The TrueDepth camera system was an amazing investment for Apple. It is the plot of so many features that make iPhone X as great as it is. In the beginning, everyone was so impressed with the front-facing camera not only because of its quality but all the effects it brings. Some of those are Portrait Lightning and Animoji, which seems to be especially fun! Yes, it is actually both fun and funny to animate your face into a pig or dog and send it to your friends. However, TrueDepth has the capability to do so much more than that!
Game developers showed a special interest in TrueDepth camera system lately. They figured it could be a very powerful tool that would not bring improvement to their projects while keeping them on a budget.
The first developed game studio that took this idea seriously is Next Games from Finland. This company is working on a reality game which they named after a famous show – The Walking Dead: Our World.
TrueDepth X The Walking Dead: Our World
Mikael Achren, the creative director of Next Games also used the iPhone X front camera to capture some facial expressions. It was during the demo of this technology and he focused on the depth-sensing element which has an essential significance to Face ID. During this procedure, he tapped an on-screen button and transferred the information to Unity, a game engine on his laptop. After doing so, the recorded facial expressions appeared on his screen as an animated version of Daryl, the character from Walking Dead.
Game industry and facial capture technology are actually closely related. The only factor that’s stopping the developers from introducing this technology to their games is the price. Usually, facial capture mechanism is very expensive. It requires studios with special equipment and space as well as specialists that know how to use it. On the other hand, iPhone X TrueDepth camera module is not that expensive considering the amazing outcome it brings. Of course, the results are not the same either as the studios have more tools to focus on details but they are still pretty good.
Apple has one attractive offer to the developers. Namely, they provide facial capture abilities in the form of application programming interface (API). By that, they allow game studios to build similar mechanism for themselves.
How does it work?
The first mission of the developers was to create the same game characters as the ones from the show. Therefore, they wanted the main The Walking Dead actor to be identical in the game. They could have tried creating him manually but they decided to do something else, something better. Namely, they used the TrueDepth camera system to capture the facial expressions of the main characters that they will use in the mentioned game. With a built-in application, they recorded the facial movements of the actors on the iPhone X. Afterward, they exported the data to the 3D character modeling apps and proceeded with the work.
Specialists in this field then created a 3D model of the recorded characters on Mac. They also used the TrueDepth camera to blend 50 shapes of the attached outlets. To do this, they needed a special app that runs on the iPhone X. Moreover, this device loaded up the face model and all the required facial expressions were recorded.
Another impressive information we received from this procedure is that iPhone X is able to detect a movement at 50 fps. In the end, the specialists stored all the collected data and the end results in the specially built app. Additionally, developers have an ability to review the progress at any time and inspect its application to the 3D model. Finally, all data will end mounted on the Mac from where these experts will make the final touches using the 3D rendering software and prepare the models for launch.
The TrueDepth camera system has many discovered and undiscovered purposes
Our World does not only use the iPhone X TrueDepth camera system for the production of the main cast. The company uses it for a social feature that equals Animoji. Players have an opportunity to record animations of the zombies from the game. Afterward, they can share it with other players. For now, this feature is only accessible for the game version adapted to the iPhone X inclusively. We don’t know if they will make it a standard feature in the future. Maybe it would be a good idea as more people would be interested in the source of this technology.
With tools like this, most games that we know now would look completely different, surely. Developers wouldn’t want to stay behind their rivals, games would be more realistic and the ones that would gain the most out of these changes are the users. They would enjoy their favorite games in better quality and TrueDepth camera system would help them personalize their characters in the best and easiest way.
Developers, on the other hand, would also gain a lot. The dream of every game maker at the very start of their career is to create a platform that will go viral. With so much competition today, that is a quite difficult task. Especially because there are some giant companies launching new games frequently that meet the highest standards of the gamers. Using facial expressions to create characters or do certain tasks in-game is impossible to many average developers. However, with the iPhone X TrueDepth camera system, it became a little less impossible, if not possible. With the right plan, they could do something similar to The Walking Dead: Our World.
Could Apple open the door to the game industry?
It is nice to see that Apple is friendly towards game makers and is surely open to suggestions and collaborations. I wonder what else could this new era of TrueDepth mechanism bring. Perhaps Apple being involved more in games and expanding their audience?
It’s all just possibilities that may not occur anytime soon but it would be amazing to watch Apple do something new! For now, we are waiting for The Walking Dead: Our World to come out, around the second quarter of 2018 and see the first serious result of iPhone 10 x Games combination.
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