Meta showcases avatar legs and better graphics
Better graphics, more details, facial expressions, and legs: Meta introduces new avatars for Horizon Worlds. How realistic are they?
At Connect 2022, Meta unveiled new avatars for its in-house metaverse app, Horizon Worlds. More details, smooth movements, and legs are supposed to provide a realistic social VR feeling. But there are already doubts about whether the new avatars can deliver what the presentation promises.
Meta avatars: Better facial expressions on the Quest Pro
The new Meta avatars will be improved step-by-step. In the course of October, they will be able to reproduce the gaze, blinking, and facial expressions of users in real-time. This will work via eye and face tracking on the newly announced Quest Pro mixed reality headset.
Those who are concerned about their privacy can rest easy, according to Meta. All data collected via eye and face tracking will remain on the device, will not be shared with Meta or developers, and will be deleted after processing.
In addition, the graphics will be completely overhauled next year, which should add realism to the currently simple avatars. Meta announced a graphics update for Horizon Worlds back in August. Previously, the metaverse app was heavily criticized for an underwhelming avatar selfie by Zuckerberg.
Meta avatars get legs
In addition to detailed faces and improved graphics, avatars with legs will provide an enhanced social VR experience in the future. Full-body avatars will be introduced in Horizon Worlds later this year and will also work on Meta Quest 2 (review).
After a trial period and technical tweaks, the avatars are expected to appear in more apps. Next year, Meta plans to provide VR developers with a corresponding SDK so that the avatars can be individually adapted to VR games and apps.
Meta avatars can’t see their own legs
Since there are currently no VR headsets that can reliably track legs, position and movement are calculated by the devices and can deviate from real movement. Meta therefore only shows the assumed position of other people’s legs in Horizon Worlds.
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You will still not see your own VR legs. Meta wants to prevent a perceived discrepancy between real movement and movement experienced in VR, which could disturb the immersion.
Legs for Meta avatars: Doubts about the presentation
At Connect 2022, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg presented the new avatars together with his colleague Aigerim Shorman. Both lifted their virtual legs, stretched them out, or jumped in the air. The movements looked smooth and quite realistic in the context of the stylized environment.
For those who've been wondering about the legs shown in the Connect keynote (@hrafntho). Meta: "To enable this preview of what’s to come, the segment featured animations created from motion capture."
— Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) October 13, 2022
According to UploadVR editor Ian Hamilton, however, the presentation did not reflect what VR users will actually experience. In a tweet, he quotes an unnamed Meta source as saying, “To enable this preview of what’s to come, the segment featured animations created from motion capture.” So whether the coming generation of Meta avatars will already be able to implement what was shown at Connect 2022 remains to be seen.