I thought the Milo thing was way too scripted. I was also concerned that the lady was standing very close to the telly...Is the camera good enough to sense your actions from a distance cause i dont want to have to have my couch right up close to the TV. The other thing that was weird was the kicking and waving into thin air. Maybe kicking i could get used to kicking into thin air but i just cant see it right now. Sense of touch is important and you feel it with the Wii when you strike something with motion control and your hand rumbles.
What i did like was the facial recognition, voice recognition and minority report type interface for menus, watching movies and possibly if MS had windows on X-box 360 it would make surfing the net a pleasure. For fitness wise games this blows away anything Wii has released up to now although again i wonder how the effect of swinging into thin air for golf for example will feel? Will MS release peripherals like golf clubs to get that sense of you feeling something ....and if they do then isnt it the exact same thing as Wii?
I can imagine a day when the technolgy will be good enough, game designers will be clever enough and AI will be strong enough so that you can play a game like Heavy Rain e.g Instead of QTE's you could perform the actions yourself, with the voice recognition you can chat to character ( The problem here is what happens when you give an invalid response or action to the game? wont the game freeze and take you out of its immersion till you repeat the correct dialogue or will there be a dialogue tree of choices which you choose from on screen ) and game peripherals as detection tools.
To me this is a dream though and many many years away. It wiill cost millions of dollars to develop this tech adequately but im glad they did bring it to light because Rome wasnt built in a day and these first steps could realize the dream one day. For now though i think 3D is the way forward while this tech develops further and is left to the casuals for this generation like Wii sports and Wii fit.
Just too skeptical of it's practicality and even more skeptical about the actual level of functionality.
I just cannot believe that so suddenly there is a vast increase in AI (as the presentation wants to suggest) that will be applied to games now.
Consider how games act today, especially 'next-gen' games which have the emotional/interactive investment of rocks, and then try to justify that this is now.
It's simply too difficult to suspend my disbelief.
Laguna: "Chill man, it's cool." -- Youtube
Five Things We Won't See in the Final Fantasy VII Remake
I love it , hope it works as advertised. However I've been around a long time now and i've seen. Power Glove , Rob the robot , power pad , u-force , activator , eye toy , ms camera and wii controllers and none of them have worked perfectly. I hope ms can buck the trend but who knows.
Just thought I'd drop this in here, but Nintendo is going to have a similar product, by Ubisoft. http://wii.ign.com/articles/989/989178p1.html <-- link right here.
Well, I'm a weirdo. Got a new PS2 game today and I'm over the moon.
But, conservative a gamer as I am.... Epic win for Microsoft. For casual gamers just after fun, either alone or at parties, this stuff is amazing. People who never played games before will eat this up. Looks like fun for kids, oldies and casuals incarnate.
Sure it won't 100% work as advertised, but neither does Wii. I don't imagine Natal will work well in poor light conditions. For all we know it may only work in ideal light conditions. We shall see.
More fun than Wii. You watch kids playing Wii they jump around and move around but hardly any of this is registered. Full body motion is the real thing, waggle gestures is a poor substitute.
Epic win, huge system seller. Well done Microsoft. This tech is way way more advanced than anything Nintendo have, for the same money. They deserve to win. For casuals Natal + movies is a dynamite combo.
You're probably going to see me posting this in a number of topics, and I'll mention it here. I believe there is a chance Sony may take the opportunity to release more information on EyePet tomorrow. It boast similar features to Natal, at least in regards to the hand gesture interactivity and the draw and import function. Hopefully they expanded on this since they last showed it. Matter of fact, they better have something great, considering the consensus is they cancelled 8 days for it!
There are no games out there like that. Todays games need tons of levels and they have multiple A.I characters that can appear on screen at once.
Anyway my guess looking at pics is that there is most likely hardware inside prob a cpu that will actual do the work it needs and send it over to the 360 taking away some over head.
its actually a nice little device with 2 cameras in it for depth perception.
much like the Wii this will be a media and sales darling but will fail in exicution.
We the people...
The Milo demo was scripted to hell and back. That was a demo equivalent of releasing a CGI trailer.
Consider some of the speech patterns and recognition. The phrasing. The emotional interactivity.
It will simply not be that fluid and natural. Not even close.
And Apple, this doesn't trump the Wii remote for the simple fact it lacks buttons. Even Nintendo knows you still need buttons for some input. This camera isn't any different than the PS Eye but do you see developers making ground breaking casual games for it left and right? No. And you won't see it here either. You still need buttons.
If you're a casual gamer mapping the arms and legs is all you need for games that are fun for about an hour when you're drunk.
