Unreal powering next-gen social network

Be a sexy girl and play dress-up.

Following the tech demos in our Unreal Engine demonstration at GDC, a Korean outfit called Nurien took the podium to demonstrate a "next generation social networking application" built around Epic's popular technology.

"M Star" will launch in Korea this year and the US next year, and allows you to create a custom avatar - a sexy lady or a hunky man - and then dress them up and network. Socially. And play games, like a rhythm-action dancing effort.

It will be a free service, with money paid for things like clothes and other items as micro-transactions

The demo we saw was pretty slick. The designer talked about how easy the high-resolution graphics and realistic character model make it to do things like product placement for types of jeans, jewellery and even make-up, and how good it then looks.

Going through a bunch of outfits, the perky Korean girl handled her wardrobe changes well and certainly knew how to wear the clothes, proving popular with the men in the audience - Mark Rein in particular - as she twirled her tiny skirts.

When it comes to applications, there's a fashion show and a quiz show type affair and the aforementioned rhythm-action dance game. What was a bit surprising to our cynical eyes was that the dance game actually looked, well, good.

Mostly it was the visuals - the female model danced very convincingly, batting her eyelids and getting excited when she managed to string successful moves together, as the player did button-matching and built up combos to keep it all going.

"The characters in PlayStation Home don't look this good," said Rein, with a cheeky grin.

It's alright, Internet, he was just winding you up. Although he's probably right: having built M Star with beautiful people at the absolute core of its design, Nurien has the advantage visually. It certainly beats the crap out of ShameBook.

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