On 20th March, Team Envy content creator and virtual streamer CodeMiko debuted the latest rendition of her Twitch avatar, which she started teasing the week prior. The "version 3" model builds upon the work of its predecessor, except boasts overhauled hair simulation code, higher-resolution visuals and improved physics.
According to Miko, the development came at the expense of several nights' sleep, especially after running into an unforeseen problem with her hair simulation engine the night before launch. Fortunately, the Twitch star managed to debug the glitch in time, wowing the crowd with what can only be described as an exceptional debut.
Admittedly, the model is not without significant bugs. However, we can only hope they aren't nearly as catastrophic as when Miko's breast physics engine went crazy during a virtual hot tub stream.
Miko debuts new Twitch CodeMiko 3.0 avatar
The stream had a delayed start, with a forty-minute prelude video featuring a silhouette of Miko dancing to a remixed song of Primadonna by Marina and The Diamonds. Naturally, the intro was filled with suspense as fans rushed to the stream in anticipation of the big reveal.
Around 41 minutes into the stream, the V-tuber finally built up the courage to reveal the newly rendered avatar, starting by showing off her new hair simulation (running in realtime, by the way), custom blue jacket and boobas, which she said "can grow on command." Noice.
The Twitch star then showed off her avatar's bottoms, sporting black tights, ripped stockings and sneakers. Notably, ignoring Miko's obviously scuffed hands was challenging, having broken the code the night before; however, it didn't detract from the "wow" factor of the overall model.
Finally, after some time, Miko unveiled the avatar's face. Accordingly, the virtual avatar's face boasted an incredible level of detail, with near realistic skin texture, freckles and glistening effects in her model's eyes. Facial movement tracking was also on point, similarly to Miko version 2.
Arguably the most stunning feature, however, was the avatar's hair. Upon zooming in, viewers could make out individual strands of hair, which boasted natural movement and collision kinetics. It goes without saying that CodeMiko's hair unequivocally stole the show.
If you're wondering, Miko's new model is built on her own developmental software called "Mikoverse," based on the Unreal Engine. "We are an innovative V-tuber creator company," said CodeMiko. According to the Mikoverse website, they are building "the next generation of V-tuber technology, focussed around enhancing content creation."
The website continues, " Our mission is to build deeper connections between creators and their fans by unlocking engagement in the virtual world. In the Mikoverse, viewers can directly impact the content: not only can they watch, but they can participate, create, spend, and play all in the same platform."
If you're interested, you can check out the Mikoverse job listings by clicking here.
Notably, CodeMiko version 3 is a massive improvement over versions 1 and 3, and many fans on Reddit would agree. "That hair is just nuts. Amazing stuff. The face is still a bit screwy, and the lip-sync and facial anim[nation] could use some refinement but its super impressive," said one Reddit user.
You can see the side-by-side comparison in the embedded clip below. Besides the noticeable graphical enhancements, Miko also changed the colour of her hair.
"V3 looks pretty good! Realtime hair is hard to get looking decent. And overall model and texture improvements from V2 are a good deal more refined," said another. Notably, Miko noted that Epic Games completely overhauled their hair simulation code since it wasn't all that good in Unreal 4.
Honestly, Miko's debut was exceptional and demonstrates the insane tech we have at our disposable today. Moreover, it also highlights the realism we can expect in current and future next-gen games.
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"The concept that every strand of hair is simulated in realtime is wild to my sensibilities. Less than twenty years ago, this required powerful hardware to render frame by frame. This video shows Miko without even RTX enabled. If this is what she can do now, imagine what a multibillion-dollar company could do in a few years," said a different Reddit user, and I agree entirely.
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All featured images courtesy of Twitch / CodeMiko.