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Star Citizen’s next stretch goal is incredible facial capture

Star Citizen just gets more and more exciting. A new trailer recently released during an AMD conference drew the attention away from even a new generation of GPUs and it looks likely to happen again. Having hit $20 million since its original campaign (which only ‘required' $500,000 for completion) project lead Chris Roberts has announced a new feature for the game and a new stretch goal which could give Star Citizen the most realistic looking faces in gaming.

“Thanks to the support of this incredible community, Star Citizen embodies everything I dreamed of doing with the [Wing Commander] series, and opens up the potential for so much more,” begins the Roberts' announcement. He goes on to describe the $20 million, suggesting that now first person combat would be possible on not just ship board actions, but on certain lawless planets as well.

“Join an ongoing battle on a contested world, launch an attack on a pirate base, come to the rescue of distant colonists and fend off Vanduul raiders … the possibilities are endless,” he said.

There was a bit of thought recently, that this might be the last stretch goal offered by Roberts Space Industries, thereby ending funding and refocusing on all current features instead of adding more. However, when asked about its feelings on the matter, the community voted by an overwhelming margin, to keep the counter going and keep adding features, so that's what's going to happen.

If $22 million is reached, Star Citizen will get facial capture technology from Infinite Realities, which might sound like a lot of money for a minor improvement, but just look at what these guys are capable of (warning, some highly realistic, digitally captured nudity):

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBZxDMfL44Q']

See how real that looks? You've seen similar stuff to this before I'm sure, since Infinite Realties had a big part in the 3D body and facial scanning behind some of the best looking cinematics of the past few years: Dead Island, Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Mass Effect 3. The idea is for Star Citizen to leverage this same technology for faces in the game, delivering a wide variety, of near reality looking people. There is also the hinted possibility that certain fans of the game will be able to win a chance to become in-game characters themselves.

Of course with several Kickstarter projects failing or being delayed for long periods, there is a slight worry that Star Citizen will suffer from “feature creep,” where too many things are trying to go into one game in too short a time span. Even with extra money, is it doable? Mr Robert's has addressed this, saying his team wouldn't put forward anything that they weren't capable of doing within the postulated year and a bit it needs to get the game ready for release.

His team carefully considers each goal before announcing them and all of them fall in to one of two categories:

“The first are goals that involve features we already have planned or have implemented, but we couldn’t create content because of budgetary constraints. The first person combat on select planets is a great example of this type of goal. We already have FPS combat as part of the game in ship boarding, and we already have most of this already functional thanks to CryEngine, as we essentially have Crysis3 functionality out of the box,” he said. “But creating all the environments and assets to fill them is a huge task, so we were planning on not doing any planetside combat initially, simply because of its cost, with the idea that we would slowly roll it out once the game is live. But with the additional funds we can now afford to create some of this content earlier rather than later.”

The second type, is like the facial capture technology, where applying it would actually save time, because models don't need to be created from scratch within the engine – they can just be scanned in and applied. It also makes it easier to add more facial types in the future to remove double ups.

Star Citizen is currently set for a end of 2013 closed alpha and a final release, sometime in the close of 2014.

KitGuru Says: Star Citizen is shaping up to be a truly stunning game. I don't want to get my hopes up too much and I won't be kicking in anything myself – I'm still waiting on 3-4 things I kicked into, so I'll wait for those to arrive first – but this is looking like the game of many people's dreams. 

[Thanks Eurogamer]

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