Recently, PUBG introduced new anti-cheating measures through the use of 3D replays and death cams, technology provided by the company Minkonet. We talked with Ken Park, VP of Service/Marketing, to learn more about Minkonet and its services.
OnRPG: Most gamers are unfamiliar with the name Minkonet. Can you describe briefly what the company’s goals and services are?
Ken: Our mission is to change the way we watch and play video games. We develop 3D replay solutions for Unreal, Unity and in the near future other engines in the Gaming ecosystem. We hope that our all-encompassing robust 360-degree data capture technology can provide high definition gaming video content experiences and enhanced social media interaction to unleash new content capabilities previously unseen in gaming.
OnRPG: Minkonet has leaders from other video game companies. What experience do they, and Minkoket, bring to gaming technology?
Ken: Minkonet’s CEO was the first mobile-game publisher in Korea and our President & COO is credited for being a pioneer in Korea’s Mobile, Internet and Video Gaming markets. He has founded several startups including a mobile game company that was sold to Electronic Arts (EA). They knew what was lacking in the gaming industry back then and that’s we are doing right now.
OnRPG: Minkonet’s recently come into the spotlight through its partnership with PUBG Corp. to provide a new 3D Replay and Death Cam. What inspired the creation of this technology, and how does it benefit PUBG players?
Ken: It was 2014. We were thinking of some kind of service that gamers can share their gameplay moment easily. First, video format was too big in size for mobile environment at that time and we came up with data capturing and replay idea for universal game engines.
We think 3D Replay could be easy but powerful content creation tool for every gamer. Beyond the in-game environment, players are leveraging the intuitive replay camera system to create and share video highlights and high-quality cinematic shorts across social platforms including Twitch and YouTube.
OnRPG: The new replay cam is also now being used as an anti-cheat measure, allowing players to report activity from the 3D Death Cam – a first of its kind in competitive gaming. How hard was it to implement a report feature?
Ken: Implementing a report feature is not the hard part. The real hard part was implementing 3D Replay for PUBG, a battle royale genre with massive data points spread out over large areas. We experienced a lot of challenges to guarantee reproducibility of replay and also not to harm the game’s performance.
OnRPG: What other features does the 3D replay offer?
Ken: We have a plan on meshing A.I. with 3D Replay to make anti-cheating solutions powered by anti-cheating artificial intelligence (A.I.) algorithms.
There are some scenes from a sci-fi movie or comic that show detective or policeman reassemble the crime scene in form of hologram based on the data they gathered from the actual crime scene and investigate the scene over and over with all possible way like searching abnormal points, changing perspective, and zooming in & out to find out the truth.
The idea is pretty similar to this. The ability for us to capture 3D data (unlike other standard video capture technologies in the market), allows us to expand into analytical capabilities such as big data and artificial intelligence, using algorithms based on game events and player behaviors. We can filter out suspicious players by searching out cheating behavior patterns stored in replay file using the algorithm automatically. We expect this can provide reasonable evidence banning cheaters and reduce complain of banned cheaters. Not like other anti-cheating solutions, this solution does not have to run with the game in real-time risking game performance drop or unexpected error. And this can reduce game developer’s pressure to investigate all the cheating reports pouring out every day.
Other than Anti-cheating, 3D data capture enables us to manipulate cameras freely during playback. Editing of a replay file basically involves two things: to cut scenes around actions and to set up camera paths (dolly track) to capture the scene in best angles.
And also, we plan on configuring the cinematic camera paths and cutting scenes automatically through AI to generate 1~2 minutes of intense and attractive highlight of gameplay. 3D data capture enables us to detect major event moments like combat engagement, car chase, stun move that are good enough to be cinematized by filtering out event pattern from the replay. “Every gamer is a creator.” Under this slogan, we hope this will enhance social media interaction to unleash new content capabilities previously unseen in gaming and to help make their games go viral for game developers.
Player behavior and statistical data captured can be used to group players with similar players through matchmaking and configure opponent difficulty levels. Prediction of tactics can also be used to make games more challenging and engaging to the player.
OnRPG: How easy or difficult is it for developers to implement in their games?
Ken: Unlike other internal replay engines, our 3D replay works with game engines such as Unreal and Unity and various genres of games. We are continuously improving our system to minimize integration work. In the near future, our goal is to make it as easy as a plug-in feature.
OnRPG: Will the 3D replay technology be available directly to gamers sometime in the future?
Ken: Definitely, we hope so.
OnRPG: What other technology is Minkonet looking to develop in the near future?
Ken: Minkonet’s mission is to redefine the way people watch and play video games. We want to help game developers strengthen user engagement through our replay technology. And help users unleash new content from their gameplay. We are also working on building tools to help eSports become a better viewing experience for the massive number of fans growing around the world.