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Razer, Valve, and Sixense Working On Motion Control For PC Games

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the trendy-name-guaranteed dept.

Input Devices 126

An anonymous reader sends along this excerpt from Shacknews: "Gaming hardware developer Razer has announced a new multi-year partnership with Sixense Entertainment and Valve Software to deliver a '...revolutionary true-to-life, next-generation motion sensing and gesture recognition controller for PC gaming.' Razer, Valve, and Sixense, along with a selection of PC OEM partners, are aiming to produce '...ultra-precise one-to-one motion sensing controllers that use electromagnetic fields to track precise movements along all six axes.' Each controller will reportedly track its orientation within a single degree, and detect positioning within one millimeter. Thankfully, the device will be compatible with both current and future generation PC games."

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Casual Gaming (5, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692640)

I can already see all the replies about how keyboard and mouse is a superior controller.. while somewhat correct, lets face it - casual gaming has took its place in recent years.

And not just a little bit. While everyone always seem to downplay casual games, motion games and especially facebook games, the truth is that it's a huge untouched market. Did you know the largest facebook game developer company generates 1/6 of Electronic Art's revenue? Considering that it's a little bit stupid to see the constant "but facebook games is for stupid people" comments here on slashdot. Frankly, market is what drives development, not the elitism.

Being a long-time gamer and programmer, I did still got interested about Wii and Natal. It was great fun to play just moving naturally. But even more so casual people saw it as more fun. Dancing, shaking, moving, whatever they do. It may not seem much, but it is for them. And it's a huge market.

Re:Casual Gaming (3, Informative)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692808)

Steering wheels are the superior controller for driving cars. Joysticks are superior for flying planes. The whole argument is dumb.

Re:Casual Gaming (3, Interesting)

Calinous (985536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693324)

Since the days of the Sinclair Spectrum Z-80 computers, the joysticks have accrued what seems to be a keyboard (from two buttons to 15+ buttons).

Re:Casual Gaming (1)

Dusthead Jr. (937949) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693690)

You obviously never played a Colecovision or an Intellivision. Those controllers have more buttons than most cellphones.

Re:Casual Gaming (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693732)

They're not the same, actually. Those old joysticks were digital, and turned into gamepads. The modern 15-button sticks with 4+ analog axes are quite a different breed.

Re:Casual Gaming (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694494)

You say that like it's a bad thing. Bring on the buttons, analog sticks, tilt sensitivity and force feedback!

I want a gamepad designed better than a Logitech Cordless Rumblepad (original). That was the best controller of all time, OF ALL TIME! It was ultra-accurate, WAY better than an Xbox360 controller, but like all Logitech gamepads they came with faulty potentiometers that failed after a while, so the fun ended after a few months :(

Just make something like the Cordless Rumblepad (with square stick travel, so it's still useful for games that aren't console ports!) with good quality hardware, Bluetooth, "stick click," analog buttons and tilt sensitivity like a DS3, a good Nintendo-ish D-pad, a center keypad like an Xbox360 chatpad, and long-travel analog triggers, all with proper profiling software like Logitech makes, multi-platform of course. That will be the best PC controller ever.

There is the recipe for total market dominance, somebody do it!

Re:Casual Gaming (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695530)

In theory (and I'm sure any military or stunt pilot could correct me) this stems from similar setups in fighter planes, etc. While extra buttons are "neat" when you're sitting on the ground, the ability to reliably reach controls without fighting high gee forces or waiting for those forces to subside or stabilize is critical.

But maybe I'm wrong. Go try to flip a switch a foot or two in front of you while experiencing fluctuating gee forces, and remember that the switches just to either side, or just above or below, will have entirely different functions and you might kill yourself if you hit them on accident. I'll wait.

Re:Casual Gaming (3, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693566)

Are they? There's a movement (combined with the drive-by-wire electronic setups of coming automobile generations) to switch automobile control to joysticks.

- Allows putting the turn signals and other functions on joystick buttons, controllable with the same hand doing the steering
- Allows for easy "zeroing out" (recalibration) of the steering; no more need to go spend $$$ at the shop to have your alignment adjusted, go into recalibration mode and set the new zero point, or even let the car sense the changes as they occur. Added bonus: the car's warning system can tell you when the physical alignment has gone too far off and needs servicing.

