The other day I bought a new Xbox 360 and decided to get one bundled with the Kinect sensor. Having played around with it for a bit, I thought I’d share my thoughts.

It certainly lives up the phrase “you are the controller”. Real actions correspond to actions on the screen, some more exaggerated than others, some less precise than I would like, but overall it’s a well done effort to detect body movement. The Kinect comes bundled with Kinect Adventures, consisting of five mini games, all of which are two player. The games are quite full on, and given the current heat here in NZ I found it too exhausting to play for hours at a time, but each game is only a few minutes long so it’s a good game to pick and play causally.

You can set up the Kinect sensor to detect your face. While my flatmate was playing, he had to leave the room to answer a phone call. I stepped into the sensor and took over his game. A few seconds later, a message popped up saying that I had been signed in with my gamertag (in offline mode), no interruption or manual switching necessary. I can imagine this feature being used to automatically switch profiles for other games, e.g. a group of eight people taking turns playing four player split screen COD or Halo.

The bundle also came with a copy of Dance Central. I haven’t played it too extensively, as it’s not my type of game, but I can see the potential here. It offers a much more realistic experience than dancing games on other platforms.

I downloaded a demo of Sonic Free Riders. The game is much more intense than the others. You really have to act as though you’re riding the hoverboard. Lean left to move left, lean forward to speed up, etc. But unlike Kinect Adventures, the controls were difficult and unresponsive. I think this is a badly designed game, rather than a problem with Kinect itself.

Kinect isn’t without its flaws. It won’t be possible to play in many living rooms, due to the requirement of having at least six feet of floor space between you and the sensor. Also, it remains to be seen how Kinect will work for games that require the player to navigate as well as perform actions. This seems to be an area where the Wii and Playstation Move have an advantage.

I think it can work for a Panzer Dragoon style game though, even a free roaming experience like Saga. In any Panzer Dragoon game you primarily control the rider, who then “steers” the dragon. So moving the dragon left wouldn’t necessarily require the player to move left, maybe just raise an arm in that direction. The dragon could probably sense much of the rider’s wishes through the bonding process, so actual movements could be minimal. I hope that will be the case with Project Draco, otherwise I can see the game getting tiring quickly.

I don’t think the problems people worried about are related to controlling the dragon, something which could be done simply by slightly leaning left/right etc, like the various snowboarding/skiing games on Wii. I think it’s more about the lack of a precise method with which to point targets, choose between different attacks to launch, etc. At least for a shooter, as Child of Eden videos aren’t without problems, although I thought they show promise, as long as they improve a lot before launch. Still, if it was a tough shooter that required concentration and skill, most people would probably want to revert to standard controls (or better yet, pointing controls a la Wii and Sin & Punishment 2, with actual buttons and only slight wrist twists needed, essentially like a distanced mouse) as even slight leans would become tiresome over time, especially if you get into it and do more exaggerated movements than required. I guess it’s not a coincidence that skiing, ski jump and snowboarding mini games are included in software like Wii Fit.

As for a Saga-like adventure, slower paced flying without the intensity of a shooter would be fine with leans and such, but again choosing attacks with arm motions would feel cumbersome, unless they ever get it to do the precise finger tracking initially hyped, although there’s still the issue of lacking buttons to confirm selections with, which could lead to the inclusion of abstract gesture controls that don’t feel as natural. Not to mention the on-foot exploration would also be impossible, or turned into some sort of point & click type deal with the same issues as attack selection & confirmation, applied to tasks like initiating dialogues, examining objects, trading, selecting dialogue options, etc.

I just haven’t seen much for Kinect that could be adapted to deeper experiences beyond purely motion based fun like dancing, mini games and such. I saw a homebrew tech demo someone made (open source Kinect drivers were created after a contest so people cna use Kinects with PCs and whatever else they want) where he could control a lightsaber on screen but even for something like that you have the issue of not having character cotrol beyond his arms, which would only work for some static 1 on 1 duel type game and not an action adventure like say, Jedi Knight II: Outcast.

Which is why I think Nintendo and now Sony got the motion control concept right. They could all use improvements (further than they have already been) but I think next gen interfaces will resemble these two more than Kinect. Having a part of the interface be the traditional analog stick and buttons is simply a must for any game that requires moving a character in 3D space as you do in most types of games today. Jumping to jump, running to run, crouching to duck, sprinting to sprint, climbing to climb, or whatever other varied and complex actions game heroes tend to do today, just isn’t intuitive. Having buttons on the motion part of the controls is also important to replicate functions like shooting, pointing and clicking, holding, releasing, or whatever is desired for each game.

You could use a standard controller alongside Kinect to resolve some of the issues above but then it’s not the most ideal setup either. Pointing with waving your right arm, but shooting with buttons on the left? It’s not as natural and it’s essentially a gimped impression of what other companies are doing instead of the “you are the controller” concept they try to push (which, honestly, is a bit cheap to claim because while you may hold something in your hands with Wii and Move, you still have various games where you lean to lean, punch to punch, etc, with varied levels of accuracy, so you’re it anyway).

Yeah, the concern is certainly warranted. I think if they’re smart about it, the developers won’t make Project Draco too dependant on precision, especially if it’s a Kinect only title. In Kinect Adventures there’s a mini game where you have to plug holes in glass before the water comes in. You use your arms and legs to cover the holes, and while it isn’t as precise as an analog stick or mouse, it works well enough within that context.

I think they would design the game from the ground up around the Kinect sensor, so towns where you could walk around would probably be out. As for menus, selecting dialogues, etc, it would be better to design a game where important actions corresponded to real actions. For example, dialogue responses: let the player speak a response (even if it’s just saying Yes or No) or shake or nod his head. Build a new game around the hardware, rather than fitting an existing game type to work with that hardware.

