Motion Tracking Controller For PC?

By John Walker on January 8th, 2010 at 1:44 pm.

I can shoot dead people.

Are you ready to have the way you play PC games revolutionised? No? Well tough, because a man said it’s going to happen. News from Consumer Electronics Show suggests that there’s a push to convince us we need a six-axis/Wii remote/wavy throwy gun-style controller for the PC, and no less than Valve are providing the shouting. The attack is coming from three companies, peripheral manufacturer Razer, Sixense, a motion tracking tech company, and them there Valve lot, who appear to be suggesting it’s how we should be playing Left 4 Dead 2.

This device will, according to Shacknews, offer “…ultra-precise one-to-one motion sensing controllers that use electromagnetic fields to track precise movements along all six axes.” Cor. It is to apparently get around the problems of other similar controllers that use LEDs, gyros, accelerometers and cameras, which Sixense claims do not perform well enough, by using magnets. Or “magnetic motion tracking” to be precise. This, they say, provides “precise and continuous position and orientation information for uninterrupted gameplay.”

This new, currently only prototyped gadget is yet to be named, but Sixense’s chairman Avi Arad explains that it will “truly revolutionize how games are played on the PC.” And Valve seem to be backing this claim. Chet Faliszek, in full-on marketing man press release mode, made the following confident statement:

“With this controller, Razer and Sixense have created the most immersive way to play our games. For us and for our customers, this release represents motion-enabled gaming that’s more integrated and visceral than any platform has so far achieved.”

The boasts for the tech are impressive. There press release says this:

“Marking the next step in user interface technologies for gaming on the PC, Razer and Sixense scientists and engineers along with select PC OEM partners have been working on ultra-precise one-to-one motion sensing controllers that use electromagnetic fields to track precise movements along all six axes for use in current and future generation PC games. The absolute controller position is tracked to within a mere millimeter for positioning and to a degree for orientation.”

I find myself a little sceptical about it. Short of rolling balls around mazes, I’ve never felt much of a need for Wii-type controls on my PC. I’ve always found pressing W a lot less mental effort than having to tip a physical object forward in order to move. I’m assuming this is mostly about offering us a sophisticated light gun, but again, doesn’t the mouse do a more accurate job? But I’m a short-sighted buffoon, and it’s up to you to tell me why I should be excited and interested in having motion sensing control in my computer games. Educate me.

If you happen to be passing Las Vegas this week, you can see the prototype being demonstrated by Valve at CES in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Here’s the awesome John Carmack discussing Sixense, for even more bloody context.

PS. I was trying to work out why Arad’s name rang a bell. Then I remembered he was in charge of Marvel back in 2005, when they were trying to sue NCSoft for City Of Heroes letting you so egregiously violate Marvel’s copyright with pretend Lycra costumes. It struck me as funny then to make him as a character in the game, since it turned out his name wasn’t taken. It still strikes me as quite funny now. As far as I know he’s still somewhere in Paragon City.

Those were the days.

, , , , .

151 Comments »

  1. LewieP says:

    I really do enjoy listening to Carmack speak.

  2. Jockie says:

    I’ve never been the kind to part with cash for a fancy luxury periphal (I only recently bought a 360 controller for my pc after much agonising). I doubt this gizmo will change my ways, and I sincerely doubt Valve or anyone else will be daft enough to make it a requirement to play their games.

  3. CMaster says:

    I’ve actually found it a rather underwhelming way of playing FPSes, as the only way to turn is to aim at the edge of your screen and rotate at a set rate. For sword fighting games it only really works with rather abstract game modes, due to the lack of feedback, even with the motionplus. Great fun for light-gun games (Dead Space Extraction is a lot of fun) and silly perform action things (Warioware Smooth Moves is great party fun, at least when it recognises the actions properly).
    Will this stuff be great on the PC? We’ll have to wait and see.

    That said, imagine this stuff combined with TrackIR and the NIA for a pretty complete and weird-text-based-input-device free gaming.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Have you played Metroid Prime on the Wii?

      The target lock/free aim control system is ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. The first time I played it, it felt so right.

    • CMaster says:

      @TotalBiscuit
      Not yet – my housemate bought the third one for the wii a couple of months back. I don’t play the Wii very much on my own though, so haven’t tried it yet.
      The thing he pointed out though was that a lot of the while you don’t have full control over where you look and the levels are mostly set up so enemies are normally in front of you, to avoid the tediousness that is turning with the Wii.

