Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Neal Stephenson Reinventing Computer Swordfighting, Via Kickstarter

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the if-only-I-had-a-spare-10k-around dept.

Input Devices 151

New submitter toxygen01 writes "Neal Stephenson, sci-fi writer mostly known for his books Snowcrash and Cryptonomicon, takes on revolutionizing virtual sword fighting with help of crowdfunding. Inspired by the little-known fictional universe of 'Mongoliad,' an interactive book he is collaborating on, his company is trying to develop hardware (low-latency motion controller) and software for realistic medieval sword fighting. From what is promised, it will try to be open for other developers by having API and SDK available for further modding." Very few Kickstarter drives have a steel longsword as one of the rewards for investing.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Proprietary Hardware (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40275729)

I don't think any game requiring proprietary hardware will ever be worth it.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40275819)

I said that, too, till I realized the recreational uses of motorbikes, boats, etc. are really all just games requiring very expensive proprietary hardware.

When you think about it that way, the question (in my mind) becomes "does it require proprietary hardware that can't be used for other stuff" -- if it has the same flexibility to come up with your own uses (as demonstrated by the kinect (not that that's proprietary to one game), and as I'm sure this will be) as sporting goods, it might be worth it. If it's only good for that game, whether due to true uselessness for any other conceivable activity, or evil lock-down measures, then I'll pass.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40275895)

except none of the things you listed are "just games" and they are expensive because they actually have things like physical mechanical combustion engines and other materials. You cant virtually simulate them as games.

At some point this all becomes a bit silly. We can spend thousands of dollars to create the most realistic low latency virtual sword-fighting the world has ever seen. Or you could get the same experience with some foam, an imagination, and some other dorks to go larp with.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40276125)

except none of the things you listed are "just games"

The recreational uses are, which is what I said.
That they are also usable for non-recreational purposes is not a factor in many people's purchases of them.

and they are expensive because they actually have things like physical mechanical combustion engines and other materials.

And gaming peripherals are cheaper, but still somewhat expensive because they actually have things like accelerometers, feedback motors, and other materials. If the price is too high, sure they're not worth it -- same as a game without peripherals that's priced too high for what you get.

You cant virtually simulate them as games.

A hundred racing titles disagree with you. You can simulate them at many levels of realism, and the realism varies directly with the amount of hardware.

At some point this all becomes a bit silly. We can spend thousands of dollars to create the most realistic low latency virtual sword-fighting the world has ever seen. Or you could get the same experience with some foam, an imagination, and some other dorks to go larp with.

Yes... in this case, I don't see it as being worthwhile either. But GP's blanket rule is just silly -- just because it uses a computer doesn't automatically make hardware not worthwhile.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (0)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277491)

there is a sport known as fencing, and there are even those that use broadswords. Get off your ass and excercise.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40278141)

Unfortunately, absolutely none of that is a sword fight simulation. There is absolutely a need for this.

Check out http://www.thearma.org/ [thearma.org] as well.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (3, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#40278319)

*facepalm*

You're one of those guys who railed on for days on end about how people who enjoyed playing Guitar Hero should just go learn to play the guitar, aren't you?

I wish I lived where you do, since it's apparently crawling with fencers, too.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277825)

And no DRM so limitless replay/resale. In fact, if a game that requires proprietary hardware still uses DRM, you know it's not about combating piracy at that point.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40275863)

Everyone who bought a Rock Band or Guitar Hero controller disagrees with you.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40275929)

Play some Steel Battalion and let me know. Better yet, try the controller with Mechwarrior 4 or Freespace 2 and let me know.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276653)

I haven't used the steel batallion controller, but I have played mechwarrior with a full HOTAS setup and it is tits. In fact, I have a full HOTAS setup now (well, my throttle is actually a Saitek Cyborg converted to left hand, but anyway) and I should probably play me some Mechwarrior IV Free.

That doesn't mean that a dedicated controller is going to sell, though. Steel Battalion was not exactly a best seller.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (0, Flamebait)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276757)

Re:Proprietary Hardware (5, Insightful)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277021)

What do you have against Kickstarter? It's not fundamentally different from gambling or the stock market? Of course some people are going to use Kickstarter for take-the-money-and-run scams. That's just the nature of the beast. When you gamble sometimes you lose. An excellent reason to only invest in projects run by people you are familiar with and who you feel you can trust to complete the project and not just take the money. And before you complain about the word 'investment' the returns are not monetary. The return on the investment is some kind of creative project getting completed that would not otherwise have been.

