In Express Yourself Part I, we came to know about the racial discrimination prevalent even in virtual gaming portals and in Part II, we talked how avatars are sometimes mocked upon in comparison to reality at social media sites. So, what if you could diminish the diversity. What if, a software could be used to put the real face in virtual realities instead of just sitting behind an avatar. A new gaming technology has evolved called, Game -Yourself. I had the privilege of interviewing one of the developers, Erik- Martin Zoebisch.
Debby Sharma: Please explain the program from the software point of view
Erik- Martin Zoebisch: GY is client app running on Android phones only at the moment.All you have to do take a 10 seconds video which goes 180 degrees from ear to ear. If you are satisfied with the quality of the video, you submit it and upload it to our server. The server processes a high quality reconstruction of the face. It can take up to 10 minutes. The end result is your face in 3D..
Debby Sharma: How much success are you expecting from this new idea?
Erik- Martin Zoebisch: We offer users a high quality 3D reconstruction of the own face with the hardware you already have in your pocket- your mobile phone. The usage is simple, you have to take the video, we do the rest. All the rest is you do not have to define eyes, mouth or nose! It works automatically. We think this a leap innovation in technology, in future everybody will use. Where ever you want to do the 3D reconstruction, for games or for Virtual Realities, but we can imagine other use cases.
Debby Sharma: I have been in Second Life for more than 2 years. I have seen people trying not to disclose their true self. Others who have many alternate accounts and also people who role play to be someone else. How do you think, this will work with them?
Erik- Martin Zoebisch: Yes, many people want to maintain different accounts, avatars and many people want to be different in Second Life. We can imagine that you have your real face in one of the accounts where you keep your close friends near you. Also it can be good for dating.
Debby Sharma: Do you think racial discrimination would affect the usability of this software? (On the basis of the extract from Part I)
Erik- Martin Zoebisch: Our goal is to represent everybody as he or she is. We see ourselves as technology provider with specific products or clients. This is really far far question, if this could lead or where this could lead, I do not know. If you use it for making friends or dating, then this thing does not matter because you want to be yourself. For everything else, I cannot say, we will see.
Debby Sharma: If I take a video of a friend and upload it as my avatar, don’t you think it will be a violation of the IP rights? What happens if this is the case of a celebrity?
Erik- Martin Zoebisch: The risk of violation of the rights of the own face are existing but you can do this with a photo; and it is much easier. But with a video, it is more secure. When you take someone else’s video, you need to ask permission because the procedure takes 10 seconds.
Debby Sharma: Will it be free or will you charge something in future?
Erik- Martin Zoebisch: At the moment it is available for free. Everybody can test it. Later it will be monetized.
Debby Sharma: Are you looking for game testers? How can they reach you? Is it through email@example.com?
Erik- Martin Zoebisch: Yes, we do. We are looking for testers and feedback. In transaction for that we offer the free facial avatar. We have a Google group where you can register. After registration you can download the Android test version here. If you have any question you will get support through firstname.lastname@example.org
Debby Sharma: Would you be selling kits for appliers as people are crazy for make up and tattoos in virtual worlds as well?
Erik- Martin Zoebisch: Make ups and hair styles or hair color. This is a very interesting point for us in future as well.
Tutorial given by Game Yourself app:
Step 1: How to record a video? Ask someone to record a 10 second video in half circle around your face.Make sure to use the High Resolution Back Camera.
Step 2: Don’t move your head! Make your face completely visible and stand still while recording. If you have long hair, tie it back into a pony tail.
Step 3: what about lighting? Even lighting is very important. Check the video. If the lighting changes radically or part of your face is in the dark, record a new one.
Step 4: Check out the example! After this tutorial you can download a test reconstruction. Long click it to play the video! You can start this tutorial from the menu any time again. Have fun 🙂
Phone: +49 30 6920 6200
My question to dear readers is would you like to see your real face as one of the avatars in any game? How do you think it would be if avatars in Second Life, InWorldz or other gaming venues, would walk around you with their real life faces?