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More Wii-mote Info

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the blue-games dept.

191

Psykechan writes "IGN has revealed some more info about Nintendo's Wii remote controller. Paraphrasing from the official Developer documentation, the controller will communicate with the console using Bluetooth and will last up to 60 hours on two AA (R6/UM3) batteries using only accelerometer functionality or 30 hours using precision aim functionality via the sensor bar. There's also details on memory, LEDs, possible camera functionality, and environmental distractions." From the article: "Light sources from fluorescent and halogen lamps, plastic, mirrors and more may occasionally interfere with the pointer, based on official documentation. To eliminate this interference, the pointer must identify the sensor bar and mark its two coordinates. When pointing with the Wii-mote, the unit is actually interacting with the sensor bar, which then translates data to the television, in effect simulating a direct aim to the television."

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191 comments

So... (4, Insightful)

InstinctVsLogic (920001) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726692)

...it's not rechargable?

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726696)

so...use rechargable batteries

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727078)

That requires you to own a battery charger, and a second set of batteries for when its charging. Few people own battery chargers.

Re:So... (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726837)

Ugh. That's a damn shame. It should at least use swappable battery cartriges. I hate prying a couple of batteries out of a device whenever they need to be messed with.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

Kredal (566494) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727030)

I have no doubt that on release day, Pelican or some other like-minded company will have battery packs that replace the back cover as well as the batteries, and come with a charging cable as well.

Re:So... (0, Flamebait)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727144)

On the other hand, I'd rather not have to pay twice as much for a proprietary battery pack. If this was made by Sony, it would be a slightly smaller lithium battery that would cost $50 and last 40 hours

Just say no to battery packs. (3, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727165)

I really hate having a proprietary battery cartridge when a few generic rechargeable AAs could have done the job just as well, and let me not pay the hefty premium for the few cents of cheap plastic that they used to bundle them together with. Plus, with standard-size batteries, you have the option of using regular alkalines in a pinch if you really want to -- if you use a proprietary pack and it runs out, you're SOL until it recharges.

The only excuses for using proprietary batteries at all are if the form factor is such that a standard-shaped (AA/LR6 NiMH) won't fit, or the increased energy density of a Li-ion is required.

The best combination is to use standard-sized, replaceable cells and then have an external charging port so that the batteries can be charged without removing them from the device. Unfortunately, few manufacturers of consumer products do this because of the safety features you need to put on the charger in order to keep it from trying to charge the alkalines that people will inevitably put in there, even if you warn them not to.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15727224)

No it's not wii-chargable.

Standard batteries are GREAT! (1)

jivo (889268) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727519)

- I can buy a cheap extra set of rechargeable batteries.
- I can simply insert a new set of fresh batteries without having to wait for them to charge.
- I don't depend on some proprietary Nintendo battery pack.
- I can use a set of plain Duracells, if I forgot to recharge.

Oh, I love standards. We should use it a lot more!

Distances (3, Interesting)

Data Link Layer (743774) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726706)

I wonder how well it will handle distances. Moving the wii-mote from say 15 feet from the TV would be different from moving it 3 feet away.

Re:Distances (1)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726886)

Using the accelerometers, it would make no difference. The sensor bar seems to detect where the controller is in space or where it's pointing at or something (they still havn't outright said its purpose). Done right, with that and the accelerometers combined it should work fairly well at any distance. At least, you'd think. Might not turn out that way in practice, but at least the controller has a local reference point in addition to the bar.

Re:Distances (1)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726903)

Errrr, actually, it looks like it may be a passive reference point for the controller's eye. The "sensors" in it may be infrared LEDs or something. I don't know what the hell is going on now.

Weird information (2, Funny)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726710)

Interestingly, according to documentation the Wii-mote is able to act as something of an eye, measuring coordinates between 0-1023 on the X axis and 0-767 on the Y axis, which means that it is more or less seeing a megapixel image. Whether or not this data can be interpreted into visual information remains unknown, but we're not ruling out the possibility that the pointer could sub as a camera. This is, of course, purely speculative on our part, but stranger things have certainly happened - like, for instance, an internal speaker.

I just can't visualize or imagine what puprose this will have. Anyone have any ideas?

Re:Weird information (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726717)

IANAND, But if it also doubles as a camera, there could be functionality akin to the PS2 EyeToy games. Consider it yet another Wii innovation (at least, on a grander scale than EyeToy could ever manage)

Re:Weird information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15726746)

I think the likeliest thing is that the pointer they referenced elsewhere in the article can have coordinates in that range. It being a camera strikes me as a silly misinterpretation (or wild wishful thinking, take your pick).

Re:Weird information (0, Offtopic)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726754)

Dude, get yourself some rechargeable batteries. They are great for wireless devices (keyboards, mice, mpo3 players).

Re:Weird information (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726756)

I don't believe it at all. You can see my other comment in this topic to see why.

That said, I can give you some ideas. One that has been floated around is that you would be able to have a little avatar of yourself that you could put into various games. This rumor seems to have come from the customized characters in the Wii Sports demo. You could use the camera to put your face on the model.