- Removes the biggest danger (crushing the driver against a steering column) of a head-on collision.
- Removes the fire dangers of the steering column (which is a major heat-tube from most engines as well as producing a ton of wear-and-tear on wiring; you'd be surprised how many recalls there have been [google.com] due to this recurring problem)

The modern steering wheel evolved out of a time when everything was gears and levers. It was literally connected (via chain, rod, or pulley) to devices like a ship's rudder or to cart wheels. Remove the requirement of a direct physical connection (I know, I know: "but what if your power goes dead or the connection shorts out!") and any equally sensitive analog device, or even a sensitive enough digital device with fine enough granularity, will work. Given that in a car you only need about 45 degrees, tops, of directional turning adjustment in either direction, a joystick is more than sufficient.

Re:Casual Gaming (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693704)

Interesting. Maybe I'm too used to steering wheels but a joystick to control a car just seems...wrong.

Even so whilst the analogy may not hold I think my point does.

Re:Casual Gaming (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693944)

You can use a joystick or a wheel/yoke to control an airplane. Older planes tend to have wheel/yoke, modern planes and especially fighter planes tend to use a joystick.

Likewise for boats. Smaller boats tend to use a simple rod attached to the rudder or outboard prop. Bigger boats tend to have a wheel for show. Boats are going through the same revolution now, however, with joystick control setups [gizmag.com] in production. Given a couple more generations, the wheel in the boats will probably go away entirely.

Re:Casual Gaming (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695348)

They use a joystick on modern cruse ships. One stick to go forward, backward, and turn. Seeing it (discovery channel/science channel) was a bit unnerving. Then again, many new consumer boats are going 'drive by wire' as well. The throttle and shift controls are wired to the engine instead of a long cable running between them. Steering as well. The steering has a wire from the wheel to the back (stern) where a hydraulics take over. A joystick to control a boat has been option since the 60s. Seen a few old ski boats with a joystick, no steering wheel or other controls. Everything was connected to the joystick. Today's wired ones are a lot easier to move and control then the old cabled ones.

Re:Casual Gaming (2, Informative)

robow (1609129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694358)

You would still have to get an alignment, an alignment does more than center the wheel it adjusts the steer wheels on the car, wear causes the wheels to go to an incorrect caster and camber angle.

Re:Casual Gaming (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694450)

That is true if things get too far out of place (which the car, properly designed, could sense for).

However, you would be able to temporarily "recalibrate" a drive-by-wire joystick so that if let go and returning to zero point, the car drives straight rather than pulling to one side or the other. You can't do that with physical steering wheel designs.

Re:Casual Gaming (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695636)

Having a single stick on a 0-turn lawnmower now I can say the stick is a better control but the learning curve would kill it in regular cars for a while. Maybe an adaptable solution using a wheel that isn't very deep like a usb wheel control you can get now that could be swapped for a stick if the owner wished.

Bah (4, Interesting)

oGMo (379) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692948)

Being a long-time gamer and programmer, I did still got interested about Wii and Natal. It was great fun to play just moving naturally. But even more so casual people saw it as more fun. Dancing, shaking, moving, whatever they do. It may not seem much, but it is for them. And it's a huge market.

I call BS. First: "just moving naturally". I have yet to see any of these games where movements are anything resembling natural. Or in any way "more fun" because of the aforementioned spastic flailing. (While "fun" is, granted, somewhat subjective, there is still consensus at some point, usually in the form of AAA titles everyone can't stop playing and will be remembered among the classics for decades to come.) This leads us to: "I did still got interested [sic] about Wii and Natal," and "casual people saw it as more fun" (emphasis mine). This is what these things come down to: a marketing tool to make people interested in something. The promise of something new. Unfortunately, that promise has not been delivered.

Re:Bah (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30693092)

Speak for yourself. I've been a Playstation guy before but decided to go with Wii this generation because of the price (might get a PS3 now that they are saner). I've been quite happy -- partly because I'm not such a HC gamer anymore and partly because there are enough good games for me: I love Sports Resort and Mario Galaxy. For the first time ever I'm also playing games with my fiancee...

You keep calling it "spastic flailing". Feel free to also stick fingers in your ears and say lalalaa, if you want.