    • CMaster says:

      @myself
      Erm, @MeatCircus that was meant to be. @Totalbiscuit was a reply in a DIFFERENT thread.
      Sorry to all.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      @Cmaster

      Your roomate’s just plain wrong. You have total control over where you look in Metroid Prime, and it’s difficult for me to imagine how one would find turning to be tedious. Imprecise compared to a mouse, sure, though it’s really not nearly as bad as some make it out to be. But it doesn’t even make any sense to me to call it tedious. And I can’t imagine how anyone would get the idea that you can’t control where you look. Just simply incorrect.

  4. Wolfox says:

    Nice ALT text, by the way. ;-)

    “I can shoot dead people” :-D

    • John Walker says:

      All the time.

    • CMaster says:

      Could you make it title text so us FF (and Chrome) users can see it on mouseover?

    • D says:

      And for Opera! It’s quite a heated topic within browser implementation but Alt text is IMO really just for blind accessibility, so use it to actually describe the images if you must use it. For everything else including snippy comments, use the title tag.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      Re: title versus alt text, this discussion has been had before.

      The conclusion at the time was, it’s WordPress’ fault for offering an easy way to do alt text and no easy (non-manual) way to do title text, if it isn’t easy to do the alt text then they’re probably not going to do it at all, and so the only way you’re going to see the alt text in FF is to use the plugin that lets you see alt text if there’s no title text.

      (Chrome and Opera never came up in that conversation. Maybe they have something similar.)

      Sucks that we have to make compliant browsers non-compliant to satisfy some blogging software’s incorrect choice of HTML attributes, but there you go. Of course, as a sysadmin who hates PHP and MySQL (and has been required to set up the occasional WordPress blog anyway), I’m already quite used to blaming WordPress for all the world’s evils, so no change there.

    • D says:

      Yeah it’s been done before and I’m sure they have good reason. They should just be aware that the alt texts entered are lost on the most of the readership. I’m afraid atleast Opera doesn’t have such a plugin fix. But what bothers me can be summed up in one word: s/alt/title/ ***Warning: Performing this regex on a site-wide basis is not being recommended by this person.***

    • Zerrick says:

      Popup ALT Attribute.
      This is the add-on Wisq is referring to.
      I use it myself, the only reason to use it the alt-texts here on RPS. :)

  5. goodgimp says:

    Umm, no.

    Unless Valve tells me to Throw My Hands in the Air / And Wave ‘em Like Ya Just Don’t Care. Then how can one say no?

  6. Ovno says:

    Motion sensors don’t work for anything but casual games and even then theres so many games on the wii where you have to shake something in a buggy fashion instead of just pressing a button, it’s not worth it, it’s not fun and no one wants it anyway.

    And besides if us pc lot moved with the times we’d all be on the consoles by now surely….

    • Rich says:

      My Mrs got Sonic and the Secret Rings with her Wii. I played it for about five minutes then gave up. OK, tilt to steer works all right, but flicking it forward to jump? Sluggish and unreliable I call it.

    • bill says:

      @Rich: Problem with secret rings was that they hobbled the controls at the beginning. If you play far enough you can upgrade the controls and moves and it actually plays really well. (except going backwards). Unfortunately most people don’t get that far. Dumb dumb move by the developers.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Play Metroid Prime Trilogy on the Wii, however, and you can experience a motion control system done oh-so-right.

      As some have mentioned upthread, Metroid Prime Wii just feels so… tactile now.

    • Ovno says:

      Might have to have a go at metroid on the wii then if it’s that good :)

    • invisiblejesus says:

      The Metroid Prime trilogy is fantastic, but it should be noted that it only uses the Wiimote’s laser pointer. It doesn’t use any actual motion control. Still, I don’t share the general cynicism about this, implemented well it could be very cool. Implemented poorly… well, bad games are bad games. It’s tough for me to believe that a motion control setup is going to magically turn what would otherwise have been good and ruin it. I’ve played some Wii games with bad motion controls, and what people don’t often talk about is that nearly all of them would have been shit games even with good controls.

