During the annual Star Citizen Gamescom bonanza yesterday, Cloud Imperium Games announced Face Over Internet Protocol - FOIP - chat for the game. It means Star Citizen, via a webcam, will be able to capture your facial movements in real-time and stream them onto a character in the game.
A video dedicated to Star Citizen FOIP shows the technology running in the game, both on a character in a kind of test environment - the face of Davos Seaworth (Game of Thrones) actor Liam Cunningham no less - and on characters in multiplayer. Star Citizen head honcho Chris Roberts also demonstrated FOIP in a much longer and very impressive gameplay presentation video.
The FOIP technology - a partnership with a company called Faceware Technologies - isn't perfect, but it does add believable life to otherwise dead character faces, and it's amusingly bizarre when a woman inhabits a male character's body and vice versa.
The FOIP tech also makes voices come from the 3D position of your character's mouth, so if some people to the side of you are yabbering away, they'll sound like they're stood to the side of you yabbering away.
Plus, as FOIP tech tracks your head movements, Star Citizen has - via a webcam - the kind of head-tracking we've seen in virtual reality games. This allows you to do helpful things like look around the cockpit of your spacecraft or quickly glance out of the windows around you.
It sounds like FOIP will work with most web cams but performance will vary based on your device's capability. Because of this, Faceware Technologies will sell a bespoke camera specially designed for Star Citizen, which scans at 60fps and apparently works well in low light. No price or release date was mentioned.