In fact the buttons are confusing for casual gamers, by which we mean people who have never played games before. It's "huh? I need to press which button to do what?".
It's completely different to PSEye, it's like saying a Dual Shock 3 is the same as a NES controller, it's a way, way more advanced control system.
If it wasn't, why couldn't they just use the 360 camera they ship now for it?
Just how basic are you expecting these games to be?
Take bowling for instance. How will it know when you've released the ball?
And this looks the same to me as the PSEye. A video image capture system with recognition software.
I agree with Viper.
Well in Wii Tennis you can't move around the tennis court, it ever did it any harm.
Yes, you can't do the full Wii Bowling, but with an angle and an acceleration you can do the basic version, automatic release at end of throw, doesn't harm the game that much. You couldn't do that on PSEye.
Think of it this way, not only could you do Wii Boxing, and not only are you not constrained by the nanchuck to Wiimote cable, you can do....
Wii Kick Boxing!
How do you do that on Wii?
E3: Project Natal Hands On
The first two parts i bolded is why i think Natal will work casually but not for proper games. The boy is heavily scripted and he takes you out of the immersion when he cant answer your question. So what would the game be like?....Are you gonna have a manual telling you exactly what words you can use in order for it to work?E3 2009 may not have officially kicked off yet, but it's already been a show to remember. After all, it's not every day you get to see the likes of James Cameron, Paul McCartney and Pele chatting about videogames. Nor is it every day you get to have a conversation with a virtual 10 year-old or play Burnout with an imaginary steering wheel.
But today is one of those days, because today Microsoft is revealing Project Natal to the world. Fresh from the E3 conference, we dropped by their posh hotel to go hands-on - or rather, hands-off - with the new technology.
Milo and Kate
First up is Peter Molyneux's new baby. As you'll know if you followed our live text, Milo is the name of the new AI character in development at Lionhead Studios. And as you'll know if you read our interview with Peter Molyneux, or could have predicted if you know anything about Peter Molyneux, Kate is the name of a dog.
But the dog's not on show today - instead we're presented with Milo on his own, sitting on a swing by a river. Molyneux invites me to try interacting with him by standing in front of the screen and moving around the room.
As I move, the camera moves with me. Shift your body left and the camera pans left; tilt your body forwards and it zooms in, and so on. "Normally you'd be using the right thumbstick for this," observes Molyneux. It's a bit disconcerting, but in a good way; looking around to change your viewpoint feels a lot more natural than pushing a stick.
What about those who would rather stay sat on the sofa? The technology works just as well when sitting down, according to Molyneux: "You just move your torso and your head to move around. It can be a very relaxed experience."
Now, he says, we're going to train Milo to recognise me. I'm told to smile and frown to start the process off, and I try to make things easy for Milo by exaggerating my expressions like a gurning champion at a rave. "That's too much," says Molyneux. "You don't smile and frown like that in real life, do you?" He clearly hasn't seen my Facebook page.
I tone it down a bit and sure enough, Milo jumps off his swing and walks towards me. "You OK?" he says.
It's unnerving, there's no doubt about it. Instinctively I reply, "Yes, thank you. How are you?"
"Wearing black, I see. It suits you." He's not wrong. About the first bit, anyway. But once the shock of Milo noticing this wears off, I realise he hasn't answered my question. Perhaps this is one of the tricks used to make you think he's real; and they are indeed tricks, as Molyneux is happy to admit.
I try another direct question. "Have you had a nice day, Milo?" He smiles and nods, so I go for something more complex. "Did you enjoy Microsoft's E3 conference?" He's non-committal. "Are you looking forward to the rumoured unveiling of the PSP tomorrow?" Milo nods. The truth is though, he doesn't really know what I just asked. He understood I was asking a question by listening to the tone of my voice, but he didn't understand the words. Knowing that doesn't make the whole thing much less unnerving, though.
Molyneux invites me to go and look at the fish in the river, as seen in the E3 press conference. The water effects are stunning anyway, but to see yourself reflected within them is astonishing. "Swish the water about a bit," says Molyneux, so I do. There are one or two odd moments where the water doesn't quite seem to flow naturally, but once again, the overall effect is highly impressive.
The demo's over, and all too soon. I didn't get to try out the work or play activities, or draw a picture for Milo, or meet his female counterpart, Milly. Not to mention the dog. There are still lots of questions about Milo and Kate, particularly with regard to how scripted the conversations are and just how clever your virtual friend really is. Here's hoping we'll get to find out more soon.
In the meantime, let's try out the tech demo titled Ricochet. This is the one Kudo Tsunoda unveiled during the press conference, and he's here to guide us through a playable demo.