I believe that Kickstarter is a new paradigm. People are overly optimistic now. I think as more and more people get burned they will be far more cautious about which projects they choose to invest in. It won't kill the crowdfunding paradigm. It will just remind people not to be so stupid and gullible. And some dishonest people are going to make enough money to move to an island somewhere and never work another day in their life. People hold up liquor stores for a few hundred bucks. A Kickstarter scam is more like robbing a bank. So, yeah, there are going to be scams and they will get more and more sophisticated as time goes on. Caveat emptor.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (0)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277717)

I believe that Kickstarter is a new paradigm. People are overly optimistic now.... It will just remind people not to be so stupid and gullible.

and i believe that kickstarter is a new and easier way for crooks to steal money. Come up with some popular idea, something people want and is feasible, put it on Kickstarter and walk away with hundreds of thousands of dollars.
or if you prefer:
1) come up with idea
2) put on kickstarter
3) get hundreds of thousands
4) walk away = PROFIT!

I really don't see this ending well, once attorney states general gets involved kickstarter is going to have to accept some of the responsibility, you just can't take peoples money and say "screw off" for very long.

But you're right, people are gullible for funding kickstarter projects. Crowdfunding will survive, just not kickstarter.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40280163)

Eh, well I donated $10 to mobile frame zero and got a PDF of the rules and some good lego designs out of it. Worth my money (not that I gave more than I was willing to part with for a chance of no return).

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277753)

It's not fundamentally different from gambling or the stock market?

It's like gambling where the best case is that you get out something worth the amount of money that you put in and the worst case is that you lose it all, you don't know the odds, and there's no regulator.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40278461)

Gambling is more fun if there's something to gain from it, and you can drink while doing it. Putting money into Kickstarter projects is just handing money to another person.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40277821)

What do you have against Kickstarter? It's not fundamentally different from gambling or the stock market?

stock market you can do research on companies before investing, lots of information is available before investing, and it's not easy to jump in and spend $ on stocks, there's no "buy now" button like kickstarter

Gambling is gambling, you're playing a game of chance.

Difference is kickstarter projects say if you give this amount you will get this item. That's not a gamble, that sounds like a purchase. Pay this, get that. And when it's not delivered, that's theft. And the item was purchased on kickstarter's website, probably even says kickstarter on the credit card reciept.

I have no idea how anyone can defend kickstarter unless they a) spent money on kickstarter b) made money on kickstarter c) work for kickstarter

Re:Proprietary Hardware (2)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#40278715)

I have no idea how anyone can attack Kickstarter unless they make their money in some competing paradigm (like a game or book publisher) or are just jealous or they are a lawyer hoping to buy a new Porsche this year. Yes. Kickstarter can be used to scam people out of money, and yes, if they had no intention of completing the project then it is a form of fraud. But I don't understand why you blame Kickstarter. It is totally not their fault. No one is forcing anyone to 'contribute' to a project.

If you want to blame someone blame the scammer himself I won't shed any tears for them if they get prosecuted for fraud. Although I do think the state should have to show intent. No point in filling the already fit to burst jails with people who are merely incompetent, but don't realize it. Just because the system runs on the 'honor system' does not mean there is anything wrong with it. Some people really are honest and sincere. It is unfortunate that some people are good at appearing honest and sincere when they are not, but that's the nature of life.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40278419)

Kickstarter isn't about gambling. It's about giving away your money. It's not investing. It's not loaning. It's giving away money. There's nothing wrong with it, but it's pretty shocking to see the amount of money dumb people are willing to just hand over to other people.

A Sci-fi author for 20 years? He doesn't have a$500K to invest in his own business? Riiiight.

And here's a little secret for you, too: if somebody can't borrow money to start a business, then there's probably a good reason.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 2 years ago | (#40279941)

A Sci-fi author for 20 years? He doesn't have a$500K to invest in his own business? Riiiight.

While this particular sci-fi author probably could come up with that kind of cash, I'm willing to bet that 90% of sci-fi authors could not.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40280091)

I'm willing to bet you're right. In this case, we're talking about an established author asking people to give him half a million bucks for some stupid idea that he's not willing to invest his own money into.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (2)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 2 years ago | (#40279973)

I wouldn't be at all surprised if quite a few Kickstarter projects are actually using it as part of their funding, not all of it. It's a lot easier to get backing from a bank if you can go to them and say "we already have £x and n guaranteed customers".

