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Funky Little Boatrace: Activision's Astonishing Face Tech



Also, wow. NVIDIA aren’t the only ones doing remarkable things with videogame faces – Activision have their own take on a very similar real-time rendering concept – and indeed using the same bald, parfait-obsessed character. This is apparently all done on current hardare – a GeForce 680 can muster it at 120FPS, they say, although obviously that’s without anything else being rendered. More impressively, Activision R&D are demonstrating this face-sim at GDC, using a two-year-old laptop, whereas NVIDIA talked about their own tech needing a GeForce Titan. I don’t own a GeForce Titan. I might have mentioned that once or twice.

If you aren’t at the show, you can watch this surprising video. I should warn you that the phrase ‘frozen fruit’ may take on faintly nightmarish associations for the rest of your natural life.

Now excitingly enboldened for lazy readers: Oh, and while it’s easy to assume that this is simply someone else slapping their name on NVIDIA’s FaceWorks tech, apparently “this is the same source data from ICT used by Nvidia at GTC, but rendered using a completely different tech.”


Amazing, but even so I feel like I just booked a three-month holiday in the uncanny valley. But it might not be an entirely unpleasant vacation, I must say: it’s not quite the naturalism of LA Noire, but it’s got a whole lot more fidelity. Plus it’ll look a million times better when it’s not only being demonstrated with a fruit-obsessed severed head.

This comes from Activision’s R&D dept rather than being taken from or promised for any particular game, so don’t get any hopes up for seeing it on a screen near you anytime soon. Given that Activsion’s games output is now basically just Call of Duty and Blizzard titles, we can probably take some educated guesses about where this stuff might ultimately fetch up, however.

Find out a bit more about it, and see screenshots of other characters, in this post by Activision’s Jorge Jimenez.

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Alec Meer


Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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