The basic concept is that your character, shown as a translucent avatar, is standing in a tunnel. Endless waves of balls get chucked down the tunnel and you use your whole body to deflect them. You can perform kicks, headers and handballs, for example. Or, if you're as co-ordinated and graceful as me, you can flail wildly about, using everything from your elbows to your high heels to try to whack the balls back.
There's no denying there's a bit of lag between your movements and those of your on-screen avatar. However, the discrepancy is so tiny that it never feels like the lag has cost you a hit. In any case, playing Ricochet is immediately instinctive and enormous fun. In fact, I don't realise quite how much I'm getting into it until I hear Tsunoda warning a bloke behind me to stand back.
Tsunoda is keen to point out this is just a tech demo, so don't expect to see Ricochet hitting Xbox Live Arcade any time soon. "But this is representative of all the kinds of things you could work into different games, both retail and Arcade," he says. "It's a creative toolset we provide so designers can build things however they want."
As with Milo and Kate, there are many more elements of the technology that have yet to be demonstrated. The potential for multiplayer games, for example, which Tsunoda assures us is there, and the option to play while sitting down. But the major breakthrough, he says, has been getting the camera to register how the entire skeletal system works. "That's something people have not yet been able to solve yet with this kind of technology," reckons Tsunoda. Eat that, EyeToy.
Burnout With An Invisible Steering Wheel
The other tech demo on show initially looks familiar. It's Burnout - the original Burnout, to be specific, for the original Xbox. The difference is you can drive around without pressing a single button, or indeed without even touching a controller.
To accelerate, explains Project Natal director Alex Kipman, you just put your right leg forward. Bringing it back to the centre will put your car in neutral. To brake, you put your leg behind you. To steer, you hold up your hands as if holding a real wheel and twist.
According to Kipman, the game is running at 30fps. The camera is able to scan your entire body within five frames, so no complicated calibration is required. Within just a few seconds of taking my place in front of the screen, I am playing Burnout with my leg. As promised the car accelerates and brakes depending on whether I'm stepping forwards or backwards. Again, there's only the tiniest bit of lag, and the overall level of responsiveness is highly impressive.
The steering is slightly more complicated. My first instinct is to twist my imaginary steering wheel like a six year-old, but predictably this sends me careering into walls and over cliffs. "Trust in the device," says Kipman, like some kind of Jedi of futuristic invisible technology. He shows how only gentle turns are required to steer the car and soon I'm cruising round corners with ease. It helps that there don't appear to be any other cars on the road, mind.
Would you really want to hold up an imaginary steering wheel for the length of an entire game? It's difficult to know the answer with such a short demo and in such controlled conditions. However, there's no denying this technology works. Twist your imaginary steering wheel left, and the car goes left. Step backwards, and you brake. It's responsive and it's intuitive. And this is just the start, reckons Kipman.
"If I was doing a game from scratch I would have done a wider array of gestures," he says, suggesting you might be able to push the imaginary steering wheel forwards to go faster, for example. "This graph on top of the game, we just did it in a few days. It's very simple and there's not a lot to it as it's just a proof of concept. If I was designing a brand new racing game from scratch, which is what we will be doing with Natal, I could be doing any number of things to control the car."
Even an ancient game seems new and fresh when you graph Project Natal on top. It looks like Burnout, it plays like Burnout, but it doesn't feel like Burnout. Again, it's hard to make final judgments within such a short amount of time, and with only two tech demos and a single game to go on. But I walked away from my first hands-on session with Project Natal wanting to see more, and that has to be a good thing.
The second thing is the nothingness. Do we really want to simulate driving a car by driving like we are in a real car? i cant imagine jumping, peddling and kicking around into empty space like a monkey would somehow make my gaming experience more enjoyable.
The last bolded part is exactly how i feel. I would love to see more and im glad they brought it out but at the moment technically it just doesnt look like fun and thats what gaming is all about fun.
The other problem MS face is trying to get this camera into everyones living room. The Wii has the advantage of being in every console purchased. I personally dont think Nintendo have anything to worry about especially in light of the fact that MS have hardly any first party studios of note to actually make it work as well as Nintendos first party are making their motion control system work in their games.
All you said was 'imagine the power of the 360.' Uhhh? Ambiguous much? I go back to my original statement and I'll be more clear:
There is no way on God's green Earth that suddenly AI can magically be so dynamic. Like Viper said it's extremely hard to believe this is not scripted. Until there are actual tests by multiple players on this 'technology' that show it's always this dynamic and not simply a A/B/C option set like Mass Effect with very limited options there is no reason to believe any of this.
That is the equivalent of 'don't worry, it'll all be offloaded to the SPUs' phrase oft used in the past.