It could also be used more... creatively. Through image analysis you could turn any rough surface (even carpet) along with the Wiimote as a pen tablet type setup. I wouldn't think Bluetooth would be fast enough to transfer high enough resolution images, and to do the analysis on the controllers would be expensive to battery life.

Or you could do something else. Monster Rancher had an interesting idea when they let you put music CDs into your PlayStation to release the monsters in them. There was a little hand-held game back around the time of Nintendo's little Pikachu toy/pedometer (which was kinda fun) that would read barcodes to teach your Digimon type thing (I don't think it was Digimon) new attacks (or something). By using the camera in this way you could put interesting data into the Wii. Release the monsters from your food packages, find the Elfs living in your books with their bar codes. Keep track of your life with Delicious LIbrary for the Wii.

Re:Weird information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15726775)

Can you pass whatever you're smoking this way?

Re:Weird information (1)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726996)

I think those are awesome ideas. I used to play a game called Microspace or something like that, Where it would use the files on your hard drive to create levels and enemies. Its a great idea - same general idea as spore : ) -Red

Re:Weird information (1)

antime (739998) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727259)

One that has been floated around is that you would be able to have a little avatar of yourself that you could put into various games.
Like they planned in Perfect Dark [gamespot.com] ? If the Righteous Outrage Brigade got their knickers in a twist over a N64 multiplayer game I don't even wanna know what they'll think of using the feature in online games.

Re:Weird information (2, Interesting)

GalionTheElf (515869) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727456)

Reading your link, no one got their knickers in a twist over anything. Rare/Nintendo decided to remove the feature in light of the Columbine shootings.

Re:Weird information (1)

WhyCause (179039) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726933)

...measuring coordinates between 0-1023 on the X axis and 0-767 on the Y axis...


I believe this an awkward way of describing the resolution of the position tracking system, i.e., how many discrete 'tics' can be measured (along each axis) as you move from the lower-left corner of the measurement area to the upper right.

I doubt that there is any sort of camera (in the "take a picture of your face for use in Wii Sports" sense) involved.

Re:Weird information (4, Informative)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726940)

Well, as a camera, no purpose, because the folks at IGN are, as usual, being paid to be highly speculative fanboys. I say this as:

a) a game developer
b) who has access to the wii-mote and has read the dev documentation
c) somebody who likes IGN, although my like of them dies by the day

Trust me, it can never be used as a camera. It translates position into co-ordinates because, holy fuck batman, thats what a pointer does.

The difference with a joystick or analog stick is that you map the 'force' of the joystick (ie, pointed up down, left right) into some kind of velocity and acceleration and determine where on the screen the pointer should be .. the "co-ordinates" you end up with are a result of your game logic that deals with the input values of the console controllers' analog stick. With the wii-mote, the idea is that it is pointing somewhere, therefore, the hardware can tell you where.

I read the article a few days ago on IGN, and for the most part, its correct. You have to distinguish between real input, and glare from windows or lights, and another interesting matter is that the controller is so sensitive that in order to deal with the input from the accelerometer you cant take what you get EVERY frame and go from that .. you should average it out over some small delta, maybe .2 seconds.

But the 'maybe it can be used a camera' part is just like .. man why am I working 50 hours a week to create something mediocre when I could be paid to work 40 hours a week, some of that playing videogames to write wild wet-dream conjecture?!

Re:Weird information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15727112)

I haven't met any gaming journalists, but based on their writing, they seem to be pretty dense people for the most part.

Re:Weird information (1)

payndz (589033) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727228)

I say this as:

a) a game developer
...
why am I working 50 hours a week to create something mediocre


I admire your honesty! But as Jack Bauer would say, "Who do you work for?" Just so I can, y'know, avoid their 'mediocre' games.

That's easy... (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727298)

why am I working 50 hours a week to create something mediocre
Who do you work for?

EA? Just guessing :-)

Re:Weird information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15727243)

holy fuck indeed, old chum.

Re:Weird information (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727346)


I read the article a few days ago on IGN, and for the most part, its correct. You have to distinguish between real input, and glare from windows or lights, and another interesting matter is that the controller is so sensitive that in order to deal with the input from the accelerometer you cant take what you get EVERY frame and go from that .. you should average it out over some small delta, maybe .2 seconds.


Accelerometers are usually very sensative. I'm working with some that are on the order of 2 micro-"g"s. I'd be curious to see what averaging the data really accomplishes. I'd suspect your motions would feel partly laggy if done over too long a time frame. I'm guessing the reason you average is because the human hand isn't capable of aiming the device at the aformentioned precision. Since your hand shakes somewhat, you might want to take an average of readings. But I would have thought that measuring perhaps 3 times a frame would be more accurate than a blending the input from the last 12 frames. Either their accelerometer isn't fast enough, or they're concerned about wii-mote battery life.

Re:Weird information (1)

sd.fhasldff (833645) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727580)

Since your hand shakes somewhat, you might want to take an average of readings. But I would have thought that measuring perhaps 3 times a frame would be more accurate than a blending the input from the last 12 frames. Either their accelerometer isn't fast enough, or they're concerned about wii-mote battery life.

Or they could just use a lowpass filter on the console-end to get rid of any high-frequency "shakes".

