Siren is modelled after Chinese actress Bingjie Jiang and does look the part Image: YouTube video grab
From 8bit Mario to the latest 4K ultra-realistic graphics — video games and their visuals have come a long way. But it seems like gaming is about to take another huge leap towards realism with cutting-edge technology capable of mimicking human actions and even physical reactions with exceptional likeness.
Chinese company Tencent, who have a huge stake in popular games such as League of Legends, NBA 2K, Monster Hunter, Need for Speed among others; and Epic Games, the company behind Battle Royale sensation Fortnite, and the cult-classic Gears of War series have teamed up to create a digital human called Siren — a piece of technology which may very well change the way games are developed and played. Companies like 3Lateral, Cubic Motion and Vicon are also involved in the project and the tech is based on the Unreal Engine — the core engine behind most of the popular current-gen games.
Siren, modelled after Chinese actor Bingjie Jiang, was first unveiled at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) back in March but was introduced in a live demo session recently at an event in Beijing.
The avatar can mimic the controlling character's movements, facial reactions and even emotional cues with astonishing realism and it's virtually impossible to tell the difference between the avatar and the real person. It can move at 60 fps in sync with the person wearing the motion capture bodysuit to control her. Take a look.
The high-def 'virtual' human was created to streamline the game development process and design hyper-realistic characters in games without the need for digital simulation, which is still pretty robotic. The technology may very well bridge the gap between computer-generated imagery (CGI) and real life to an extent which has never been seen before.
Knowing how the industry works, you can very well expect the tech to be moulded into the gameplay elements sometime in the future. For example, you may be able to choose to control in-game characters with a sensor-based controller and do away with more traditional input devices such as keyboard, mouse or joysticks.
Not only this, it can also be used to create and control characters in movies or for television without the need for post-processed VFX.