GDC talk will show off technology seeking to beat uncanny valley
For years, the uncanny valley has been an uncomfortable wall for graphic designers, but Activision Blizzard could be ready to put it to rest. Jorge Jimenez, real-time graphics researcher at Activision Blizzard, will unveil the company’s latest eye-rendering technology at the Gamer Developers Conference (GDC) in March.
The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in robotics and 3-D graphic design that says human replicas can look and act human, but not perfectly enough to feel like actual human beings. The imperfection causes most people to reject human replicas in robotics and video games as awkward and uncomfortable.
With the next generation of consoles getting closer, Jimenez and his team have taken up the task of putting down the uncanny valley once and for all. According to the GDC talk’s description, Jimenez will go through some of the trials and tribulations experienced by the team, including highly technical issues like subsurface scattering rendering, eye shading, anti-aliasing, depth of field, and film grain. He’ll also show the next-generation technology in a “plausible game rig,” giving everyone a chance to verify Activision Blizzard’s ambitious goals.
Jimenez already revealed some of the technology in a blog post last August. The post showed images that compare the before-and-after effect of the new technology (click to enlarge):
The talk could show the potential behind the next generation of consoles, even for PC gaming. It means developers will finally be able to step up graphics without isolating the giant console markets. That’s good news for PC gamers looking to stress their newly built rigs.
The uncanny valley has been particularly infamous in The Elder Scrolls series. Even in Skyrim, the non-playable characters still feel off-putting. Real human emotions are never properly expressed by characters in The Elder Scrolls series, and the subtle flaws in animations are enough to constantly remind players the characters are nowhere close to real.
What do you guys think? Can the uncanny valley be overcome? Will the next generation of consoles be enough to defeat the uncanny valley? Make sure to comment below.