Re:Bah (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693656)

So what do you call it in Mario Galaxy when you twirl the Wiimote to do a spin-jump? How about in Wii Tennis when you flick your wrist to hit the ball?

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the system. Mario Galaxy, the Okami rerelease, Madworld, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, HotD: Overkill, the Metroid Prime Trilogy...there are some awesome games for it. But don't deny that most of the motion controller usage is done just because it can be.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the perfect example of this...you have to shake the controller in order to pick up objects...why not just let us use the trigger beneath the D-Pad?

Re:Bah (1)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695694)

SMG doesn't feature much motion control, but the shaking the Wiimote to make him spin always seemed clever to me.

I have Marvel Ultimate Alliance for the Wii, and I hate it. There are a LOT of motion controls, and they feel completely tacked on and confusing. After playing X-Men Legends I and II on the XBox, the XBox controller offers a far superior experience for this genre of games.

Each game genre has its own appropriate control scheme, and motion control is not always what's needed.

Re:Bah (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695822)

Agreed. The Wii version of Okami makes you shake the Wiimote to attack....in an attack/combo heavy game.


Re:Bah (3, Interesting)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693850)

That "spastic flailing" can be the fun on its own.

When drunk for example swinging the controller like a golf club is more fun than clicking a button at the right time. And for the other drunk people in the room it is *much* more fun to watch.

Re:Bah (2, Interesting)

rxan (1424721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695370)

The failure of motion control is when it is used just for the sake of having motion control.

Here's a fundamental: don't make the player shake the controller for an action when they don't have to shake the controller at any other time. Example: Metroid Prime Corruption... why do I have to shake the controller to jump! Whyyyy!

Developers went nuts experimenting, and failing, when motion control came out. Hopefully bad use of motion control will phase out once many studios get used to making games for it.

Re:Bah (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695838)

I have yet to see any of these games where movements are anything resembling natural.

Microsoft Natal Video [cnet.com]

The breakout game shows a transparent representation of yourself mirroring instantly every move, at least in 2D. But what I found interesting was the driving game where you grip an imaginary steering wheel and drive. But the accelerator is apparently moving your foot towards the screen and back which means 3D controls.

Which is one step closer to finally becoming a Jedi Warrior.

Re:Bah (1)

brendank310 (915634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695910)

If you haven't tried the new sensor(I don't remember what its called), and Tiger Woods 2010, I'd recommend it. It captures most of the essence of a golf swing, the only thing its really missing is the feel of striking the ball and club hitting ground.

Re:Casual Gaming (3, Interesting)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692992)

Frankly, market is what drives development, not the elitism.

Something that is idiotic but makes money does not become less idiotic. Twilight is hauling in millions of dollars.

Hey that gives me an idea, are there any casual Twilight games?

Re:Casual Gaming (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693062)

Frankly, market is what drives development, not the elitism.

That kind of thinking is what has produced such quality television titles as Big Brother and American Idol, while simultaneously getting good shows canned.

Yet another example of how the market, left to itself, can actually end up tanking its entire industry.

Re:Casual Gaming (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693624)

That kind of thinking is what has produced such quality television titles as Big Brother and American Idol, while simultaneously getting good shows canned.

The saturation of TV with "reality" programming is the result of advertisers cutting back and networks struggling to justify expensive scripted television.

While I personally think that Reality TV sucks huge donkey dick,
it took because it is dirt cheap to produce and people eat it up.
They're sooooo cheap that "reality" can survive on low ratings &/or low ad dollars.

I fear for the gaming industry, because I think casual gaming
is going to start crowding out expensive games in much the same
way that reality tv has been crowding out the scripted stuff.

P.S. American Idol is just another version of the variety/talent show that's existed since radio was king.
P.P.S. Remember Star Search? Me either. I can't wait till American Idol goes down the same path and dissappears.

Re:Casual Gaming (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695310)

Yes, with Mass Effect 2, BioShock 2, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, and the next Final Fantasy coming out, what will we ever play? You are are over-reacting. Tons of great games are coming out that are not bejeweled. I don't see the proportion of crap games to good games changing much.

