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The Uncanny Valley
June 19th 2004, 21:41 CEST by ...an ethereal being...

The Uncanny Valley is an offshoot of the work of the Japanese roboticist Doctor Masahiro Mori.  Dr. Moriís robotic creations were becoming more human and lifelike, with the expectation that they would continue to be well received.  What was unexpected was that after a point the reaction to his robots became strongly negative as they were perceived as being eerie and disconcerting.  With further refinement the negative reaction disappears, but to be well received the simulation of life needs to be very good.

The movies are a good example of this playing out.  New York can be destroyed by a variety of CGI natural disasters with ease, but the king of special effects gave us Anakinís bull riding session.  Various scenes in the Matrix sequels have been criticized for appearing unnatural.  Gollumís animation was incredible, but he was supposed to be repulsive so itís not a great test case.  Meanwhile Pixar sticks to animals, toys, monsters, etc. as their main characters.

So how does this impact gaming?  Graphics and animation are improving dramatically, but the gaming world is filled with bad lip synching, lifeless eyes and stiff movement.  The second coming of Half Life promises improvements in this area, but similar promises have been made before.

Can gaming overcome the uncanny valley or should it even try?  Does this even matter or do we have lower expectations for games?  What games do you think have animated humans realistically?  What games have unintentionally created creepy characters through bad animation?

Yes, it is another do graphics matter discussion!
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Home » Topic: The Uncanny Valley

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#1 by Dethstryk
2004-06-19 21:47:15
jemartin@tcainternet.com
I like ragdoll.

"The Square who is not Cool with the double dipping pecker!"
#2 by Bailey
2004-06-19 22:04:48
So, anyone want to talk about WoW?

Saving Throw vs Humanity
#3 by Hugin
2004-06-19 22:08:31
lmccain@nber.org
I love CGI movies and characters.  But the kids in the trailer for Polar Express look creepy.
#4 by yukon dance fever
2004-06-19 22:46:24
I agree.

pop quiz, hotshot: why does George Bailey allow Uncle Billy to live?
#5 by Dethstryk
2004-06-19 23:04:15
jemartin@tcainternet.com
I'm still wondering why I saw I saw a trailer for a Christmas movie in June.

"The Square who is not Cool with the double dipping pecker!"
#6 by Ashiran
2004-06-19 23:34:42
Re WoW:
European beta soon.

HAW HAW HAW!

Shut up Jeet.
#7 by Dethstryk
2004-06-20 01:17:02
jemartin@tcainternet.com
How about an American release for a genre that I don't have time for.

"The Square who is not Cool with the double dipping pecker!"
#8 by UncleJeet
2004-06-20 01:36:00
Does this apply to middle aged women that have had about fifty facelifts?

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#9 by Bailey
2004-06-20 03:58:58
As long as they keep you on a separate server, Ash.

Speaking of, tonight's bout on the PvP server was delightful. The Alliance invaded the Hordelands and we whupped the living tar out of them for ever having had the effrontery.

Saving Throw vs Humanity
#10 by UncleJeet
2004-06-20 04:12:50
I command you to stop using that word.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#11 by BobJustBob
2004-06-20 04:14:11
Whupped?

Dood.
#12 by UncleJeet
2004-06-20 04:19:53
And I command you to stop contaminating the Internet with Alabama.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#13 by mnemonic
2004-06-20 04:30:02
xmnemonic@softhome.net http://jti.developer.graphyx.net
First read about this topic in PopSci several months ago, then on Slashdot, now here.

http://www.optidigit.com/stevens/smokin2.jpg

I don't think this looks the least bit creepy.  I think CG characters that look quite realistic without putting the viewer off are possible, FF: TSW and the Animatrix CG for examples.  Say what you want about the voice acting, script or plot, but I was not reminded of undead while watching those CG characters.  Sure they weren't perfect, but I wasn't freaked out or anything.

As for game cinematics... well, rendering, shader work all matter a lot, but great animation makes it seem like the character's alive.

Realtime stuff... Operation: Flashpoint's shoddy mocap did put me off a bit.  Same with Rainbow Six a bit.

Oh boy I am tired.
#14 by BobJustBob
2004-06-20 04:40:59
Yeah, that "woman" in Last Flight of the Osiris was hot.

Dood.
#15 by Dumdeedum
2004-06-20 05:10:04
http://www.dumdeedum.com
I don't think this looks the least bit creepy.

No, he reserved all his creepy for the naked little girl with dragon picture.

As for the topic, I don't know if the Uncanny Valley really applies to games or films as they're "not real" from the get go, they don't have a physical presence like robots so it all gets filed under your suspension of disbelief.

