‘Witch Chapter 0 [cry]’ Square Enix And NVIDIA Show Emotional Tech Demo Shows Off Realistic Human Emotion

Posted May 1, 2015
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Square Enix with the help of Microsoft and graphics maker NVIDIA showed off an incredibly emotional and technically impressive demo at Microsoft’s BUILD 2015 developer conference. The tech demo portrayed human emotion in a profoundly novel and realistic way.

Square Enix, NVIDIA and Microsoft have just able digitally captured the essence of one of the most difficult to emulate human emotions; sadness and crying.

Square Enix showed off a continuation of their Agni tech demo from 2012. Running on a system provided by Digital Storm that consists of four(4) Titan X’s in SLI, the tech demo is a demonstration of the capabilities that DirectX 12 can provide to a graphics engine. The engine is likely a modified version of the Luminous engine that they’ll use for the upcoming Final Fantasy XV.

The tech demo they’ve created is quite possibly the most advanced representation of human emotion on a digital model to date. They even render the intricacies of crying so very convincingly. More so than ever seen before. Such a convincing representation of the human face is certainly helping to move across the uncanny valley, as it’s called, to something that might truly be able to elicit an emotional response based on facial expressions alone, and not just the surrounding environment, such as the music.

The strong contraction of the orbicularis oculi combined with the subtle contraction of the mentalis and the depressor anguli all add to a realistic portrayal of what a real human face would due when sad and crying. The make-up(?) seems to deform as her tears roll down her cheek as well, adding to the effect. It helps to convince us that the emotion is more real.

The reason that they’re able to accomplish this is because of the incredible prowess of DirectX 12 combined with NVIDIA’s GameWorks solution. Not only does it allow for more draw calls and better multi-threading, but it’s also able to push six to twelve times the polygons to the screen than it’s predecessor can. The hair that delicately moves with the breeze and her movements is constructed entirely of polygons. Obviously you’ll need the hardware to be able to fully take advantage of those benefits, though.

Facial expressions are probably one of the most important types of non-verbal communicative cues that humans use. They play a huge role in communicating emotions and internal states and convey a tremendous amount of information. They’re also relatively universal amongst all human cultures, even those that are isolated, and extensive studies have been conducted on how and why we make facial expressions.

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It’s no surprise, then, that this advancement in graphics technology is so important to the future of gaming. The ability to properly display emotion in both body language and facial expressions takes us one step closer to having an incredibly immersive experience that’s just that much more indistinguishable form reality.

But enough of that talky sciency stuff. Take a look at the full tech-demo in action below. And it’s stunning.

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