Gesture-Based: Kinect Used To Play RUSE

By Jim Rossignol on January 3rd, 2011 at 8:07 pm.


Well, dancing about is all very well, but the only real application we were ever going to be interested in was one involving terrain. Here’s a chap from touchscreen clevertypes Evoluce who has set up Microsoft’s Silent Robot Eye Of Judgment Kinect thing being to be used in playing a real-time strategy, via VG247. Seems to work. In truth, though, motion control is only really going to fly with me if it can detect my slumped form in an armchair, and enable the ordering millions of tiny men to their deaths with a barely-perceptible nod. Then, and only then, will I install a sinister black camera to watch over me.

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63 Comments »

  1. ZenArcade says:

    Impressive, but personally, using that would just get on my tits eventually. I think I’d also instinctively grab for the mouse, also. But still, at least someone found a use for that utter waste of money.

  2. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    While it still involves learning a bunch of slightly counter-intuitive actions to control stuff, i’m not sure it’s better than learning a bunch of arbitrary buttons on a pad to control stuff.

    But when I can just use my normal ‘interact with the world’ skillz on interacting with a fake world then oh my…the power…the power…

  3. jonfitt says:

    Oh if only I possessed this technology, then I too could move an RTS map by moving my right hand.
    When will this ability be available to the masses?! WHEN?!

    • pakoito says:

      The thing with this is that it doesn’t feel fluid.When it would be more like “Monority Report”-fast it’ll be more viable than the mouse. Also you will be able to perform two+ actions at once as you aren’t restricted to the mouse pointer ;)

    • DrGonzo says:

      This is being demonstrated on a game designed to work with a mouse. I will reserve my judgement until I see a strategy game actually designed for Kinect.

      Pakoito is right, Kinect can detect finger motions too. It has massive potential in my opinion. I don’t think it will be replacing my mouse and keyboard, but it could compliment it fantastically.

    • Robin says:

      @DrGonzo: “Kinect can detect finger motions too” – Not to any practical extent. The camera resolution and frame rate are too low.

    • pakoito says:

      The depth camera can AFAIK. Kinect is not just an eyetoy.

    • Ybfelix says:

      Having played a lot on iphone recently I’d say multitouch is definitely very useful in gaming

  4. Doth Messar says:

    Does one have to be a Nazi to properly utilize this new technology?

  5. opel says:

    So…. you use hand jestures to control a mouse pointer. I seem to remember a certain piece of hardware that does that much more efficiently. If only I could remember the name.

    Oh yeah. A mouse.

    • pakoito says:

      Now imagine that game with two mouse pointers plus gestures for actions.

    • zergrush says:

      How exactly would two pointers be beneficial to gameplay? oO’

      Not just that, but how would it be better to have a second pointer instead of the “standard” hotkeys? Sorry but I really can’t see the point in having more than one pointer and having no hotkeys or a limited number of them. I imagine that managing buildings, control groups, using skills and stuff like that would be way slower without hotkeys, and can’t see how you could fix it with gestures or another pointer.

      But it would be EXTREMELY funny to see 300apm koreans playing that way, tho.

    • jonfitt says:

      @opel that’s what I was getting at in a slightly more facetious way :)

    • pakoito says:

      If you have two pointers you can micro two groups at the same time or building+group.And finger/hand gestures you can subsitute hotkeys for each of said groups.

      OK case scenario: You have one group of 20 hydralisks and another of 100 zerglings, you can simultaneously focus the lings on moving towards land units while telling the hydras to attack the air ones, no need to hotkey each of the groups and change focus for every move/attack command. Less key strokes, more APMs.

      Case scenario 2: You can at the same time displace the camera while still commanding units to move or attack, instead of having to move the pointer to one of the sides to scroll one bit at a time. Imagine that your zerglings have to attack a unit at the bottom left of the screen but at the same time you have to keep focus on the zealots that are running to the northwest of the screen…now you can do both at the same time without having to move the mouse through the whole screen just to come back to issue an order and back to the top. It’s completely re-thinking the controls, not HURPA DURPA adapting two hands to what exists now, beacuse it’s already optimized for keyb+mouse.