Have you not been a part of this generation? Next-gen games have been the biggest disappointment ever as far as interactivity goes. We are, for the most part, playing the exact same games as in the PS2 era but with sharper graphics.
And then you expect people to believe a leap during the generation? I think not.
P.S. The PSEye has depth perception as well, it has two cameras behind it's single lens IIRC. It also has great audio recording.
Also Apple I disagree with you a bit. Buttons and 'touch' sensitive control is, today at least, still needed. Even the most free control in a touchscreen still requires one to touch the screen. And even then the touch screen without buttons has limitations.
A whole hand flapping show sans buttons is great for aerobics and other things but it's not yet a substitute of control that a pointer + buttons (Wiimote) or a touchscreen and regular keyboard does.The only way to be proven right is if this has quality execution in a game of this generation but honestly not even games projected to release in 2010 have ever even planned for such interaction.
And let's be honest, the emotional/personal interaction in most 'next-gen' games is non-existent even on a completely linear path.
Laguna: "Chill man, it's cool." -- Youtube
Five Things We Won't See in the Final Fantasy VII Remake
The very nature of casual gaming is "one, or no buttons".
This is no compromise casual fun. You get the power of XBox Live, HD graphics, shaders, etc etc. It can do all of Wii Sports, Wii Sports is the primary system seller for Wii. It can do aerobics, Wii Fit is the other system seller for Wii. This is a total game changer.
It can do Wii Music but least said about that.
Just like Wii, it's not for us core gamers, it's for the casuals. Except for the inevitable Natal Fit, I need the exercise.
Don't think about it as competition for a Dual Shock 3, a 360 pad or any of that. This is to play games like Buzz, Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Raving Rabbids, EyeToy, Singstar, all that casual stuff. It's perfect for that.
And it's new and it's fun. Wiimote is old, gimmicks get replaced by the new gimmick.
I ain't a casual gamer, I'll still be on my Trey and Dual Shock 3 playing that Modern Warfare 2 and God of War 3, but you have to recognize that as far as raw casual fun goes, this is diamond. Casual fun is what Wii is all about. Rationalizing that "Oh Casual gamers will weigh up the pros and cons of Wiimote vs Natal" is wacky. They're casual! They just want a bit of fun! They want the newest fun. Newer is better.
The PS Eye has a camera which records at 60fps but is able to do internal captures at 120fps meaning that 2 frames worth of data can be processed for 1 frame of gaming.
It also contains 4 microphones to allow it to cancel background sound and theoretically it should be able to work out its distance from a sound source.
Its the expensive peripheral that just never got used.
Also creating a game that uses PSEye is high risk because not many people have it which means you need to have 2 distributions of your game. The standalone and the bundle. The bundle is expensive. Microsoft said they will get natal into homes by bundling it with every future 360.
There are unlikely to be natal input only games for a while at least if not till next gen but by bundling with new consoles they are making things much easier for devs
Apple, you can't recreate Wii Sports, Wii Fit or Raving Rabbids with this.
Buttons my friend, buttons. This isn't perfect. This is a camera and games, even casual ones, typically need buttons.
And don't expect many casual games to utilize those HD shaders and textures...those require time and money. if they aren't going to take a step above PS2 graphics on Wii don't expect HD level graphics on X360.
No, casual games will do shaders and textures just fine. You better believe Ubisoft are doing casual mini games for Natal, and they'll look and play excellent. Ubi are quite keen on 360.
Natal is mapping your arms and legs, aerobic exercise is all about moving your arms and legs. Think outside the box. It won't do balance board Fitness, it'll do aerobic fitness. To be honest, you'll get a better workout on Natal fit than Wii fit. Of course Microsoft will copy Wii Fit, it's what they do.
Natal can track squat thrusts, how do you do that on a balance board?
Again, you can do a different Wii Sports, it won't be an exact copy. Lets see you simulate running on the spot to run on an onscreen race on the Wiimote.
You can see a Natal Sports now. Throwing javelins, running on the spot on a race, kick boxing, all that. New and fresher than Wii Sports.
And all on the power of Xbox live. You'll have Natal Fit with a co op partner, all that kinda stuff. Real online, real graphics, real HD. No compromise.
You want casual? I'll give you casual. Natal dance studio. It teachs you the mashed potato, to moonwalk, body popping. Fun, fun fun. How you gonna do that on Wiimote?
Told you boys when you were in your Wii60 phase that big bad Microsoft were coming after you. Last year they cloned your Miis, this year it'll be Motion control. They have Wii straight in their sights. Be afraid. That 12 billion you keep talking about? Natal is all about getting that.
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