What I’d like to see is a separation of games designed for a normal controller and games designed around motion controls. I think the Wii suffered somewhat from forced motion controls, where some games were designed around a normal controller with motion controls tacked on. For example Super Mario Galaxy seemed hardly dependant on motion controls at all. And some game genres simply don’t translate well to motion controls, especially those that depend on precision. Imagine 2D Sonic or Ikaruga using motion controls… they simply wouldn’t translate without the gameplay suffering considerably.

With that in mind, I hope the next generation, at least the Sony and Microsoft consoles, come with standard controllers by default. Often gamers play video games to relax and don’t want to be waving their arms around; there’s a time and place for that I think, but not for every game. It would sadden me if the relaxation aspect of video games was lost. Even shooters were the motion control is mainly pointing like Metroid Prime 3 become tiring after a while; it’s an alternative rather than a replacement for analog/mouse control.

Yeah, I agree that combining a standard controller with the Kinect sensor probably wouldn’t work very well. I do, however, think that the “you are the controller” statement really is true of Kinect much more the others. The Wiimote and Playstation Move don’t correspond 1 to 1 with your bodily movements as Kinect does. With Kinect you can jump, lean, move your arms and legs into different positions, rather than just moving the devices in your hand into those positions. If the ultimate end of all of this motion technology is to fully control your character within a virtual reality simulation with 1 to 1 movements, then Kinect is substantially further down that path than its competitors.

Well I don’t think people would be happy about that and just call it “dumbing down”. I’d prefer a new Saga to be everything the developer envisions as far as features go, not to be changed so much just to accomodate a controller. A system’s limitations will always limit design in some ways, be it visual fidelity, scope, etc, but that’s a bit too much. The same for only having “yes” and “no” answers. You could circumvent it by numbering the options and having the player call out one, two, three, or a, b, c, but that’s not something that keeps you immersed, if that’s the point of a fully motion controlled Saga. What’s next, the names of all NPCs in view floating above their head so you can call them to initiate dialogues without havng to actually move your character and approach them?

That did happen in some cases, yet bad software is made for every control method…

…But I don’t think that was a problem for Galaxy in particular. Just because Wii has motion controls doesn’t mean every game should use all of them in the core design. It still has an analog stick and buttons for a reason, as they’re essential for modern game design as people perceive it. Galaxy’s developers made the design decision to limit the motion aspect and it was a nearly flawless game. The upcoming Zelda on the other hand is using motion controls more extensively, yet without compromising the series’ formula in any way, again thanks to the inclusion of traditional control inputs.

That depends on what type of motion controls we’re talking about. A mouse is essentially motion controls, but has no problems with accuracy. The Wii remote can detect tilt (pretty accurately actually), movement & acceleration (not as accurately), rotation (accurately with motion plus) etc but can also be used similar to a mouse, again with no accuracy issues. And shooters, free like FPS or rail like PD, do require accuracy, which is why I think they’re more suited to Mice/Wii/Move than Kinect.

I see no reason for this, all they need to do is add an analog stick on the remote/wand type setup Wii and Move have, and make them a bit more ergonomic. With two of them (instead of a remote + nunchuck or wand + dual shock) you’d get the complete control set you have this generation when used without motion and the motion controls on top of that, which can improve many existing genres.

Imo, motion controls, the right type for the right game, pointing or movement tracking or both, can improve almost anything first or third person, strategy, point & click, sports (think tennis, baseball), etc. Some substantially so. Only few types of games are more suited to traditional controllers, things like Street Fighter type beat 'em ups.

Even traditional sports games like soccer can improve (without being changed completely like baseball or tennis are) by incorporating pointer controls as the last few Konami titles do on Wii. They allow you to control a player directly with the analog stick and buttons as normal, but also adjust the actions and positioning of other players in your team with point & click like features, giving you some strategic control on top of the normal actions.

I’m going to guess that you’re doing it wrong as many people I see bring this up, when it should be a non issue. Don’t extent your arm like you’re holding a lightgun with Star Trek phaser shape, trying to poke at the screen. Just rest your arm in the same position you hold any normal controller, be it your legs if sitting, your gut if standing, or whatever.

It doesn’t require larger movements than a mouse. It’s intuitive and doesn’t get tiring as your hand has support like with any controller. Only lightgun games like House of the Dead are meant to be played with your arm extended trying to aim (possibly with a gun shell) because the difficulty in keeping the “gun” up is part of the gameplay there. If it’s an FPS then the movement is relative anyway, with sensitivity and speed adjusted to your liking, and a cursor visible on screen, rather than an attempt at direct aiming.

The Move includes a camera so it can be used like that, although I imagine that the majority of titles gamers would be interested in will not do so because it’s simply not intuitive for many types of games. Some motion controls can streamline and improve current experiences (point to shoot), others can make them cumbersome (jump to jump).

Still, from the games Microsoft chose to launch Kinect with, only a couple use more movement than allowed by something like the Wii and Move. On Wii you can box by simulating the movements, leaning left and right with your arms guarding, throw left and right punches, etc. It’s not very accurate as it’s a launch title and doesn’t use motion plus or the balance board, or even two remotes, although the Move boxing game probably works like that also, with extra accuracy. Perhaps Kinect has more accuracy than even Move in that sort of thing (although that remains to be seen) but it’s similar enough.

Then there’s the balance board. You said you lean and such to control the Sonic Riders game, and that’s not unlike snowboarding games on Wii we’ve had for years. You’re controlling the games the same way. Just because the movement is detected by a board under your feet (yeah it can tell jumps, steps, and many different types of motion by how your weight shifts) instead of a camera in front of you doesn’t make it so different.

Few games will show the differences, such as Just Dance, but I believe the Move version at least is very similar to Kinect. The fighting games made for Kinect and Move also appear rather similar, with basic punches and kicks, and leans, and gestures for specials.

