Cloud Imperium Games announced that it adopted Faceware Technologies’ real-time, player-driven facial animation technology to bring your real facial expressions and movements into Star Citizen to add a new level of immersion and realism to the game.
Faceware’s facial animation motion capture solution is widely used in the video game development industry for capturing facial animation for scripted NPC characters, but the company wants to extend that capability to offer more realism in player-to-player interactions. Faceware recently released the Faceware LiveSKD, which allows developers to enable real-time, player-driven facial animations in their player avatars. Cloud Imperium Games is the first developer to announce that it’s leveraging the technology for a game.
“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, and 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.”
Cloud Imperium Games used the Faceware LiveSDK to develop a communication feature called Face Over Internet Protocol (FOIP), which handles voice communication between players in the Star Citizen universe. FOIP also handles the transmission of facial expression details so that your avatar’s facial animation syncs up with what you’re saying in real time. The FOIP feature will work with a “soon-to-be-released facial motion sensor” from Faceware. We don’t know many details about the camera yet, but Cloud Imperium Games said that it could “detect hundreds of facial movements in a variety of lighting conditions.”
“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, vice president 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.”
Cloud Imperium Games didn’t say when the FOIP feature would be available to try. Even if it’s available today, it wouldn’t matter; Faceware is still mum about the expression tracking camera that you would need before using the new chat feature.