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E3 Previews — Lego Star Wars Complete Saga and LittleBigPlanet

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the using-the-force-for-fun dept.

E3 37

Nintendo's success has marked a refocus on games for the sake of fun, and nothing exemplifies this trend better than the Lego Star Wars series. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga will be the first game to offer the functionality gamers have wanted since they first saw a wiimote: motion-controlled lightsaber battles. It's not dueling, but it is a lot of fun. In the same vein, with even more creativity added in, is Sony's imaginative LittleBigPlanet . With Media Molecule finally opening up a bit of the user based content-creation process to journalists, 1up offers one of the first hands-on with the game's core mechanic: "Fusing various pieces together can forge entirely new objects. Place hinges and wheels on a pile of wooden blocks and suddenly you have a makeshift jalopy rolling through the stage. With a tad more work, you can transform that car into a massive (yet ridiculous) rolling wooden dragon. We didn't have quite enough time (or experience) to bust out a run-and-jump rally to put Super Mario Bros. World 8-2 to shame, but we can't wait to get our hands on the open beta due out later this year."

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Really. (0)

androvsky (974733) | more than 7 years ago | (#19842209)

Every time someone says motion controls for the Wii in a game with a sword or lightsaber, everyone thinks the lightsaber on-screen will follow their movements. So far, I have yet to see this happen. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wiggling the Wii controller back and forth has replaced hitting the 'x' button. Wiggle it up and down for the 'y' button.

I can see why, if watch one of the few games that actually tries to follow the remote, like the baseball bat in Wii Sports, the remote is terribly inaccurate and loses track of where it actually is unless it's pointed at the IR bar. It can only reliably sense broad gestures. I really think a lot of Wii sales are based on the promise of a lightsaber onscreen doing exactly what you do, and being able to get into real sword fights... it's why I wanted a Wii until I actually played one. But if they can actually deliver on that promise, I'll be thrilled to buy a Wii.

Re:Really. (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19842331)

wiggling the Wii controller back and forth has replaced hitting the 'x' button. Wiggle it up and down for the 'y' button.

So you're saying that if you coud tape the Wii controller to a paint mixer like they have at Lowes that you'd kick ass?

Re:Really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19842501)

So you're saying that if you coud tape the Wii controller to a paint mixer like they have at Lowes that you'd kick ass?

Or just strap it onto the back of your wrist while you go to, ummm, take care of business...

Re:Really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19842645)



Or just strap it onto the back of your wrist while you go to, ummm, take care of business...

That was a thinly-veiled reference to MASTURBATION! lawls.



Re:Really. (2, Informative)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 7 years ago | (#19842943)

As I discovered in a Super Paper Mario minigame a couple days ago, it turns out the controller knows what "level" is. There's a minigame where you tilt the controller left and right to control Mario (the island is what tilts as you tilt the controller) as he tries to grab things from the sky that are falling, and avoiding thwomps and other bad things that are falling from the sky. If I hold the controller perfectly horizontal to the ground, Mario doesn't move.

In addition, one of the items you can use requires an action that basically tells you to tilt the controller a certain direction. I wasn't pointing the controller at the IR devices when I tilted the controller in either case.

While Wii Carpentry probably isn't going to happen anytime soon, the controller has a good idea of what's going on around it without the benefit of the IR sensors. The IR sensors are used primarly when pointing at something on-screen. There seems to be an accelerometer inside that measures accurately how fast you're, well... accelerating the controller. And based on the above, I'm guessing the accelerometer measures tilt in 3 dimensions, so it provides an absolute reference that way as well.

Re:Really. (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 7 years ago | (#19843489)

There's a game in Zelda like that, called rollgoal. You have to roll a ball along these little blocks, like some sort of cheap game you'd buy for a kid you didn't like on a road trip, to get it from start to end. It is easily the most annoying part of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I'm not sure how they did that in the Gamecube version.

Re:Really. (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#19843907)

And based on the above, I'm guessing the accelerometer measures tilt in 3 dimensions, so it provides an absolute reference that way as well.

Yup. The accelerometers can measure the 9.8 m/s^2 downward acceleration from gravity in order to determine which way the ground is. The Excite Truck game also uses this quite a bit, as the primary control is tilting the Wii Remote left and right like a steering wheel. It works remarkably well.

You're Wrong (5, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 7 years ago | (#19842991)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wiggling the Wii controller back and forth has replaced hitting the 'x' button. Wiggle it up and down for the 'y' button.

You're wrong, and should not be modded informative.