It's a "Beacon Bar" not a "Sensor Bar" (4, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727424)

I'd guess this is how it actually works ;

The "sensor bar" sounds more like a "beacon bar". I'm guessing that it has two flashing infrared LEDs, one at each end (or maybe more, they might be lying). Each LED flashes in a different pattern (or is maybe a cluster of LEDs in a different pattern, a "barcode" maybe).

The remote has a megapixel monochrome IR CCD in it. This picks up the position of the LEDs in the "sensor bar". After calibration, the position and inclination of the lights in the image can be used to calculate the vector of your aim.

This is a nice, elegant way of doing it. It's akin to the existing way that TV-aiming devices work (lightguns), except....

  • A lightgun works by picking up a single pixel of light, and relaying the timing to the base unit. The base unit uses it's knowledge about how far down the TV fram the electron beam is to determine the position of the lightgun.
  • With a lightgun, the positioning relies heavily on scan-timing on a CRT. Given the modern display market, a consistent method of detecting scan-timings varies from difficult (100MHz flicker-free displays) to impossible (LCD displays).
  • With a lightgun, you have to have a "flash" to enable the thing to work ; this is why House of the Dead and the like all flash the screen when you shoot - so the lightgun can pick up it's position regardless of whether it's aimed at a dark pixel or not.

This is a serious improvement on lightgun technologies. You can play Zelda without seeing unrealistic muzzle flash when shooting a bow. It should work with ANY display technology, not just scanning-raster, as long as it doesn't get too large (and even then, you should be able to move the "beacon" bar closer to you to enable larger screens with equal angular accuracy). The horizontal accuracy should be much better. And I'll wager it improves the battery life, because the remote doesn't constantly have to emit radiation at the sensor bar, it just has to capture an image.

Bah, tried to do an ascii art of how I think it works, but the lamo-filter won't let it past.

AA Batteries? Are they kidding? (4, Insightful)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726711)

After seeing the piece of work that is the DS lite, I figured Nintendo would have similar recharge functionality for the remotes. I have similar issue with my wireless mice and I find it rediculous... sure, lithium-ion batteries are expensive, but for a $250 machine anyway...

Re:AA Batteries? Are they kidding? (5, Insightful)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726733)

Just because it can use AA batteries doesn't mean it won't have a rechargeable battery pack. Look at the Xbox 360 controller, for example. Out of the box, it comes with two AA batteries that fit into a little box that snaps into the controller. However, you can go out and buy a play and charge kit (battery + USB recharge cable) for ~$20 and use that instead. The battery pack is similar in shape to the AA battery cartridge and fits in the exact same place on the controller. Selling it separately may be seen as a money grab by some, but it does make sense (accessories == big money!) to help offset the console subsidy.

Then again, Nintendo didn't do that with the old Wavebird. If you wanted rechargeable batteries, you had to go out and buy your own AA-sized rechargeables. I would be very surprised if Nintendo didn't offer some sort of rechargeable battery pack for the WiiMote, though.

Re:AA Batteries? Are they kidding? (1)

EvilFrog (559066) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726812)

If the battery life is anything close to the Wavebird, I'm perfectly happy with them using AAs. I've gotten a lot of use out of my Wavebird and I've only ever replaced the batteries in it a couple of times. The rare occasion when it runs out, I just need to run to the pantry to get a few replacements rather than wait for it to recharge. All in all, I'd say the Wavebird is the single best console controller I've ever used. It's wireless, responsive, feels good in your hands, lightweight, and the batteries last forever. It doesn't have force-feedback (while the Wii-mote apparently does), but I've honestly never missed it.

Re:AA Batteries? Are they kidding? (2, Interesting)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726892)

The rare occasion when it runs out, I just need to run to the pantry to get a few replacements rather than wait for it to recharge.

That's the beautiful part about the 360's play and charge cable. It'll recharge and let you play at the same time (it'll recharge much more slowly that way, of course). Of course, then you're tethered to the console again, but it's better than waiting an hour or two for the batteries to charge back up. I guess if being wireless is really that important, you could buy two battery packs and a charging station and just swap out batteries as necessary (that'd be major overkill, since the 360 battery pack lasts for a good 2-3 weeks on a single charge, depending on how much you play of course).

they now make a separate charger... (4, Interesting)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726939)

http://www.xbox.com/en-US/hardware/x/xbox360quickc hargekit/default.htm [xbox.com]

The play and charge doesn't really excite me. I use it, but when it runs down, I just grab my other controller with 2 AAs in it while the play and charge charges from my iPod USB power supply.

The play and charge has two major flaws:
1. If you charge your controller off your 360 while the 360 is "off", the 360 isn't really off, it is taking over 80W of power. It basically just turns off the video out. It gets hot and wastes a lot of power.
2. If you charge your controller off your 360 while the 360 is on, you must use that controller as player 1. That is, if any controller is attached by the play n charge kit to the 360, it becomes controller 1. If you turn it off (perhaps to make another controller #1), it just turns right back on and becomes #1 again. This sucks. This forces you to use the tethered controller to play, even if you have another that is charged. That is, unless you want to wait until your 360 is "off" to charge, in which case you end up at #1 again.

That's why I have to plug my controller into my iPod power supply (via the play n charge cable) to charge it. Weak.

