Square Enix, Microsoft, NVIDIA Point Way Through Uncanny Valley at Microsoft BUILD

by Jay White

Many tech demos end in tears. Square Enix’s moving demo during the keynote at Microsoft’s BUILD 2015 developer conference this week might be the first where that’s exactly the point.

In collaboration with NVIDIA and Microsoft, Square Enix – maker of the Final Fantasy series of video games – stunned the BUILD audience with a research project called WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry].

The project portrays human crying — considered one of the most difficult emotions to recreate digitally — at a level of quality never seen before with a real-time, computer-generated character.

It’s a demo that may come to represent a milestone in an industry that has long-struggled to cross the “uncanny valley.”

Square Enix – maker of the Final Fantasy series of video games – stunned the BUILD audience with a research project called WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry].
Coined by pioneering roboticist Masahiro Mori nearly 50 years ago, the term describes the boundary where emotional realism in the digital world begins to blur with reality — and creates a sense of the strange, or even revulsion, in human observers.

Overcoming this sensation has been a stretch goal for computer-generated graphics for decades. It’s a task that’s even tougher when performed in real time.

WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry] project, powered by Microsoft’s new DirectX 12 application programming interface (API) and NVIDIA GeForce graphics, points to a way through the uncanny valley.

Bringing more reality and depth to character expressions will better immerse players in stories during game-play, and deepen their connection to characters.

GeForce GTX graphics were among the next-generation technologies Square Enix put to use with help from our NVIDIA GameWorks Effects Studio. Square Enix also conducted extensive research on real-time CG technology using DirectX 12. The results will be incorporated into Square Enix’s Luminous Studio engine.

Art, and science: NVIDIA GameWorks Effects Studio and GeForce GTX graphics were among the next-generation technologies Square Enix put to use.

During the BUILD conference, Microsoft unveiled the research project running on four of our flagship NVIDIA GeForce TITAN X GPUs. It’s a stunning example of what they can do with the DirectX 12 API, due to arrive with Windows 10, Microsoft’s next-gen operating system.

Much of the know-how achieved by this project will surely trickle down to tomorrow’s games. That’s reason enough for tears of joy.

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  • Mathew Michel

    Can we get a link for the video :)?

  • Sascha Zielinski

    Or the Tech Demo to test on win 10 ?

  • Humzah ハムザ Hussain

    Link for all those who want to watch it

  • Redmar Belle
  • フィリップ オルソン

    SE needs to release more game to the pc from the FF series :> im pretty sure ff15 will come for pc i mena why would they work so hard on showing off pimp-ass graphics if it’s just going to be on the consoles..

  • h2ck3r humas

    yea i want to watch the awesome videos

  • Alex_Atkin_UK

    Impressive, but if it takes four Titan X cards to run then will we be waiting a decade for an affordable GPU that can actually run it in game?

  • name

    well the price should drop by 2 every 18 months so there you go

  • Jason Daniel

    It’s 8k textures running at 8k screen resolution. The very same effects are entirely possible at lower resolutions.

  • Sunny

    PC Beggars desperate for another console game ffxv huh, surprising…. Not

  • Sunny

    Aw keep begging for console gamss poor PC Port Beggar haha

  • Frôzone Brïnger

    This coming from a guy with a 400$ piece of trash. consoles are “budget systems ” for gaming don’t get it twisted. your console barely makes playable frame rate at lowest setting compared to an actual decent pc build wich more then tripples that fps on max settings

  • Sunny

    (console and PC gamer here) but just LOL.
    PC nerds always talk about “look how much more I spent than you so more powah” but then “ah wish we had those console games to use that powah!”
    Hahaha, how cute, beg some more for our games PC Petition Race ;D #rekt

  • Nico

    Typical kid, dont worry your console is meant for simpletons like you, pc is for the grownups with more brains, so stay in the console circle. Pc is not about more power, but the ability to upgrade without buying a new game system every other year, along with games that are not backwards compatable. Also many games are pirated so alot of people save more money through pc than any console. Stay at home and spend all your parents money .

    I believe the term is, SHREKT. LOLOLOL

  • paul

    Didnt you know final fantasy 13 13-2 and lightening returns are also on pc haha. granted they took years to port it over. also i am a ps4 gamer and pc.