Perhaps more precisely, you're right about many games, but wrong about the Wiimote capabilities. Granted, probably my biggest disappointment with the Wii so far has been how developers have failed to spend sufficient time with the motion sensing. The sensors are quite responsive, and while Wii Sports Baseball is decent, the best example is Wii bowling (not coincidentally, one of the more popular Wii Sports games). If you twist your wrist even a little as you bowl, your ball will spin proportionally.

Now, a 1:1 duel-type game would probably require incredible feats of programming, but here's a secret for you: you are not a Jedi Knight. One-to-one lightsaber action is no way to make a game. Like it or not, most people have no idea how to wield a blade. I'm trying to remember the game back in the 90's that attempted this "realistic" combat... Die by the Sword maybe it was called? Anyhow, you could set the sword controls to "free form" and tell the sword where to go instead of which pre-set moves to perform, and as exciting as the idea was to me, the gameplay sucked.

Compare, for reference: how much do you hate those people who say, "Guitar Hero is stupid, just learn to play the guitar for real?" Jamming on Guitar Hero does not make you a rockstar. It doesn't even teach you much about really playing a guitar. Because that's not the point.

The same holds true of every Star Wars geek who thinks a 1:1 lightsaber game would be awesome. They don't actually want to spend ten years doing katas before they're able to whip it up on their enemies. There's also no way to accurately represent something that blocks your lightsaber--your hands keep going, your lightsaber stops agains Darth Vader's lightsaber, BAM the wiimote is out of sync with the game.

What people really want is a close approximation. What I swing horizontally, I want my character to swing horizontally. When I swing diagonally, same thing. When I hold my Wiimote still, I want my character to be blocking. Maybe hammering the A button while holding the Wiimote still to push against my enemy's blade. Even Twilight Princess didn't quite do this much, but the final swordfight with Ganon came close at times. Those are not easy calculations, but they are possible with the Wiimote. People want to feel like master lightsaber duelers without actually learning how to use a sword, just like people want to enjoy the challenge of Guitar Hero without the years of challenge of really learning to play the guitar.

I don't think that a 1:1 lightsaber duel game is an impossibly high standard; certainly the Wii can get you closer than any other modern game system can. I just think it's a bad idea.

Re:You're Wrong (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 7 years ago | (#19845505)

But I don't have to be a pilot to play Heroes of the Pacific, a skilled sharpshooter to play Rainbow Six, or a pro racer to play Gran Turismo - yet the games seem to be just following my own movements. Games are designed to let you perform relatively amateur tasks and make you believe that you are actually a professional. There's no reason a swordfighting game would be any different; it would translate the relatively wild swinging of the player into more skilled movements by the onscreen character, subtly enough to not break the illusion of control.

Re:You're Wrong (2, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 7 years ago | (#19848531)

There's no reason a swordfighting game would be any different; it would translate the relatively wild swinging of the player into more skilled movements by the onscreen character, subtly enough to not break the illusion of control.

Precisely my point.

But that would not be "1:1" movement. Imagine holding the new Wii Zapper in a sniper game and having your crosshairs jump wildly every time you took a breath. I'm all for substantially immersing the player--and the Wiimote, used properly, does just that.

But whether or not the Wii (or Wiimote) can actually translate motion 1:1 is a moot point if 1:1 motion is less important than immersion... or worse, would break the immersion, as I think 1:1 would inevitably do in games that let you play at being more skilled than you are in real life.

Re:You're Wrong (1)

iNetRunner (613289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859221)

What I think pushing-robot was saying that having the game just perform two or three basic/static swings, while you are wildly swinging the controller would not feel very good. Also the impression I got from your first post was that that should be how the games handle, i.e. only a few moves. Sure there are the limitations that only using some accelerometers has is that the game wouldn't probably be able to interpret them to make the game character hold the sword in exactly the same place you do.. So realistic looks may be impossible anyway. :( But still we should "aim higher".. If only for more advanced players.

Harder than you think (5, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19843699)

The problem really isn't mapping where the sword should be or how it should move. Eventually someone will figure out a good way to make this possible and you'll be able to wave your Wiimote around and have the coresponding on-screen sword follow its motions very carefully. The real problem comes into play when you have another sword, or anything to deflect its blows added into the mix.

For example, I'm fighting an enemy with my sword and swing at him. He counters, meeting his blade with mine, causing both to bounce back from the force slightly or to slide against each other. However, my actual hand has met with no such resistance and has followed through as though my blade sliced through his sword, body, or anything else in the way as though it were nothing. On screen I'm locked sword to sword with my foe, but my hands suggest that I slashed through him. How is the mapping handled from here? Should the position that my hand ends up in be the new centered location for determining the swords next move, which would make further attacks awkward and unrealistic, or should the blade on the screen magically move to the position my hand suggests it's in, which doesn't make for a very realistic game.