Still, all in all it is a good controller, Sony will have trouble matching it with their PS3 controller.

Re:they now make a separate charger... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15726992)

Except the Wii isn't going to use 80W when just sitting there. Just because there are flaws in one system doesn't mean they will carry over to other products.

Re:they now make a separate charger... (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727242)

If you charge your controller off your 360 while the 360 is "off", the 360 isn't really off, it is taking over 80W of power. It basically just turns off the video out. It gets hot and wastes a lot of power.

Did you actually measure the power draw? I haven't, so I have no idea if it's 80W or less. What I do know is that it only stays on long enough to recharge the battery, and that's usually done in a couple of hours. As for getting hot, it should not get any hotter than it would leaving the 360 on the dashboard, and probably less since the video card isn't running. If you're having overheating issues, you should get your box serviced (most likely you got one of the batch of defective power supplies from the launch window).

Re:AA Batteries? Are they kidding? (1)

rohlfinator (888775) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727221)

Then again, Nintendo didn't do that with the old Wavebird.
However, you could buy one through a third party. [amazon.com]

An official Nintendo-branded model would probably be a more solid option, though. Still, AA rechargeables aren't really a big deal, especially when they last 30-60 hours. Some rechargeables even last longer than traditional batteries, I think, and they're often cheaper than the battery packs.

Are YOU kidding? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15726937)

After seeing the piece of work that is the DS lite, I figured Nintendo would have similar recharge functionality for the remotes. I have similar issue with my wireless mice and I find it rediculous... sure, lithium-ion batteries are expensive, but for a $250 machine anyway...

Are you serious?!?!

Look, here's the options you typically have with batteries in consumer products:
1. Batteries are not user accessible. When batteries lose their ability to hold a charge, you replace the wiimote. Cost to you: $60
2. Proprietary rechargables. Really just AAs or AAAs, but inside a special case so that you have to buy them from the manufacturer. Cost to you: $35
3. User replaceable batteries of a standard size. You buy your own NiMhs. Cost to you: $6.99

You're COMPLAINING about this?

Re:AA Batteries? Are they kidding? (2, Insightful)

Minced (871651) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726970)

Rather than produce an expensive next gen wireless controller, I'm looking at you $50 Wireless 360 controller, Nintendo has opted to keep the cost down to make it a smaller investment for teh average consumer. So instead of having a $50 controller, it might retail for $25-$35 instead. As you said, lithium batteries aren't cheap, but consumers often are.

Re:AA Batteries? Are they kidding? (1)

HeavyD14 (898751) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727053)

I have a number of wireless devices (Specifically a cordless phone and my mouse) that use AA sized rechargeable bateries, and fit recharge in their bases. This may just be a money maker for Nintendo, the standard model comes with standard Alkaline cells, but you can upgrade with a charging base and batteries.

Re:AA Batteries? Are they kidding? (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727334)

Reachargable batteries tend to lose charge over time (especially NiMH and NiCD). I've owned a mouse that came with rechargable batteries. It lasted about a week between recharges. After it died I replaced it with a non-rechargable battery one. It runs about a month now on the batteries included and the battery meter still shows "good".
Another example: TV remotes and motherboards. They consume so little electicity that it would be insane putting rechargable batteries in. They mention that a Wii-mote runs about 30 to 60 hours (depending on the mode). Considering that Wii is targeted at casual gamers who play no more than 2 hours a day (and usually even less) this may be a wise decision. If you want to play more than that, buy a 4 NiMH battery + recharger pack. These cost no more than $30 and may be used for digital cameras etc. as well.

No rechargable batteries? (0, Redundant)

DragonPup (302885) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726715)

I am pretty surprised the batteries in the wiimote are standard AA's and apparently not rechargeable. It seems to go against their use if LI in the recent gameboys. :-|

Re:No rechargable batteries? (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726748)

This is a good thing, proprietary rechargeable battery replacements tend to be expensive.

And you can buy rechargeable AA batteries. I bought 6AA+4AAA+Recharger for 14.99 at Costco and the batteries last a crazy long time. 4-5x longer on one charge than alkaline batteries, by my estimates (Because of this, I only buy rechargeables now, make sure they have a high mAH and are NiMH).

OTOH, all my Lithion based batteries in my Sony (purchased before they turned into total scum) cameras cost >$60-120 to replace and reliably die after 2-3 years. I don't know how fast NiMH dies (it's life must be at least as long at Li), but at least I can replace them cheap.

Re:No rechargable batteries? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726778)

NiMH batteries die as a function of usage, Li-ion batteries die as a function of time.

Re:No rechargable batteries? (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726846)

Li-Ion batteries also die as a function of usage. Most devices I have estimate about five hundred power cycles. Were Nintendo to release a Li-Ion battery pack that'll fit in the AA section of the Wiimote, you're talking anywhere from 15000-30000 hour lifetime (if it had the same mAH rating as normal AAs anyways), which is almost certainly more than you'll be using the system for. On shorter-life devices like laptops, which consequently will often get more use than a console, it might actually be a problem (probably 2000 hours total life on the high end), but you could almost certainly buy one and have it last about the lifetime of the console without needing to replace it, provided it holds up as it should.

