GDC 2013 (Game Developers Conference) wraps up today after a week of presentations and late night parties. There have been some impressive tech demos shown, like Kojima Productions' FOX engine running Metal Gear Solid 5, but what really got people talking is Activision R&D's latest attempt at photorealistic characters. Check out the lifelike skin and eye shading in the uncanny video after the break.

“We will show how each detail is the secret for achieving reality," writes Activision Blizzard technical director Jorge Jiminez on his blog. "For us, the challenge goes beyond entertaining; it’s more about creating a medium for better expressing emotions, and reaching the feelings of the players.”

Company reps showed a real-time demo running on a two year old laptop and other examples that work on a GeForce GTX 680 in DirectX 11 at 180 frames per second.

"[This demo] represents to us the culmination of many years of work in photorealistic characters," Jiminez added, referencing a demo from February 2012. In just a year his team's separable subsurface scattering shader has progressed dramatically, and has now been applied to the character's eyes.

It's likely only a matter of time before Activision Blizzard and other developers will be able to squeeze this amount of detail into games. Exactly when that might be is still a bit unclear, since the demo currently only has a disembodied head on which to run, without any of the usual trimmings, like hair, a sophisticated environment, and any game-specific stuff like artificial intelligence.

The facial animation demo stops short of being totally convincing, but the team has done an incredible job of capturing the semi-translucent look of skin and eyes, which is still missing in most games. Check out the demo video below.

Source: Jorge Jiminez's blog