The best idea I've ever heard for this solution is to have the controller respond with some type of feedback, a rumble, a sound, or something else, to notify the user that their blow was deflected. The user would then be unable to attack further until they managed to sync the remote position with their hand with what is displayed on the screen. Assuming the feedback is powerful enough and the player manages to learn to anticipate the deflection enough, eventually they will serve as their own feedback, stopping their swing as soon as they feel it has been deflected. To use the above example again, as soon as I were to feel a rumble from the Wiimote or hear two swords clashing, I would halt my downward motion and position the controller as though my blow had been met, allowing me to once again regrain control and continue with the battle.

While there are a lot of programing difficulties to be worked out, it still requires a lot of time for the player to become accustomed to the system and actually care to become familiar enough with it to enjoy playing the game. I don't forsee this as being something that casual players would be interested in taking the time to accomplish, and I'm not entirely sure if the hardware available now can offer all of the necessities in order for this to succeed.

Re:Really. (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 7 years ago | (#19843923)

It's just waggle in Lego Star Wars. I'd be hitting the button instead of swinging all the time.

Don't worry though, apparently Mario & Sonic at the Olympics has a fencing mode... so there might be hope there.

The Baseball bat in Wii Sports actually tracks pretty accurately, it's just there's a lag to it, and if you make quick movements it glitches. There's bounding or something involved.

Re:Really. (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19848471)


yes, it is bounding, you cant knock the bat on home plate. The bats movement is restricted to a standard swing and any back and forth movement becomes a swing, with the speed of the movement determining the power of the swing.

Its not bad, but it could be better. I wouldn't mind a baseball game that allowed you to swing high or low or reach out for a pitch off the plate, but thats a bit much to ask of a tech demo like Wii sports. Heck, baseball doesn't even have base running in it. Maybe when EA gets around to making MLB for the Wii.

Re:Really. (1)

rkanodia (211354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19844429)

the baseball bat in Wii Sports, the remote is terribly inaccurate and loses track of where it actually is

What are you talking about? The baseball bat in Wii Sports tracks incredibly well.

Re:Really. (2, Interesting)

Phorion (963169) | more than 7 years ago | (#19844983)

if watch one of the few games that actually tries to follow the remote, like the baseball bat in Wii Sports, the remote is terribly inaccurate and loses track of where it actually is unless it's pointed at the IR bar.

Actually, no. On my Wii, the baseball bat tracking in Wii Sports is spot on. When I'm batting, I even sway the Wiimote around a bit (like you do with a real baseball bat before taking a swing) and watch as the Mii batter on screen does the same thing. Oh, and the IR bar doesn't even participate in these actions; it's only used for the pointer, not the motion sensing.

However, it's funny you should mention this, because I went to a friend's house for a Wii Party and we ended up playing tennis a lot. I'm usually pretty good, but I was horrible here. The controls seemed incredibly sluggish, to the point where there was a good 1-second delay between my backhand and the corresponding action on screen. I even tried different controllers, and they were all the same.

So I'm wondering about the build quality of the Wii consoles. The first one I bought back in November had a different set of problems (the IR bar / pointer tracking was very, very jittery, and the cursor would keep disappearing). I exchanged this one for my current console, and haven't had any problems (and Nintendo tech support is ridiculously wonderful, by the way). Out of three consoles I've seen, two have had completely different problems with the communication between Wiimote and console. Is this more of an epidemic than I had thought?

-p

Re:Really. (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19847399)

Every time someone says motion controls for the Wii in a game with a sword or lightsaber, everyone thinks the lightsaber on-screen will follow their movements. So far, I have yet to see this happen.

Check out the swords in Red Steel until you actually hit something, or the baseball bat in Wii Baseball before you actually hit the ball. Which, by the way, has got absolutely nothing to di with the IR bar. If you think pointing it to the IR bar did anything at all, you were on drugs.

Dueling (2, Insightful)

EMeta (860558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19842215)

I think you misunderstand us, gamemakers. We would like to fence, to parry, to thrust, to judge the distance and openings in our opponents. There's that little flaw of being able to move your controller through the space it would have been blocked, but that's not too hard to deal with. Make the screen flash when you're out of sync with your actual sword & it'll just penalize you (by not letting you move it anywhere else) until you bring your sword back in line. It'll be similar enough to real fencing in that you can't overestimate where your sword will end up or you'll be a few movements behind. It will take some time for players to get used to, but hey, we're smart, we can.

The same kind of adjustment/penalty will have to apply for inertia effects of weapons for how strong your character is, & then you can use all kinds of weapons.

Get on this developers! Millions of people have the hardware, you just have to code it now!

