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Quantic Dream demonstrates realistic new engine at GDC

by Alistair Lowe on 9 March 2012, 10:19

Tags: Quantic Dream

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Whilst the Unreal Engine 4 was not shown to the public at GDC, Quantic Dream, creators of Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit, offered up a seven minute demonstration of its latest engine, 'Kara', rendered in real-time on a PlayStation 3.

The demonstration focused on the firm's new 'performance-capture' technology, which, unlike many traditional approaches allows Quantic to record both face and body movements alongside an actor's voice, providing natural and consistent character performances. In the above demonstration, the actress, Valorie Curry, had to wear 90 sensors on her face, as opposed to the techniques in the film, Avatar, which Quantic was attempting to mimic, which required actors to wear head-mounted cameras.

Whilst a marked improvement over the Heavy Rain game and most certainly an impressive feat, this writer still believes actual facial expression feels less emotive than in Quantic's earlier tech demo 'The Casting' and hopes that either with time or new hardware, the firm can recreate some of fluidity of expression we saw back in 2006, tightened up and ready for an interactive game.

We're sorry to say for those that have become attached to the latest tech demo 'Kara', neither the character nor the setting will be featured in Quantic's latest works.



HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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Whilst a marked improvement over the Heavy Rain game and most certainly an impressive feat, this writer still believes actual facial expression feels less emotive than in Quantic's earlier tech demo ‘The Casting’ and hopes that either with time or new hardware, the firm can recreate some of fluidity of expression we saw back in 2006, tightened up and ready for an interactive game.
Ideal “justification” for getting a PS4? ;)

Maybe I'm just out of touch, but I thought this demo (Kara) was pretty darned impressive for a real-time render. Really reminiscent of a bit from iRobot. Wouldn't mind seeing a demo in a less “clinical” setting - even try redoing “The Casting” and then at least you could do a side-by-side comparison?
crossy
Ideal “justification” for getting a PS4? ;)

Maybe I'm just out of touch, but I thought this demo (Kara) was pretty darned impressive for a real-time render. Really reminiscent of a bit from iRobot. Wouldn't mind seeing a demo in a less “clinical” setting - even try redoing “The Casting” and then at least you could do a side-by-side comparison?

I'm certainly not saying it wasn't impressive, I was very wow'd by the Kara demo. Only I thought the face still felt a little tight and under-sensitive. As you say, a side-by-side recreation would be helpful.
Kara is awesome. “The Casting” was truly impressive, but there is little point in developing this technology only to bung it into such an attrocious game as “Heavy Rain”.
I find it difficult to differentiate between what are just graphical improvements and what are animation improvements. The newer tech generally looks more fluid and natural to my eyes and I'm tempted to say that subtle expressions and muscles movements are much more apparent too, but it might well be the better visuals fooling me…
ZSTom
I find it difficult to differentiate between what are just graphical improvements and what are animation improvements. The newer tech generally looks more fluid and natural to my eyes and I'm tempted to say that subtle expressions and muscles movements are much more apparent too, but it might well be the better visuals fooling me…

The original demo was certainly sloppy with some of the muscles moving more than they should, however I think the most subtle of movements aren't captured by the new demo. Having said this, perhaps it's that the expression overdrive as such in the first demo was key. Perhaps it's less realistic but sometimes the extra emphasis can better communicate an emotion than you'd typically expect someone to do in the real situation, in the same way you can pull off expressions in say a cartoon that aren't possible in reality.