Re:Casual Gaming (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695936)

As far as reality TV shows go, I'd pretty much take any talent show (that's serious about the talent) over shock shows like Fear Factor or completely insipid (that's such a great word for condescension...I need to use it more often) shows like the Bachelor. American Idol -- the first weeks aren't worth watching unless you like shows like the Bachelor (too much drama, not enough talent), but when the show actually starts having their singers sing, it's as good as any talent show. Just DVR past the judges and go to the next singer. American Idol is definitely cheesy, but it knows it and plays on it and that makes the cheese more bearable. So You Think You Can Dance is a true talent show and is really a lot of fun to see the different dances taken to new levels.

Re:Casual Gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30694308)

while simultaneously getting good shows canned.

Good shows according to who? You?

If Big Brother was responsible for getting Knight Rider canned, than thank God for Big Brother.

Lionhead's Black and White (4, Interesting)

naz404 (1282810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693084)

Well, one type of game where this would probably work out well was Lionhead's Black and White series where you controlled a hand floating in 3D space.

That being said, as a PC desktop and not a living room on-the-couch type controller, this could end up being tiring for the user to use over extended periods of time because you'll be holding your hand up all the time with no support unlike with a mouse/keyboard where your hands are resting on your desk.

I recall reading about why 3D mice failed or why Minority Report interfaces may not be as viable - it's very tiring for users to hold up and wave their hands in the air for extended periods of time.

Re:Lionhead's Black and White (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693164)

you'll be holding your hand up all the time with no support unlike with a mouse/keyboard where your hands are resting on your desk.

I've heard this said before but it raises this question: why not make a system whereby you have your hands in a similar position to that of keyboard and mouse (ie rested, comfortable, moving your hands and wrists instead of your whole arms) and use motion tracking (somehow...) to track the movement of your fingers and hand. Surely making the same motions as you do with a mouse but without having to move the mouse around would be easier and hugely more expandable in terms of features.

Re:Lionhead's Black and White (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693722)

I see where you are going with that, and with the right technology it COULD work...but at that point why not just use a keyboard/mouse?

BTW, something similar to this has already been done...long ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U-Force [wikipedia.org]

Google image search u-force to see pics

Re:Lionhead's Black and White (1)

Cato (8296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694574)

The real solution is to get on your feet, which the Wii remote and this controller both enable - it's really not tiring to hold the Wiimote for an hour or so because you are moving your whole body, as long as the arm / hand movements are somewhat varied. The problem with keyboard/mouse fatigue is the single static position that the body is in, combined with repetive arm/hand movements with little variation.

Re:Casual Gaming (4, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693144)

Did you know the largest facebook game developer company generates 1/6 of Electronic Art's revenue? Considering that it's a little bit stupid to see the constant "but facebook games is for stupid people" comments here on slashdot.

Not it isn't, it is still perfectly acceptable to say that "Facebook games are dumb" or "that's not real gaming". Making money != great gaming (in gaming, rather than financial, terms).

Re:Casual Gaming (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693904)

No, profitability doesn't necessarily make great gaming. But it does drive the gaming industry. Hardcore gamers are always bitching about how the industry doesn't listen to them. But when you turn around and say things like "Mouse/keyboard are the ONLY way to control a game! Who cares about making money or what casual/console gamers want?" it makes it perfectly understandable *why* they don't listen to you.

Re:Casual Gaming (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693924)

Facebook games are dumb, but they are also real gaming. Games don't need victory conditions, they can just have checkpointing. For example, monthly stats. I was enormously motivated to climb to the top of the Mechwarrior IV stat ladder month after month because of a moving milestone; in this case it merely reset, which actually provides additional opportunities for players who want to see how quickly and how long they can hold the top spot in a particular game mode (as opposed to seeing who can reach the top by the end of the month. I owned Team Attrition running around in formula dieshits for some time. where's my medal?) Now I play FarmVille and it's fun competing with my friends to see who can make the largest and most attractive farm. Is it total wankery? Yes, but the time-eater game I want doesn't [seem to] exist — it would lie somewhere between FarmVille and Animal Crossing, but with at least 75% less drudgery and several orders of magnitude more educational value than either.

Re:Casual Gaming (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693582)

casual gaming has only enabled the market to grow - however, casual gaming is it's own separate part of the market - to say that it has replaced pc gaming, or "hardcore gaming" when each of those are their own markets, is disingenuous.