  • paul

    but the ps4 can actualy handle final fantasy 14 arr at 1080p 60fps and it is also optomised for max pc settings. it was clocked doing over 60fps at 1080p but got a bit hot so they left it at 60

  • paul

    more games are pirated on pc than console fact. 1 of the main reason developers dont like porting games to pc 1st. why do you think GTA5 took so long to port over. if you are refering to pirated games on pc then start buying the games and suport the dev’s……. BUM

  • Arctic Howler

    I almost thought that was a real woman on the video xD well done as always Square, well done…

  • paul


  • Sunny

    Are you meant to be so cool just because you call a grown man a kid? LOL Stay mad poor little PC Beggar keep begging for our games 😉 #REKT

  • Sunny

    Because they sold like as* last gen ff13 is the worst in the whole ff franchise no one wants that cra* lmao

  • Sunny

    And I’m also a pc gamer and hahaha most games today includes multiplayer and yes I done pirating before alot and lol no point pirating no more as you can’t access multiplayer 😉

  • Joschua Loth

    If they keep improving graphics at that speed, I guess many actors will loose their jobs in the next 30 years.

  • Marek

    I love how there are retards defending peasant consoles on an Nvidia page.
    They need extermination from here.

  • vladx

    Sadly, consumer GPUs can’t handle this level of detail at a decent framerate. Maybe in 5 years or so…

  • Kyle Russell

    Every platform has it’s uses, just shush. (To everyone here.)

  • Dobies

    Yeah, sadly! Add to that physics simulation – a necessity for realistic games, and we’re going to be colonizing space before games get close to reality.

  • Kein Zantezuken

    Nvidia used to post download links to raw, HQ video capture. What happened to that?

  • tsunami2311

    Where is the DIRECT FEED of this video I dont want to see some horrible compressed youtube HD feed

  • fureien

    dafuq are you on a Nvidia blog if youre so passionate about Console gaming? wtf

    Go back to your “next gen” AMD APU system from 1999.
    Wtf does DX12 and Nvidia have to do with console gaming? Why are you even here?

    If you think Console has more games on PC then youre a lost cause.

    And GTAV took longer to develop because there was additional features and HD textures being added for the PC platform since it wouldnt even been able to be utilised on your hot potato boxes

  • Quest4liberty

    Your shoelaces are loose. You might lose your shoes because of it.

  • paul

    it was already made for pc haha. it is a known fact that dev’s release on consoles 1st so they can actualy get the money they want for the game. instead of loosing out to pc pirates. also i play pc as well. unlike some people i like the best of both worlds. and also as i said i play ff14 arr which is cross platform play with pc. so it is handy for me having a pc and ps4 especialy when i have a wife and 2 kids

  • Michael Moore

    Muuhahahahaha, that’s so true, even for 1 gc it’ll cost 5 arms 3 legs and 20 hearts. I really wish.

  • fureien

    have you actually seen the real life piracy statistics of pc games? its not that high. in the low hundred thousand for AAA titles which take over a few years to accumulate for a single title.
    however the sales figures for the same game would be in the millions

    so a game like GTAV pc would obviously be pirated but the percentage is in the low single digits

    this means the piracy numbers are not significant enough to impact profitability.

    The console piracy are just as high because you cant account for physical discs being pirated on the physical black markets like in Asia to play on hacked consoles.

    The whole Piracy rhetoric is the same used by movie studios to convince the SJWs that its reasonable to charge inflated prices and create segmented markets for the same freaking game.

    Exclusivity and programming for the lowest common denominator benefits nobody except the studios

    i dont understand why people insist on being deluded shills

  • Byron

    Lets see what happens when NVLink cards come about with DX12 hardware and some of the hardware bottlenecks potentially resolved.

  • http://batman-news.com Zon

    My 8 year old PC can run FFXIV ARR close to 60 FPS at max settings in 1080p… That’s pretty much what they are equivalent to. You have to remember PS4 isn’t running on max settings. In Mor Dhona the FPS drop about 40ish because of how many people are there and same with S rank hunts. So I’m not impressed with the PS4.
    I don’t know if its my PS4 or what but it sounds like crap compared to my PC running on the same sound system using the same HDMI cable for audio and video.

  • paul

    for the ps4 to run ff14 arr as good as it does. is pretty impressive tbh lol. considering it has to render almost everything going on in realtime. and yea i agree with the sound lol. when on my pc in Revs toll i can hear the crowds of people. but on ps4 i kinda cant lol

  • Jess Castro

    They will always need actors…actually actors will probably enjoy longer careers. Think about this, you will capture the Jet-Li’s and Scarlett Johansson’s in their primes and they will be able to voice act themselves til the day they die if they so desire…or they just sit back and collect royalties on their usage. Directors wouldn’t have to rush sagas/trilogies for fear of the actors aging too much etc. This is all assuming they one day master photo-realistic capture/substitution without the uncanny valley effect.

  • TameikaRMiranda

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