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The Future of Gaming: New Technique to Upload a Digital Avatar of Yourself into a Game

First Posted: Feb 09, 2016 11:45 AM EST

Want to see the future of gaming? Then all you have to do is look in the mirror. Video games are increasingly allowing players to custom design their own avatars and now, researchers have created a way for players to upload their own face and body into a game.

In this case, the researchers created a digital toolkit that allows a player to scan and upload a digital avatar of themselves. The kit supports a range of game engines, including Unity and Unreal.

The digital toolkit includes three components, relying on Microsoft Kinect to scan the player with a high degree of photorealistic detail. The three components include scanning software, automatic rigging software to convert 3D models into a game- or simulation-ready character, and simulation software, called SmartBody, which allows you to animate and control the 3D character.

SmartBody also provides a variety of ready-made animations, including a running animation, interaction with in-game objects, lip-synching to prerecorded speech and even performing nonverbal behavior such as gestures.

"We're giving everyone the ability to scan and animate themselves for free," said Ari Shapiro, one of the researchers, in a news release. "We're trying to foster innovation. While tools to create games and capture 3D exist, the toolchain to bring the entire process together typically requires expert artistic intervention and a complicated set of processes. We are providing tools and software that, without any expertise, allow you to create and animate a 3D version of yourself in four minutes."

The findings could be huge for the future of video games. More specifically, users would be able to customize their avatars more easily.

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