Re:No rechargable batteries? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726867)

i should rephrase that, most Li-ion batteries expire due to time not usage, incorrect recharging can shorten the lifespan and heavy use will affect the battery, but the biggest enemy of Li-ion batteries is time.

Re:No rechargable batteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15727014)

I vote that we change the abbreviation from li-ion to lion. way cooler. Lion batteries! ROAR! that is all.

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:Ba5PXLmmaoQJ: www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm+charge/di scharge+cycles&hl=en [64.233.167.104]

from this, "Aging of lithium-ion is an issue that is often ignored. A lithium-ion battery in use typically lasts between 2-3 years. The capacity loss manifests itself in increased internal resistance caused by oxidation. Eventually, the cell resistance reaches a point where the pack can no longer deliver the stored energy although the battery may still have ample charge."

remember to keep your batteries in the fridge!

Re:No rechargable batteries? (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727175)

Actually it's heat over the lifetime of the battery that drops Li-ion batteries primarily. Most people's experience with Li-ion is with laptops which supprise supprise get quite hot with use, get left in hot cars, other very warm locations, and are usualy either fully charged or fully discharged which does the most to drop the batteries lifespan. This is the average loss of Li-ion pulled from Wikipedia for each year of the batteries lifespan.

Storage Temperature --- 40% Charge ---- 100% Charge
0 C (32 F) -- 2% loss after 1 year -- 6% loss after 1 year
25 C (77 F) - 4% loss after 1 year -- 20% loss after 1 year
40 C (104 F)- 15% loss after 1 year - 35% loss after 1 year
60 C (140 F)- 25% loss after 1 year - 40% loss after 3 months

Re:No rechargable batteries? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15726764)

Check the Wavebird remote for the Gamecube. It uses standard AA batteries. It also lasts a LONG time (depending on normal vs. heavy usage, of course). With two pairs of rechargables, I never had to worry about batteries in mine (well, until I lost the charger, but that's another story...)

Now, admittedly, the Wavebird is doing a lot less than the Wiimote, but 30-60 hours on a charge sounds pretty good to me. A docking/storage station that did recharge of internal batteries would be nice, but it doesn't seem as flat-out crazy as some people are making it out to be.

(Another caveat: They could still change it before release, I guess. Retrofitting your design from AA batteries to an internal rechargable shouldn't be too hard)

AA is an OPEN standard! (2, Insightful)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727056)

/. complaints on NOT having expensive proprietary batteries?

Buy whatever AA you want.
in 5 years buy some super capacitor AA...(joke)

Re:No rechargable batteries? (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727307)

Probably because the controller uses less power than the DS with its two screens.

They used AAs for the Wavebird, too. Works well for me, I got a bunch of rechargeable AAs already and can just switch them out if the Wavebird runs on empty.

Zonk the Nintendo fanboy (-1, Offtopic)

clarin (988267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726720)

I think we all know where he's gonna put that Wiimote as soon as he gets his hands on it...

Uh... Need A Clue? (4, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726721)

I read this the other day. Most of it was known before. That said, the IGN writer needs a clue.

The Wii-mote features 6KB of "non-volatile" memory, whose exact purpose remains a mystery. IGN Wii speculates that this throwaway memory could possibly be used in conjunction with the Wii-mote's recently revealed internal speaker.

I wonder what the memory will be for. I can't think of any uses, unless it is used for calibration in which case it doesn't matter that much. That said, using non-volatile memory (which did not need to be in quotes, and is probably flash) to store sound clips seems rather pointless and a waste of limited write cycles.

But wait, there's more!

...which means that it is more or less seeing a megapixel image. Whether or not this data can be interpreted into visual information remains unknown, but we're not ruling out the possibility that the pointer could sub as a camera.

I'M ruling it out. That's like saying a mouse with a ball and a 200 PPI resolution could be used as a scanner. To put a live mega-pixel video sensor on the front of the Wiimote just to analyze every image to figure out which way the thing was pointing would be one of the most expensive, slow, battery draining, and stupid ways to accomplish that goal imaginable.

We'll find out more during Tokyo Game Show on Sept 22nd. In the mean time, if you are going to speculate in an article about something, get some kind of engineer to take a glance at your article first so you don't look too wrong.

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (4, Insightful)

77Punker (673758) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726732)

Hey, at least it's not as bad as the IGN article that said the Wii would be less powerful than the X-Box because its CPU runs at a lower frequency. I think it went something like this:

"X-Box had a 780 MHz Celeron but Wii's processor is only 745 MHz so that means that Wii won't support bump mapping! OMFG!"

Maybe that quote is paraphrased, but it's pretty damn close to an IGN article I read about a month ago that made it onto Slashdot. IGN should either hire some editors or be destroyed.

It's probably EEPROM as well rather than flash. (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726974)

Thought I'd pipe in again, judging from the amount of memory, it's probably an EEPROM chip rather than flash. This might indicate that they're actually planning on just physcially keeping a list of savegames (along witht their location, but the the files themselves, just an index) on the remote itself, probably along with varios configuration data or whatever..

Re:It's probably EEPROM as well rather than flash. (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727442)

Well, flash would be pretty pointless at 6 KB. But they're basically the same technology, so what the hell.