    • captain fitz says:

      We’ve only had one real generation of the technology and you’re decrying it forever? It’s already making some pretty fun games if the wii’s marketshare is any indication. Once the technology is more refined I’m sure it will easily create some FPS games that make us wonder how we ever did it with a mouse.

  7. Meat Circus says:

    PC’s answer to Project Natal?

    I’d assume this was a no-go, but if Valve’s behind it, it might just crazy enough to work

    • RogB says:

      more like pc’s answer to sony’s answer to the wii. Natal is microsofts answer to sony’s eyetoy. (phew!)

    • Meat Circus says:

      The ambition behind Natal goes beyond it just being “an eyetoy clone”. They reckon they can deliver full tracking of all the body parts of four people in 3D in realtime.

      If they can pull it off, together with a shiny gestural interface, it could be astounding.

    • Gotem says:

      For it to really work they will also need a boycott group.

  8. Tei says:

    The controllers really limit what a videogame can do, so a new controler can unlock freedom to make some crazy things.
    The ultimate interface for the PC mob community is the pitch and fork, anyway :-)

  9. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    True motion recognition controllers on an open platform? With an Internet? Oh my.

  10. CraigL says:

    I made my opinions on motion control quite clear a while ago. They have not changed.

  11. Dominic White says:

    PC gamers are far, far too set in their ways. ‘Fun’ doesn’t factor into controls these days – it’s the highest DPI mouse possible, and the fastest keyboard in the west.

    But y’know what? I really, really like the Metroid Prime trilogy on the Wii. Yeah, I’m less accurate than if I were playing with mouse/keyboard, but I’m having fun, and the shooting feels a lot more tactile and convincing.

    • bill says:

      what he said.

    • Wulf says:

      @Dominic White

      I’m of the opinion that “fun” can’t be quantified by such simple reasoning, that “fun” is an incredibly subjective criteria based on how any individual reacts to different stimuli.

      Fun can be reading a book, fun can be watching or playing football, fun can be working out, fun can be making out, fun can be work, fun can be escapism, fun can be owning people, and fun can be so many things because fun isn’t something we really understand. Fun is entirely dependent on the individual to decide. If something is fun for you, then you go guy, because you don’t need anyone to tell you what is or isn’t fun, and neither do we.

      From my own personal perspective, fun isn’t reliant on a controller, a game isn’t made more or less fun by a waggly controller or a keyboard & mouse. Again, I perceive fun in a game as how much I can immerse myself in it, and the quality of that escapism, it comes from interesting environments, unexpected elements, and clever storytelling, it comes from atmosphere, and art, and culture, and lore, and exploration. The tools I use to explore don’t really matter to me.

      Therefore, fun for me wouldn’t have anything to do with an immersion controller, and it’s more than a little presumptuous (to put it politely) to assume that anyone who isn’t into motion controllers is set in their ways. I’ve put this to you before in other arguments, I’ll put it to you again: Everyone is different, not everyone is you, and you are as valid as everyone else.

      You shouldn’t have to feel defensive about it, you’re as valid as everyone else. Your sense of fun is as valid as mine or that of any other person, in as equal a way as possible.

      Really, it all comes down to the basic understanding that everyone has fun in a different way, and that doesn’t make them any better or worse than anyone else.

    • Wulf says:

      @My Post

      s/immersion controller/motion controller/

      Almost missed that.

      But yes, fun is wot fun is. Fun can be waggling a motion controller, if it is, have fun! That’s not fun to me, but neither is football, and that’s just how the human mind works, every one is different, no one should be afraid to be who they are and express that. Fun is part of that. Do what you want to do.

  12. mrmud says:

    Im all for head tracking in games, but my TrackIR 5 does that quite well already.

    • RogB says:

      yup. looking around a cockpit = ace. flailing limbs = not ace.

  13. Theory says:

    A mouse is 2D. These are 3D. Worth having, I think.

    • captain fitz says:

      THIS is more important than most people realize. Coupled with 3D displays–so that we actually have some depth perception–a third axis of control is where I can see this technology really benefiting us.

  14. rocketman71 says:

    They don’t make the Carmacks like they used to time ago.

  15. Some Guy says:

    No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no.

    Simply looking at the software catalogue for the wii will give good enough reasons. The ratio of awesome:tripe is extraordinarily low

    • Psychopomp says:

      And that has what, exactly, to do with the control scheme? It’s the most popular console out there, there’s going to be a load of shovelware no matter what the controller is.

