Heavy Rain
GDC 2012: David Cage Lifts the Lid on His Latest Piece of Technology; Meet “Kara”
Written Wednesday, March 07, 2012 By Dan Webb
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As far as video game visionaries go, there are few out there that are as big and as passionate as Quantic Dream’s David Cage.

In 1999 the French studio started exploring body and facial capture with their debut project, Omikron, a game that featured David Bowie. Using basic and cheap technology in that title, it was the beginning of Cage and Quantic Dream's journey to bleeding more emotion and believability into their games.

6 years later, Quantic Dreams developed their tech further in Indigo Prophecy (AKA Fahrenheit), but it wasn’t until 2006 with their unveiling of The Casting tech demo – a demo using the technology that later became the foundation for Heavy Rain – that their facial and body mo-cap took an evolutionary step.

Here we are, 2 years after Heavy Rain and GDC 2012 will forever be known as the platform for the reveal of Quantic Dream’s latest tech with a tech demo that is set to propel Quantic Dreams further into the stratosphere.

The latest piece of tech, which Cage emphasised, is not his next project and his intention was merely to show off what their latest engine can do.

The new tech demo, called Kara, is created using their brand new 3D engine and was created to test the prototype out in a live environment. A prototype that clones living actors, scans their face and body on the go and produces it exactly in the game as it was performed on the stage. Cage says that their intention is to have a quick turnaround with the highest quality and with the lowest cost possible.

The engine is fully flexible, has a 24-hour turnaround from stage to engine, can use retargeting, uses complex shaders, is able to add special effects like tears, sweat and blood in post production, allows for dynamic wounds, and maps such things as facial hair to an incredible degree.

Kara is essentially 3D concept art, with Cage noting that the video we saw today at GDC being one year old. The engine, according to Cage, is now in version 3, so 50% of the features in version 3 weren’t present in the tech demo at GDC today.

The latest tech demo shows a cybernetic being, Kara, being built from the ground up and then disassembled. The actress, Valerie Currie – who’s in the next Twilight movie – was chosen from 70 actresses and is tracked using 65 cameras (expanded from 28 cameras in previous iterations of their tech) with 90 markers on the body and 90 markers on the stage and recorded in a soundproof environment.

In the demo you’ll see the pupils dilate, subtle muscle movements tracked, stunning lip sync, realistic movements and even see the panic flood across her face and her eyes well up at specific junctures.

The demo is real-time 3D on a PS3. It's not CG or pre-rendered... it's in-game. In fact, according to Cage, it’s almost raw footage, so you can imagine the possibilities.

You can check it out here now. You owe it yourself to watch it. It's pretty damn stunning.

[Via Eurogamer]


User Comments
Forum Posts: 697
Comment #1 by Shanoa
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 05:31:57 PM
The video actually made me sad, looking forward to hear more about it.

Forum Posts: 842
Comment #2 by JoBot 8000
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 05:40:24 PM
I hope they develop this further, I'd totally love a game about Kara.

Forum Posts: 3443
Comment #3 by guillermo
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 05:50:43 PM
the ps3 is so awesome. Image what Final fantasy would look like on this.

Forum Posts: 23
Comment #4 by Badger
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 05:52:53 PM
This engine looks incredible. I can't wait to see what version 3 can do. I'm rather excited about the next Quantic Dream game to feature this engine. The demo is not a bad idea for a game either.

Forum Posts: 68170
Comment #5 by Terminator
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 06:02:15 PM
@1, 2+4

I completely agree, I want a game based on the story that's in this demo!

Forum Posts: 2010
Comment #6 by WINAS3
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 06:15:51 PM
"In the beginning, there was man. And for a time, it was good. But humanity's so-called civil societies soon fell victim to vanity and corruption. Then man made the machine in his own likeness. Thus did man become the architect of his own demise."

Forum Posts: 28
Comment #7 by Ecks37
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 06:28:45 PM
Can anyone imagine the quality of sex scenes on the next heavy rain? LOL

Forum Posts: 147
Comment #8 by Pingeh
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 06:41:25 PM
shut up and take my money @_@

Forum Posts: 1711
Comment #9 by AverySegaw
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 07:37:49 PM
This was amazing. The amount of emotion in just 7 minutes of a tech demo. David Cage could very well be leading gaming into a new direction with interactive drama.

Forum Posts: 3216
Comment #10 by lukey52
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 07:55:58 PM
Agree with 8

Forum Posts: 34455
Comment #11 by Blaze Naruto Shippuden
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 07:58:52 PM
We can have sex with it? Another sex scene coming from Quantic Dream ladies and gentlemen. :)

Looking forward to this game and what happens to her. Reminds me of I Robot meets Heavy Rain.

