On of my favorite articles last year, or at least one that has come back to mind quite often, was Matthew Ball’s Fortnite Is the Future, but Probably Not for the Reasons You Think with Epic’s founder Tim Sweeney and his long time obsession with the “Metaverse.” The piece above at the FT goes in that same direction, with the company’s investments in their tools, in multiple acquisitions, and in their hopes for enabling the next great hit based on their tech.
Purchases such as 3Lateral, Twinmotion and Quixel are helping Epic assemble a suite of low-cost tools for creating ultra-realistic digital characters and virtual worlds. […]
Kim Libreri, chief technology officer at Epic, said earlier this year that Unreal Engine’s tools would soon allow developers and film-makers to bridge the “uncanny valley”, making virtual people look totally natural and convincing.
It’s also fascinating to see those same tools being used in tv and movies, they are actually using Unreal to make backgrounds live while filming in front of it, and even using the output directly in The Mandalorian.
But Favreau also brought Unreal onto the set to help with the entire flow of production. This uses a combination of technologies, but it primarily comes down to building computer-generated environments and then projecting them onto LED walls. Those projections then change their perspective and characteristics depending on the position of the camera and what kind of lens it is using. […]
But the on-set Unreal tech is coming along so fast that a VFX team doesn’t always have to replace the LED walls and Unreal renders. Instead, what you often see in The Mandalorian is the result of pointing the camera at a display running an environment from Epic’s video game tools.
A couple of quotes from that Fortnite Is the Future piece:
Epic has also built up another great and particularly hard to establish advantage: some 200MM+ registered user accounts. Each of these accounts is equipped with individual and directly reachable email addresses, in many cases a clear social graph, as well as dual factor authentication via cell phone numbers, and, often, credit cards. […]
In its fullest form, the Metaverse experience would span most, if not all virtual words, be foundational to real-world AR experiences and interactions, and would serve as an equivalent “digital” reality where all “physical” humans would simultaneously co-exist.