Remember all those Hong Kong kung-fu movies with really poor dubbing so the actors’ mouths would keep flapping after the words had stopped? That was charming. What’s less charming is the possibility of stone-faced avatars poorly mouthing dialogue, detracting ever so slightly from the immersive power of virtual reality worlds. That’s why we’re all slightly excited that Oculus released (and quietly yanked) a beta Unity plugin called OVRLipSync.
The plugin lets developers sync an avatar’s mouth movements to either existing audio or input from a microphone without too much hassle. Even though Oculus seems to have killed the OVRLipSync page pretty quickly, a couple quick devs accessed the tool and showed off what it was capable of (see below).
Granted, the results aren’t wholly life-like, but it’s not a bad showing for beta software. More importantly, we’re left wondering how many new VR titles will up taking advantage of this thing. Our guess? Lots. Its potential importance stretches beyond just making NPCs look more natural, too. Oculus is working on shared VR experiences with Oculus Social, so maybe we’ll get those ornate virtual chatrooms with fully animated avatars that were promised in cyberpunk novels after all.