    • Some Guy says:

      Compared even to the PS2, it’s dire, though. Almost like it’s pretty damn hard to make a decent game with the controls provided.

      FPSs just don’t work.
      Anything which requires any degree of precision doesn’t work. (Yes, this is including Wii Motion Plus. Recalibration consistently required for that)
      Getting a comfortable position to play in is much more tricky.

      I have a wii. I have yet to be convinced wii controls are anything other than a retrograde step.

  16. toni says:

    omg, ANOTHER “next gen” controller Valve endorses. wasn’t there another input device that supposedly will “take off” and “revolutionize”. Well, I’m the guy that always goes into the settings menue to turn off vibration, you won’t get any money for that from me. I wanna sit or hang back on the couch, not wave around or jump around infront of the TV. I do it for relaxation, I play videogames because it is NOT physical work/sport, at least to a very small degree. such input devices will always be for a “special” audience imo, not the FPS masses.

  17. IM19208 says:

    The Motion Tracking Controller For PC is the wiimote.

  18. bill says:

    I do think that motion controls help immersion in a lot of ways… but of course they can also totally break it if used in stupid ways.

    to be honest, the main purpose of most game tech is to create immersion. (depending on the game type – chess games excluded.). Good graphics, great sound, dramatic music, great graphic design, good voice acting, nice story, shaders and polygons – all these aren’t the be-all-and-end-all of a game… they are there to get us involved in the game. in many ways motion controllers CAN do that better than pressing a key… though possibly not as efficiently. Sometimes that lack of efficiency can break immersion. Paradox.

    While I’d probably win more fights if I just pressed a button to release my Kamehameha, it’s much more fun to do the action while shouting Kamehamehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! ;-)

  19. mbp says:

    Am I the only one who hates the Wii controller? Its fine for a few minutes of virtual tennis but there is no way I would put in a solid multi-hour gaming session with it. I’m a gamer for heaven’s sakes – I don’t have the muscles to wave that thing about for that long.

    • Meat Circus says:

      You don’t have to “wave it around” to play most games. Typically it’s held at much the same height as any other game controller.

    • Larington says:

      The last time I tried playing the Lost Winds: Winter of Melodias I gave up after getting armstrain, I honestly don’t think the wiimote is a good option for long bouts of sustained action. The wiisports games often give you lots of short breaks between actions, like say with the tennis game.

      I’m sure it’s quite realistic that after holding up a gun for long enough your arm will start to feel really tired, but is it fun?

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah. A lot of people seem to think that you use the Wii controller by jumping out of your seat and flapping your arms around like you’re having a seizure.

      In reality, you seldom make any gesture larger than you would with a mouse. For most games it just uses pointer-based controls anyway, which is, effectively, a 3D mouse. You’ve got standard X and Y movement, it has limited Z-axis detection so that you can push and pull things into/out of the screen, and it does twist as well so that you can rotate stuff.

      Accelerometer controls often come in as secondary, contextual stuf.

      @Larington – You don’t have to hold your arm up the entire time. Just rest your arm on your leg or chair-arm or something. All you need to move is your wrist, and if you’re so terribly enfeebled that small wrist movements tire you out, that’s a matter for healthcare professionals, not interface designers.

  20. Monchberter says:

    Haven’t Valve also being going crazy about the Novint Falcon?

    http://home.novint.com/products/novint_falcon.php

    The ‘other’ future of tactile gaming.

    • Bhazor says:

      I actually quite like the Novint Falcon.
      Partly because it’s a much more focused in its goals (being a gun with tactile feedback) and executes this with decent finesse rather than trying to be a tennis racket, that is also a gun, that is also a steering wheel, that is also a baseball bat that is also the paint brush of the gods.
      But mainly because it looks like a robot’s sex toy.

      Edit: of course I then look on the site and see it’s now host to Pii sports guff. Still beats wii for having some tactile feedback though.

  21. Dominic White says:

    This thread is further reinforcing my belief that PC gamers don’t deserve the PC. You have an immensely powerful, modular, versatile-beyond-belief system that can do pretty much anything you throw at it, and the moment someone suggests a new control method everyone digs their heels in and writes it off before they’ve even given it a look.