Forum Posts: 254
Comment #12 by TRAGICTRIXIE
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 08:05:14 PM
Reminds me of I, robot or better yet A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Let the robot war begin, or machine war if you're in the mass effect universe cause the reapers are considered machines.

Forum Posts: 1897
Comment #13 by weephilymcvey
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 09:09:27 PM
Amazing i hope this will b what his nxt game is about doesnt hav to b kara specifically just some sort of i robot/skynet type game would b awesome coming from quantic dream :)

Forum Posts: 6265
Comment #14 by VazzVegas
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 09:47:05 PM
In the sequel she will turn The Operator into a bear skin rug. That will teach him. Never trust a robot, stupid!

Forum Posts: 12
Comment #15 by Flyingdutchmaster
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 09:49:34 PM
I am doing a senior thesis paper on robot consciousness and could it be created. look at I, Robot and A.I. like 11 and 12 posted. Would like to show this in the presentation, of course warning the audience about the language.

Forum Posts: 5300
Comment #16 by twyz
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 11:15:53 PM
I hope she comes with a mute button.

Forum Posts: 904
Comment #17 by neahcrow
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 12:27:17 AM
David cage is awesome. My favorite guy in the game industry even ahead of Ken Levine. I'm glad he has brought his talents to the gaming industry to push the envelope of what games can be.

Forum Posts: 47
Comment #18 by kapow20
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 02:37:00 AM
This needs a game, amazing tech demo. an obvious twist from a story telling point of view but i wasnt expecting it... if this was a game that would be an epic opening video, chuck in a working moral system, expansive free rome world and deep sotry and you would sell tons.
Just dont try to be the next deus ex with it, we got one of them already.

Forum Posts: 835
Comment #19 by Tostigroover
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 03:08:56 AM
Wow, very impressive. Both the engine as well as the set-up and emotional impact this has.

Forum Posts: 10792
Comment #20 by SSJ4_Haruhi
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 04:11:40 AM
That was amazing, I'd like to see Quantic Dream do a story about androids.

Forum Posts: 127
Comment #21 by ALaish
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 05:49:32 AM
This real-time technical demo hits an absolute peek of digital emotionary and full body animation presented in video games till now. I personaly believe that is only a matter of time when Quantic Dream and David Cage will announce new game project for this-gen PS console.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for official confirmation on this years E3 in L.A. or on next Game Conference in Germany. If I would to judge from when QD ended working on additional content for their last PS3 game - Heavy Rain, I would say this yet unconfirmed new PS3 project may be already few years in development.

Forum Posts: 1376
Comment #22 by Nakatomi_Uk
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 06:37:45 AM
If he can do stuff like that on PS3 heck knows what he could do with a PS4 if they provide the right tech for him and other devs too hopefully PS4 will also be 3rd party friendly more and costs wont be as dam high.

Forum Posts: 181
Comment #23 by p9ul
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 07:33:43 AM
I can see any game based on that tech being shuffled over to PS4.

But if that demo is a year old, here's hoping that QD are well on their way to making their next title.

Forum Posts: 5868
Comment #24 by SoaringEagle23
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 07:37:45 AM
That's a very impressive piece of tech, but they probably could have explained it without it being so sad and depressing. Still, Quantic Dream's engine is going to make a good game in the near future.

Forum Posts: 195
Comment #25 by ChipperVA
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 09:06:39 AM
Really enjoyed this. I remember getting so excited over the original Heavy Rain tech demo, but having to wait 4 years or so for the actual game to come out. Hopefully the wait for their next game won't be as long.

Forum Posts: 28
Comment #26 by HeMan
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 09:13:50 AM
I really hope Cage will make this game. I want it now.
Cage really now how to express feelings in games.

Forum Posts: 2652
Comment #27 by SoPoF
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 09:22:08 AM
Nah, she's too tall!^^

That was nice, but the whole "ooh, robot with feelings" stuff is a bit too cliché. Great animation, of course, but I still like the heavy rain tech demo better. (The content.)

If they go the same route, Kara will show up in the next game but with a different role because people loved the tech demo.

Forum Posts: 2652
Comment #28 by SoPoF
Friday, March 09, 2012 @ 06:46:42 AM
I really don't see what I wrote that granted me the thumbs down? Whatever.

Forum Posts: 151
Comment #29 by Gekodeko
Monday, March 12, 2012 @ 05:52:16 PM
Of course you're merchandise baby! Now get out there and be somebody!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #30 by theSICcase
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 05:38:33 PM
This is quite interesting. I'll be keeping an eye on this definitely.

Forum Posts: 109
Comment #31 by Maheeto
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 09:36:45 PM
Wow! Very impressive

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Game Info
Quantic Dream


US February 23, 2010
Europe February 24, 2010

Resolution: 480p, 720p
Sound: Dolby 5.1
Players: 1
ESRB: Mature
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