Sunday 30 November 2014

Express Yourself ~ Part III ~ Behind the Scenes with Game Yourself

In Express Yourself Part I, we came to know about the racial discrimination prevalent even in virtual gaming portals and in Part II, we talked how avatars are sometimes mocked upon in comparison to reality at social media sites. So, what if you could diminish the diversity. What if, a software could be used to put the real face in virtual realities instead of just sitting behind an avatar. A new gaming technology has evolved called, Game Yourself. I had the privilege of interviewing one of the developers, Erik Martin Zobisch.

Debby Sharma: Please explain the program from the software point of view
Erik Martin Zobisch: It is client running on Android phones at the moment.All you have to do is download it on your Android and then take a video of 10 seconds which goes  around your head, a 180 degrees. If you are satisfy with the quality of the video then submit it and upload to the server. What the server does is it does a high quality reconstruction of the face. It can take up to 15 minutes. The end result is the 3D reconstruction of your face.

Debby Sharma: How much success are you expecting from this new idea?
Erik Martin Zobisch: We are just doing a 3D reconstruction with the hardware you already have that is your mobile phone in high quality. You have to take the video and we do the rest. You do not have to define where is your eye, mouth or nose. It works automatically. We think this a bigger leap for transformation in a way to demand a technology, in future everybody will use. Where ever he or she wants to do the 3D reconstruction, for games or for virtual realities or for physical abilities, but you can also imagine other uses for cases.

Debby Sharma: I have been in Second Life for more than 2 years. I have seen people trying not to disclose their true self. Others who have many alternate accounts and also people who role play to be someone else. How do you think, this will work with them?
Erik Martin Zobisch: Yeah, many people want to maintain different accounts. And many people want to be different in Second Life. I can imagine that you may choose to have one among all the different accounts be the real you with your real face. where you keep your close friends near you. For example good for dating.

Debby Sharma: Do you think racial discrimination would affect the usability of this software? (On the basis of the extract from Part I)
Erik Martin Zobisch: Good question. But I do not know how this will work with this application. But, our goal is to represent everybody as he or she is. On the effects, I cannot tell you anything. We see ourselves as technology provider with specific products or clients. This is really far far question, if this could lead or where this could lead, I do not know. If you use it for making friends or dating, then this thing does not matter because you want to be yourself. For everything else, I cannot say, we have to see. I have no experience in this. I cannot forecast a prognosis in this.

Debby Sharma: If I take a video of a friend and upload it as my avatar, don't you think it will be a violation of the IP rights? What happens if this is the case of a celebrity?
Erik Martin Zobisch: You can do the same with a photo. You can do this for sure. But with a video, it is even more secure with that. The risk is there. When you take someone else's video, you need to ask permission. So, the problem is resolved there. Have you tried the software, then you may know that you cannot take a film sequence. While taking a video you can not move even your eye for ten seconds.

Debby Sharma: Will it be free or will you charge something in future?
Erik Martin Zobisch: At the moment we have it for free. You can test it for free. There will be non - set up  price for everyone later on. The rates are not clear yet.

Debby Sharma: Are you looking for game testers? How can they reach you? Is it through
Erik Martin Zobisch:  Yes, that is correct. We are looking for testers and some feedback. In transaction for that we offer the free avatar. We have a Google group which I need to invite you in. This is the way we reach out future users. If they have an Android phone, then they are able to test it.

Debby Sharma: Would you be selling kits for appliers as people are crazy for make up and tattoos in virtual worlds as well?
Erik Martin Zobisch: Make ups and hair like you may want to change your hair style, hair color. We have come across this point and we are working on it as well. This is a very interesting point for us in the future. I am not sure about selling kits. This I will forward with the technical guys.

Tutorial given by Game Yourself app:

Step 1: How to record a video? Ask someone to record a 10 second video in half circle around your face.Make sure to use the High Resolution Back Camera.

Step 2: Don't move your head! Make your face completely visible and stand still while recording. if you have long hair, tie it back into a pony tail.

Step 3: what about lighting? Even lighting is very important. Check the video. If the lighting changes radically or part of your face is in the dark, record a new one.

Step 4: Check out the example! After this tutorial you can download a test reconstruction. Long click it to play the video! You can start this tutorial from the menu any time again. Have fun :)

Watch the Game Yourself avatar upload to Second Life video here.

Phone: +49 30 6920 6200

My question to dear readers is would you like to see your real face as one of the avatars in any game? How do you think it would be if avatars in Second Life, InWorldz or other gaming venues, would walk around you with their real life faces? 


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