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Old 2nd June 2009, 07:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Project Natal - 360's motion controller

This was just announced at E3 (I was watching a live stream of the Microsoft conference), so news of this should trickle out over the coming weeks. Hit google if you're keen to know more before my rant about it (probably won't make sense otherwise).

Personally, I don't see it doing much. Everything they showed was either mock-up "this is our vision" stuff, or really lame and simple interactive "toys", no actual gaming content to be had. Some woman playing a barely 3D breakout type game in which she just flailed like a drowning monkey in front of the camera/sensor in order to progress in some randomly un-challanging way, and they they show, wait for it, a painting program! In which some guy spent ages painting a terrible image with hand jestures that I could have done with a mouse in a 10th of the time.

They claimed it was a full 3D sensor and all that, but they failed to show anything that was much more complex than what's been done with pre-existing camera-input as controls for consoles like the Sony Eye-Toy.

They certainly tried damn hard to sell it though. First they had Spielberg up on stage, what he has to do with gaming I've no clue, but he waffled on for a bit about lofty ideals and basically just greased you up for what was to come, what he said was insightful and it sounded good but he wasn't really talking about games, just taling around them.

Next they had had Peter Molyneux from Lionhead (Fable) up on stage and if there was ever a man who could crap on about how great something was when it truly wasn't, this is he. So Pete waffles for a tad then shows a "video" of some interactive boy you could talk to and, err, interact with. They made it look like you could have a real conversation with him, but we all know scientists have been trying to create conversant AI's for years and haven't really gotten anything convincing yet - this was all just clever smoke and mirrors (wasn't live, was just a video). At one point the person interacting with this boy draws a picture and holds it up to the sensor bar to "hand" it to him and stuff, he wanted a picture of a fish and saw that it was a fish, but all I want to know is what happens If you hold up a centrefold from playboy magazine, if he reacts correctly to that ~then~ I'll be impressed, but until they stop overselling it and we see some real games with it, I'm calling shenanigans on all of this.

It could be a good little accessory and a fun alternative way to accomplish a few simple things but honestly I think they need to dail down their "BS" meter on this one quite a few notches before I start taking them seriously about it.
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Old 2nd June 2009, 10:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Added a few Links and moved to the hardware section.
Microsoft announces "Project Natal" motion controller for Xbox 360!
YouTube - Project Natal Motion Sensing Controller for XBOX 360
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Old 2nd June 2009, 02:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Just trying to get one up on PS3. Epic Fail IMHO.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 08:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, Sony really outdid Project Natal methinks, the most accurate motion control system demonstrated at E3. I also feel that what Sony demonstrated was much more applicable to us hardcore gaming nerds too. Guess we'll have to wait and see what both companies do with their systems over the next 12 months
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Old 3rd June 2009, 11:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Let the War begin.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 04:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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There's an article over at IGn claiming the Natal is really good, but I'm still not sold on it:

IGN: E3 2009: I've Played Natal and it Works

Playing a driving game: Moving your whole leg forward or back to accelerate/break, standing up to go into neutral, throwing your fist in the air to activate the turbo, must we re-invent the wheel (literally) ?

I'm not buying it. I too think Sony had the better idea, it's more or less a wiimote with much higher precision tracking full 3D movement/rotation. Also, as they said, if you remove all the buttons things just don't feel right, and when Sony showed the first person shooter controls with their motion controller I though "Damn, I can finally play shooters on a console with that! No more aiming with a crappy thumbstick". They also mentioned "yeah this is great for cacual experienced but we want real games with it" and that's all they said about the casual side of thing. I like that their demos included guns and swords and undead things.

Oooh, Sony's demo is on Youtube already: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiX-26VL4bM

I also like the idea of the colour feedback on the device. Could be cool in a first person shooter that flashed as you fired and turned a certain colour when you needed to reload. Which also makes me wonder, how does Natal work when you switch the lights off?

Not that Natal wouldn't be useful, I'm sure some good games could be made with it, but it seems much less accurate than what Sony had on show. However, Natal also has voice (and natural language) recognition, but seeing as they haven't live demo'd much of that yet I don't think they have it working properly (not to the extent implied in the Milo demo with the ability for it to understand complete sentences rather than just command words like the paint demo), but I guess only time will tell how this all pans out.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 05:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Meh ... I think I will just wait for the next console release.

The Sotendosoft Wiiplaybox Xstation.

After all, who needs a console with innovative new features when you can just rip off the best bits of your competitors products. ROFLMAO

On the flip side of the coin though ... If all the manufactures keep trying to improve interface tools for game play, we could be on the cusp of some very cool virtual reality gaming!
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Old 4th June 2009, 11:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm liking the Natal concept and wish them well with it.
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Old 5th June 2009, 01:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I watched a promotional video from teh internets too.

As Drac mentioned, it looked like EyeToy. I have an EyeToy, first it was fun then it was boring and stupid.

if it's a lot more accurate compared to EyeToy, It might be a good aid for something and then something for "Wii Fit"-like fitness games and for dance games etc. In general the problem is people have tables etc in their living room. Most people still can arrange that.

Mostly I think the consoles have now stalled and now they need these pretty projects to keep the attention.

If it can track head movements, it might help while playing a FPS with a normal controller. It might be great aid.

Controlling a whole range of stuff with this system like lights at home etc seems pretty difficult, as a lot of people speak with hands, there would be a lot of confusion.

I see speech recognition very problematic too, more like a toy, just because my first language is Finnish and I have a finnish accent in english. Speech recognition has not been very good with accents. Add a deep bass voice, not so easy.

It could be some kind of an addition for hardcore gamers using still normal controllers and then a toy for casuals.

Oh, then the Molyneux hype. Well, yes, we'll see it then when it's ready.
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Old 17th June 2009, 08:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Interesting perspective on how M$ and SONY should approach the marketing of their respective up coming "motion tech" peripherals.

http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/69...Will-Fail.html
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