Earlier this week Sony Online Entertainment revealed its new SOEmote technology, which enables EverQuest 2 players to map their facial expressions and mouth movements to their in-game character. This creeped many people the fuck out. I just had to try it.
So I met up with the company's resident frog and king of all things EverQuest, David Georgeson to check it out.
In case you don't remember what Georgeson looks like, here's a refresher:
He will never, ever forget he did that video. Hopefully you'll all forget mine soon enough.
The technology behind SOEmote is pretty much the same sort of thing that comes packaged in many retail webcams. The player's face is mapped out with a series of dots, which are then tracked and mapped to the animation in the application. In this case, a player can become a Froglok, or a Wood Elf, or even one of them there kitty things.
It works rather well, and the build I toyed around with is several steps removed from what EverQuest 2 players will get their hands on later this month. It should be an amazing tool for players into roleplaying and creating machinima videos, though cyber-sex addicts will be disappointed to learn that there's no tongue mapping.
Georgeson is obviously excited about the technology (just look at him!), and he has plans that go far beyond EverQuest 2. He wants this in original EverQuest, the secrecy-shrouded EverQuest Next, and even the family-friendly free-to-play Free Realms.
Georgeson wants to extend the technology beyond its current limits, envisioning a day when EverQuest players can hear other players speaking according to proximity. When two characters are having a conversation, another walks by, overhears something funny and cocks his or her head to the side, engaging the speakers and maybe even making new friends.
This is a whole new way to interact in an online virtual world, and sure, it's pretty creepy, but it's also rather brilliant.