Microsoft present it as a whole new thing, not as “much like you’ve played, but with that much extra range of movements for specific types of games” and I don’t feel that’s 100% honest, especially when those few types of games might also be replicated on Move.

As for the point of motion controls, I’m not sure that’s 1:1 accuracy, for now. It’s about offering intuitive and fun control, like any controller. In some cases that’s already 1:1 accuracy, but in most it’s not, and even in those that it is, it’s limited to some body parts, and not all. At least until we have full VR sets so that I can physically turn around to shoot the guy behind me, walk around to navigate the envrionment, etc. Which isn’t gonna happen in a home setup any time soon. Which is why we need the combination of traditional controls at least for now, to navigate our characters within environments that don’t resemble our immediate surroundings, etc. Abstraction is a requirement still and it’s with that in mind that control devices are or should be created, not with that may come.

It’s probably for the best that Project Draco is a new franchise, and will likely only borrow some elements from the Panzer Dragoon series rather than attempting to be its successor. This way, there’s no expectations for it to play like Panzer Dragoon (or shouldn’t be), especially since we know it’s being designed for Kinect.

The system does limit the game design, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It allows developers to find creative ways to work within these limitations, and perhaps produce a unique experience as a result. Games don’t always have to get more and more complicated, or more and more feature rich. There can be improvement through simplicity too, especially when it comes to control interfaces. And sometimes taking features away can make software more accessible.

Futatsugi has said that Project Draco is about experiencing the feeling of communicating with a dragon and riding it into battle; the Kinect should be equipped to handle this kind of interaction, maybe on rails, or maybe with the player able to steer the dragon’s course.

[quote=“Al3xand3r”]I’m going to guess that you’re doing it wrong as many people I see bring this up, when it should be a non issue. Don’t extent your arm like you’re holding a lightgun with Star Trek phaser shape, trying to poke at the screen. Just rest your arm in the same position you hold any normal controller, be it your legs if sitting, your gut if standing, or whatever.

It doesn’t require larger movements than a mouse. It’s intuitive and doesn’t get tiring as your hand has support like with any controller. Only lightgun games like House of the Dead are meant to be played with your arm extended trying to aim (possibly with a gun shell) because the difficulty in keeping the “gun” up is part of the gameplay there. If it’s an FPS then the movement is relative anyway, with sensitivity and speed adjusted to your liking, and a cursor visible on screen, rather than an attempt at direct aiming.[/quote]

Regarding the Wii/Move? these control schemes have their place too. I’d just rather that the controls weren’t tacked onto normal controller games and were left for new experiences designed from the ground up around motion controls. The Wiimote isn’t simply an alternative the mouse/analog as it requires considerably more effort to hold and aim the pointer at the screen and keep it steady. I do understand your point about not holding your arms out when playing Metroid Prime 3, but you still need to keep the controller pointed at the screen. When I play controller based games I’m sometimes lying at an angle on the couch, or with the controller under a blanket if it’s cold. Any additional motions takes away the effortlessness of the experience. So, I’d rather that motion control games remain a separate alternative rather than a replacement for standard controllers.

The Wii balance board and Playstation Move camera do incorporate some of the body sensing features of Kinect, but from what I can tell they don’t come near the achievement of detecting the body from head to foot. For example, do either of the rivals have a game that detects the movement of two legs and two arms at the same time, in a variety of different poses? This may seem trivial, but in Kinect Adventures it’s used in a variety of games. The Rallyball game in this video (skip to 5:28) probably wouldn’t be possible on the Wii or Move.

I think there’s more potential with Kinect for games that focus on body movements rather than navigating, and we’ll hopefully see a new wave of interesting games based around this. I don’t see it as a replacement for standard controls, but an alternative offering a new control setup that (as far as I know) isn’t offered on any other systems.

Good point. Different aims and trade offs with each type of motion controller I suppose (although Move seems very similar to the Wii controller). The Wii seems to be aimed at offering a replacement for standard controllers, while Kinect is more of an alternative.

On if Move (or rather, its camera) can detect movements of the whole body or all limbs (which I maintain would be used for few types of games):
This is PS2 software, the PS3 camera is probably improved, and even if it’s not, at least tracking software and methods can improve with experience. It probably has issues with depth tracking, the gameplay seen here is all on a 2D plane, but it’s similar enough (doesn’t Kinect have a mini game where you smash balls as they come to you in a very similar manner?). Move could enhance depth at least for two limbs.

But again, if I have a boxing game rather than a kickboxing game I will primarily use two limbs so not having equal leg tracking won’t be a huge deal. It’s not exactly going to be a sim where I can use the leg work a real boxer would since I have to keep my TV in view.

So Microsoft in this case could market a kickboxing game and Sony could market a boxing game, would the type of experience not appear the same for most people?

Without traditional controls included I’ll probably have to limit the game design to a more static Punch-Out!! 1 on 1 duel rather than the full yet abstract replications of all movements we see in traditional beat em ups. That is what things like Wii Boxing and Swordplay do, and I believe it’s the same for Move’s Sports Champions duel mini game, as neither gives you control of the character movement, just his active fighting limbs. Skyward Sword takes it a step further with the full Zelda gameplay thanks to the nunchuck attachment which provides traditional character control on top. Similarly Move games can do that by employing the dual shock or navigator and one wand.

As for laying down to play, well, you wouldn’t have to play an FPS if you were laying down, you’d likely want a more relaxed experience like an adventure game anyway. Although you can still move the sensor bar somewhere it can be aimed at from bed. It’s not hard to adjust to the movements even if your TV isn’t where you point, again similar to a mouse which you move forward to move up on screen for example, generally using a tiny space to the right of your keyboard yet moving the cursor all over the whole screen in front of you. It’s relative movement, not strictly 1:1 alone.