Each has it's own place, and trying to say casual is taking over is exactly what companies like EA are trying to do to be able to drop PC market and have DRM hardware side built-in (aka consoles) as opposed to software side on PC's where it is easily cracked. Not that the hardware DRM can't be cracked either, as it usually is quite quickly. So they provide shoddy support for PC games and then declare that PC gaming is over, etc. It's about a 5 year cycle that people say PC gaming is dead, or hardcore gaming. Yet I don't see those starcraft tournaments going away anytime soon, or gaming for sport.

Hrmm (3, Funny)

acehole (174372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692674)

But how accurately can it track the dreaded tea bag maneuver?

Re:Hrmm (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692850)

"Dip after dip you will get the sensation that someone is putting their cheetos orange salty sweaty hairy balls in your mouth as the guy that just shot you in your face shows you whos his bitch."
Advertising at its finest.

Re:Hrmm (3, Funny)

GoombaTroopa (1022351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693320)

You mean these guys now get cheeto crumbs ON THEIR BALLS?!?
I really am out of the loop on the online gaming scene!

Nice concept (1)

orta (786013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692682)

The main problems with things like this are that you have to go out and buy an expensive peripheral for an 'extra' in the game, you can play the game perfectly fine without it usually its only to enhance. The reason keyboard and mouse stuck for gaming is because you have them there. I love the innovations that these kinda things do, but I'll probably never get to use it. Plus all my games are downloaded from Steam now.

Re:Nice concept (2, Informative)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693168)

Not only that, but you need the space. My wife (g/f at the time) got a PS2 with the EyeToy and the exercise games. Great idea, and it worked okay in a sufficiently lit room, but not ideal in a student flat. Even if we moved the sofa out of the way as far as we could and stood on the opposite side of the room we were still too close and furniture/walls were still in the way. Some of these controllers don't need quite that much room, but you've still got obstacle issues.

Also, for anyone who has watched Michael McIntyre's latest standup DVD, don't forget about the "youngest son meets daddy playing tennis on the Wii" sketch ;)

Re:Nice concept (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693378)

These will be generic controllers that can work with multiple games though.

Plenty of people (including me) are happy to buy even specific drum and guitar controllers to play rock band games, and they are nowhere near as versatile as generic motion controllers.

Plus, what is there really to "get used to".. do you not move your arms around from day to day? My 80 year old grandmother was playing Wii bowling at Christmas (and getting strikes!), and I doubt she's ever played a computer game in her life.. there's a lot less to get used to with these types of controllers.

Next generation games? (1)

markwebmarketing (1716306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692690)

This could be the next generation in gaming. When looking at WII console, Guitar Hero and other games, the next generation gamers (also non-gamers) would prefer games without traditional, for them, sophisticated controllers.

Re:Next generation games? (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693464)

lol. I am definitely a gamer, but I still prefer playing drums and guitar on rock band with the peripherals than with a joypad. You can use the joypad if you prefer, or at least you could on GH3, it's obviously not as fun or as intuitive.

It's nothing to do with the controllers being "sophisticated" or not, it's to do with using the appropriate tool for the job. Motion controllers are a great idea, but they are no use for certain types of games.. ie the sixaxis controller sucks for motion controlled driving, and IMO so does that godawful MarioKart steering wheel for the Wii.. but those controllers both work well for other types of games (if you take the stupid steering wheel off the Wii controller ;) ).. stuff like fl0w and flower on the PS3 work great with the sixaxis for example. I hate games where developers use the motion controls just because they're there, rather than because they're actually appropriate.

With the Wii sometimes it's necessary to incorporate the motion controls because of the lack of buttons to press, but still there are some games that really don't have many controls, but still require you to shake your arms about for no good reason. It's not even fun, especially when the code for interpreting what movement you are doing is crap.

Electromagnetic tracking? (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692704)

The EM trackers I had a chance to try in a virtual cave were fickle things. They were hard to calibrate and even weak external fields made the setup unusable. Unless there was some kind of breakthrough, tracking IRLEDs is probably more cheap and robust. If you don't know it already, be sure to check out Chung Lee's headtracking demo [johnnylee.net].