    Ridiculous, really. You give people near-infinite freedom, and what do they do with it? Recycle the same concepts year upon year with marginally better graphics.

    • Larington says:

      A lot of that stubborness seems to come from the belief that theres little wrong with the mouse/keyboard method of interacting with games. It took me a very long time before I even considered buying a gamepad for the PC, because aside from specialised cases (Racing games) I’ve never felt the need to buy one.

      But thats the purpose of marketing for stuff like this, it’s to make us understand that something is worth getting.

    • Psychopomp says:

      I just have to wander where these people were for, say, X-Wing.

    • MrMud says:

      TIE-Fighter killed mice…

    • Dominic White says:

      And in revenge, Mice killed TIE-Fighter, and most of the space sim genre along with it. PC gamers forgot about the hundreds of different peripherals available for the system, and fell into a long, incredibly dull and uneventful love affair with mouse and keyboard. Then they got married and settled down and had a millon mouse/keyboard kids.

      Then console ports start happening again, and people forget that there’s more control methods than M&KB, and start marking games down for not being built around gods own control layout. If you can’t click on a dudes head to kill him, it’s not a proper PC game, innit?

  22. Pidesco says:

    Whenever I see motion tracking technology, I see a bright future for gaming. But not yet.

  23. chesh says:

    I was wondering if that was the same Avi Arad.

  24. SAeN says:

    I think this is the first time Carmack has said something I can understand lol

  25. Utharda says:

    Do not want.

  26. Drexer says:

    Here’s the thing that interests me:

    If they release this, with proper developer backup, and a way to allow indie and all developers to use this as a control scheme, be it an SDK or a USB-mouse/keyboard-like configurable interface, then we might just get a very good revolution of gaming going. The biggest problem with the previous motion controls were that in the end they just happened to be quite closed, if we get such an object which pretty much everyone can use in their games, we might get very good innovations from around the world, ranging perhaps from a proper lightsaber game, to mayhaps(and this is a huge dream of mine) Oblivion with motion control?

    In the end, if you give the tools to the fans, we might just get something amazing.

    • D says:

      I am all for this idea you have of a standardized 1:1 movement motion tracking open platform controller. Samurai sword fighting game involving the actual tactical and strategic decisions you’d have to make in such a one-hit-kill engagement, is mine.

  27. Snuffy (the Evil) says:

    With a Bluetooth adaptor, a Wiimote and some software, you can use your Wii remote as a controller. Cutting-edge on a budget!

  28. rei says:

    I was prepared to scoff at this, but the tech sounds worlds better than Wii MotionPlus/Sixaxis/Natal/whatever. Also, Valve has absolutely no reason to jump onto any bandwagons that they don’t genuinely believe in, and they’re not fools.

    I’ve never managed to get excited about this whole motion tracking thing, but genuine 1:1 simulation could be pretty nice, even beyond the obvious kendo/fencing/boxing stuff.

  29. wat says:

    1. Offer head attachment
    2. Head tracking for everyone, hooray.
    3. Everyone is annoyed by uncomfortable headwear

    • D says:

      Head tracking exists already and is no more uncomfortable than wearing your favorite cap.

  30. Richard Beer says:

    This barely sounds like a game controller (at least for today’s games). From what Carmack says it’s an entirely new and accurate way to interact with an environment. You could sculpt in 3D, pick up objects in front of you, create architectural constructs etc. Gaming is just the tip of this iceberg.

  31. Jocho says:

    The only practical difficulty I can see is how I’m supposed to play if I’m not using it. The Wiimote needs to be aimed at all times (Love Metroid Prime 3′s controls, btw), so the aiming can become really strange at times (say, after a loading screen or picking up/putting down the controller), but if they’ve solved that, it might be the mouse of the third direction.

    And I have real difficulties believing its supposed to complement the key board. You’ll still have to type on the key board, right? Not to mention hot-keys, WASD movement (oh how I’d wish an analog stick for movement) and Cntr+alt+del. ;)

    • Jocho says:

      According to this video I found, I was wrong: It may intend to replace the keyboard for gaming, too. It seems to have an analog stick, too. But it doesn’t have anywhere near as broad an interface (read: not as many buttons) as a keyboard…

    • Psychopomp says:

      And just how many PC games that you would even consider using it for, would require more than four or five buttons?

