It took 32 cameras to make the life-like faces in Team Bondi’s L.A. Noire. The face of actress Beryl Nesbitt in British band Duologue’s new Memex video took almost three times that at 94.
While Nesbitt’s ultra-realistic face is not animated in the music video, it’s still representative of the quality photogrammetry can produce.
The question of whether or not this kind of technique will make it to games is difficult to answer. Marshmallow Laser Feast, the company behind the model in Duologue’s video, doesn’t even plan to bring the tech to games. There’s usually all sorts of caveats, like processing power and storage. You have to remember that games have to render other things, like bodies and their animations too.
But what Duologue’s video shows is that the technology exists to make high-resolution models. As games get more intimate with details like character faces, it’s hard not to see a future where realistic faces are prioritized. Imagine a game like Uncharted where Nathan Drake emotes and talks with tons of expressions, bringing you even closer to him as a character. And if we’re really going out there, imagine a Grand Theft Auto game where even the civilians are incredibly realistic. Now imagine all of it with virtual reality.
Of course we’re going to need extra beefy computers and a lot of time to get there, but it’s fun to think about how such a technology could apply to games.
There’s also a question of do we even want this type of realism. It’s obviously not going to work for every game. Some games avoid realism and create stylized worlds. Think: The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us.
Realism is not a goal for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it can’t influence animation quality and writing quality. Game character’s aren’t always intricately expressive, but if we were given that freedom, we might be able to express a larger range of complex emotions. The stories could get deeper and more nuanced. It’s not just the looks, the whole medium of games could grow in some ways.
So, while our games might not be able to look like Duologue’s video tomorrow or even next year, it’s still a good example for why we should be optimistic about the future of games and their graphics.
Image credit: Analog