Monday, January 28th, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

Videos: real-time hair in Luminous Studio

A couple of new videos have surfaced on YouTube showing the editor for Square Enix’s Luminous Studio next-generation game engine in action: this time, focusing on its hair simulation system.

Luminous Studio caused a buzz at E3 this year when Square Enix released its Agni’s Philosophy real-time demo. At the time, there wasn’t much technical info, but details have been gradually emerging since then.

Hair rendering and simulation
The first new video (above) shows the hair simulation being adjusted in real time on a female head, changing the strand width, colour – both of the base hair and the anisotropic highlights – and ambient occlusion settings.

There’s also a rather nice demo of real-time subsurface scattering as the user adjusts the intensity of the light passing through the model’s ear.

The video concludes with some footage of the hair simulation in motion (nice, if a bit spring-like, and it would have been good to see it in the context of an actual character), and a bizarrely Terry Gilliam-esque sequence in which what appears to be a pool ball is moved in and out of someone’s beard.

(Okay, it’s being used a generic collision object. It just looks funny.)

The second video is more of the same, but using the second character. Again, you see strand and rendering parameters adjusted in real time – though this time, you get to glimpse the hair responding to facial animation.

Great, but when will we see it in an actual game?
There’s no word on when we’ll see games using Luminous Studio, although in a recent interview with Edge, technical director Yoshihisa Hashimoto confirmed that there was at least one in the works.

Interestingly, Hashimoto revealed that Luminous Studio wasn’t created solely for triple-A titles, which he says “can feel like something of a fool’s errand”, but also for tablet, smartphone and even cloud-based games.

Shacknews also has an interesting interview about how Square Enix will be using Luminous Studio alongside other rendering engines, including IO Interactive’s Glacier2.