Re:Electromagnetic tracking? (2, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693130)

The breakthrough, if any, probably isnt the detection equipment. External fields isnt an obstacle, its a modeling problem that can be dealt with. The model just needs to include them, so in the end its a signal analysis problem (learning the proper model for the individual installation)

Re:Electromagnetic tracking? (2, Informative)

jeti (105266) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693152)

Only the surrounding fields change a lot over time. They change when you turn on a light, when the compressor of the fridge turns on and whatnot. Also the EM input I tried did lag a lot because so many samples had to be averaged to compensate for errors.

Re:Electromagnetic tracking? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693238)

Changing fields is also a modeling problem, tho. As far as the # of samples needed to average things out well.. surely that isnt a technical problem but instead just some sort of economic tradeoff. Do you want thousands of samples per second? How about millions? Pick one. Both are doable.

Re:Electromagnetic tracking? (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694380)

You're taking a series of point samples in an environment that changes unpredictably. That's a hell of a "modelling problem".

The only robust solution that I can think of is to generate your own fields, so that they provide a gradient for each axis, modulate them for each axis independently and use frequency filters on the input. Being a software guy, I don't really have an idea if this can be done in a way that is affordable and simple enough to set up for consumer products.

Re:Electromagnetic tracking? (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694418)

PS: I guess you can also polarize the fields. But the whole setup sounds more like a MRI scanner than a consumer device.

Re:Electromagnetic tracking? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695078)

You're taking a series of point samples in an environment that changes unpredictably. That's a hell of a "modelling problem".

Unpredictable doesnt mean random tho. That 'fridge isnt randomly jumping around the room. The compressor is either on or off. The light in the room is either on or off. The microwave (probably the biggest source in your home) is either on or off. Presumably it should be trivial to detect the context of the immediate situation.. "seen this before"

Re:Electromagnetic tracking? (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695468)

How does that help you? Let's say that your environment has several states (f.e. light off, compressor on) where the fluctuations are periodic and can be predicted. As soon as the state changes, you lose any reference. You would have to calibrate the input for each of the possible states separately and be able to recognize them. Otherwise, you lose your absolute coordinates.

This is a pure "garbage in - garbage out" situation where no magic model can handle.

six axes? (2, Interesting)

yivi (236776) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692736)

I don't get the bit about the "six axes". I thought we had only three in meatspace.

Are they talking about something else and I am not getting it? Or they are just being silly?



Re:six axes? (4, Insightful)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692774)

You're forgetting pitch, yaw and roll.

Re:six axes? (3, Informative)

BESTouff (531293) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692806)

They're nos axis, but rotation instead of translation along the same axis. They're called Degrees of Freedom, so a game allowing uncosntrained movement is 6DoF.

Re:six axes? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30693264)

But they are expressed as axes on the controller interface (to the system) as continuous values, thus defining a point in a six axis hyperspace.

Re:six axes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30693720)

Actually defining infinite point sets, as calculations are done modulo 2*pi for 3 of thoses dimensions. That is, if you can justify the "continuous values" extracted from numerical signals.

Re:six axes? (3, Interesting)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692784)

I might be wrong, but I think it's three axis of movement and three of rotation. I've always thought it's a bit misleading...

Re:six axes? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693094)

... but it conveniently sounds like "suck asses" which can be used to describe an especially poor implementation. It's a trade-off.

Re:six axes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30692788)

Three spatial positions yes, but three angles are also needed to define the position of your hand *and which way it is pointing* fully.


Re:six axes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30692864)

Well, I guess "six degrees" as used in the article is nothing more than "We're going to use two vectors in R^3, original position and change, to describe the user's POV relative to some basis". "Six axes", I guess, in referring to each axis twice. Who said linear algebra was useless?

Re:six axes? (1)

minasoko (710100) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692804)

Everyone knows six is better than three. Three axis movement is for n00bs who don't know how to bind zoomfov to changes in your 6th dimension presence.

Re:six axes? (4, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692858)

>>I don't get the bit about the "six axes". I thought we had only three in meatspace.

Well, I only have one axe in meatspace.

I'm very excited about this controller though - I can't wait to see how inaccurate people will be in games when they actually have to aim, instead of just clicking on a point with their "sniper rifle" and pretending that's skill.

Being able to shoot yourself in the head in a FPS? That's revolutionary.

Re:six axes? (1)

courseofhumanevents (1168415) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692946)

Being able to shoot yourself in the head in a FPS? That's revolutionary.

