While Intel’s RealSense 3D scanning technology isn’t particularly new, the application exhibited at CES 2016 by Intel and Uraniom is revolutionary, as it enables gamers to become the stars of Fallout 4 and several other games.
Games where the character’s features can be altered have been around for quite a while now, and people who paid attention to such details spent a lot of time trying to get the character to resemble, even remotely, to themselves. They had to pick a hair color, face shape, type of facial hair, so on and so forth, and at the end of this lengthy process, all that they ended up with was a generic character they shared not more than five features with. Enter Intel’s RealSense 3D scanning technology and Uraniom’s platform for turning raw 3D scans into playable video game avatars, and you end up with a character created in your image that’s roaming around in the open-world environment.
Intel claimed in September 2014 that it would bring 3D scanning to smartphones and tablets in 2015. While there have been a couple of devices equipped with the RealSense technology (most importantly the Dell Venue 8 7840 and the HP Spectre X2), this whole trend hasn’t picked up steam as fast as I would’ve hoped. Maybe implementing depth-sensing cameras into mobile devices is expensive for manufacturers and they don’t want to make their products unapproachable. Personally, I think 3D scanning goes hand in hand with 3D printing, and since that industry has gained a lot of momentum, I think that Intel RealSense should, too.
Erica Griffin, the technology nerd who likes to film stuff, exemplified in a video shot at CES 2016 (that you can watch below) how all of this works. She had her head scanned using an HP Spectre X2 tablet that’s equipped with Intel RealSense R200 depth-sensing cameras. This process is a bit awkward, as someone needs to hold the camera and walk around the subject, who in turn isn’t allowed to move.
According to Intel, the RealSense R200 cameras provides reliable depth information. To facilitate the scanning process and make sure that the resulting avatar looks proper, Uraniom recommends keeping a neutral face, having the neck exposed, the hair (if any) tied back, and homogeneous lighting. The low-res scan was then uploaded to the cloud to render a high-res that can then be adjusted in Uraniom’s avatar editor. Some facial parameters need to be aligned prior to exporting the avatar and importing it into the game. As Erica pointed out in her video, seeing yourself in a game is equal parts amazing and disturbing.
Even though Intel has only exemplified inclusion of avatars in Fallout 4, the technology can be used for several other games, including FIFA 2015, Arma 3, GTA V and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Hopefully, more developers of games where character customization makes sense will join the trend.
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[Source and image credit: Erica Griffin]