting. We don’t have any of that.

“For indie game development, if animation is part of what you’re doing, this system gives you the results immediately, and it can be run by a very slim team.”

Your Vicon system can deliver streaming-ready results in real-time

Although he’s not, strictly speaking, a VTuber himself, Workman’s YouTube motion capture tutorials have made him something of an educator for the community of creators live-streaming their digital characters.

“I’ve met a lot of VTubers who are using this system for very intricate live VTubing. It’s really robust, and you can leave these cameras on for a long time—days, or even weeks. It’s not a problem. You can be in your volume, moving around, for hours, so you can do very long livestreams. This is not true for most systems. There are no batteries to run out.

“For high-end VTubing, this is the only solution.”

Check out Matt’s presentation below. Or view the full library of presentations here.

Watch the full library of GDC presentations from the Vicon booth here:


Interested in stepping into motion capture? You can reach out using the below form.