In the case of Neal Stephenson, he and his existing team have already done the initial prototyping and development. What they're funding for is the expansion of the team, continued development, and creation of a final product.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40280107)

He doesn't need bank backing. He has the cash. He just doesn't want to risk his own cash because it's a really stupid idea, and there are lots of stupid people out there willing to hand him cash for no particular reason.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277037)

And many other projects have delivered so your whole argument is rubbish. It's not a guarantee but you accept that going in and the likelihood of return is high.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (3, Insightful)

wootest (694923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277199)

As someone who's currently reaping the rewards of both projects I sponsored on Kickstarter, I reject the insinuation that many or most Kickstarter projects are frauds.

There are crooks everywhere. Kickstarter, by making it easier for people to collect money, makes it easier for those people just as much as the legitimate users.

I understand where their position on refunds comes from even if I probably wouldn't be very happy about being in that situation. It's up to local law enforcement to deal with fraudsters, and as long as they've done reasonable due diligence (to the extent that they even can), I wouldn't be more comfortable if they suddenly had more power available to them.

If you want to raise complaints about Kickstarter, why not complain about their policy of blaming the stalked woman for being stalked [rachelmarone.com] ? Their reaction and their policy is entirely under their control.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40278447)

Kickstarter, by making it easier for people to collect money, makes it easier for those people just as much as the legitimate users.

No, that's not true. Most people with actual business ideas, don't need to beg for handouts. People with viable ideas can borrow money.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (2)

arcsimm (1084173) | more than 2 years ago | (#40279397)

"People with viable ideas can borrow money."

Perhaps you haven't heard, but there's this liquidity crisis going on right now that makes banks *really* loathe to loan anything to anybody for any reason, least of all for a business venture. Kickstarter is helping a lot of people bridge that funding gap in other ways.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40280075)

Good businesses still get loans. It happens every day. If banks stopped loaning money altogether, the economy would stop.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

korean.ian (1264578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40279505)

So when Mark Zuckerberg got funding from venture capitalists he wasn't begging for money he was just borrowing?

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40280067)

Venture capitalists don't loan money. They give cash in exchange for equity. Mark Zuckerberg got funding by giving away parts of his company.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

yidele (947452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277747)

famous last words.

Re:Proprietary Hardware - Guitar Hero (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277943)

Guitar Hero proved you wrong.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

Vrekais (1889284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277957)

Didn't the original Mech Warrior have a proprietary controller (On a side note the new one will have an optional HOTAS controller as well and it looks awesome)? Both the Guitar Hero and Rock band also franchises put a dent in that theory as well.

Re:Proprietary Hardware (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40278861)

It is only a dent if you believe that a GH or RB game was really worth 5 times more then another blockbuster game that just used a keyboard and mouse.

Yes if money is little to no object then a proprietary controller is absolutely the way to go. For the rest of the world they would of been happier buying 5 others games and playing GH at their friends house.

Yawn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40275731)

Wake me when they offer a Mithril longsword.

air doesn't provide feedback (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40275735)

air doesn't give feedback when struck.
just kinect it, if you're swinging air.

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (3, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40275847)

air doesn't give feedback when struck.

Tell that to all the guys who practice air guitar!

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (4, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40275915)

This has already been discussed to death on Slashdot. I'm not going to dig for a link, but some other poster came up with a good solution. If you wildly swing through something physically, when your virtual sword has stopped, your character becomes staggered until they physically reposition their weapon to sync up with the virtual representation. Eventually you'll become good enough at recognizing how your virtual sword will interact with the enemy's virtual sword (or body) and you won't be wildly swinging through as though you could slice through them. Eventually you'll train your muscles to anticipate the impact of the virtual swords and stop mid-swing (at the point where the virtual swords would clash) and begin the next move, possibly pulling back for another strike or pushing forward to knock back the enemy. Hell, add the Kinect so that you can kick or so the game can incorporate other body movements as well.

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (4, Interesting)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276769)

Eventually you'll train your muscles to anticipate the impact of the virtual swords and stop mid-swing (at the point where the virtual swords would clash) and begin the next move, possibly pulling back for another strike or pushing forward to knock back the enemy

Of course, doing that means the movements become stunted and artificial -- because the idea is always to swing *through* your target and not *at* your target -- thus defeating the purpose of making a realistic swordplay game...

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (2)

IDK (1033430) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277855)

In Snowcrash Neal Stephenson describes how professional swordfighting works. He explains that it is very important to stop just a few centimeters after you have gone through your opponent so the sword would not get stuck, which is what would happen if you tried to do this in real life.