For games that don’t require motion control I find the remote + nunchuck setup even more comfortable as it’s two parts. I can set one arm behind my head and the other on my chest and play laid back for example. That’s why I think the dual remote/wand solution for next gen with an analog stick on each wouldn’t be an issue once people realised that it can offer the same control schemes, just detached.

Although I’m sure most would lean to using the pointing motion controls, for anything that includes shooting at least. It’s hard to go back to dual analog systems once you experience and get used to this capability of control (no aiming aids used here yet it’s almost like looking at a PC player, from the comfort of his living room):
Metroid Prime 3 was a first step for such controls but with the options more recent FPS offer you don’t have issues like too slow turning, and in the end don’t need the lock on function Prime 3 included to allow circle strafing. Pointing is simply the superior method and you hinder yourself if you use the classic controller, especially for multiplayer.

It’s similar for other shooting games like Sin & Punishment 2, where Treasure found that it became much, much easier with the inclusion of pointer aiming which meant you no longer had to drag a cursor from the left all the way to the right with a hardcoded speed, but nearly instantly did so physically, as fast as you could do a slight wrist twist instead of as fast as the game allowed you to. They actually rebalanced the whole game after Yurie Hattori who found the original way too hard, saw she beat the new game without dying once thanks to the faster & simpler control (and yes, now the game is HARD).

Even outside efficiency, it’s just more natural. Playing adventure games like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a joy as even though shooting isn’t involved you have control similar to an FPS and point & click combined (crappy altered brightness but anyway):
Basically it’s a combination of PC control/console comfort, with some tradeoffs for each. Super Mario Galaxy’s primarily automated and distant camera angles didn’t need any of it, but any such over the shoulder or first person game can benefit.

I suppose Kinect is more of an evolution of the Eyetoy, rather than a revolution. It does seem significantly improved from the Eyetoy video you linked. For example, in this minigame the character is able to move in three dimensions, using all four limbs at once: motion controls unless they were fully designed around this concept. At least offer the option of reverting back to regular controls.

Lots of games require pointing or changing the camera angle, and I’d rather not be forced to aim at the screen to do this. For example, in an RPG such as Oblivion, the right analog stick works just fine for aiming. Adding a pointing device is an extra point of potential breakage in the immersion link between man and machine. Sometimes I like to treat gaming the same way as watching film: something to do when relaxing. The less movements, the better.require

It barely requires movement, it just replaces the movement of thumbs with slight wrist twists similar to a mouse. Gamers have simply become accustomed to the second analog stick because it was used universally by a whole console generation (and for many, two or more). I think pointing is more natural and just as relaxing, as long as you allow it to become second nature like the analog stick has, which may obviously take some time for some. I personally can’t stand dual analog setups for such games anymore, it’s either a mouse or, now, the Wii remote and eventually, probably, Move. It’s not just camera movement, it’s many things that become more intuitive, like anything that involves a cursor, from point & click adventures to real time strategy games, to rail shooters like Sin & Punishment 2. Many people separate the term motion controls from the pointer functions as they feel the former is more about gestures or whole movements and the latter is similar to a mouse adapted for couch use. People don’t call the mouse motion controls even though it essentially is (although then you might as well call the analog sticks motion controls as you move your thumbs around, or call joysticks motion controls because you again move your wrists instead, etc) so it makes some sense.

Although as I mentioned, adding an analog stick to the Wii remote or Move wands means that with two of them you have the same classic controls you do now, like a snapped in half conventional controller, and at any time have access to full motion controls as well. There’s no reason to have multiple controllers if they go that route next gen.

That video still looks like gameplay on a 2D plane to me like the (again, old, with no Move) Eyetoy video. It just interpets some motions differently. Instead of simply having 1:1 movement, when he keeps his arms stretched the character continues to slide to that direction for example. It’s as if he’s pressing invisible movement buttons near the edges of the screen. Oh, nevermind, I just saw the part he moves closer to the screen and the character moves a little forward too. It doesn’t really look advanced or impossible with eyetoy, surely some algorithm could detect that the player’s figure just became 50% larger than it was, even if it has no depth tracking embedded in the technology. Alternatively they could detect that from two Move wands. Since the gameplay seems to be to just wave his arms to catch all those items, rather than punch them or kick them with accuracy in 3D space, it could move the character forward and back when the Move wands moved forward beyond a certain threshold that could be interpreted as natural unintentional movement while trying to wave. You’d still step forward to trigger it and thus have the same result with slightly different technology. It even seems possible to reach a similar result without even using the camera, just two wands, as movement wasn’t exactly 1:1 for the whole body, the actual character’s animations were restricted.

To be honest, I find using dual analog sticks more relaxing than keyboard and mouse. The precision of mouse control is the main reason why I’d play using a mouse, but if a game is designed to work well with a controller (e.g. Halo or Oblivion) I’d rather use that than a mouse. It does depend on the game; some are designed with lots of precise aiming (sniper rifles, etc), but generally console FPSs make up for the lost precision with some sort of aiming assistance.

It’s a lot harder to slouch on the couch/bed while using a mouse or wand for aiming. A quick Google image search brought up this image. It would be near impossible to use a mouse in this position, and hard to use a pointing device (especially if the controller was under the blanket to keep his hands warm).

And yeah, with Move you could possibly replicate that bubble mini game with two wands (or four, in two player), taking away leg control, but it seems more natural just to use your body. If players are jumping in and out of game, it’s simpler that way. It really does depend on the style of game though; Kinect Adventures was obviously designed to show off what the system can do rather than what it can’t. But, it does seem that for body movement games, Kinect is leading the pack at the moment.

I just likened the motions to a mouse, obviously a Wii remote or Move wand doesn’t require a flat surface to slide on, just your arm to be rested on anything facing the sensor bar. You’ll notice even in that image you pulled up, the controller’s front faces the TV. But like I said, it’s all relative, you don’t really point at the TV, you point at the sensor bar, camera for Move, etc. You could tape them on the ceiling and play aiming there, movements can be 1:1 but it’s all relative to the devices, not the TV. Putting the devices near the TV makes it feel like you point at the TV. Of course taping them somewhere is an extreme example, but you can always tilt them a little to better face a couch/bed.

