Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I want a Kinect.

E3 this week has brought a flurry of exciting news, not the least of which revolves around reveals of the new Kinect. It's hard to believe that it was over a year ago when we were first introduced to Project Natal, a device for the Xbox 360 that uses motion capture as well as voice and face recognition to turn YOU into the game system's controller. I was excited then at the possibilities this technology promised, particularly with the "Milo" demo. Now, it has an official name (Kinect), a release date (November 4, 2010), and a number of games they're showing off at E3 (where lucky people get to try them!) and in promotional videos.

The stage demo for the Star Wars game was underwhelming (it was so...staged), but I have high hopes that the actual game will deliver. I don't know how it will work with lightsaber fighting if you can't feel the contact with the opposing lightsaber, but I look forward to doing some Force throws. The sports games look fun enough that I actually might be inspired to work out. I don't really see myself playing Kinectimals, and the name is pretty weak but, uh, the tiger is awfully cute.

You can find tons of promotional videos on their website; somehow, though, there still aren't enough of them. Check out the videos where such cool people as Chris Hemsworth, Zachary Levi and Josh Gomez, and Felicia Day give the Kinect a try. Felicia Day, as ever, is my hero:

"I can't wait to, like, throw a fireball like that." [Does fireball throwing motion.]


Yes! My thought exactly. This would be so perfect for a fantasy game--one could use hand movements and/or voice commands to specify which spell to cast... Just picturing it makes me squeeeee! Game developers, get on that.

The Housemate and I are already making plans to get an Xbox 360, and we've upped the size of the TV we plan to buy so we can better "get in the game". And on November 4, I'll totally be there.

12 comments:

Vanessa said...

Sounds unbelievably cool the possibility of immersing that much on a game already! I wonder how long until they come up with something that can make us dive deeper into a virtual world, like entering a machine and laying our bodies there, closing contact with the outside world and start seeing, hearing and feeling another virtual life... The danger is many would prefer to live on that place instead of here. Well, we'd have to come out to bathe and eat eventually... unless they fed us through tubes... unless they're doing it right now! Wait, that's Matrix, old story. And if it were true, I'd definitely have Johnny Depp by my side now, which I don't, so...

This is also nice because spending hours playing games will not be such a sedentary hobby. You think gamers will tire of the movement (and/or the talking) after the first couple of hours?

Eleni said...

The immersion is getting better and better. Other game systems have plans for 3D, though 3D is still only from one point of view; they need to work on holograph-type things where the images are all around you. And combine it with motion detection. That would be cool. Or go with all-in-your-head virtual worlds, a la Caprica's holobands. Though, as you say, we'd have to be wary of addictions; there are a few people who become addicted to their computer worlds as it is.

You're right--standing up and moving for long periods of time is tiring and could complicate long gaming sessions. But I'm willing to work on my endurance if it means being able to play cool games for longer. We'll see.

Vanessa said...

Talk about addiction as it is, I recognize I'm one of those myself! :P

It could work if they separate short battle scenes with lots of pauses for role-playing. I specially like the use of the voice, it's kinda frustrating to play a silent character (though since Mass Effect we may hear "ourselves" speaking, at least, I really like that in Bioware games), hope they find ways to improve this kind of interaction in the near future!

Eleni said...

The idea of being able to talk to characters in the game is really cool. It could be very difficult to implement, but the Milo demo last year explained concepts that could make it work--Milo could recognize a (growing) set of words, and detect tone of voice. You probably wouldn't say as cool things (like in Mass Effect when you select something and Shepard says something awesomely badass), unless you're a smooth-talker yourself, but it's a reasonable trade-off.

If you missed the Milo video, you can find it here.

Vanessa said...

My, I love Milo! He looks gorgeous and has such a smart, non-artificial expression on his face! This is really awesome, I can hardly wait to see what will become of this project!

Eleni said...

I know, it looks so cool. I really hope they fully realize this technology's potential and take it great places.

Hezabelle said...

Part of me really likes the idea... and then the other part of me feels like I might be embarrassed to actually throw fire balls in my living room. hahhaa.

Eleni said...

Haha, like it might be a bit too close to the LARPing "Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!"?

But it's in the privacy of your living room. And Felicia Day thinks it's a good idea. Nothing to be embarrassed about :)

Mary said...

Wow, that looks really cool!

Eleni said...

Yeah, now it's really up to the game designers to figure out how to use it.

Sebastian said...

I already get a little exasperated with having to flick my Wiimote to make Mario spin -- I don't quite know whether the Kinect will stay new/fresh/exciting for long. It'll be good in the same way the Wii Fit thing is good.

And throwing fireballs -- but in RPGs, not fighting games, or even really adventure games.

Still, I look forward to the videos of people using Kinect. The Star Wars game will cause people to spastically flail around their living rooms with a virtual lightsabre. Fun times ahead...!

(Nintendo absolutely owned E3.)

Eleni said...

Yeah, if playing a non-exercising game for a long period of time is too tiring, it could get annoying. It's always fun to look like a fool in your living room, though, especially with guests visiting.

What did Nintendo have at E3 that was so cool? I know about the 3DS, which unfortunately didn't make for very good online videos because the 3D doesn't work unless you're there in person.