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (2, Interesting)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277981)

That's with a katana. Japan aside, swords in general weren't that sharp, and your aim was to knock down and injure the opponent. Better than blunt weapons, sure, but you didn't need to worry about them going partway into a bone and getting stuck.

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40278975)

Oh good lord, we've got a "But katana are *different*!" dweeb here

Let me know when you've sliced through that enemy tank gun with your wakizashi, okay, Grasshopper?

Has anybody actually fenced here? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40279673)

For instance, FIE (Olympic) sport fencing?

It's certainly fairly different than with real sharps (you will be far more fearless obviously) but it can be instructive.

Sport fencing originated as practice for actual swordsmanship---swordsmanship for one-on-one dueling combat, and not large-scale military melee which is completely different. For a game like this, it seems that simulating the 1-on-1 era (say 1600's-1700's with rapiers etc--personal weapons of the wealthy) would be a goal. As point weapons, they were quite sharp and very effective.

If you've actually fenced some, you learn some things pretty quickly. Too many people's idea of combat seems to have been influenced by "theatrical swordplay" on stage & film. In theatrical swordplay, the combatants are too close together and the goal appears to be clanking their weapon against their opponents weapon in synchronized acrobatic fashion, instead of actually trying to hit the opponent.

Things you learn from actually fencing:

a) keep the pointy bit pointed at your opponent, not the air or the ground.
b) don't flail around with your sword arm, you expose target area which a skilled opponent will hit, because he is keeping his pointy bit pointed at you and ready to strike.
c) fencing is 80% legs and timing moving back and forth. Champion fencers win because they have stamina and explosive leg power and the ability to gauge distance appropriately. Sign of a master is one who can play with an opponents timing and distance, getting a rhythm and setting up the opponent's expectation, and then suddently strike explosively with an uncomplicated
d) it's *very* tiring.

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40280117)

That's with a katana. Japan aside, swords in general weren't that sharp, and your aim was to knock down and injure the opponent. Better than blunt weapons, sure, but you didn't need to worry about them going partway into a bone and getting stuck.

Complete bullshit. Another entry from the 'katanas were sharp, all other swords were clubs' book of ignorance.

Here is a vid of someone cutting with an antique rapier. http://youtu.be/qs-NY2oK7fQ

Yes, rapier, another sword almost everyone has the completely wrong idea about.

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (1)

isopropanol (1936936) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277959)

Thus training yourself to lose any real fight where you have to defend yourself.

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40278785)

Yes, any real fight that happens to occur while you're carrying a sword around. Most likely it'll be against law enforcement who are trying to deal with the freak with the sword, and will just tase your ass from a distance.

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40279571)

Yeah, let's tazer the guy carrying the long, sharp, conductive object. That's sure to go well.

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40278733)

From the FAQ on the Kickstarter page:

How are you going to handle sword on sword collisions with regards to feedback?

We've been thinking about this for years. It's not in the videos because to try to explain it here would get us hopelessly deep into the weeds. We think we have an approach that will work. It’s hard to explain in detail without a very lengthy brain dump. It's not just One Big Awesome Solution. It's a number of separate techniques working together. Some of these are familiar (visual, auditory, and haptic feedback) and others center on some innovative UI schemes. If you allow the controller’s position to get out of sync with what is shown on the screen, you get some feedback to that effect and you get UI cues on how to get back into sync.

In general,if you drill down deep enough on the actual sword techniques, the tree of possible outcomes gets pruned way down. It turns out that you rarely have to solve the fully general problem of one sword stopping another sword traveling at top speed at an arbitrary location in space. Which is a hard problem!

If you are "swinging for the fences" with a sword attack---which is to say, if you are assuming a long follow-through---then you're probably doing it wrong. You don't have to cut the other guy in half. You just have to hit him. In most of these arts, you're trained to pull the attack and stop with the sword between you and the adversary. If the attack succeeds, you're done. If it fails, you have stopped with your blade in a tactically sound defensive position instead of swinging all the way through and taking your sword completely out of the action.

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40279459)

If you follow that advice, you'll be training yourself how NOT to use a sword. When you strike with a sword you are slashing (not "swinging!") THROUGH the target. Seriously, get two lengths of PVC pipe. Wrap in polyurethane foam, and tape it snugly with duct tape. Now go outside and HIT each other. Aim for the HAND of your opponent. A sword fight is about disarming/killing the other guy, not clacking swords together like doofuses. When I practice this, I go home with bruises. That's the way it should be.

