Leading markerless 3D facial motion-capture company Faceware Technologies and developer Cloud Imperium Games have announced a new feature coming to first-person space colony sim Star Citizen: real-time, player-driven facial animation which will reproduce players’ expressions on their avatars for the most immersive in-game chat yet. The tech was demonstrated at gamescom in Cologne on Friday.
“This is the first time any game has used this kind of technology to detect and stream the facial movements of players in real-time, and I believe it’s a revolutionary step in gaming,” said Chris Roberts, Chairman & CEO of Cloud Imperium Games. “For the first time, we’ll be able to deliver the full range of human emotion, not just voice.Our players’ facial expressions will be translated onto their avatars’ face. Combine that with a player’s voice correctly positioned in the virtual world, and you have the most lifelike player-to-player communication ever.”
Developed over the last two years, the Star Citizen Face Over Internet Protocol feature was build with Faceware’s LiveSDK, powerd by Image Metrics real-time tech and showcased during SIGGRAPH (read more about it in the October issue of Animation Magazine). Using Faceware’s upcoming facial motion sensor, FOIP can detect hundreds of facial movements in a variety of lighting conditions, which are then instantly streamed onto the CG game character’s face. The tech can be used with a computer’s built-in webcam, though quality of detection may vary.
“We’re seeing more and more interest in this sort of real-time animation, but Cloud Imperium is the first game company to take it to this level,” said Peter Busch, VP of Business Development at Faceware Technologies. “I can’t wait to see the reaction of Star Citizen fans as they chat, in-game, about their next mission, their ships, or what they had for breakfast. Player-driven characters could change multiplayer games forever.”