Pah! Trespasser was doing that back in 90's. Call me when there's a real revolution.

Re:six axes? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693078)

>>Pah! Trespasser was doing that back in 90's. Call me when there's a real revolution.

Heh heh, yeah that game was great. Watching your gun get caught in a chain link fence and then go sproinging hundreds of yards away was... well, "fun" is not exactly the right word for it.

Re:six axes? (2, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693524)

Actually, there is still a lot of fine skill in controlling the mouse in these games, but being good while running around with a real gun obviously requires a lot more than just quick reactions, as it uses many more muscle groups, especially if you're free standing..

I was annoyed recently when trying my first CoD game to find out that you can't even turn off the auto-aim when you play online though.. some poor n00bs are going to get a shock if they ever have to play a game where they do all the aiming themselves.

Re:six axes? (1)

pwfffff (1517213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694208)

Yeah you'd be surprised at the large numbers of people who consistently fail at aiming with a mouse. Playing l4d2 with pubs inevitably involves one of them failing to shoot a hunter off of me for a solid 30 seconds, while they stand in front of me trying to shoot the zombie with a GLOWING RED OUTLINE at point blank range. In almost all of these cases they have the sniper rifle, because it looks the kewlest. Good gun if you can aim, but if you're inaccurate in the slightest the bullet's going exactly where you put it. With a shotgun or a rifle they at least have the chance of the gun ignoring where they're shooting and flying off to the side to actually hit something... agh...

No, I'm not bitter we lost. Why do you ask?

Re:six axes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30692868)

Axis of movement and rotation?

Or maybe they are just copying Sony's Six Axis which, given that company's rootkit history, I always thought as referring to the six axis powers: Nazi Germany, Japan, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria...

Re:six axes? (1, Informative)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693196)

axis are better than "spacial directions" or whatever the alternative was...

Up / Down
Left / Right
Forward / Backwards

3 axis with 6 directions... "6 axis"

Re:six axes? (1)

idji (984038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693782)

They may mean 3 position axes and 3 motion axes, so you get 3 position coordinates and 3 velocities - and hence you get 3D position + rotational movement (pitch, yaw and roll) + 3D translational movement (velocity).

A 3D accelerometer measures force directly - probably on 3(?) piezo-crystals [wikipedia.org] - and therefore acceleration (F=ma) and can derive velocity via integral calculus 3D position and 3D velocity and hence also pitch, yaw and roll. In theory if you swing your iphone in a big circle over your head it should know when it is exactly back where it started - but I doubt it is millimeter-accurate after swinging around 360 degrees. In the same way that when you wildly move your optical- or wheel- mouse around on the table and bring it back to exactly the same spot the mouse pointer will NOT be in the same position on the screen.

Microwaves will give you directly absolute position in 3D (by bounce-back echo time - light travels 3m in 10 nanoseconds) and velocity in 3D (by Doppler Effect). So Microwaves will know when you have swung around 360 degrees and are exactly back in the right spot.

We were joking!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30692844)

In no way were we serious about HL2:EP3 being held up because Gabe Newell wanted to make it compatible with Project Natal!!!

Gaming is best when it is consistent (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692856)

One of the problems with PC gaming is that the experience is never delivered in a consistent manner. Better processors, more memory and getter graphics cards will improve the experience every time. Different controllers will also vary the experience for the user. Console games limit the hardware selection and so the experience is more uniform and consistent. I think this is an important aspect of a good gaming experience.

Attempting to develop a new gaming controller, while mildly interesting, is actually working to compensate for the very weakness in PC gaming that I just identified.

Re:Gaming is best when it is consistent (3, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692918)

You're getting old.

Young people want novelty, change, freedom.
Old people want consistentcy, stability, control.

If I want something to look better, I can shell out more money for better hardware and have it look better.
No such option with consoles.

Re:Gaming is best when it is consistent (1)

CxDoo (918501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693082)


It took me six months to master whatdoyoucallit gamepad to play PES because I wanted to play a football game. It is the only game requiring any kind of real time input (others being chess and various turn based strategies).

Just thinking about going through this again for another game (with the same controller!) is a non-starter. Six axes, 1 degree precision? Thanks, but no thanks.