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276029)

Yeah. This seems like a very expensive, roundabout, complicated and technological way of creating something that's significantly worse than waving a padded stick at a similarly equipped friend. For once I agree that kids should just "get out more" (as long as they don't come play on my lawn).

Re:air doesn't provide feedback (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 2 years ago | (#40278267)

Basically the same thing could be said between discussing this on slashdot and doing it at the pub with your technically minded friends. See you there :-)

Define Realistic... (1)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 2 years ago | (#40275737)

If I hit the other guys sword and I don't feel my elbow trying to tear itself apart when my sword hits resistance I'll still feel like I'm waving flashlights at my kid brother going "I got you! No seriously!"

Re:Define Realistic... (2, Interesting)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276053)

My thought was: how realistic will it be if I do not have to worry about my adversaries really hitting me and killing me?

Also, I am not sure the public wants this degree of realism. A real sword fight (even in training) can be very tiring..

Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on that (5, Funny)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40275841)

We can do boffers in the back yard, and this cannot even rise to that, much maligned, level of realism. At least send old Neal over to the SCA for a few clouts in the head with a rattan and compressed foam 3 pound mace. Even THAT isn't exactly realistic, but it IS as close as you'll ever get.

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40275969)

From the video, it looks like they are already completely swarmed with SCA types. It's filled with people doing IRL fighting.

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40276139)

The video is swarming with HEMA types. Granted, there is some overlap of practitioners of HEMA and SCA, but HEMA is something very very different from SCA.

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (1)

Jerry Atrick (2461566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276027)

Really? Some of us have done it with real (if blunted) steel weapons. I love my bastard sword. Once you have you won't want to waste time on a 'realistic' virtual version with some lightweight controller - or bit of wood or cane. Maybe a rapier would work but nothing weightier.

TBH this isn't an input problem, just get a Wii controller and treat it like a sword. It's the simulation after you've read it. The next step of making it feel real is beyond most gamer budgets, they should just buy a weapon and join a recreation society.

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276247)

Yep, I loved re-enactment fighting with mild steel weaponry, though I was best with a spear. (note: below observations are from dark age weaponry, viking/saxon era, not late medieval greatswords or renaissance rapiers).

I guess the virtual version would work better with a lightsabre-based approach - hence no resistance feedback if you slice someone in half.

You also need the feedback of the weight of the weapon, a steel sword is quite cumbersome to wield, the weight of it will drag you around so you cannot twist and reverse direction quite as easily as a virtual sword, even assuming you don't have a lightweight, cheap, plastic sword shaped wand to use with the controller. And then you will often use a shield, and they get heavy quite quickly, too many hits I made were against opponents who's shield arms were getting a bit tired and droopy.

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276333)

It is arguable whether steel or rattan really gives you a better feel for the real thing. Rattan has the weight and balance. The thing with steel is you really do HAVE to hold back in some ways. Get out there with good armor and rattan weapons you can really go at it full tilt. Then again I've never fought with steel, perhaps there is something essential lost there? Can't say the steel weapons I've handled really felt that much different. Most available steel weapons are also rather questionable reproductions. Usually quite overweight from what I've seen, but not really any kind of expert on that subject.

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276389)

With a steal broadsword, you really want to swing bring it to a stop about two inches inside the opponent. Any stronger, and it is in danger of snagging and you dying immediately after your first opponent. With a spring steal weapon, you pull the blade a couple of inches before it hits, but the movement is more or less the same. If they're wearing chain mail, then you don't even need to pull it much...

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (1)

thorgil (455385) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276789)

Try out Albion swords.... Really good... I highly recommend the Lichtenauer.

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277125)

Yeah, I'm sure there are good ones. I hear they are VERY not cheap though. It is actually kind of hard to know what is and isn't really good either. VERY few people have any experience handling authentic non-reproduction period weapons. I've been told even most of the expensive stuff is not usually particularly well balanced (after all, these products are basically made to be display pieces and there's almost zero chance anyone that would know the difference will handle one).

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (1)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277483)

It depends a lot. Some expensive swords are meant for display, but there are also plenty of accurate replicas meant to be used in one of the historical schools.

My instructor brought a few EUR500 swords along, and these were beautifully balanced. I also own a cheap 14th-century replica made by Darksword Armory [darksword-armory.com] , which is very well balanced for a cheap piece, even if it is blade-heavy (which fits with the historical original it was based on).

