Thursday, July 15, 2010

OnLive + Mova vs OTOY + LightStage

I've just read Joystiq's review of OnLive, which is very positive regarding the lag issue: there is none...

As it stands right now, the service is -- perhaps shockingly -- running as intended. OnLive still requires a faster than normal connection (regardless of what the folks from OnLive might tell you), and it requires a wired one at that, but it absolutely, unbelievably works. Notice I haven't mentioned issues with button lag? That's because I never encountered them. Not during a single game (even UE3).

A related recent Joystiq article about OnLive mentions Mova, a sister company of OnLive developing Contour, a motion capture technology using a curved wall of camera's, very reminiscent of OTOY's LightStage (although the LightStage dome is bigger and can capture the actor from 360 degrees at once). The photorealistic CG characters and objects that it produces are the real advantage of cloud gaming (as was being hinted at when the Lightstaged Ruby from the latest Ruby demo was presented at the Radeon HD 5800 launch):

What he stressed most, though, was Perlman's other company, Mova, working in tandem with OnLive to create impressive new visual experiences in games. "This face here," Bentley began, as he motioned toward a life-like image that had been projected on a screen before us, "is computer generated -- 100,000 polygons. It's the same thing we used in Benjamin Button to capture Brad Pitt's face. Right here, this is an actress. You can't render this in real time on a standard console. So this is the reason OnLive really exists." Bentley claims that Mova is a big part of the reason that a lot of folks originally got involved with OnLive. "We were mind-boggled," he exclaimed. And mind-boggling can be a tremendous motivator, it would seem -- spurring Bentley to leave a successful startup for a still nascent, unknown company working on the fringes of the game industry.

In fairness, what we saw of Mova was terrifyingly impressive, seemingly crossing the uncanny valley into "Holy crap! Are those human beings or computer games?" territory. Luckily for us, someone, somewhere is working with Mova for games. Though Bentley couldn't say much, when we pushed him on the subject, he laughed and responded, "Uhhhh ... ummm ... there's some people working on it." And though we may not see those games for quite some time, when we do, we'll be seeing the future.

Just like OTOY, I bet that OnLive is developing some voxel ray tracing tech as well, which is a perfect fit for server side rendering due to it's massive memory requirements. Now let's see what OTOY and OnLive with their respective cloud servers and capturing technologies will come up with :-)

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