kinect


Natal to Kinect, TV to 3DTv, E3, ergonomics

With the E3 conference in full swing bringing us heaps of great game announcements it is interesting to different rapidly emerging technologies start to combine and cause interesting opportunities and problems.
Project Natal from Microsoft has been renamed to Kinect. Its a soon to arrive add on to the 360 that does some very clever things to detect people and their body movements. It is way past the WiiMote, which Sony have gone closer too with their magic wand Move device (a glowing ball on a stick).

All the Kinect demos and release film showed variations of gameplay that require your entire body to be the controller for the game. In exercise, sports and dance games this makes a great deal of a difference. Knowing where limbs are rather than dance mats has great scope. Though it does lead to an ergonomic problem of needing space around you in your living room/games room.
In driving games such as Forza3 they showed how you sit with your arms outstretched holding an imaginary wheel. This looks like it will be painful, I suppose there is nothing to stop us holding on to some sort of device as I suspect prolonged play will get tricky. What is great is the head tracking though. Being able to look into a corner and the view changes.
There is also a leap and drive towards 3D. The TV’s are starting to appear in stores, Sky is broadcasting the world cup in 3D too. This again is interesting because of our need to have to wear overlay spectacles (in most cases at the moment) in order to experience the effect. Games are starting to be “3d enabled” or be built to take advantage of the 3D tv. So we have a slight crossover here. Kinetic relieves us of our controls, free to move about, but the TV is re-enforcing the need to sit in the right place and wear a device in order to experience it correctly.
So what happens when the large comfortable, easy fit glasses of passively watched 3d TV meet an energetic bounce around body controlled Kinetic game on the 360.
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I am sure we will end up with a range of sports glasses and attachments to help play the various games, but it is something to think about.
I am really looking forward to the blend of 3d visuals with gesture controls and the creative process of building in virtual worlds, with the addition of being able to print out and create through 3d printers new peripherals to hold onto and enhance the experiences.
Exciting times!