Face-on with SOEmote, a real-time facial animation system for EverQuest

MMO's are fun and all, but imagine if there was technology to bring your face into the game. Sony Online Entertainment has taken a big step towards perfecting that technology with its new SOEmote software, which they showed off at this year's E3.

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MMO's are fun and all, but imagine if there was technology to bring your face into the game. Sony Online Entertainment has taken a big step towards perfecting that technology with its new SOEmote software, which they showed off for EverQuest at this year's E3.

By using any available webcam, the SOEmote can capture 5,000 facial elements and scrunch them down to 64 nodes. The result pastes the player's face on an actual game character. On top of that, it follows the face's movement, capturing full facial movement in real-time. I tried out the software earlier this week and marveled as the software tracked my head's every move, right down to my eyebrows.

I tested SOEmote's abilities with Groucho Marx-style eyebrow movements and Cheshire Cat grins. The Froglok’s followed along without missing a step. I spent the next five minutes testing the limits of the camera, making as many silly faces as I could. The Froglok kept up without a problem. This was one of the coolest moments of my E3 and made me wish this was available in all of my RPG games.

The SOE rep noted the revolutionary possibilities that this software creates, particularly for the world of machinima. SOE is adding new bones and expressions with each passing day, so expect updates to come often. They also hope to improve voice-capture capabilities, in order to add player voices to in-game characters. The SOEmote is only available in the EverQuest series (including the upcoming EverQuest Next) for now, but SOE hopes to add it in future SOE titles.

SOEmote will be available at the end of June as a free download.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 11, 2012 9:45 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Face-on with SOEmote, a real-time facial animation system for EverQuest.

    MMO's are fun and all, but imagine if there was technology to bring your face into the game. Sony Online Entertainment has taken a big step towards perfecting that technology with its new SOEmote software, which they showed off at this year's E3.

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      June 11, 2012 9:48 AM

      I hope this allows me to mutter expletives under my breath and have my friends see my character do it online.

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      June 11, 2012 9:54 AM

      I love it, very cool. The voice thing not so much, but the face thing is neat. I miss eq2, I was driven away after playing for years by the till horrible performance.

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      June 11, 2012 10:39 AM

      This is great - I've been waiting for this exact technology for years. I hope they license this to other game makers, and develop it for more accuracy :)

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      June 11, 2012 2:43 PM

      This...is what should be in a TES MMO. Face to Face player dialogue.

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      June 11, 2012 2:43 PM

      I'm actually glad to see this. Only because if everyone has it on it'll be a dead giveaway on who's not paying attention to cause a wipe out.

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      June 11, 2012 9:42 PM

      Gaming is becoming a bit stale for me, so finally, a next step in immersive tech for games... excellent.

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      June 11, 2012 10:48 PM

      that guy in the video is creeping me out.

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        June 11, 2012 11:44 PM

        You think that's creepy? You should have seen ME making faces at that thing!

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        June 11, 2012 11:47 PM

        yeah he took some potentially creepy tech and stamped CONFIRMED on it.

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      June 11, 2012 11:50 PM

      that's really cool stuff!

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      June 12, 2012 12:01 AM

      This is so scary. and so awesomesauce!

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      June 12, 2012 12:05 AM

      So, does EQ2 have built-in voice chat? That must be spiffy for an MMO.

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        June 12, 2012 1:31 AM

        It does, it also used to break quite regularly.

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          June 12, 2012 1:52 AM

          The WoW built in was certainly worthless too.

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          June 12, 2012 3:01 AM

          So, did it work like your voice came from your character? That would be hilarious if your voice got quieter as you got farther away.