The only thing I can say is, hang around a good HEMA group, they'll be able to tell you the good from the bad. The Liechtenauer mentioned above is a good example. It goes for around EUR 450 from Albion Europe, but it's worth it.

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40276731)

No offense, but this is still just simulation. Short of the fear of being maimed and killed, the sick feeling in your stomach, and staying focused while wanting to piss yourself - this is about as realistic and useful as a Wii controller.

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40276169)

Try HEMA, that is as close as it gets. SCA is mostly LARP boffer, with harder sticks. HEMA is a proper martial art.

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (1)

Imagix (695350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276617)

Um, you might want to do a little searching about Neal first. Neal does work with properly steel longwords, not rattan and foam stuff.

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276859)

Meh, don't knock rattan. It can be QUITE realistic. As I said above, the advantage is in not really having to hold back. Even dull steel is unfriendly stuff. It may be true that the majority of people fooling around with rattan weapons in the SCA aren't particularly serious and have no clue, but you can also find people who are very good and know there stuff. Believe me, fighting with some of them can be quite an experience.

Re:Yeah, I think Neal is a few decades ahead on th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40279531)

I have hit people, and been hit by, rattan. It's not a surrogate for a weapon, it is a weapon in its own right. If you doubt this, come play. I'll demonstrate. (I don't do medieval play, I play Tri-V PTK, which is not a form of recreation, it is a method of killing people)

showcases the Kickstarter-as-preorder model (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40275853)

There's been a bit of a transition in the use of Kickstarter. Initially the idea was to provide seed funding, to cover expenses for a project that someone wouldn't be able to do otherwise unless they got conventional funding (e.g. grants or angel investors). So, for example, $5k for supplies and a few months' rent to support an art project. Then there were perks just as thank-yous to supporters.

It seems to be slowly transitioning to a pre-order system where the perks are the point, though. Neal Stephenson is a multi-millionaire; he does not actually need this seed funding to pay his rent and expenses. If he wanted, he could self-fund the entire project. So why would he use Kickstarter? My guess is to get early buy-in from potential customers, to validate the idea's appeal, to build buzz, etc. Essentially a business-strategy use of the platform rather than a seed-funding use.

Re:showcases the Kickstarter-as-preorder model (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276037)

That transition merely accelerated recently, and even then mostly for gaming-related stuff.

For most product type projects, the rewards have been the main drive to backing. This includes short film, music albums, etc. Part of it is to help the creator realize their dream, but a huge chunk of it just to 'get stuff'.

Only for intangibles has it really not been about getting stuff because, well, there's no stuff to get.

Sure, there's been a few projects where realistically the 'stuff' is stupid expensive and no backer would realistically put the money forward for it, let alone dozens or even hundreds, and so the rewards are things like stickers, t-shirts, etc. where it's more about helping make the project work out than the reward, but they are rare.

In a way, it's always been about presales - just that it had been about presales for things that did not yet exist and without the backers' help (or at least the exposure from being at KickStarter) most likely never would.

And therein has indeed been a change recently, in that projects are popping up of essentially finished products, or ideas by people / companies that have the money or could easily get the money through conventional means.
It's inevitable, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, but I can see how it takes away from the 'charm' of a CrowdFunding platform.

Thankfully, there's plenty of others to choose from :)

Re:showcases the Kickstarter-as-preorder model (1)

rastilin (752802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276301)

Personally I don't see the problem. For a lot of those project managers they wouldn't be able to get the cash through regular channels anyway and Kickstarter lets them get their business off the ground. There are also loads of people who refuse to fund anything that doesn't already have some work put into it; eg, they don't want to bankroll someone's vacation. They want proof that the person running the project is serious and capable of doing the work.

I think that being too focused on making sure you only donate to things where there's no output is a bit elitist. I'd rather put cash into something that'll be self sustaining after my input, not something that has to be kept running by regular cash infusions. I've heard it said that banks will give loans for pretty much any business plan, except a plan that depends on people putting in work or money for no reward.

Re:showcases the Kickstarter-as-preorder model (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276541)

Also, I should add, Gabe Newell is apparently on board as an enthusiastic backer. Gabe Newell has a net worth of over one billion dollars. If he thinks it's such a great idea, why not just fund the damn thing? $500k is pocket change to him.

I assume it's some kind of hype move, but it'd sit better with me if they built it first and then hyped, instead of hyping vaporware while trying to get people a lot poorer than themselves to fund their experiment.

Re:showcases the Kickstarter-as-preorder model (2)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277073)

Neal Stephenson is a multi-millionaire.