As for aiming assistance, that’s not even gameplay really, devices that negate the need for that are good. Or we might as well ditch the second analog stick and go back to the PS1 days where such games used primarily lock on functions, and recentering, that was even easier and thus could be more relaxing… In any case, I find pointing more natural and intuitive and I feel most people would also if they actually gave it enough time to adjust (without doing sillly things like extending their arms toward the screen, or not having their hands rested on anything and thus getting tired and uncomfortable, as they would if they held any controller awkwardly like that), years of dual analog stick use are obviously hard to exchange for some, as for others were the d-pad days.

But like I said it’s not just about shooting functions, there’s much more to help with.

I really don’t see this full body control you mention in that video. He flaps his arms to fly, he stretches his arms to slide left/right, he moves forward (his arms obviously follow, even if that motion is initiated by the legs) to make the character change plane. Nothing beyond Move’s capabilities without even the camera tracking really. Potentially nothing beyond Eyetoy’s capabilities. After all we just compare different games by different developers. The Kinect game I mentioned first is much more similar to the eyetoy game in the video. There just isn’t an eyetoy or move game that I know of that has the same exact design as that other video you posted, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Not that anyone would miss that experience with alternatives that are similar enough anyway.

I understand that the sensor bar being relative is an important point you’re making. In some cases it would be easy enough to do this. But what about four player split screen where players are all located at different angles? Or players are holding the controller under a blanket?

By aiming assistance, what I meant is that games have features built into them to make enemies easier to point at. For example, in Halo most of the weapons have large cursors, rather than a tiny crosshair. In Call of Duty you can aim down your sights for more precision.

We could go back to the PS1 days of a single analog stick, but then you couldn’t aim up and down at all, or at least not at the same time as moving. Having a second analog stick doesn’t require additional effort since your thumb is either on the analog stick or the buttons, although I suppose you could argue that using just one analog is simpler.

Kinect: in the video, the character can move around in three dimensions, using arms, legs, ducking, jumping, etc. The Eyetoy seems to be on a two dimensional plane, and the Move uses extra wands to control movement. Maybe there is a Move game that uses the camera to allow the player to control four limbs and move in three dimensions without the assistance of a controller/wand. But the burden of proof lies on Sony to release a game that can demonstrate this. If you can find an example, I’m happy to take back my comment about Kinect being ahead of the competition when it comes to body movement games.

The Eye can actually track 3D movement to a limited degree, by calculating distance based on the size of the object it is tracking. Of course, the dual cameras of the Kinect make it much more adept at doing this, but it doesn’t mean the Eye cannot. In fact, the Move is very adept at tracking 3D movement simply because you have a fixed object (the globe at the top of the wand) that the camera can track with a high degree of accuracy.

However, to the point of accuracy between analog sticks and motion control, your fingers are many times more capable of fine motor movement than the gross motor movement of the larger joints (wrist, elbow, shoulder). It’s why a mouse is so accurate - you’re controlling the fine movement with your fingers on a very stable platform. Analog sticks come second, due to the fact that it’s a slightly less stable platform, and then motion control comes in last. If you want, you could test it by trying to hold a cursor still with a mouse or analog stick, then try it with a Move. You’ll notice that the move will shake ever so slightly, due to the lack of fine motor control over the arm as a whole.

That being said, Solo is correct in that those sorts of issues can be resolved with aim-assist type stuff. It’s not just a matter of bigger reticles and whatnot, games like Halo actually have a certain amount of “stickiness” to the controls. If you get the reticle close enough to the target, it will nudge the reticle toward the target for you. Most console FPS games do this nowadays to a greater or lesser degree. Wii games often do something similar (though in a much more subtle way) to help with some of the inconsistent input it receives from players. Try playing Wii Sports like a complete noob and you’ll see the results are actually better than what you would expect.

I think most people use their wrist as well as fingers for the mouse movement. Those with super high sensitivity settings that barely require any movement at all to do 360 turns in Quake are rare. Rare in every day conditions that is, if you play something like Quake you’ll find them, heh, as only they still play such games regularly.

Needless to say I disagree that the motion controls are less accurate than an analog stick when it comes to things like aiming and looking around. Perhaps there’s a slight jitter (maybe if you don’t rest your hand on a surface like your legs or anywhere) as you can’t keep your hand perfectly still (while a mouse will simply stay where you put it rather than require holding there) but you can instantly correct it. And of course it will only be cursor jitter, not camera jitter, due to the way FPS work on such setups, with the cursor freely moving and aiming within a certain threshold before camera movement begins.

How could anyone do something like this with an analog stick? It’s only possible with a mouse and now motion type controls (I can’t even follow this guy with my mouse really).
The camera here is fixed but you basically get the same potential for accuracy in an FPS, as shown in previous videos I linked. perhaps I’m not as good as either of these people but then again I’m not as good as most dedicated Quake players on PC either. That doesn’t mean I’d rather play games that even the playing field by reducing the control capabilities and giving everyone assists, not to mention changing the map design to suit.

I mean, you even have situations like people “hating” the Wii version of Resident Evil 4 (widely considered the best just due to the controls) because it just makes the game too damn easy when you can aim so effortlessly, or the developers of Sin & Punishment 2 saying the same reason was why they had to tweak the game difficulty all over again after implementing pointer controls, and many other such instances. Obviously console games are designed with what’s essentially nerfed control capabilities, full of assists mechanically or pacing wise or whatever else, but that doesn’t mean they can’t evolve beyond that now that technology has made it possible to get PC-like control.

