E3 2006: Heavy Rain Audition
May 10, 2006 - Sony has a number of PlayStation 3 games on display at its E3 2006 booth, one of which is the forthcoming adventure title Hard Rain. Unfortunately the game isn't playable as it really just serves as a tech demo for the game's rather impressive graphics engine, but it's certainly interesting to see, even if its content lies outside of the scope of the game.
The demo opens with the female protagonist in a nearly empty white room, talking to the camera. She's come for an audition it seems, and begins by talking to the unseen director for a bit. The sound was muted for the demo so we're unsure of what she was talking about, but that wasn't really the point anyway. You can immediately see the immense detail that has gone into the game's facial animation system. As she spoke, every muscle in her face would move naturally - as she smiled, the edges of her eyes closed a tad. When her eyes raised, her brow would crinkle. The way her eyes danced around the room as she spoke was scarily realistic.
A clapboard then appears before the camera to mark the start of the audition take, closes shut and pans away to reveal a full kitchen setup. A sink is behind her, a kitchen table to her right. The objects in the room are rendered with effects that you'd normally only see come out of a CG rendering. Glass both reflects and refracts, knives shine, book covers are rendered with pro-pixel leatherization diffusion and everything is light very smoothly. You need only look at the screenshots to see what we mean.
As the scene goes on, the actress' demeanor gets much more somber, and a tad bit of hatred and possible jealousy begins to creep into her eyes. It's rather amazing that these sorts of emotions are conveyed as well as they are. Soon she gets up and walks over to the sink, and as she turns around she has a revolver in her hand. As she talks, she puts the gun to her head. A few seconds later, she seems to rethink that and lowers it, seemingly speaking in a somewhat confused manner with a hint of disbelief. Again, though we couldn't actually hear what she was saying, these subtleties come through simply from visuals alone. A few seconds later, she points the gun towards the camera, says something and pulls the trigger. A white flash is seen and then we're back in the empty room again.
The actress carries on a bit more conversation with the director after the scene finishes, immediately returning to good spirits. Soon thereafter, the demo fades to black. Even though we couldn't hear one syllable come from her mouth, this is a seriously impressive demo.
Autor: Chris Roper
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