He's one of my favorite writers. So I'm happy if it's true, but how do you know this?

Re:showcases the Kickstarter-as-preorder model (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40277217)

Totally agree on the second paragraph. I'm actually currently putting together a Kickstarter project currently, and like Neil don't necessarily need the seed funding to do it. It's a few thousand dollars, I could just finance it myself.

The thing is though, while I think I've got a good idea and a product people would like, Kickstarter provides a way to actually confirm this is the case. I can do the math such anybody who contributes gets one of the finished products, and assuming it gets a few hundred interested folks can send the initial run of the product out via post. At that point the initial setup work will be done and it'll mean I can move to looking at more traditional distribution, be able to move forward with further production as warranted, and be able to point at the Kickstarter project as proof there's demand. From my perspective there's a lot of win there.

Because 500k is a lot of money (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277263)

Let's say Stephenson is worth $5 million in reasonably liquid assets. Ok, fine, he could clearly afford to fund $500k for a project BUT that is 10% of his total funds. Not a trivial amount. Think about if I asked you to put up 10% of your liquid assets to something that might not make any money, would you be interested in doing so?

Part of actually staying rich, once someone becomes rich, is not just blowing through money. No matter how much you have, you can easily spend it all in a short amount of time on shit if you try.

Goes double if you aren't in something where you have guaranteed income. He's made a lot of money because people liked his books. However maybe he never releases another book that sells well. In that case, his money needs to last. A million dollars is a lot when you are talking a yearly salary, however it is not a lot when you are talking trying to live on it for a long period of time.

There probably is a business aspect to it as well but just understand that a half million dollars is a lot of money to someone with a few million dollars much as a thousand dollars is a lot of money to someone with ten grand. Yes it is money you could spend but it is a significant portion.

Re:Because 500k is a lot of money (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#40278917)

Think about if I asked you to put up 10% of your liquid assets to something that might not make any money, would you be interested in doing so?

My goodness man, get some perspective! Most people put more than 10% of their net worth into something that will not make any money every month: Their house payment. Add in other bills and for most people that is their entire net worth. Saving 10% of your income is considered a good goal for the average middle class person.

Note that this entire discussion thread is a strawman, because none of us have any idea what Neal Stephenson is worth.

Re:Because 500k is a lot of money (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40279003)

Well, it's all about risk vs. reward, isn't it? To stay rich, first off, you have to make more money than you spend, or at least an equal amount. So, we'll assume, that on average your ventures accomplish that--otherwise it doesn't matter how much you spread stuff out, you won't stay rich.

Now it just becomes a question of what percentage of your endeavors are successful. Let's say it's 5%, that's probably reasonable. Since you're rich, you can afford a higher risk, so dedicate 50% of your money to risking it on making more money. Now, once you're worth $20 million, if you're funding yourself off of $500k projects, you can absorb all of that risk yourself, and reap all the rewards--on average, it doesn't matter if you do 20 projects at a time by yourself or 200 projects at a time with others, given an average rate of picking successful projects.

Once we're at this point, it's a matter of whether you're better than the average person than picking a project. If you are, it's in your interest to self-fund. If you're worse, it's in your interest to group-fund.

But, here's the rub--very few people have such a diverse set of knowledge that they'll be able to pick so many winners. If you only stick to your specialized knowledge, you're probably going to end up trying to fund projects that compete with each other. That's not always bad, but it's not a great default behavior. So what you do is, you group your knowledge with others. You'll contribute picks in your areas of expertise and allow others to share the risk with you, and they'll do the same. In the end, you have more total knowledge, and in an optimal system that means increasing your overall winner pick rate.

Re:Because 500k is a lot of money (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40280119)

If he was confident that his idea would be a success, $500K is not a lot of money. It's a lot of money for a bad idea. He's talking other people's money because he's not willing to risk his own. I'd wager that most real entrepreneurs risk well more than 50% of their net worth to start their businesses. Most people I know risked 100%.

Re:showcases the Kickstarter-as-preorder model (1)

lakeland (218447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277553)

Not really disagreeing with your thesis but just noting that investors seem quite willing to let a project fail if it doesn't meet targets, regardless of what other money they have available.

Re:showcases the Kickstarter-as-preorder model (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40278439)

So why would he use Kickstarter? My guess is to get early buy-in from potential customers, to validate the idea's appeal, to build buzz, etc.

