The Advent of Real-time 3D Graphics in Mobile Industries

Immerging technologies leading the new wave of innovation

May 14 · 5 min read

This past March, Google presented Stadia and the world got wildly excited at the release announcement. Meanwhile, 5G is expected to be generalized sooner or later. Graphics chipset, display technology, and software based on AI/deep learning are advancing at a fast-growing rate.

All these immerging technologies are leading us to the new wave of innovation in mobile industries: real-time 3D graphics.

A Brief Journey to Real-time 3D graphics

Once there was a time when people would consider these 2D graphics of the highest quality.

Video games in <Black Mirror: Bandersnatch>, Netflix’s interactive film about developing a video game in 1984

The time was in the 1980s, so called as the golden age of arcade video games. You’ve watched Bandersnatch, right?

10 years later, 3D graphics started to make an appearance. Some classic games that we have heard of are born in the mid-1990s — Virtual Fighter, Resident Evil, and Sims, for instance. They are some of the first successful attempts in integrating 3D polygon meshes into a real-time simulation for the public, a.k.a, a video game.

Virtual Fighter, Resident Evil, and Sims — from left to right
Character Look Improvement from Sims 1 to Sim 4

The short video game history highlights just how rapidly video game graphics have developed in just 40 years. Now we are witnessing unbelievably photoreal graphics in ways that the original arcade developers could not even imagine. Modern built worlds, characters, and magical special effects easily overwhelm us.

In-game screenshots from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

What About Mobile Real-time Graphics?

The mobile market is the most coveted entertainment market since people of all ages and sexes have a phone these days! A big hit of Fortnite passing from the gaming crowd to the mainstream is also rooted in the mobile version support, resulting in high accessibility.

Fornite image from Epic Games

In term of graphic quality, however, mobile game graphics still has a long way to go in comparison to PC. By the nature of mobile hardware, there is a limitation in real-time computing of high-quality graphics while maintaining its small form factor. This is also one of the reasons why most mobile games are 2D-like arcade games. Without the latest phone model, many existing graphically intensive games will present you clunky gameplay.

Here Comes New Tech to Solve the Problem

Luckily, we are constantly developing new technologies to overcome the threshold as it has in the past. New immerging technologies — Stadia, 5G, graphics chipset/display technology, and AI/deep learning based software — started to burst to eliminate the limitations of mobile graphics. The video below — running one of the more recent graphically demanding games on the Stadia platform — sums up the possibility of mobile graphics in the near future.

demonstration of Stadia

Golden Age of Mobile Real-time 3D Graphics

The technologies will lead us to the next golden age of mobile graphics, enabling instant gameplay with high-end graphics and real-time interaction in minimum loading time. The cost will enormously decrease for both developers to build high-quality content and for consumers to enjoy the experience.

Giant game engine developers such as Epic Games or Unity Technologies have already been experimenting with next-generation real-time graphics.

Unity real-time cinematic CGI playback

Unity presented real-time cinematic CGI playback this GDC and Epic Games recently showcased photorealistic graphics. Soon that level of graphics will be available in the mobile industry!

Epic Games’ photorealistic graphics

3D Characters Becoming Ever More Powerful

At the same time, this will also push forward on high-quality 3D character content. As we wrote in the previous writing, the virtual human has become prevalent. While the look of them varies from cartoony to photorealistic, they convinced their fans to believe that they are alive.

Digital Celeb Apoki(Left) & Imma(Right)

The trend will bloom in the mobile gaming industry soon as well. People will demand game characters to be alive. And real-time motion capture technology will play a big role to bring them to life. Imagine a game that users can animate their character with their own facial expressions.

Imagine this game character from ‘Black Desert Online’ making the same expression as you

As proof, on-going experiments regarding real-time motion capture started to reveal themselves. One of them is Bebylon project — this demo enables full character immersion using iPhone X and Xsens. The attempt successfully demonstrated the potential of live character experience.

Beblyon live demo at Siggraph 2018

While the Bebylon demo utilizes iPhone X’s 3D depth camera and ARkit, there is another facial motion capture solution for the majority of regular phone users — Hyprface SDK. Our SDK is optimized for regular performing phones using 2D camera input. We strongly believe that we can support mobile content developers to better build interactive character content.

Are you also interested in the real-time 3D character to realize your broader imagination? Reach us to build something awesome together. Let’s dive deep into the upcoming golden age of mobile 3D character content.

Hyprface is our product-ready software fully built in-house to track expression values and remap them into a 3D character in real-time. The SDK supports iOS, Android, Windows, Unity, and Unreal. If you are interested, feel free to ask us for a free 30-day trial SDK.


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Hyprsense develops real-time facial expression tracking technology to light up the creation of live animation.

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