Your selfies can soon be used as game characters with this new AI product

So you pop in a new game … and you’re wasting away the first 10 minutes or so making your avatar.

A new product from the Estonian company Wolf3D is looking to change that experience. With their latest product, you can just load a virtual 3D copy of yourself and use it in games, platforms—pretty much everywhere in the digital world.

The product, called Ready Player Me, allows you to create your own 3D avatar from a selfie, which you can use in games and virtual experiences. Wolf3D started out building 3D body scanners in 2014. It has since branched out to building avatars for leading game and VR developers.

The team was able to develop Ready Player Me after scanning tens and thousands of people. They also used machine learning to build the “selfie to avatar” system in which Ready Player Me was built.

“The goal with Ready Player Me is to give users a standard avatar they can use in many games and VR apps across the world,” explained Wolf3D founder and CEO Timmu Tõke, in a Gizmodo interview. “For the developers, we are a complete avatar/character system they can implement ‘in a click of a button.’”

Just this year, the Tallinn-based startup raised a total of $2.8 million to build out the product. Currently, you can find Ready Player Me at work in a number of games, such as those from HTC and Wargaming. The fresh funding, says the company, will help expand the product, taking it from the browser to the smartphone.

“We’re building a platform that makes avatars transportable between many different virtual experiences,” Tõke added.

In addition, Wolf3D says that its latest product can support different artistic styles of avatars, even from different game styles and genres. This means that games using the product can generate a 3D avatar using nothing but a selfie you uploaded.

This also gives players, who are the end-users of the product, more ways to represent themselves in a virtual world. Players still use generic options to express themselves, even as companies make strides for better representation. Last month, Animal Crossing: New Horizons partnered with Gillette Venus to launch its Skinclusive Summer Line for players looking to make their character’s skin match theirs in real life.

It also highlights how games have evolved beyond their original definition. These days, most games aren’t just structured play; rather, these are now social media platforms, with most people using games to socialize.

That’s a problem for 3D scanning, machine learning and avatar creation—especially for games. For one, these three disciplines are still disconnected. To note, the closest you can get to matching Wolf3D’s system in games is by playing Skyrim, where you can tweak your character based on user-defined features.

Speaking of user-defined features, here’s our piece on a feature we can’t get enough of.

For Tõke, the solution to this dissonance is cross-platform services like Ready Player Me, which he thinks is a simple, yet more powerful solution.

“We believe in the future of the virtual worlds, but we don’t want to see it controlled by one big company,” he added. “That’s why cross-platform services like Ready Player Me need to exist, to give the user a perfect avatar they love and help them transport their identity across many virtual worlds easily.”

“If we succeed with that, avatars will become the unifying layer across many virtual experiences and will glue them together into one big virtual world—the metaverse.”

Ralph Gurango

explainer | newsman | jrpg adventurer

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