    • Jocho says:

      What I had in the time of writing was MMOs generally, as they use hot keys for a bunch of spells and windows, but thinking about it there’s also RTSes where hot keys are used for a lot of commands such as grouping, selecting groups, choose commands for said groups. These are also the genres that have had most difficulty being done well on consoles, and I think that’s co-related.

      And, unless the game supports VoIP, communication is often through typing, which requires a lot of the key board. That argument sort of fails these days, however, as VoIP-services (whether it’s voice-chat on MSN, Skype or Ventrilo) is fairly well-spread.

  32. Sinnerman says:

    It sounds like something that could help a lot doing things like creating mods for 3d games but I’m not really that interested in light sabre games. Actually, a full 3d Dungeon Keeper/Evil Genius game would be good. Also, imagine something like Black & White were the god’s hand control was less awkward. It’s odd that FPS companies are the ones who are getting excited about it but I guess they are the ones people go to for quotes about new PC hardware.

  33. Calabi says:

    It could take off as long as the really think about it and really make it better than the entrenched alternatives, and it works with normal windows browsing.

    Surely something like this is the future init. We’ve got have something like this eventually, the sooner the better so we cant start learning how to use it and the developers to take advantage of it.

    It wont ruin pc development, because it doesnt have an idiotic overarching dicator like Nintendo(they must be forcing the other devs to make rubbish games).

  34. Jayt says:

    Think I gagged a little bit reading the Valve quote

  35. Vinraith says:

    Because what the PC needs is a horribly inaccurate control peripheral, to continue to remove all the advantages it has over consoles. Yahtzee actually put it best, without any kind of tactile feedback this kind of thing quite simply can’t work well.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I agree. On the other hand, I wouldn’t say M+K are God’s Own User Input Device. In some ways, they’re seriously deficient. I’m looking forward to this gizmo’s release just to see how successful it is. This may not be the one that catches on, but it’s progress, eventually culminating in a interface revolution that’ll tear down our scepticism.

      I’m imagining some kind of cross between a wiimote and a novint falcon.

    • Bhazor says:

      Thats pretty much my issue with the whole Natal… thing. People don’t seem to realize how heavy an arm is when you’re holding it straight out with nothing to lean on (such as the driving demos we were shown). The other point is that unless you strap the screen to your forehead like a donkey’s carrot you can’t have a game that involves say walking or turning without needing additional controllers.

      If developers are so determined in immersion why can’t we just have better written games?

  36. BigJonno says:

    I do think there is a lot of potential in motion control for more “serious” or “hardcore” games, but I think we’re going about it completely the wrong way. Rather than shoehorning waggle into traditional game genres, how about looking at things like paintball, airsoft and live-action role-playing games for inspiration?

  37. Ian says:

    I love how Metroid Prime 3 controls for the Wii. Probably the best controls of a console FPS (The Conduit could have taken it if the actual game wasn’t so, well, shit) but I still prefer the ol’ mouse ‘n’ keyboard.

  38. cjlr says:

    A good mouse is extremely precise and extremely responsive. When some other control scheme approaches it for accuracy and simplicity, let me know.

    1 to 1 motion tracking my ass. I’ll believe that when I see it. Remember how the Wii was hyped, everyone? Using the wiimote light-gun style (ie Metroid Prime) is fun, or in the handful of other titles where that’s implemented well. You need it to be almost a rail shooter, though, because turning around is still a huge chore. Really, that’s where it falls apart – motion detection is great for doing interaction, but it’s absolute shit for controlling movement.

    As for the problems with the interaction modeling itself, a lot of it is the software – it’s pretty damn hard to code in, let’s say, a sword-fighting engine that can generate a dynamic response to every actual controller movement. Which brings up another thing: you need multiple sensor points to track motion properly. The wiimote’s this little rectangle, yeah? But with only one position sensor it can’t take into account angular motion. It tries with the infrared, but… Yeah. We all know how well that works.

    For all the people using the word tactile: I do not think it means what you think it means. It does not mean motion. It means touch. A keyboard is abstract enough that it’s not noticeable. Hit a button, observe an action. When you actually act out performing the action, it becomes more immersion breaking, because there’s no feedback from the action.

  39. Walter says:

    I sit under 2 feet from my screen there is no space to wave crap at it.