    • jonfitt says:

      All of the supposed advantages you mention could be done by using a mouse in each hand without the huge lag and inaccuracy that is involved with asking a camera to interpret movements in free space.

      As for:
      “Case scenario 2: You can at the same time displace the camera while still commanding units to move or attack.”
      How about using WASD to move the camera!?!

    • pakoito says:

      If you use two mouses how would you use the keyboard hotkeys? If you are using that hotheys and the mouse with what hand would you go to WASD? answer: hand gestures! they give you position+action in the same movement.

      Stop being such a thickhead.

  6. Vinraith says:

    Until these sorts of technologies can actually capture movement with any kind of accuracy, they’re not going to be much good for serious gaming. RTS games require fast, precision control, there’s no way to get that with current motion capture of this sort.

    • Sigh says:

      I commented below as well. But I have a lot of good things to say about the Playstation Move (which I realize is a bit off topic on this PC site). The Move, from what I understand, has 1:1 motion capture within a 3D field and can recognize you when you are standing or sitting no problem. The Move is based partially on motion capture (like the Kinect) and partially on the axis-recognition sensors in the controllers themselves so it is kind of a fusion between the Kinect and the Wii emphasizing the benefits of both. I have used the Move extensively and I am extremely impressed with its accuracy. The best example is a game called Tumble where you build towers with blocks by balancing them on each other (boring theme, but an excellent proof of concept) and that game really shows off the how precise the move is in manipulating the virtual environment along the x, y, and z axes with amazing precision.

      The Move has its detractors as well, but I am thoroughly convinced of its ability.

    • Delusibeta says:

      From what I’ve read, it’s comparable in accuracy to the Wii MotionPlus. In other words, nothing to write home about.

    • Sigh says:

      Delusibeta,

      The Move does have its detractors and if you don’t calibrate it properly it will handle wonky. I own 2 move controllers and 1 navigation controller and I have had a much better experience than the Wii (which I have also used but don’t own). The Move truly is precise and some games emphasize its strengths better than others. Players can “cheat” with the Wii controllers once you learn what “motion” the game is looking for and many just sit on a couch duplicating the wrist flick. Such cheating the system is not possible (or as probable) with the Move as the tracking really is 1:1 with your gestures.

      Plus the move has buttons and an analog stick so you have a really rich interface. The problem with the Kinect is that you only have gestures which is why most of the games are dancing fests or track based arcade shooters that automatically advance your character at set times.

      Try a live demo of the Move if you have the opportunity.

    • Sigh says:

      I realize that I am starting to sound like a Marketing or PR department which is annoying. I am just as jaded as the next gamer but I am excited about how the Move delivers now and what possibilities exist as the platform matures and developers gain a better understanding of it.

      Which I admit is true for the Kinect as well. These accessories are in their infancy and the really interesting titles are a year or two down the road. I love PC gaming and prefer it to console gaming 4 out of 5 days, but the Move has truly reinvigorated my interest in consoles. Plus the gladiatorial game in the Sports Champions package is just pure fun and far more interesting than a series of mouse clicks and key presses.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Kinect is far more accurate than the Xbox shows it to be, or so I’ve heard. It is apparently capable of tracking individual finger motions.

    • Starky says:

      Kinect the hardware is almost as accurate as you want it to be – the problem is the software, and to be exact the latency introduced in the software because the Xbox 360 just don’t have enough processing power to handle it while running games also.

      A problem that need never have been if the Kinect had it’s own dedicated hardware (as from early interviews I’ve read was the plan) it would be brilliant, would have minium overhead for the 360, and very little latency (30-50ms rather than 400+ ms).

      Clearly though that would have cost them too much (like a whole $10 extra per unit to add say, smart phone level processing ability and firmware) – which would probably turn the Kinect into a loss sale, if it isn’t already.

    • zergrush says:

      The Move is way better than the motion plus, but the response’s still not as fast as necessary for a rts. At least that’s what I got from playing in a friend’s house, the party games worked amazingly well, but Time Crisis Razing Storm still felt way slower than a real light gun.