There are also various ways to reduce jitter with the pointer controls. Games like Metroid Prime 3 and Red Steel 2 have much smoother cursor controls than other titles for example (although the 60fps help, that’s uncommon on consoles these days). The latter includes a sensitivity setting for the cursor so that it can basically ignore some of the tiny involuntary movements you may do. Of course the higher (or lower, I forget) that setting is the more likely it’s to start feeling laggy, but people will be able to find a sweetspot that feels right for them if they find they really need this at all. It’s all new for many developers so they have to figure out what to include, but there are a few games that have nearly perfected such controls so far, way beyond analog potential.

For other games like adventure titles and RTS you don’t need constant pinpoint aiming accuracy either, so will simply revel in finally having PC-like intuitive controls rather than dragging cursors along the screen with an analog stick, or having developers try to come up with different control methods like say, voice commands (EndWar ugh).

I think you still bundle pointing along with gesture type motion controls since you bring up Wii Sports while discussing aiming functions. They couldn’t be more different. That those sports games are easy waggle type stuff to attract casual users doesn’t mean anything about the actual pointer controls. it’s true that FPS games on Wii also include aim assists (which can be turned off as in the videos linked) but that’s a relic of the console development mindset and if all consoles would move to similar solutions in the future, they wouldn’t be required anymore, just as they were nonexistent or at least rare when the genre was mostly found on PC. Some of these assists (COD’s snap on target on ADS) are even included in the PC ports these days, that doesn’t mean they’re needed.

The video I linked last is from Wii Play, also a casual Wii Sports like game, which sold millions by being bundled with a controller for about the same price,but there are no assists in that game since it’s all about pointing skill. That would be like having assists in House of the Dead or Virtua Cop. Completely unecessary and against the gameplay.

And yes, the Move wands can be tracked in 3D space almost perfectly accurately, but we were discussing full figure tracking at that point, not just the controller. I did point out that at least two “limbs” could be tracked accurately due to this but I wasn’t sure about the full figure tracking as seen in the controller-less Eyetoy game. Although I assumed it’s possible to do that to some degree, at least for simple games like the one in the video Solo linked, which didn’t exactly use full 1:1 control.

@Solo: again, he just flaps to flap, keeps arms extended to slide left or right, and moves forward and backward to change planes rather than move in real 3D space with analog accuracy. The only thing not seen in Move videos is the last, but as said already Move can be accurately tracked in 3D space, so something simple like that is possible to do, even if they haven’t. You may move forward by your legs but your arms are attached to your body so they obviously move with you. With both technologies, moving forward could have the same result, even if Kinect tracks your body while Move tracks your wands instead. They’ve displayed 3D movement of the wands recreated in 3D space many times in the past. Just not as a means of character movement control. It’s not hard to see the technology needed is there and simply demonstrated in slightly different ways.

I don’t think there’s any burden in proving they can do mini games like that. They have similar enough things already. When Microsoft release a game everyone will want to play with three dimensional full body control that actually matters, rather than mere plane switching as in the video, then there will be a burden. Hell, the burden is on Microsoft to prove they can offer so radically different experiences with what they claim for their technology, because so far they haven’t. I’ll be happy to be amazed when/if they do that but for now I doubt they can because the accuracy doesn’t seem to be up there and games like your video seem very possible to recreate, but give little reason to do so. Especially when Move does already showcase things Natal hasn’t, things beyond mini games and sports but action adventures like RE5 (which plays like RE4 on Wii).

As for those very special conditions where these controls wouldn’t be ideal, well, 4 player local multiplayer is rare these days as it is (for games where pointing controls would work at least, like FPS). Perhaps next gen it will return with excessively powered systems, and by then we may have technology that doesn’t require something like the sensor bar so anyone can play from anywhere. For now it’s just not a common issue anyway. I also can’t imagine friends going all “oh come on dude, I don’t wanna play this game right now because I have to sit close to you to aim right” or something. It’s not like I smell and it’s not like asking someone to exercise when they want to relax if they have to move to the central couch or get the chair closer or whatever else. And some TV remotes don’t work under blankets either, that’s hardly rage inducing for someone. Hell, 3D will be all the rage soon enough and that’s more of an issue to positioning than pointing is.

Sure, people can develop fine motor control in any joint with enough practice (look at professional athletes), but we’re talking about the average person here. Gross movements will be performed with the wrist and arm, but try drawing something with your mouse with just wrist and arm movements - not going to happen :slight_smile:

The video you linked is impressive, but it actually points out an interesting fact. You mention that console games have “nerfed” controls to account for the lowered accuracy of analog sticks, but you fail to mention that the same goes doubly for motion-controlled games (though you touch on it in your discussion about games like Red Steel). The reason why that person was able to shoot so accurately (reasons, actually) are that the game has a certain level of motion correction and it is only asking for gross motor skills. There is no fine movement - just point and shoot. In that respect, motion control is much faster than analog sticks, for sure. However, I was strictly speaking of fine motor skills - there is a reason why, for example, we have yet to see a very deep motion-controlled fighting game. Those require immense amounts of detailed controller inputs, something that motion controllers are not capable of at this point. Two reasons for that, actually - the first is the lack of “boundaries” for the controls. With sticks or a mouse, as I mentioned before, they are a stable platform. The mouse rests on a table, which gives you a definitive plane to work on. Analog sticks have the outer boundaries of the circle in which they travel, thus giving you a beginning point (neutral position) and an end point (outer edge) to define your input. With motion control, there is no physical feedback, so you are required to rely on fine muscle control and muscle memory to be able to do detailed movements and inputs, something that most people are not capable of doing.

The other reason for this is sort of tangential to this, but it’s the delayed input from motion control (which is two-fold again - the input on the controller itself, plus the larger movements required by gross movements, which take much longer than finger twitches). Though important to why there are no good fighting games for motion controls, it tangential to the immediate discussion :slight_smile:

I’m not saying that it’s impossible to get detailed inputs on motion control (at least I didn’t mean to - if I said that earlier, I misspoke). It’s just that most people are not going to be capable of it, due to lack of muscle control and constraints on the system.

