Ross Miller over at This is my next has posted an in-depth look at how video games are striving for visual realism, specifically in recreating the human form and human interaction:
Unlike film, video games don’t have the option to use live-action characters and performances to tell a story. In-game characters have to be built largely from scratch. Rather than reinventing the wheel, many developers use motion capture and facial mapping as a way of bridging that gap between the real and the digital. That can expedite the process of creating something “human like,” but it isn’t quite human. The uncanny debate in gaming is far from new, but as graphical processing and motion capture technology continues to improve, character design pushes ever closer against this so-called valley.
Games of note are the newly released L.A. Noire and my personal fave Heavy Rain which I deemed as “the most successful interactive storytelling that’s ever been done”.
You can read Ross’ entire opus here: Uncanny: L.A. Noire, Blade Runner, and gaming’s quest to capture humanity. (Finger’s crossed that Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn can break the uncanny valley curse.)