Most video games start by asking you to choose who or what you want to represent yourself in the game. If you’re playing a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), your avatar is the face you present to thousands of others. It doesn’t matter who you are in real life; in the online gaming world, you can be a heavily muscled warrior, a barely-clothed beauty, or, you know, a troll. Even when your choices are limited to certain preset characters, it’s still fun to take on another identity for a while – but what if you could play as yourself? Not a cartoonish version of yourself, but as a photorealistic character with your actual face?
Swiss startup Dacuda is going to make that possible. Dacuda’s 3D SLAM Scan Engine Technology has already brought 3D scanning technology to the masses with its unique algorithm that turns any smartphone into a 3D scanner, and now the company has taken that technology a step further with a new SDK that will allow users to scan themselves right into video games.
“Today, generating 3D content is limited to expensive and cumbersome technology,” Dacuda CEO Peter Weigand told PSFK. “Our technology allows you to scan your face in real-time to generate a high quality 3D avatar of yourself, all from your mobile device…The future of gaming is about creating worlds that totally absorb the player, and realistic avatars are essential to making that vision come true. With Dacuda’s pioneering new solution for game studios, we open up an exciting new world of possibilities for game studios and players alike.”
SLAM Scan has already been used for several other applications, such as 3D Around, which allows you to capture high-quality 3D images of your food just by moving your phone around your plate. (Instagramming your waffles is so last year, guys.) Taking a 3D selfie is just as easy with SLAM Scan, as well, as you can see in the demo below:
I have to wonder if the manufacturers of standard 3D scanners are a little uneasy about companies like Dacuda, who give users the ability to generate high-quality, printable, professional-looking 3D scans with nothing more than a smartphone. There’s very little that can’t be done with a smartphone these days, as is continually being proven by applications like Google Cardboard. I doubt that 3D Slam Scan Engine Technology will ever replace expensive state-of-the-art scanning equipment for the purposes of museum artifact preservation, for example, but in terms of content generation and everyday 3D printing like selfies and whatnot, technology like this is extremely appealing to the average person.
It’ll be interesting to see how well the “scan your own face into your favorite game” thing catches on, though. Part of the appeal of video games is getting to totally disappear into another world and be another person (or elf, or turtle). I’m only a casual gamer, but I imagine I would find it a bit freaky to watch a miniaturized version of myself running around while I order it to kill. Virtual reality is another thing altogether, though, and that’s where something like this really has the potential to take off. Also, I don’t at all expect that my opinion resembles that of the majority at all – I still find 3D printed selfies creepy, and look how popular those have become. And there’s certainly demand for 3D scanned personal avatars for gaming, online shopping, and, ahem… other applications. We’ll see – regardless of how well this technology catches on, it’ll be an interesting one to watch. Do you want to be part of gaming with 3D scanning? Discuss in the 3D Scan Yourself Into the Game forum over at 3DPB.com.