More Kinectyhacks: World Of Wavecraft

By John Walker on January 4th, 2011 at 11:33 am.

TOM CRUISE.

Updated: MS deny plans to release Kinect beyond the 360 – see below.

Yesterday we told you news of Kinect being used to play RUSE. Today: World Of Warcraft. With the 360 peripheral being realised far more excitingly as a piece of PC equipment, can it be long before Microsoft decides to change their uncharacteristic toleration of all this hackery into something legitimate? This latest hack is by the University of Southern California, as Wired tells us, building the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit piece of middleware to allow them to play the one MMO to rule them all by waving their arms around. There’s an actual real-life video of it below.

If Magic: The Gathering players wrote Minority Report:

It’s well worth reading the Wired article, which interviews the researchers about quite how impressive the FAAST tech is, and how much more potential it adds to the Kinect’s outwardly clumsy appearance. It’s probably never going to be a sensible way to play WoW, but it does seem that its applications could be extremely far-reaching. And since FAAST is Free Software, anyone with the inclination can have a go.

How long before MS releases a PC Kinect? I’m guessing seven months.

EDITIFIED!

Promptly, it seems that Microsoft have suggested they’ve no plans to release Kinect outside of the 360. This is in response to the news that ASUS plan to release a Kinect clone this year, made by the same people who put Kinect together for MS. NOW Gamer spoke to Microsoft who told them they’ve no intention to embrace the PC at all.

ASUS’s WAVI Xtion will be revealed at CES2011.

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40 Comments »

  1. Tei says:

    I want a flight simulator kinect hack. One that you need to say PEW PEW PEW to fire missiles.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      YES.

      And an RPG where spells are cast by actually chanting pseudo-latin! “IMPUS NEETUM!” “ELECTRUNDEOUS!” “TICA!”

    • Srekel says:

      Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!

    • SanguineAngel says:

      personally I have always thought that gesture based spells were the way forward in games. I had always presumed mouse gestures (like in Black & white) would be great. They’d add an element of skill and depth to spell casting and really differentiate spells from guns or swords.

      However, I would be very impressed if actual hand and finger gestures were integrated. Perhaps the Move would be a better place for that? With the move controller as your weapon and the eye picking up your had gestures? I suspect we’re not really at that level though.

    • Pie21 says:

      Bring back the Power Glove!

      I think I’m allowed to say that because I was born in 1989?

    • Tei says:

      I was about to make a joke about Pen15, born in 1337. But XKCD ninjaed it. Damn ninjas.

  2. Malfernion says:

    ‘How long before MS releases a PC Kinect? I’m guessing seven months.’

    -No, within six months.

  3. Tinus says:

    The skeleton tech looks very mature already, that went crazy fast! The thing is though, while I think it opens up a lot of interesting possibilities, I don’t think this (tacking it onto existing game concepts with the exercise excuse) is it.

    And I love the Steven Seagal reference, well done to that guy.

  4. Lack_26 says:

    They’d be silly not to release official support once the console sales have died down a bit. They could run another ad-campaign saying ‘Microsoft Kinect, now for windows’, advertise it with a few games proper support like the Sims (albeit silly, like acting out the characters movements to make them do things. Providing they can get the developers on-board).

    Of course this is Microsoft, they’d probably think it would take attention away from the 360 if they broad-cast it too widely at ‘non-gamers’, so perhaps a quieter approach aimed at ‘those in the know’ might be in their advantage.

  5. drewski says:

    Microsoft’s approach to this is basically mirroring their approach to video games in general – loud shouting about the 360 and vague indifference to people playing on PC.

  6. Tei says:

    The idea of “Kinect Hacks” is perfect for the Microsoft plans to feed the console populace with the idea that PC gaming is full of terrible hackers that will steal your lunch money if you dare walk outside the 360 wallet garden.

    You can’t have a racket (the gold live montly payment), without some fictional terrible danger outside.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      Microsoft have been in this habit since they opened shop. It’s a real shame because the news coming from Kinect hacks is inspiring and encouraging. Two words I don’t ever see being associated with Microsoft.

    • Tei says:

      I would describe it more as “We have done something right by error, lets ignore it as much as we can”.

    • Wulf says:

      I love how the article says that PrimeSense is a less graceful name than Kinect.

      Since connect is essentially the most clumsy portmanteau (of connect and kinetic) that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some clumsy portmanteaus. It reminds me of some of the people I know in fantasy gaming communities who have character names like S’Jara (which is a horrible pun on Sahara, but I digress).

      You could really ask a four year old child to come up with something that’s as marketable as Kinect. Let’s go with The Asus Activitalus. …no, they’d get sued by Activision. Hm. They could portmanteau PrimeSense into Prince. Oh sod it, let’s just call it The Asus Flail, which would be apt.