      And none of us own RUSE for the ps3, but I might get it to test as it’s apparently move compatible.

  7. Muzman says:

    Cool. To launch a nuke you can give the enemy the finger.

  8. Sigh says:

    For what it’s worth the Playstation Move is being touted as the motion controller that has enough precision to play RTS’s on a console reliably and is officially supported for RUSE. Anyone who has a PS3 in addition to your PC you should check that out if you fancy wavy hand motions with your RTSs. You may even be able to download a demo though I don’t know if the RUSE demo features the Move support or not.

    Personally I am excited to see how the Move will impact FPS games since I am shit with analog controllers.

  9. McDan says:

    “In truth, though, motion control is only really going to fly with me if it can detect my slumped form in an armchair, and enable the ordering millions of tiny men to their deaths with a barely-perceptible nod. Then, and only then, will I install a sinister black camera to watch over me.”
    This is why I love RPS.

  10. alm says:

    I played kinect over new years and was pleasantly suprised. It’s a lot of fun and I’m keen to see how the tech develops.

  11. Tei says:

    I think gestures put games in the “casual” category. No hardcore game can be gesture based, other than dance dance revolution or something like that.

    Is totally uneficient to use gestures to control games, mouse and keyboard are a much superior interface.. the end result is that you get tired of playing really quick.

    But is not a bad thing, theres a lot of people that can use casual games as a entry into the game world, or as a way to still be connected to the game world if other more hardcore games are not compatible with current lifestyle.

    • DrGonzo says:

      But mouse control IS a motion controller, just on a 2d plane rather than a 3d one.

    • subedii says:

      Even with Kinect, Dance Central specifically avoids showing you what moves you’re making, it just highlights where it thinks you’re going wrong. At least part of the reason being that the controller lag means that you wouldn’t be able to match up your motions with the onscreen action directly just by keeping time with it. From what I’ve heard it’s also simple enough to “game” most of it by simply standing still and vaguely waving your arms.

    • Starky says:

      Gonzo that is probably the best irony of all those people who for the many, many months prior to Kinect and move launch have been bashing endlessly motion control as pointless is that a mouse is indeed a motion controller – a bulky and rather poor one at that. Still that is why it is vastly superior in RTS/FPS games than a controller/joystick.

      I’ve played a few RTS games using a Wacom Tablet Cintiq 21UX, and it is amazing – hard to get used too (after years of mouse training and that no game is designed for it)and only a few work well, CnC3 was great thanks to the tabbed interface it had.
      Drawing a box round men, moving them easily all while using hotkeys on the keyboard, vastly more accurate than a mouse. Much faster too.
      Didn’t need to “lead” a mouse pointer to icons either, just tap them

      Motion controls are the future, maybe not as a waggle stick console toy, but imagine a simple pen that you can write with and use as a tablet (just without pressure sensitivity most likely) on your desk or any surface, then flip around and use as a pointer.
      Then imagine what could be done with games with that speed and ease of control.

      Crayon Physics deluxe was awesome on it too.

    • zergrush says:

      Using a pen or something like that for RTS’s isn’t ideal because of the scaling. I can move through a 24 inch screen much faster with a mouse than I would ever be able to with a direct pointer simply because I have to move the mouse a few inches to go through every avaliable area on the screen, while I’d have to move with the same speed through a much bigger area using a pen. It’s possible and might be fun, but I don’t see how it can be as effective as a mouse.

      For fast movements the mouse is much more precise due to its weight, also.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      @ subedii – from what I understand with Dance Central, if you’re trying to “game” it, you’re really missing the point of the game.

      With Kinect, I don’t think it needs to be accurate. It just needs to be fun.

    • Starky says:

      @Zergrush, not always true, sure on the 21 inch monitor I was playing on it was (due to the way it worked) – but I can tell you this, you’re wrong about a mouse been faster, oh you may be able to sweep one side of the screen to the other faster, but it would not be more accurate.

      A pen is an order of magnitude more accurate even when doing sweeping motions, which is why you can’t really write/draw with a mouse.

