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Video: The puppet master behind the hands of Call of Duty

October 19, 2008 | 10:00 am

The developers at Infinity Ward in Encino have won accolades for their games, and their latest title, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, has sold more than 11 million copies and was voted the best game of 2007 by its peers in the American Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.

Behind the franchise is a team of more than 80 developers who digitally code, polish and sculpt the game to a high sheen. They include Chance Glasco, a 27-year-old animator. His full-time job is to animate the hands on the screen of the first-person shooting game. There are dozens of weapons, each requiring up to 20 individual animations such as picking up, loading, aiming, firing, reloading and dropping a weapon. Glasco handcrafts each animation to get the look just right. He recently consulted an arms expert, something he frequently does, to see whether a tiny bolt on a particular gun moves after it is fired.

"You don't want the hands to feel robotic," Glasco said. "You want to feel like there's life behind them."

Glasco's job is one of thousands in California created by the video game industry, which is expected to post a record year of sales despite the rough economy.

We are launching a series, The Work of Play, exploring some of the industry's fascinating jobs. You can find Work of Play stories here as they're published.

-- Alex Pham

Video: Alex Pham / Los Angeles Times