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (1)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726753)

It might be used for custom button mappings. A nice feature of PC games is that you can have customer key mappings. This might allow the controller to provide those features, eliminating the need for each game to do so.

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (4, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726796)

I thought about that for a second but I ruled it out. What is the point of putting that on the controller? Unless your controller becomes your controller that you take to a friends house that keeps a tiny bit of data on you (favorite color, birthday, name) so when you start playing it's already configured for you. I wouldn't think enough games would have similar enough controls for that to work. When they do (such as the trigger in an FPS) then the configuration is obvious (are you going to change the fire button from the trigger to a button at the bottom of the controller you can't reach?)

On a PC you have a TON of keys to bind. On the Wiimote, you have 9 (if you include the four D-pad directions).

I don't see the point of storing that on the controller. After all, the system is supposed to have built in flash storage of some size (I don't remember) and you could store that data there. That would make more sense than storing it on the controller.

And on the storing sounds font, just how much of a sound could you possibly fit in 6kb anyway? Standard WAVs are 10MB per minute. If you make that mono, it's 5MB a minute. Cut the sample rate in 4 (to 11khz) and that would give you 1.25MB a minute. Go to 8 bit instead of 16 and things are sounding terrible, but you're at ~600kb per minute. So you could fit 1/100th of a minute of audio in that space. Even if you compress it 5:1 you only get 3 seconds.

And if you are going to use that memory for sounds in-game, why does it need to be non-volatile anyway? Would it really be that hard to download the sound to the controller again the next time they turn on the game?

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (3, Informative)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726849)

I don't know about the rest of this but I do remember the Nintendo guys saying that people would want their controller to be THEIR controller so this might be exactly what that memory is used for. A profile of some sorts.

This *is* something Nintendo is shooting for (the personalized controllers)

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (1)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727183)

I'm thinking you're right, but not just for 'personal info' like colour scheme, birthday (which take up >1kb), but also sensitivity and callibration. If I take my wiimote over to my friend's house, I want it to remember my swing style. Maybe I'm a newb who likes insane, overzealous motions, and my friend is a pixel-perfect accuracy sniper; we do NOT want our settings confused!

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726873)

I don't think it's about configuring the buttons. I think it's about configuring how to interpret the movements. Most people don't bother adjusting the speed the mouse moves but a lot of people may adjust how sensitive their wii controller is. Maybe even have different settings per game type. Playing tennis? You want to do a full-fledged swing. Playing some fps? You may want very slight movements make a big difference in game. So maybe just two settings of responsiveness depending on whether you want to swing your arms around or whether you want small movements while resting it on your lap.

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726971)

Probably not for key mappings. Remember that the console will have WAY more flash memory to store those kinds of things. 6KB is a tiny tiny tiny amount, so I doubt its really all that significant with respect to the featureset of the controller.

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (2, Insightful)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726983)

Number one, in many console games you don't get much freedom to change the mapping of button->action.

With the wii, you're probably going to need someway of calibrating the remote to a persons style. Do they make large movements or small precise ones? What's their resting height, etc.?

Also, with the Wii Sports demonstration it looks like players might have the option of creating a custom avatar for their in game persona. This could be stored on the remote, instead of a memory card (especially if it's a cross-game feature).

In terms of sound quality, it's a tiny speaker in a remote, you could put a 320 kbps mp3 in there and it'd sound like crap. Maybe they're using very low bitrate mp3 compression? Or they're streaming it over the bluetooth connection?

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15727000)

Is it really that big a mystery? 6kB of non-volatile memory is obviously for storing the controller's firmware. It's probably read-only memory (which qualifies as non-volatile) since the firmware will not need updating. This is probably the least interesting bit of information I've read about the Wii controller. Surely with technical specs detailed enough to list the size of the firmware ROM area, they could have found *something* more interesting to report on.

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727319)

Unless your controller becomes your controller that you take to a friends house that keeps a tiny bit of data on you

That is exactly what Nintendo has announced, and it's exactly what it is for.

They expect every user to have his own controller, with some personal data stored on it.

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (3, Informative)

MasJ (594702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726806)

Well, ironically the example you gave of the mouse has actually been done. It was on Slashdot a few months ago where this guy rewired his mouse to act as a scanner/digital camera. Pretty cool IMO : ). You could atleast take low-res images. And if it's actually seeing megapixel, that's pretty good.

This is the slashdot story: Turn an Optical Mouse into a Scanner [slashdot.org]

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (2, Informative)

jensen404 (717086) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726947)

The Wii-mote has a CMOS sensor behind the IR filter in the front.
The "sensor bar" has a few IR LEDs on each side that the Wii-mote sensor can see. The Wii-mote is able to read two positions from these LEDs and determine their positions in a 1024x768 area.

The company that provides the sensor technology also makes sensors for optical mice. Those sensors "analyze every image to figure out which way the thing was pointing". And optical mice can last a lot longer than 60 hours on two AAs while providing their own light source.

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (1)

modeless (978411) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727100)

Interesting... so how does it tell anything about its absolute position? It can tell whether it's pointing at or near the sensor bar, but that doesn't help it determine whether it's near the floor or the ceiling, or right or left of center. It wouldn't even be able to distinguish being far away from being left or right of the TV, since both cases would cause the LEDs to appear closer together.