      TL;DR: Kinect – a name that’s graceful in any conceivable way? Really now?

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      I would much rather live in a universe where products routinely had names like The Asus Flail. It’s refreshing like you would think a mountain stream would be.

      Also I know what you mean about Clortmanteaus. Painful stuff.

  7. SuperNashwan says:

    I don’t know how successful any Kinect clones might be, the hardware itself isn’t really what makes Kinect work well, how the software side manages to interpret what it sees is where the magic happens. If you read some of the interviews Kinect’s tech lead did it certainly didn’t sound like reading a person’s position and movement was an easy problem to crack.

  8. Teddy Leach says:

    Isn’t this thing rather like just turning your body into a massive wiimote? That said, I’ve not been keeping up with this stuff at all. It seems like it’s only use would be to re-enact scenes from Minority Report.

  9. Chakawi says:

    Skip Rizzo makes me think of the Godfather, better listen to him!

  10. Paravel says:

    Awesome! Now let’s see chubby stand there and wave his arms around for fourteen hours straight to gain one level.

  11. Muzman says:

    I guess this is most interesting because when the initial hack appeared it was said it would be pretty limited without proper skeletal simulation (like the proper software/hardware has). Well tadaa.

    The idea of Microsoft flat out refusing to get in on all this and people like Asus jumping right in is the most hilarious aspect. Maybe Asus will bring out a really sensitive high res unit too. If it turns out to be a big thing I’m reminded of Steve Jobs saying “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” to describe the way Xerox just gave away the mouse and windows GUI to Apple because they couldn’t think of what to do with it.

  12. Sigh says:

    “…who told them they’ve no intention to embrace the PC at all.”

    Not so fast. I have 4 letters that say otherwise:

    GfWL

  13. DrGonzo says:

    I have to say that Microsoft are fucking idiots then. Let Windows and Microsoft crash and burn, they deserve to. Kinect has such huge potential on Windows and they aren’t going to take advantage of it? It would be the most accessible controller for computers we’ve come up with in years and would be great for the disabled and people who aren’t tech savvy.

    The only significant advancement in computers that Microsoft have come up with in a decade and they aren’t going to do anything with it.

    • Mana_Garmr says:

      It is quite bizarre.

      I just assumed Microsoft were waiting for hobbyists to do the majority of the work developing the drivers and such needed to get Kinect functional on PC before jumping aboard and porting any existing successful games that use it on the 360 (assuming there are any, I don’t really pay attention to this).

      Out and out stating they have no intention of taking advantage of it is quite confusing.

    • pakoito says:

      I can explain that. They have XBOX Live, a 60$ per year service on top of a games store and royalties on all games in their console. Also devkits and accesories, etc..a well greased money printing machine.

      Now back to the PC. Out royalties, nobody would pay shit to play online, and servers’d better be good, also game must be bugless in a lot of hardware specifications and god please let it be moddable. They also tested the digital retailing waters with GFWL and well…we didn’t bite.

      So yes, I say MS is saying goodbye gently to the PC AAA+ scene for now, even though they said recently that they’ll try to return the splendor to PC gaming with Windows 8 but that’s only PR words still.

  14. kutkh says:

    ‘ASUS WAVI Xtion’

    And with that, ASUS instilled in me a sudden and unwanted respect for whoever manages branding for the consoles.

  15. Chaz says:

    These days when I hear corperations, governments etc, say that “they’ve no plans” to do such and such, then you can pretty much take it as read that they actually in fact do. Like the Conservatives “didn’t have plans” to raise VAT before the election but now they have. The company I used to work for “didn’t have any plans” for redundancies during it’s restructuring and less than 6 months later I was out of a job. It seems the phrase “We don’t currently have any plans to….” is the most popular cover up lie going at the moment.

  16. Zogtee says:

    A company that was interested in getting back into PC gaming would jump on an opportunity like this, but not Microsoft. Oh no, we’re going to let this thing slowly fail into obscurity and bury it under a mountain of shite almost-games on the 360.

  17. jonfitt says:

    “NOW Gamer spoke to Microsoft who told them they’ve no intention to embrace the PC at all.”

    Ain’t that the truth.

  18. futage says:

    It’s stunning how well this registering-to-stop-spam has worked.

    I guess I should say something about Kinect. My mouse allows me to control all my games with very small, specific, exact movements. Replacing/augmenting this with something which allows me to control games with very large, generic, vague movements (having the side effect of making me look like more of a twat than I do anyway) seems like a backwards step.

    I see how it makes sense on a console, when played socially (i.e. with other people who are physically present) – it’s still not a good way to control a game, but it adds social-fun. But I don’t think PCs are used that way, still.

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