Re:Gaming is best when it is consistent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30694922)

SOME young people people want novelty, change, freedom.
SOME old people want consistency, stability, control.

If you've ever played Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike:Source, or similar games, you'd see plenty of young people playing very accurately (control) with the same gameplay on the same maps (consistency) with highly tweaked settings, over and over again.

Not to mention MMORPGs, which are just about the pinnacle of consistency.

I'll take novelistency, changability, and freedom-of-control, thanks

Re:Gaming is best when it is consistent (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30692944)

What you see as a weakness I see as an advantage.

The development of a new gaming controller is not compensating for anything. It will only enable more options for PC gamers to enjoy their games.

Re:Gaming is best when it is consistent (2, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693332)

The good old joystick is slowly dying out on the PC and even gamepad support is still lacking or non-existant in quite a few games. I doubt that some crazy motion technology has any change to becoming a wide enough success to actually be used in more then a handful of techdemos.

Re:Gaming is best when it is consistent (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693170)

One of the problems with PC gaming is that the experience is never delivered in a consistent manner.

Thats not precisely true tho. Not all games target the next generation hardware. Some games target several generations back providing a fairly consistent experience, and one of these in particular became the most successful MMO ever. I've never played it, but I am sure the console boys are extremely jealous of the massive cash cow that it WOW.

TrackIR already offer 6 DOF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30693214)

Has been around in form of head tracking for a while: http://www.naturalpoint.com/trackir/ has 6 degrees of freedom.
It's almost a must for serious flight simming.

Hey Valve! (1)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693228)

Instead of working on a new kind of peripheral which will probably not catch on for quite a while, if ever, why don't you finish god damned Half-Life 2 Episode 3!!!!!

Re:Hey Valve! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30693386)

Here Here!

Will this really work for PC gaming? (3, Insightful)

TurinX (1323321) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693338)

I mean logistically - my PC is on my desk in the corner of my room. My consoles are in the living room with my TV and lots of space... which is why the Wii works. I can flail about to my hearts content - but not so in front of the PC......

FUCK Razer!!! (1)

Vr6dub (813447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693408)

They've been "working" on a Windows 7 driver for the last couple months and keep telling customers the release is "just around the corner". Other companies selling cards using the same chip have long since released proper drivers.

Good Karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30693634)

Well, in my view Razer and Valve are the two most karma accumulating corporations in gaming, ut I know nothing about sixsense, let's see if they can tank the nice joined venture... ...Not even a wikipedia page?

Ok, so Razer and Valve who are still to disappooint me in any way are toghether with a non existant entity to do yet another wiggle-your-funky controller. This shall be categorized as good news and money shall be prepared to be spent in the most fanboyish manner before even caring to Read The Fricking Article.

Ok, but what about the games? (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694104)

The PC is not a platform for casual gaming, is it? so this product, since it is for the PC, it's for PC gamers, which are a little bit more 'hardcore' than casual gamers. The question is: for what games? do they seriously expect the hardcore PC gamer to give up his mouse & keyboard comfort in order to recreate a natural motion? nobody would want to, for example, use a fake gun to aim, since the mouse is a superior mechanism for FPS games (either solo or multiplayer). Neither will do the hardcore RPG gamer, or the simulation player. A motion sensing controller is not the right type of controller for PC games.

Valve TrackIR (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694466)

If Valve wants to do something with motion tracking they should add support for TrackIR and whatever the open source alt is to the Source engine.

Not convinced (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694616)

I'm not a "gamer" in much sense of the word, but most of the people I know who have computers have them sitting on a desk usually in a study or on the kitchen table. The very same places where you couldn't stand back, wave a controller and jump around a lot.

The whole motion/natal/full body controller type things work really well on consoles because they're hooked up to a big television and generally in a large room with plenty of space in front of them to allow you to leap up and down and pretend to be shooting hoops.

However in order for this to work on PC's, people would need to move their computers to somewhere with a bigger space. The best room in the house would be the lounge for its space - but if you're going to stick it there then you might as well buy something which suits the purpose better, is designed to actually go there and has a 10 foot user interface for this purpose. Ergo a console.

I'm not convinced. I'm happy to be completely wrong, but the social aspects of gaming on a console and gaming on a PC are completely different and I don't think that you can crowbar the same control method onto both.

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