Wow. Really? Really, is that what you think? There's this idea, called Occam's Razor that lots of geeks like to quote. I'm gonna apply it to this situation: Neal Stephenson is using Kickstarter because he doesn't want to risk $500K of his own money.

Good Luck to Neal Stephenson (1)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 2 years ago | (#40275903)

If he can get his custom "Swordfight Game Controller" off the ground then maybe others can step in with new types of game controllers, that may, in the long-term, revolutionize the currently rather boring, sequel-to-a-sequel type world of AAA game publishing. I hope that Stephenson does a good job with this. If he succeeds, then many other game-controller design projects could follow his, and the best of the crop will get funded the same way he did. =)

Swords?.. Meh, scratch that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40275983)

Make it a CHAINSAW!
http://www.google.com.ua/search?q=lollipop+chainsaw

fuck your chainsaw (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277543)

This....is my BOOMSTICK!

About time.... (1)

mseeger (40923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276065)

Need some execrise on how to handle my Longlaw [valyriansteel.com] properly without laying waste to my appartment or people around me.... Great idea, count me in.

Quite unnecessary (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276145)

This [youtube.com] already exists, swordfighting just doesn't get much better than that!

how hard is it (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276297)

to have something in the sword (or vr gloves, for that matter) to give you just enough sensation to know that you've struck/touched something. seems this would've been worked out years ago. possibly even a whole "body glove", that has millions of sensor points that would depress inwards, with various amounts of force, and actually touch you. is no one working on this type of thing?

Gabe Newell HL3 cameo (1)

allanw (842185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276501)

If anyone didn't catch it, watch the video and there's a cameo of Gabe Newell forging a crowbar and saying "These things take time"

Great Idea! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40276667)

Because the world really needs more neckbeards "expertly" waving swords around. Even if you win - you still lose.

Not Just Mongoliad... (3, Informative)

farrellj (563) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276791)

The main charactor in Snowcrash, Hiro Protagonist, is known as the best swordfighter in the Metaverse. So, obviously, his interest in swordfighting predates his most recent work. Hiro, besides actually knowing how to use a sword in the real world, also wrote the template sword fighting code for the Metaverse. I guess Neil Stephenson is looking for that "edge". :-)

Besides, a good generalized real-time controller framework will enable many types of gaming besides swordwork...the code should be similar enough to enable things like baseball bats, hockey sticks, and golf clubs.

Re:Not Just Mongoliad... (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40276923)

All that stuff exists already though. No doubt there are improvements that can be made, but people have been swinging virtual golf clubs and bats, etc for quite a while now, have they not?

Re:Not Just Mongoliad... (3, Insightful)

farrellj (563) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277281)

But they are not very realistic. In sword fighting, that slight twist of the wrist makes all the differnce between a kiling blow, and a glancing blow, and that would translate well to, for example, golf or hockey. A small twist of the wrist when swinging a golf club makes the difference betweeen a shot that goes onto the fairway, or into the rough. Most golf games only measure the swing, not the angle the club hits the ball at. That would be the same for hockey as well.

Re:Not Just Mongoliad... (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277507)

Ah well, I'm not that up to speed on a lot of the current gen controllers. Kinda like keeping my sports real and my games gamist, hehe.

pvc + duct tape - more realistic (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277197)

we would be better off as a society pouring the money into parks and bike trails instead of video game controllers and fake worlds that dont exist.

it is a sad day for the species when SCA can be compared favorably to something by calling the other thing "too much make believe".

How appropriate... (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277219)

He fights like a cow?

If they're not calling this "Operation Guybrush," it's a golden opportunity wasted.

Conduit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40277731)

They could sell mountable robotic fencing arms and just cloud-source the signals from that lady that can control the robotic arm with her brain. Although if you put it on XB360 or PS3, she'd probably just end up getting a bunch of spam from people who wanted handjobs.

Finally! (4, Funny)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40277763)

A way to stab people in the face over the internet.

Having worked with actors and stuntmen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40278577)

You'd be surprised how many pounds of force are involved when swords are involved. Impinged shoulders, ripped rotator cuts, and other injuries are common even in 'stunt' sword play for stage and screen. I am sure that what's being proposed is going to be as realistic as clutch-less driving games. The object is to make the player feel good about himself, not make it realistic.

Ever notice that insects, sprains, cold and thirst are never included on shooter games?

Uh, Doesn't anyone else find this disgusting? (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#40279291)

No wait. I think the word is provocative. I'm so confused.

Wound emulation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40279645)

How can one get stabbed in their games? It wouldn't be fun without all the danger!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?