#16 by UncleJeet
2004-06-20 05:20:17
What about botox?

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#17 by Sgt Hulka
2004-06-20 05:22:24
Good Book, going cheap!

#18 by Hugin
2004-06-20 05:35:45
lmccain@nber.org
In general, still images don't freak out the monkeybrain as readily as animated CG characters do.  Talking, eating, smiling, kissing, those are the sorts of things that can be most freaky.
#19 by hangedmanAG
2004-06-20 05:40:06
www.livejournal.com/users/hangedman_ag/
As for the topic, I don't know if the Uncanny Valley really applies to games or films as they're "not real" from the get go, they don't have a physical presence like robots so it all gets filed under your suspension of disbelief.

I don't agree because there has to be some suspension of disbelief to bring a gamer/viewer in.  Plus, there are many examples that I think hit the "Uncanny Valley" like the aforementioned Polar Express (*shudder* wtf is Zemekis thinking?), the dialogue puppets of the Fallout games (in particular, Tandy - young and *shudder* old) and Janice Dickinson of America's Next Top Model

As an aside, how great a name for a scientific theory is "The Uncanny Valley".  If it was discovered by Americans it would be the "Hoffman-Shenkberg Effect" or some such.  I think the Japanese should get first crack at naming everything, from now on.

S'right
#20 by UncleJeet
2004-06-20 05:53:31
Is DOA Volleyball in the Uncanny Valley?  Jiggle.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#21 by DEATH KILLER INTERNATIONAL (INTERGALACTIC DIVISION
2004-06-20 05:53:51
deathkillerint@hotmail.com
#20th post

Intergalactic Turnip Festival Destroyer
#22 by DEATH KILLER INTERNATIONAL (INTERGALACTIC DIVISION
2004-06-20 05:53:58
deathkillerint@hotmail.com
fuck you jeet

Intergalactic Turnip Festival Destroyer
#23 by DEATH KILLER INTERNATIONAL (INTERGALACTIC DIVISION
2004-06-20 05:54:30
deathkillerint@hotmail.com
at least i got #21 through #23

Intergalactic Turnip Festival Destroyer
#24 by DEATH KILLER INTERNATIONAL (INTERGALACTIC DIVISION
2004-06-20 05:54:37
deathkillerint@hotmail.com
and #24

Intergalactic Turnip Festival Destroyer
#25 by DEATH KILLER INTERNATIONAL (INTERGALACTIC DIVISION
2004-06-20 05:54:43
deathkillerint@hotmail.com
suckahs

Intergalactic Turnip Festival Destroyer
#26 by DEATH KILLER INTERNATIONAL (INTERGALACTIC DIVISION
2004-06-20 05:55:06
deathkillerint@hotmail.com
<--- NEVER HAS ONE THREAD SEEN SO MUCH BEAUTY

Intergalactic Turnip Festival Destroyer
#27 by DEATH KILLER INTERNATIONAL (INTERGALACTIC DIVISION
2004-06-20 05:55:24
deathkillerint@hotmail.com
I think that would be ^^^ for you opencrap faggots

Intergalactic Turnip Festival Destroyer
#28 by Sgt Hulka
2004-06-20 06:17:04
Nice forehead!

#29 by Sgt Hulka
2004-06-20 06:32:41
Just hang with this one til the end and you can almost picture The Joker as the Sumo Florist.

#30 by Charles
2004-06-20 06:52:54
www.bluh.org
I don't agree because there has to be some suspension of disbelief to bring a gamer/viewer in.


I feel that motion and animation of characters adds more to suspension of disbelief than the models or model details themselves.

"I'm not asking for much; just a job that meets the minimum legal requirements set forth by my country."
#31 by Bailey
2004-06-20 07:23:35
I don't think this looks the least bit creepy.

Creepy, no. Juvenile, yes.

Saving Throw vs Humanity
#32 by Dumdeedum
2004-06-20 07:54:28
http://www.dumdeedum.com
Dr. Moriís robotic creations were becoming more human and lifelike...

I just realised something...

#33 by Hugin
2004-06-20 08:03:28
lmccain@nber.org
Opinions on Ground Control 2?  Anyone?

I played the demo.  It's pretty, engine-wise. Mostly it seems pretty solid, and has the science fiction setting I like.

But I found some thing disappointing/annoying.  I don't like that tiny, largely invisible variations in the terrain can cause your units to just stop firing.  None of the gameplay or unit abilities seem particularly innovative.  Getting in and out of or targeting buildings could sometimes be wonky. Considering how good the engine looks, it doesn't seem to do all that much.  It seems solid, I suppose, but...?