      Sure pro gamers can spends hundreds of hours practising and improving their mouse accuracy in say SC2, but I’d wager a months wage that with a pen and tablet (a good one), I’d beat any of them for speed and accuracy.
      For example it makes those mouse click flash games trivial.

      Also, as for scale, you can use a smaller tablet, say a Wacom bamboo, which isn’t 1:1, and sweep the whole screen in about the same time as a mouse, but having the advantage of been able to click anywhere on the screen without having to trail the pointer their first.

      Again not saying such an input would be perfect for current games, it’s fun but they are not designed for it – I’m saying some games would just be better with that kind of keyboard + tablet setup.

    • zergrush says:

      Hm, I didn’t think about using a smaller tablet, lol.

      Will try to test tonight with my humble bamboo and see how it turns out.

  12. jdeuel says:

    But, don’t you have to be wearing a suit? Like the douchebags in the trailer?

  13. DOLBYdigital says:

    Its easy to agree with Tei and say that all gestures in games make them ‘casual’ but that would be incorrect in my opinion. I’ll agree that MANY gesture based games are casual and that it is hard to create a good game that uses gestures appropriately (not too much and sensible use).

    However gestures and even controls do NOT make a game ‘hardcore’ or ‘casual’. The gameplay, difficulty, setting, tone, characters and story dictate the ‘type’ of game it is more than the controls. Take it from a long time Wii owner, there are a bunch of very good hardcore games on the Wii that get overlooked thanks to the casual overload.

    I do agree that gestures in gaming is usually inferior but there are cases where using slight, basic motions can not only enhance the gameplay but actually take it to another level where controllers/keyboard cannot go. Its a fine line though and one that we will not see many devs cross unfortunately :)

    Finally, I do not like the idea of using motion or my hands to control interfaces. The wiimote works very well because you can rest the controller on your lap like any other controller and still play most of the motion/IR games (exception for sword fighting but I like that being more active). Having to hold your hand out to use the interface is very tiresome, clunky, slow and inefficient. My dad got the Kinect and I find the interface a serious downside. However I watched my 3 year old nephew get into a game without having to teach any buttons etc… so as Tei said, it will certainly help many get into gaming :)

    /rant

  14. Xercies says:

    Get me a star trek game where I can flick my fingers and say Engage and then the ship warps off and I’ll be interested.

  15. DrGonzo says:

    I really think Microsoft should be licensing this technology and getting it put into TVs and monitors.

  16. Jason Moyer says:

    Would be more impressed seeing it rigged up on Microsoft Surface tbh. That would probably be the ultimate RTS interface.

  17. dadioflex says:

    This would have been cool with Arx Fatalis. Mebbe Black and White too.

    • Premium User Badge

      UW says:

      Haha, Black & White, slapping your little monster buddy around with actual hand motions. Fantastic.

  18. backcountry says:

    Am I seriously the only one who thought this was a Führer simulator?

  19. mejobloggs says:

    That looks like a lot of effort tbh. But cool

  20. Radiant says:

    GIVE ME MY TOUCHPAD SCREEN.

    I don’t want a mouse or a controller I have to wave at like a forlorn sailor’s girlfriend.

    I want a mousepad size screen as a touchpad that either mirrors my screen or has it’s own ui.

    MAKE THIS GENIUSES.

    kthnxbye

  21. Bungle says:

    “…motion control is only really going to fly with me if it can detect my slumped form in an armchair, and enable the ordering millions of tiny men to their deaths with a barely-perceptible nod.”

    This is why I love you. Top notch writing.

  22. MartinNr5 says:

    As others have said; this is an existing game retrofitted with Kinect support = not all that exciting but it works.

    When the games that are built from ground up with Kinect support arrives I think we will be a lot more impressed and excited.

  23. Stephen Roberts says:

    A mixture of more sophisticated motion sensing controls combined with a more sophisticated one of these and you have the future of computing.

    I mean the few years ago of computing.

  24. 12kill4 says:

    A spoiler warning would have been nice for that video….

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