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Hail shows potential of live vidchat within a game Exclusive
December 17, 2013 | By Mike Rose

December 17, 2013 | By Mike Rose
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    8 comments
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing, Exclusive, Video



Hail is a tech demo from Midnight Status that is experimenting with a neat twist that could quite possibly feature in the future of video games -- 3D-rendered video chat built into games.

The Unity demo, which you can play directly in your browser now, connects two players together via webcam, and allows you to chat via a screen on the bridge of a spaceship.

Although the functionality of the tech demo is currently limited to chatting, Midnight Status' plan is to expand on this, giving pairs of players scenarios and episodes they must tackle together.

Think the sorts of situations that the Star Trek Enterprise crew would get themselves into, and you're in the right ball park: Space battles where each player controls a different part of the ship, or political situations that you must negotiate together.

The team behind Hail has made the 3D-rendered video chat tools available for purchase via the Unity Asset Store, for any other developers who are interested in giving them a whirl.

The full video interview with developer Jeremy Alessi, filmed inside the tech demo to show the functionality in action, can be viewed above. The team also has a Kickstarter in progress for the tech.

hail 1.jpg


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Comments


Clifford Anderson
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I'm not seeing what's particularly special about this? Video chat that renders the stream to a texture in the world instead of as a full screen view... this isn't all that difficult to write, really not significantly different than rendering a YouTube video to a texture, or honestly even just a video off of disk isn't very different.

Am I missing something?

Jeremy Alessi
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Clifford,

While there are some technical challenges here, which you are selling short. The biggest surprise is that this just isn't being utilized. It's a great compliment to contemporary game design.

Clifford Anderson
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Having done this before, I'm gonna have to say I disagree with you completely about it being very technically challenging, sorry. I was able to throw together this functionality in about a week.

Not that it isn't a good idea, but it's not technically difficult for anyone who already knows something about streaming video.

Jeremy Alessi
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The first version took less than that. Still, there are many details in the package that you're neglecting to recognize. I won't get into those details here but needless to say the package is a great deal for anyone who wants to use video chat in 2D or 3D.

Clifford Anderson
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Fair enough.

Merc Hoffner
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I can't wait to see how hilariously this turns out on oculus rift. Or meta. Imagine a game where you see yourself from another perspective and have to make a cup of tea. Like one player Knightmare:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7Xcuu8LrU4

Presumably I'll have to stick bobbly eyes on the rift when I get one. There could be a market here for faceplates. hmm...

John Trauger
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New porn distribution channel.

Brilliant!

Justin Norman
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Something tells me that Hail will open up new avenues for social gaming.


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