Blitz Games (which you may know from Yoostar 2, Fantastic Pets, The Biggest Loser and Michael Phelps’ game) is currently working on a new technology that will allow creating more emotionally convincing characters in games.
Eurogamer had a chance to talk to Jolyon Webb, the R&D art director for Blitz, at E3 and they talked about there latest project: Kitsu, where the goal is to: “display a range of realistic and believable emotions on an in-game character without the need for expensive performance capture or pre-scripted scenarios.”
The Kitsu emotional avatar project
As we’ve seen in Kinect Milo, the emotional avatar in this project is a young girl named Kitsu, and she reacts to the player actions via the Kinect with four distinct emotional states: happy, sad, frightened and angry. Kitsu smiles, cries and adjusts posture depending on her emotional state. She is even learning, for example she can recognize the player and will be happy to see you.
Head tracking technology enabled by Kinect will help her follow your eyes as you move, and will look for you if you go out of sight of the Kinect’s vision.
“The level of detail and emotional engagement it could bring to something like a medical training simulator, for instance, would be unparalleled. While there’s obviously space in the market for high-budget technological solutions on some games, a system like this enables many more games to benefit from similar levels of fidelity and believability – that can only be a good thing for games across the board,” Webb explains.
As you can see from the photos at the bottom of the article, she smiles at the sight of a butterfly and she’s afraid by a bat. The time of day is also a factor as she is less afraid when the sun is out and more afraid at night
Do you think this technology can increase the level of immersion in games? I think so! Imagine this technology improving a game like L.A. Noire, for example.
The Kitsu Emotional Avatar, part of BlitzTech, is currently in the research and development stage.