  40. Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

    I think motion sensing is pretty gimmicky.

    And nowadays, joysticks don’t work for FPSes because they’re too complex.

    But damned if I’m gonna be using a mouse for something like XvT. I just wish there were more games of that type. You know, space flyan, laser shootan, physics ignoran.

  41. D says:

    An added bonus of this is that we’ll get to see the long term effects of immersing a sizable population of people in a strong electromagnetic field. I’m looking forward to the results of this science experiment.

    • cjlr says:

      @D
      Are you kidding? Compared to the background radiation all of our shit already produces (all the more so, now that wireless is god) the extra EM from a dinky little controller like this will have all the impact of a hamster fart in a crowded gymnasium.

  42. Grind Axis says:

    Dear Valve and John Carmack,

    No thank you.

    Love,

    Grind Axis

  43. Stupoider says:

    Needs more buttons!

  44. Jimbo says:

    Isn’t waving a magnet / magnetic field around near your PC generally considered a pretty bad idea?

    Anyways, not very interested in a light gun, but if you tell me that one controls a sword and the other controls a shield, I will certainly listen to what you have to say.

  45. the wiseass says:

    Only because you CAN do it, doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it. I’m not against motion capturing or 3d imaging, but please let the technology ripe before presenting it as the next best thin since buttered French toast.

    Motion capturing as it is right now has 3 major flaws, that makes it inferior to any gamepad mouse or keyboard:

    1. No force feedback.
    Slicing and hitting with a sabre will never feel the same because you just slice through anything and everything without any resistance.

    2. Sensitivity
    After playing mario kart on the Wii for example you just wish to go back to a traditional gamepad. Most games are not suitable for wacky controls that behave in a random way. Make motion capturing too precise and even the slightest body movement may have undesirable results. So either the controls are imprecise are will require a greater amount of body control from the player.

    3. The Way of least resistance
    Why would I want to move my whole arm, when I can have the same effect by just moving my fingertip? It just makes no sense, motion capturing requires more “work” for the same effect while it should actually require less.

    The solution?
    Thought control! I think that really is the future of interfacing but alas, it is not sufficiently developed yet. But we are working on it:

  46. Bhazor says:

    Oh good.
    Just when QTE starts to die down we change to the even more irritating obligatory waggle sections.

  47. Carra says:

    The use of the Wii mote depends on the game. I tried out the World of Goo demo on the Wii. It felt sluggish and I had a hard time quickly selecting a few blobs. The PC version felt superior.

    And then I tried out Madworld. You can chop enemies in by swinging your remote vertically or horizontally! It’s giving the game that extra boost as you’re physically cutting them down!

    In the end, a motion tracker is a controller just like any other, it needs great games to support it. I suspect that this new items success will depend on the games it’s launched with. If they can get Valve to support it they’ll surely have a great start.

  48. l1ddl3monkey says:

    Things I don’t want: One of these.

  49. Tom says:

    But,

    It’s the lightsaber!!!

    and maybe also the end of the couch-potatoes…

  50. Kadayi says:

    It was always inevitable that someone was going to develop a wand controller for the PC, given the potential for developers who make games for the other platforms being able to bring their products to the PC, esp with Natal around the corner. The problems I foresee for it though are the fact that as opposed to a console sat in your living room, your PC is generally either tied to a desk or it’s a laptop. As soon as you put yourself a couple of meters back from your screen for various wand waving exercises (ooh err missus), suddenly that crisp 1680 x 1050 resolution is working against you. Ok you could feed through your TV, but in which case why not instead just buy a console and save yourself the bother of cable swapping?

    Secondly, consoles like the Wii & to a lesser extent the 360 are very much face to face social devices, where as with PCs by and large short of Lan Parties most people are playing socially online. So suddenly you’re in the realms of people having headsets (because everyone hates the guy using open speakers in Teamspeak) rather than speakers & that just complicates matters (more cables unless your minted).

    Something like this is only going to work if it’s both all encompassing & hassle free & and I’m not convinced it’s going to be either initially.

    • Aemony says:

      1650×1080? Don’t you mean 1680×1050?

      But still, you speak the truth. Not only mentioning the fact that I don’t think any gamers are willing to throw out even more money for an accessory which they only use in a couple of few games.