Is anyone playing it?  Are the missions fun?  Are there any neato units in the full version?
#34 by Squeaky
2004-06-20 08:22:26
Fuck, looks like I'm gonna be in the market for a new video card soon. My current one has started to do all sorts of wacky shit similar to my old one. Do you guys think ATI will let me RMA this one? I've already had it replaced once through them.



...nevermind, warranty expired a while ago.

I just found me a bottle of blues
some strange comfort for a soul to soothe
dvds
#35 by Charles
2004-06-20 08:22:55
www.bluh.org
I've heard that Ground Control 2 is an RTS.  So I can safely and accurately say that it sucks.

"I'm not asking for much; just a job that meets the minimum legal requirements set forth by my country."
#36 by Bailey
2004-06-20 08:33:33
I second the motion.

Saving Throw vs Humanity
#37 by m0nty
2004-06-20 08:43:27
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
The only worthwhile thing about that game is the Major Tom jokes. After that, it sucks.
#38 by UncleJeet
2004-06-20 09:11:13
Have you tried Silent Storm, Hugin?  I think you might like it!

(HAR!  E'erbody in the club likes Silent Storm!)

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#39 by Dethstryk
2004-06-20 09:23:13
jemartin@tcainternet.com
Silent Storm is so fucking good.

"The Square who is not Cool with the double dipping pecker!"
#40 by UncleJeet
2004-06-20 09:34:33
So I chanced upon a copy of Dungeons & Dreamers yesterday and read it today.  A lot of it is devoted to Garriot, and most of what's there was covered in the Book of Ultima or whatever it was called, but it fired up my nostalgia engines.

Mostly I want to know why we haven't had a game like Ultima 4 since Ultima 4.  I don't mean the setting or the story or gameplay - I mean a game that really tries to merge the player's personality with his character's and then shows what happens in the world as a result.  You know, a game that really tries to bring out the catharsis of art, while still managing to be a really fun game.  One that really shows that there are consequences for the player's actions and even inactions.  Where are all the risk taking independents?

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#41 by Shadarr
2004-06-20 09:55:33
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Creepy, no. Juvenile, yes.


He seems intent on testing the "not a real photo" exemption to the child porn laws.

PLUR, motherfucker!
#42 by Bailey
2004-06-20 10:52:49
It's a bustling opportunity for commerce!

Saving Throw vs Humanity
#43 by Ashiran
2004-06-20 11:29:55
I saw you actually posted on the WoW forums Bailey. What has become of you!?

Shut up Jeet.
#44 by Anonymous
2004-06-20 12:03:21
He's been assimilated.
#45 by m0nty
2004-06-20 12:39:32
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
The smell of catass follows him like a redheaded stepchild.
#46 by Charles
2004-06-20 17:37:48
www.bluh.org
Where are all the risk taking independents?


Out of business.  Or making sequels for publishers.

"I'm not asking for much; just a job that meets the minimum legal requirements set forth by my country."
#47 by Charles
2004-06-20 17:38:34
www.bluh.org
Also, Jeet, would you recommend the book?  I was tempted to pick it up.

"I'm not asking for much; just a job that meets the minimum legal requirements set forth by my country."
#48 by UncleJeet
2004-06-20 18:45:20
I enjoyed it.  It's not terribly in depth, though - and you can often tell where the guy writing it yielded to Word's grammar demands.  Also, a *lot* of the book is devoted to Garriot, which makes sense in a way, but at the same time virtually no other early rpg's are mentioned.  It's a quick read, and enjoyable enough though.  I'd recommend getting it, but if you want the price of the book to reflect its value, I'd look for it in paperback.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#49 by yukon dance fever
2004-06-20 19:21:08
The Silent Storm demo gave me gas. Then it left lesions on my face and marked me for death.

pop quiz, hotshot: why does George Bailey allow Uncle Billy to live?
#50 by UncleJeet
2004-06-20 19:26:32
Out of business.  Or making sequels for publishers.


True, but what happened with the whole promise of the "mod community" to deliver these nifty inventive games?  I hate to think that people with the creative and technical savvy to do it are terribly rare, and those few folks out there capable are instead making progressively dumber sequels for publisher.  I want to think that there is some young kid out there that is playing games and is going to grow up to contribute to maturing the medium - but every year it gets more difficult to believe that, since the only games that the kid has to play are more and more simple - but pretty - and dumb.  Where is his/her inspiration going to come from?

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
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