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EA’s AI Could Make Video Game Characters More Expressive

New patent could resolve motion capture issues by using artificial intelligence to predict and produce facial expressions

Game developer and publisher EA, has published a new patent that shows it is working on an AI technology to automate facial expressions in video games, which could help game developers save time and improve quality.

The patent named ‘Predicting Facial Expressions Using Character Motion States’ uses AI to analyse the current character and situation to produce the most appropriate emotions on the face. This would save developers time and effort as they would no longer have to manually add facial expressions to every single moment in a game.

According to EA via Exputer, “As each character’s range of facial expressions may be required to be modeled separately, modeling the facial expressions can require a large amount of work. For example, a game developer may experience delays and/or difficulties when identifying particular facial expressions to map to characters at different stages of the video game.”

EA’s patent proposes an AI-based system that can also auto-generate facial expressions for in-game characters based on their pose. The pose includes the character’s position, orientation, and other data sets.

Predict and generate

For example, a character could be feeling 80% happy, 10% puzzled, and 10% excited. The AI would then use this information to generate automated facial expressions that reflect these emotions. The trained machine learning model will also use character poses as input to predict and generate the most appropriate facial expressions in real time.

“The machine learning model can predict the facial expression of the character. Therefore, the system, using input identifying the pose of the character, can generate facial expression parameters and/or a facial expression for the character,” EA adds.

Currently, motion capture is not always possible, such as when a character is wearing a mask. This patent could resolve that issue by using AI to predict and produce facial expressions. This would also reduce the amount of development time and storage space required.

EA’s proposed system could help game developers create more lifelike characters on a large scale, while also reducing the amount of manual work required. This would be especially beneficial in MMORPGs, which typically feature a large number of characters.

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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