Glad you agree such functions are better, although I disagree in that fine movement isn’t required there. It’s not drawing but most people can’t draw with a mouse period, hence we have tablets. It’s still way better than an analog stick. What assists are you talking about? It’s not like the crosshair have a tendency to stick to the targets like you said they do when playing an FPS with normal gamepads. Perhaps it has an anti-jitter implementation like I mentioned is possible to include earlier when you said it’s an issue? Hardly nerfing if that’s the case. And if I was wrong and it actually does have aiming aids like that, which I don’t think it does, there are plenty games that don’t, or where they can be turned off, such as the Black Ops videos I linked in a previous comment for example.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been saying, that pointing, a mechanic so very common in many games these days, whether they involve shooting or not, is done better like this and all future platforms would be better off implementing such controls for such actions, greatly reducing the great difference console controls currently have from PC controls, although the mouse is still not beat. Almost all first and third person games at least involve looking around like you would in an FPS, if not shooting also on top of that.

I already said much earlier that conventional fighting games are of the few game types that are better suited to traditional gamepads. That goes for conventional sports games like soccer also, although once again you can benefit from the inclusion of pointing controls, as the recent PES games on Wii do, allowing normal control for the player you move directly as well as RTS-esque control for other players in your team, adding a layer of strategic gameplay. I mentioned this earlier also.

I never really advocated gesture control as button press replacement (although I’m also not against it in moderation and where it makes sense, for example flicking the nunchuck to reload in an FPS or other minor things like that). I advocated motion controls where they come naturally, as in pointing and shooting, pointing and clicking, draging and dropping, looking with pointing mechanics, etc.

The remote/move can be held at the same place you hold any controller. On your legs sitting, in your gut standing, etc. It minimizes pointer jitter and isn’t tiring at all this way. That there’s no definitive plane makes no difference, pointing works one way whether you move a little forward or back while pointing or not (as long as you’re not too close of course, the remote’s camera needs to have the sensor bar’s leds in view). The plane is insignificant in this case. Yes, it will take practice and you may even need to tweak a few options to suit your liking (as most do in FPS games on PC as well) but it simply works better after the initial phase, when implemented well as any control scheme. Examples given already. People took time to adjust from d-pad to analog as well. Others still can’t use a mouse well or refuse to even attempt to learn, even if they have acccess to such.

That is only really true for gesture control once again. If an action is activated by a gesture, of course the action will occur after the gesture is complete, not when you need it which is when you begin doing said gesture. Pointing doesn’t work like that, it’s constant and practically lagless, when implemented properly (there are various games where with a combination of weird frame rate and implementation, the cursor is laggy, but that’s not a limitation of the technology/controller since many other games work as intended). Constant motion tracking as seen with motion plus and Move is close to that as well, but of course few game types can work with that kind of control alone (like the Wii Sports Resort mini games), as fun as they are, hence why I advocate Wii/Move over something like Kinect which completely ditches traditional inputs and goes all motion while Move and Wii also keep an analog stick and buttons handy and can use motion control where it’s necessary, fun and convenient, rather than everywhere, as well as use it alongside traditional controls to get the best of both worlds wherever needed.

I dunno why I’m explaining my position again really, I know my use of English is far from perfect to put it kindly but I think I was pretty clear. Perhaps you jumped in this discussion without reading much of what I wrote (I know, tl;dr right?) and assumed a lot of things about what I like about motion controls? You even repeated some of the points I made while explaining myself earlier, like the fighting games deal. I never said motion controls can do everything traditional controls do (and vice versa of course), and I advocated the analog stick and buttons many times. Together is better.

Well, at least we all agree that the mouse is best for precision. :slight_smile:

[quote=“Al3xand3r”]@Solo: again, he just flaps to flap, keeps arms extended to slide left or right, and moves forward and backward to change planes rather than move in real 3D space with analog accuracy. The only thing not seen in Move videos is the last, but as said already Move can be accurately tracked in 3D space, so something simple like that is possible to do, even if they haven’t. You may move forward by your legs but your arms are attached to your body so they obviously move with you. With both technologies, moving forward could have the same result, even if Kinect tracks your body while Move tracks your wands instead. They’ve displayed 3D movement of the wands recreated in 3D space many times in the past. Just not as a means of character movement control. It’s not hard to see the technology needed is there and simply demonstrated in slightly different ways.

I don’t think there’s any burden in proving they can do mini games like that. They have similar enough things already. When Microsoft release a game everyone will want to play with three dimensional full body control that actually matters, rather than mere plane switching as in the video, then there will be a burden. Hell, the burden is on Microsoft to prove they can offer so radically different experiences with what they claim for their technology, because so far they haven’t. I’ll be happy to be amazed when/if they do that but for now I doubt they can because the accuracy doesn’t seem to be up there and games like your video seem very possible to recreate, but give little reason to do so. Especially when Move does already showcase things Natal hasn’t, things beyond mini games and sports but action adventures like RE5 (which plays like RE4 on Wii). [/quote]

I’m not arguing that the Move wands can’t be used to track movement in three dimensions. I’m just talking about tracking body movement on it’s own, without a controller. That’s where Kinect excels - not in all respects - but in tracking body movement. That’s why I think the Wii and Move have their place too, as alternatives that aim at achieving different things. You mentioned that Move is more suited for shooting games, and I agree with this.

Now that I’ve clarified that I’m only arguing that Kinect is more suited to body movement on it’s own (rather than with the aid of a controller), let me address you points:

You mention that Microsoft needs to “release a game everyone will want to play with three dimensional full body control that actually matters”. I agree the Kinect games at the moment are quite minimal and aimed at causal gamers. In saying that, core games are coming next year. For example, this Forza Motorsport 4 video you can explore the details on the car by moving around it in three dimensions (skip to 2:22). Possible on Move? Perhaps, but I yet to see it demonstrated with only body movement.

