Jun 22, 2009

An email for my nephew :-)

Well Alex, you are 18 months old now and I am sure you will soon be learning to ride a bike. I have some words of wisdom for you: you will fall at least once, but do your best NOT to wipe out during morning rush hour. Drivers get annoyed at you if you lay on the road whimpering - I recommend you do as I did this morning: spring to your feet and pull your bike onto the sidewalk, and THEN realize how much the fall hurt. For drivers are in a hurry and think they are Important and will say Bad Words to you for slowing them down.

Make sure you have at least 1 friend whom you can call and wake up at 8:15am who will come and rescue you, but perhaps remind them that while you really appreciate them saving you and giving you bandages for you owies, beer will also make you feel better. I'm just saying.

Also, make sure your Mom is near enough to give you sympathy, and perhaps laugh at your stupidity for falling down - it's amazing the power moms have to make you feel better.

Auntie Bonnie

Jun 3, 2009

Microsoft Project Natal & Sony Motion Control

So this year at E3 both Microsoft and Sony announced full body motion controllers for their game systems. Microsoft demoed Project Natal, and Sony demoed the cleverly named Sony Motion Controller. I know, wish I had thought of that name.... Both of these systems are trying to take the Wii controller style to the next level (ick, did I really just write "to the next level"? Shoot me now...)

Let's start with Project Natal. It promises to bring hands free control to a variety of game types (eg racing, sports, etc). It gives a 1-to-1 avatar control system, so whatever movement you make, your avatar will reflect that on screen. While there is no announced release date, Microsoft has stated that Project Natal will work with all versions of the Xbox 360 (but no info on price either!)

Here is Microsoft's Project Natal commercial (from my favourite site Joystiq):

My initial thought was that this was a cleverly arranged tech demo, and at this stage would never really work as shown at E3. While I am still not entirely convinced, I have read a number of reports from people who had a chance to try the system, and they seem impressed...

Sony went in a slightly different direction with their new system - it's a controller wand you hold that works in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye camera. The wand is replaced on screen with whatever weapon or tool is appropriate. This system seems to be the middle ground between the Wii controller and Microsoft's Project Natal. The Sony system is due to be released in spring 2010.

Here is Sony's Motion Controller demo:

Both of these systems can detect 3D motion (so forwards/backwards as well as left/right). While I don't think these systems will replace traditional controllers for every game, I think they will have their place. Imagine flipping through the dashboard on your Xbox 360 by just waving your hand - shades of the interactive user interface in Minority Report!

Oh, and FYI, "demoed" just looks wrong....