And how could this thing possibly be calibrated for a shooting game like Duck Hunt? I'll bet it won't be accurate enough for "iron sights" aiming à la the NES Zapper so you will have to use an onscreen crosshair. And it will no longer work to put your gun 1" from the TV (cheating 10-year-olds everywhere will be sorely disappointed).

Personally I was hoping Nintendo would do something really innovative with the sensing, like use trilateration [wikipedia.org] with sound or radio waves to determine the controller's absolute position. Now *that* would be seriously cool.

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726956)

Well, there have been rumors that the remote would store save-games. However, the 6KB makes that seem unlikely, except the reality MIGHT be that remote store some data about its "owner" i.e. You have your own personal remote and it stores data that tells the Wii itself which savegames are yours. The Wii maybe saves some identifying data (name, profile, etc) on the remote, which also goes with savegame files. This sounds at least vaguely plausible to me.

Also Nintendo has historically not shown up at the Tokyo Game Show, and the word on the street is they're not showing up this year either. Somehow I expect Nintendo to make an announcement about the Wii around the time of the show (release date anyone?) and that ending up being bigger news than the whole TGS itself.

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (1)

fletchermemorial (983057) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727246)

Not to flame, or anything...but
You are not an authority on what is ruled out or not, and i know that technically, this isn't a mouse-ball, http://sprite.student.utwente.nl/~jeroen/projects/ mouseeye/ [utwente.nl] This is an example of odd things done out of unlikely devices. While this was a modification, there's no telling that there won't be something similar built in, and if it were built in, it would probably be better.

Nintendo is best known for their eccentric ideas, so don't say it's not going to happen until they say so. What if there's a plug-in feature, and you can set it atop the Television to aim at the user, and use it as an eye-toy [wikipedia.org] ? Just making a statement that Nintendo above all else is one of the most innovative gaming companies, with the largest quantity of free thinkers on their team. I suppose you can say, they're like Apple, but done right. (Though, if you ask me, that's not hard to do.)

Re:Uh... Need A Clue? (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727306)

Maybe the flash is to record the last three days of accelerometer usage, so if you break it the repair guy will know you threw it against the wall in frustration ;)

Bounds of the TV (2, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726724)

That makes me wonder... how will the sensor determine the bounds of the TV that the remote is aiming at? Will it look up somehow to see where light is emiting from the TV somehow? Or will there be general assumptions about the size and aspect ratio of the screen?

Perhaps there will be a calibration on setting the system up... but they have to expect either the TV or the sensor to be moved occasionally. Any manual calibration can be expected to suffer from accuracy problems, I'd expect - especially if game makers somehow assume a screen aspect ratio when making their games. Games with relativistic controls wouldn't be so bad... but anything with precision involved would start to feel sloppy when anything changed.

I hope the relationship between screen and controller are more dynamic and automatic than just sensing the remote. Regardless, I imagine I can quickly get used to whatever it is, and the game makers will compensate as needed - I'd just like it to be as close to a precise 3-d mouse as possible without having to wave the controller too out of proportion to the actual screen.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Bounds of the TV (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726809)

I'm guessing it will be like the DS. When you first turn it on for the first time (or when ever you choose to) you'd calibrate it (standard shoot the corners). This would then be stored in the Wii and it would pass the calibrated data to the games, they would never get the raw data. The TV's aspect ratio could easily be stored there too.

Re:Bounds of the TV (1)

mikeisme77 (938209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726840)

It's in the summary--you calibrate teh Wiimote by pointing it at two seperate locations on the screen (probably top left and bottom right--or top right and bottom left). Also, the summary (I haven't read TFA) made it seem like you may need to calibrate the controller every time a game is loaded to take into account environmental variables (such as a receiver that's been moved, mirrors, plastic, lighting changes, etc.) If you're changing games a lot in a short time frame this could be annoying, but otherwise it shouldn't take too long to point the controller at one corner and then the other corner--especially since you no longer have to go through the trouble of powering on the system since it's "always on"... now if they would just get rid of all of those damn load screens...

Re:Bounds of the TV (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727413)

The gun that came with Time Crisis on the Playstation required a recalibration every time it was switched on, for the same reason. It got tedious, especially when I started the game and then realised that my calibration was off, so I had to reset and start again. I'm hoping that, as long as the television and control strip are not moved, that this won't be the case for the Wii.

Re:Bounds of the TV (4, Interesting)

Lectrik (180902) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727186)

That makes me wonder... how will the sensor determine the bounds of the TV that the remote is aiming at? Will it look up somehow to see where light is emiting from the TV somehow? Or will there be general assumptions about the size and aspect ratio of the screen?

Perhaps there will be a calibration on setting the system up... but they have to expect either the TV or the sensor to be moved occasionally. Any manual calibration can be expected to suffer from accuracy problems, I'd expect - especially if game makers somehow assume a screen aspect ratio when making their games. Games with relativistic controls wouldn't be so bad... but anything with precision involved would start to feel sloppy when anything changed.

