Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, have recently acquired Hyprsense, the developers of a real-time facial expression capturing program called Hyprmeet.
While Hyprmeet is made to allow users to create live digital avatars that move and act like real faces for video chatting and streaming, it’s easy to see how something like that could be applied to Fortnite. Because Fortnite already has a cartoonish art direction, exaggerated expressions based on real players could make for an interesting addition.
Hyprsense could help Fortnite break down the barrier between players
It must be admitted that fluid integration of facial recognition in a game as complex as Fortnite is likely years off, and if the feature is ever added it would only be as a novelty rather than as a core feature meant to enhance the game.
However, Epic has shown that they aren’t shy about using Fortnite to experiment with their technological capabilities and players’ expectations, so it is possible that they might implement the feature regardless.
These small technological steps forward might not seem like a big enough deal yet, but they open up new avenues for game development. Fortnite might not be the perfect game to play for users seeking an augmented reality experience, but it can function as a developer playgroup where they can test the limitations of new features without having to develop a whole new game.
Real-time facial expressions are an interesting direction to move in, one which has the potential to help eliminate one of the many virtual barriers between players. That is to say, it is entirely possible to imagine a game in which being able to read another player’s facial expression can be integral to the experience.
VR games like VRChat and NEOS VR already use the immersion of virtual reality to allow players to interact naturally in a virtual space. Something like real life facial tracking would be a welcome addition to an experience like that.
Where is this technology likely to appear in Fortnite
If Epic ever decides to bring Hyprmeet’s face tracking into Fortnite, it won’t likely begin with players. Instead, it will probably be a part of Fortnite: Party Royale, the virtual concert space that has already been used to explore technological development space.
Because of the creativity involved in creating a truly VR concert within Fortnite, Epic has already had to tread new ground and develop their own processes for bringing live performances into Fortnite. It’s easy to see how something like Hyprmeet could allow performers a chance to have their live facial expressions carry through in their performances, projected onto a virtual avatar for all of Fortnite to see.Published 18 Nov 2020, 01:43 IST