Re:Dueling (3, Interesting)

g4pengts (1050568) | more than 7 years ago | (#19842715)

What you propose sounds like a reasonable way to solve the blocking problem. But there is another problem I see with sword fighting. If our movement makes a 1:1 translation into a game, doesn't that means in order for me to be good at the game, I actually needs to be good with a sword?

Re:Dueling (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 7 years ago | (#19842879)

You also have to be the same size as the character on screen. Sales of huge-screen TVs will go through the roof!

Re:Dueling (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19842907)

It's still a model, but far more related than performing a dragon punch. I learned to move my fingers in some strange ways for Guitar Hero, so I bet I could learn the basic mechanisms of two-handed sword fighting as well. The trick would be to have a lot of different skill levels to let all different levels of players have fun gameplay. But to be able to improve, even marginally in swordfighting by playing a game? That's the ticket.

Re:Dueling (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 7 years ago | (#19847459)

Yeah, give Jack Thompson more ammo. You'll have kids taking swords to school and impaling themselves. Think of the children!

Re:Dueling (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19850065)

One problem: The Wiimote can't determine its absolute position. It only knows direction of motion, acceleration, and orientation (whether it's upside down, vertical, etc). The only way the Wiimote can be accurate in determining where in space you're holding it is if you a) point the IR sensor at the bar on top of your TV, which means always holding it facing your TV (you can't swing around), or b) constantly requiring you to calibrate it. Option B is ridiculous in a realtime sword fighting game.

the big question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19842281)

who really gives a crap?

Viva Pinata? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19842285)

Does "LittleBigPlanet" = "Viva Pinata"?

Re:Viva Pinata? (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19842351)

Thats the big question, so far everything I have seen shows more of a digital sandbox than a game. It looks great but is there a point?

Re:Viva Pinata? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19842863)

Viva Pinata is actually a very deep game while Little Big Planet is just a 2D physics sim (everything is internally calculated as circles and rectangles) with pretty graphics. The "game mechanics" is like any number of toy Java apps that let you doodle and then some cute little character uses your doodle as its environment/input. This just happens to have an extra pretty 3D coat of paint. Nothing innovative here at all considering user-created levels have been on consoles since the days of Excitebike. This "game" and Home are probably the two most overhyped bits of technology I've ever seen. Seriously, what is Home but Phantasy Star Online without the actual game part. You just wander around with at most 50 people in a user-hosted lobby- bfd.

Re:Viva Pinata? (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 7 years ago | (#19843931)

It[Little Big Planet's style of play] is new to consoles to my recollection.

Re:Viva Pinata? (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19844903)

Viva Pinata is a child's game. But don't take my word for it. review [ign.com]

By the way, Halo is 'just' a bunch of polygons with pretty graphics and the same "game mechanics" Doom had in 1993.

Are you even old enough to have PLAYED Excitebike or did it just show up in your googling? You couldn't share those tracks buddy.

LittleBig...Planet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19842357)

Isn't this terribly similar to the "Little Big Adventure"-series?

Re:LittleBig...Planet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19849839)

That's somewhat like asking whether Apple Computer is terrible similar to The Big Apple.

This is sweet! (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19842545)

My 5 year old daughter loves the GC version of the Lego Star Wars games. Actually, we bought these games, she became obsessed with them, and because of them decided to watch the movies. Unfortunately, she watched Episode I over and over again because she loved Jar Jar Binks (I guess she's his target demographic), but eventually graduated to the original trilogy. Now, she'll tend to watch Episode IV more than the others, but she's seen them all several times. Strangely, she was not impressed with the Ewoks at all.

This release will get hours of gameplay at my house, and I'm excited to see what sort of new things they have to offer, especially with the Wiimote. I would also like to see them change some of the cut scenes. Some of those had some great humor, and if they can put some different humorous ones in there as well, it would go a long way toward keeping the experience fresh.

Re:This is sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19842723)

Sadly, kids her age aren't the only demographic for Jar Jar. My racist father thought he was hilarious.

Re:This is sweet! (1)

JDAustin (468180) | more than 7 years ago | (#19843029)

My 6 year son is the same way. He has already completed Ep. 1,2,3 & 6. He also likes Empire Strikes Back the most of the original trilogy. Luckily, the only exposure he has had of Ep 1-3 is through the game. I won't let him watch the movies (why ruin a good thing).

Apple, Nintendo, Google (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19842775)

The holy trinity of Those Who Constantly Receive Free Advertisement On Slashdot.

Knock it off already.

Nintendo, Apple, Google (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19843625)

Keep getting free advertisement here.

Re:Nintendo, Apple, Google (2, Insightful)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19845171)

Oh noes! We'd better stop talking about all commercial products, companies, and for-profit organisations!

This thread is now about fluffy bunnies and kittens. Discuss as you wish, just don't kill the kittens.
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