If you’re looking for a game that requires navigation like Resident Evil 4, then Kinect is probably not for you. It’s not designed for games like that. It’s for on rails games, or games where you steer to navigate, such as car racing (or dragon riding :anjou_happy:).

Regarding the Pop the Bubble video I linked, I don’t see how this not 1 to 1 body control…? He walks left, right, back, and forward. He flaps his arms to go up, and crouches to fall back down again. The camera detects the four limbs and changes the on screen character accordingly. Within the boundaries of where the camera can detect the player, it represents his major movements on screen.

It might be easy enough to ignore four player screen or having the controller under a blanket, but these perks on the normal gamepad matter to some people, myself included.

Four player split screen is common; for two of the biggest franchises on the 360, Halo and COD, it’s an important part of the social multiplayer aspect of the game. It’s not something that is just played occasionally for some, but an integral part of the experience, and a reason why they purchase the game on console instead of PC.

Having a controller under the blanket is different from having a TV remote under the blanket, because it TV remote is only used occasionally to change channel, adjust the volume or play/pause the movie, whereas the game controller is used at all times during the game.

You make a good point about 3D throwing up barriers too (e.g. having to wear glasses), but lets save that for another discussion.

I never said Move can do everything Kinect can without the controllers (although such things may still be possible as they’re rather simplistic), I said it can provide an experience that to people is similar enough thanks to having the controllers to aleviate any shortcomings the camera may have on its own. So what if I throw punches while holding two wands, or without holding anything? I’m throwing punches either way and get the same exact type of fun. While having the controllers on top allows more.

4 player isn’t hindered by motion controls unless you have stubborn friends who refuse to sit near you, and the blanket thing is, honestly, just silly. COD is popular for the online multiplayer more than anything else, hence why it sells more on Xbox which is perceived to have better online than the other consoles, among other factors. As for why it sells more on consoles than PC, I don’t think “local multiplayer” is the reason and we don’t need to discuss the course of video game history and how consoles took the lead here…

Those things are done perfectly well by the Wii already, steering the remote like a wheel as in Mario Kart or Excite Truck, or holding it like a tv remote to point and shoot, without even having to restrict it to rails thanks to the nunchuck.

As for the Forza demo, such things are even possible on a DSi, ie a standard cam…
Remember, the DSi has no tilt sensors, so this is basically headtracking, except instead of moving his head, he moves the DSi. It would work vice versa also, as to the camera the movement is the same. Headtracking demos exist for standard PC webcams as well.

If you’re happy with a similar experience like that, that’s cool. No reason why different approaches can’t be taken, though, especially if one offers greater detection of body movement. Some people will enjoy using their body to control the game, while others will prefer to hold onto something, and honestly I like that kind of diversity of motion controls.

I agree, split screen multiplayer isn’t the only reason why console versions sell better, but is a contributing reason. For some it can make all the difference, especially if you can play online at the same time as your friends on the same console. Four player spilt screen is lots of fun.

It sounds like we’ll just have to disagree on the two points about the blanket and multiplayer positioning, as this honestly can create barriers to the experience.

[quote=“Al3xand3r”]As for the Forza demo, such things are even possible on a DSi, ie a standard cam…
Remember, the DSi has no tilt sensors, so this is basically headtracking, except instead of moving his head, he moves the DSi. It would work vice versa also, as to the camera the movement is the same. Headtracking demos exist for standard PC webcams as well.[/quote]

Sure, the DSi can detect head movement, but I was talking about full body detection.

So you think throwing punches or waving becomes a different experience depending on if you hold something in your hands or not. Good to know what I’m arguing against.

Full body gameplay was already shown with just the Eyetoy, what hasn’t been shown (which doesn’t mean it isn’t possible) is 3D movement in that type of gameplay with Move as that game was on a 2D plane. Which doesn’t mean it’s not possible, at least to some degree, as with the excellent accuracy of the wands you can possibly do things to counter the lesser body tracking, if it is lesser. You should probably check youtube for tech demos like this, there were various extensive presentations but I cba to find them…

Local mp might have been a contributing factor to the consoles taking the lead in the market but you can’t claim it’s a contributing factor for a particular game now. Consoles already have the lead in such so called AAA games’ sales, why would anything change for COD, whether it offered local mp or not? You really think it would sell 15 million on PC if the console version didn’t have local mp? That’s just silly. Companies other than Activision have PC gamers’ hearts these days (at least outside their Blizzard part).

I didn’t see anything in the Forza example that required full body tracking. There was no character on screen, you just moved around to move a camera. How do you know what part was tracked, if it was just his head, his full body, or his crotch? There were no visual cues as to what was tracked there. The result was a camera showing you things from the angle you moved to, as in the DSi demo so yes, it’s possible as you asked. Even if they do full body tracking for such a feature, it’s basically a waste of resources, as they could achieve the same result with tracking much less of you… Not that this one feature is any better than these mini games in selling Kinect really, core game or not…

When all the different body movements come together, such as in the SpacePop game (the video I linked) it can become a different experience. A game where you mainly punch would be very similar on Move and Kinect, a game where you punch and kick would have quite different input on the two systems.

Split screen multiplayer could be a contributing factor when someone is deciding whether to get the game for PC or 360. Say they own both systems, but the 360 has the additional bonus of having splitscreen multiplayer. That extra feature can sometimes tip the balance in the buyers decision (I know of two cases where this has been a major deciding factor).

If you watch the video again, you’ll see that he crouches down to look near the bottom of the car. This shows that he’s controlling the camera with his body movements (not just his head).

Full body tracking is a waste of resources? Body tracking is the point of the device.