I hope the relationship between screen and controller are more dynamic and automatic than just sensing the remote. Regardless, I imagine I can quickly get used to whatever it is, and the game makers will compensate as needed - I'd just like it to be as close to a precise 3-d mouse as possible without having to wave the controller too out of proportion to the actual screen.


Ha, something I have a little experience with...
first let's take old NES era light gun games, pull the trigger, the screen flashes white. some of the older arcade shooters use something similar, but can get away with much shorter flashes and the gun interprets that. Now the more modern ones, mostly SEGA ones where I work have a series of IR LEDs located at the edges of the screen (5 top 5 bottom usually) that are strobed in series. I'm pretty sure it measures the intensity of each LED to determine the position of the gun, and covering even one will make it think it's pointing off screen (a common problem in cold weather when people just thrown their coats on top of the game when they play it) I'm assuming the sensor bar they keep talking about will function slightly similarly to the later. You will probably want to calibrate it anytime you drastically change the relative distance from the TV because it starts to make a difference when you double the distance [i.e standing 5 feet away, or sitting 10 away on the couch with your buddies playing Mario Part-wii]

Re:Bounds of the TV (1)

tritoneaddict (985232) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727229)

Kinda makes me feel sorry for any poor dude that has a 60" screen.

My point being, the remote isn't going to have a 1:1 mapping of its motion to that on the screen, just like our PC mice don't map precisely to the distance of motion of our pointers on the screen. As long as there's a point of reference on the screen to look at, it doesn't matter how sensitive the tracking is.

Re:Bounds of the TV (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727342)

I think it just assumes the aspect ratio matches the aspect ratio you've chosen for the game (4:3 or 16:9) and the distance between the marker bars (or "sensor bars" as the media likes to call them even though they are IR emitters, not sensors) and the picture are to be calibrated (or just ignored, who knows).

Re:Bounds of the TV (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727352)

Probably the calibration procedure will include pointing at various points on the TV so that the Wii-mote will build its coordinate system, pretty much like PDAs do.

Don't believe the camera bit. (4, Interesting)

EvilFrog (559066) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726799)

The bit in the article about the camera is pretty idiotic. IGN is completely misunderstanding the information they've got. It can read relative position on the screen to a resolution that is roughly a megapixel. Somehow they read this as a potential camera. It's not. It's no more a camera than your computer mouse is.

Re:Don't believe the camera bit. (1)

mindtriggerz (914619) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727147)

You would be supprised. A friend, for a research project studying some effect with molten metals, wired up an optical mouse CCD so he could get super-fast videos of the effect in action. They weren't good "quality", but they got him his data.

How it might be accomplished (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15726941)

If I was Nintendo, I'd have two transmitters of some sort ship with the Wii that would be used to determine the bounds of the television. Place one on one corner of the TV just outside the screen, place the other on the opposite corner; that way you can draw right angles at those points and create a parallelogram containing the screen. It would be a pain and the transmitters would get lost eventually, but it would be effective.

Alternatively, I imagine they could alter the display through the video chip or somehow so it creates a grid that the optical device can use. I'm not sure how one might accomplish that though, especially without it becoming visible.

Once it's out it's out (2, Insightful)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726960)

Then we can see if it's good or gimick - a neat controller design or a nintendo power glove.

Until then, you can go back to bashing the PS3 as usual.

Re:Once it's out it's out (2, Insightful)

TheZorch (925979) | more than 7 years ago | (#15726994)

According to the impressions of E3 attendees who tried out the Wii-Mote it will be much more than just a gimick. It will change the way we play videogames.

Stop spreading FUD.

Re:Once it's out it's out (2, Insightful)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727110)

I think the parent makes a valid point, we won't really know anything until we can personally hold the controller in our own hands and try it. All most of us have now is some annecdotal evidence from some people from a gaming show who said it was neat. I'm with the parent, I need to try this thing out for myself to see if I want to be waving a stick around to play games.

Re:Once it's out it's out (4, Insightful)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727157)

I played with it @ E3. It was flipping awesome. The Wii and the DS are the only things keeping me on console gameing at the moment. I have a PC for pretty graphics.

And btw...you won't be "waveing" the controler around for the most part. Most of the stuff at E3 was very point & click driven. The swining the controler around was mostly done with the party & sports style games. Feels quite natural to me.

Re:Once it's out it's out (0, Flamebait)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727204)

There you have it. Fuck hands-on, or your own opinions - the mighty DDLKermit007 has spoken!

DDLKermit007 says "it was flipping awesome"!

Well - say no more! I'm convinced. I'll pre-order one RIGHT NOW! Where's my credit card, I'll do this over the phone, or this internet web-thingie.

Thank you DDLKermit007 - thank you. For providing a ray of sunshine into our bleak lives and setting us on the right course. DDLKermit007 knows how to tell it like it is and the world is a better place for it. Nay-sayers take notice DDLKermit007 is in town and you're so PWNED!

6kb (1, Offtopic)

esromneb (914881) | more than 7 years ago | (#15727096)

They talk about 6kb of NVM as if it's going to have some super features. um HELLO!??? I don't have that much expirence with embedded systems: but I know the 6kb will be used to store base id and a few other internal settings that nobody even needs to know bout. Sounds pretty "exciting" to me!!!
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