Visitors to the UK's Millennium Dome will from this week be able to play the popular shoot 'em up game Quake using a 3D image of themselves.
BT is sponsoring the project, which will use free Avatar digital photobooths in the Dome's Talkzone to scan visitors' images. Once home, fans will be able to log on to the Talkzone website and download the image, then insert it into their copy of Quake, or online in QuakeWorld.
Customised 'skins' are already available, but creating them can be slow and laborious. BT said its system would make the process much easier.
Matt Lawson, BT project manager, said: "This amazing step forward in computer gaming will really bring users closer to the action. There is no other way to get this involved with your game - this will surely raise the stakes for Quake game players across the UK and beyond."
Avatar booths were first demonstrated when the Dome opened on New Year's Day this year. Developed with the help of computer scientists at the University of Surrey, the digital booth uses photogrammetry to take a 3D picture of an individual. This is then compared to an off-the-peg animated sprite, onto which the new likeness is superimposed.
The coding of the figure enables it to interact with specially developed games and video clips. Since the start of the year, Talkzone visitors have been able to join ET on a bike ride across the moonlit sky, a key scene from the Steven Speilberg film.
At the first sight of the new technology last autumn at their research labs at Martelsham Heath in Suffolk, BT project staff insisted that they aimed to make the system work with popular video games. This announcement confirms that they have succeeded.
"We've been working on this technology with BT since the development of the Avatar booths last year," said Stephen Crampton, managing director of Avatar Me, BT's partner in the venture. "Now anyone who comes to the Talkzone and is scanned will be able to put themselves in the game. It's amazing technology - and this is just the beginning."
Talkzone visitors will be able to download their Quake-ready 3D images from www.bt.com/talkzone.
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