Project Natal (Future of Motion Sensing) 31 replies

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#1 9 years ago

Project Natal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia It said it's going to serve as the basis of a "New" 360. Man, an FPS for that thing would be so sweet.




Metall_pingwin

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#2 9 years ago

That looks ridiculous and I disapprove. Motion sensitivity is fun, the Wii proved that - but it's also incredibly glitchy, unwieldy and impractical when it comes to more than "casual" games.




Snow_Flake

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#3 9 years ago

"How many push ups can Chuck Norris do?" - Simply for this I am looking forward to it lol :P.

But anyway, I think it looks quite fun and if it is really as good as this shows then I would buy it.




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Modern Warfare

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#4 9 years ago
Metall_pingwin;4933336That looks ridiculous and I disapprove. Motion sensitivity is fun, the Wii proved that - but it's also incredibly glitchy, unwieldy and impractical when it comes to more than "casual" games.

You aren't seriously judging motion sensing based on the Wii are you? You need to keep in mind that the entire Wii system is probably close in price to what just the addon Natal tracking system itself will cost, which has it's own CPU. It's rumored to be targeted at around $200, and that's likely best case scenario.

There's rumors of a new Xbox 360 coming same time Natal releases around fall of 2010, so that $200 may be the price you get it for if you buy the new 360, eg bundle price. I would suspect the main feature of the new 360, if there is one, may be an included Blu-ray player, as Microsoft has been talking about making a BD player for the 360. Possibly some proprietary restriction hardware regarding the Natal as well (read below). Then again, some have been confused by Balmer's talk of a "new" 360, and speculate he may just mean an option that bundles the current 360 with a Natal. Too much talk of a "new" 360 could cause a panic in the 360 community, whom might wonder all over again about backwards compatibility and all new hardware.

As for the quality of the motion sensing itself though, you need to picture the speculated price of $200 for Natal alone compared to an entire Wii system with the quality of it's motion tracking economized to fit into a $250 system. Thus, with the Wii you end up having a resulting buggy interface that causes the screen to go shaky if you point the remote off screen, and it offers very few points of reference for tracking as well.

To get an idea of how much better motion sensing can work than that of the Wii, you need to look at something like In2Game's Fusion controller, which maps 3D space in detail (without the need to stay aimed on screen), much like movies do characters with blue/green screen technology. The only thing keeping the Fusion from being a big hit is it's a 3rd party controller and games have to be written for it. In2Games lack the power MS has to fund and support developers with technology like the 1000 SDK kits MS sent out for the Natal, along with an already broad customer ans title/developer base.

Though the Fusion uses RF AND Ultrasonic technology to track motion, whereby the Natal uses mere RF like the Wii (from what I've read), the Natal may still work well enough to do what they're showing because all the unit has to do is take a good initial scan like they show the skateboard being scanned. After that, there is no need for it to communicate with a controller device like the Wii and Fusion do, it merely sees or emulates what it already scanned via watching your motion with no need for translating controller inputs. In that respect you eliminate a major cause of the problems encountered in such technology.

My thoughts are still tentative and mixed on this project though. While I see it on the one hand as a boon to opening up the 360 to those like myself whom have a hard time with gamepads, even doing so in a way that promotes a more active and healthy gaming experience (with possible drawbacks), there are also many issues to be worked out in the development and marketing end as far as what the impact will be on how games are made and it's effect on other platforms, specifically PC.

As bud eluded to, they've yet to show shooters being demonstrated on it. While it's no doubt capable of working with shooters given the right programming at time of game development, will the games be watered down in what nuances they have? Will you still be able to do all the things you can do in current shooters like change fire modes, grenade types, ammo types, etc. Are you going to be able (or have to) run in place, jump, crouch, etc. If so, how is Natal going to be able to differentiate between all the minute variances in player inputs like fire modes, etc? Much of what they show in the demo looks like Wii clone games that are overly simplistic.

It is said that Natal can simultaneously track 48 points on each of 4 players, at a rate of 30 FPS. That's 192 points simultaneously, no wonder it has it's own CPU. Is that best case scenario though? Even if that's best case scenario, that's not bad, because most users wouldn't have 4 players in front of the screen at once, but still, they could be setting themselves up for consumer angst over lag in many games if people try and use it to it's claimed full potential.

Back to the nuances of the games though. Worst case scenario, this could make lots of games much more simplistic, including the PC ports that come from them. The racer demonstrated only seems to show one simple repeated motion for shifting, no apparent gear specif ability as with H shifters. Then there's the clutch and gas, I would assume from what they show there's no provision for a clutch, or even feathering the gas and brake in increments. We've already seen some PC games lose features their predecessors had, like FEAR 2 having no ability to lean around corners, and that's without even using "It was developed for Natal" as an excuse, which the PC port developers might echo on future titles.

Best case scenario, I can see them possibly adding accessories to the mix like a mock gun stock, so touching certain parts of it to change modes, ammo types, etc, and the mere act of aiming down it's sights will enable intricate, accurate shooter play. What type and shape of gun stock to use that would work well for all shooters might present a problem though. Natal just may become the iPod of console gaming, with a slew of accessories to follow. Seems for consumers, that is both a plus and a minus if it happens, but you'd have to think MS's eyes are lighting up at the po$$ibilities.

Then you have other issues, like some players having trouble doing martial arts kicks or even holding up their arms in mid air for the entire duration of a gaming session in a racing or shooting game. I know it sounds silly to some, but even younger players used to resting hands on a steering wheel or using their gamepads while resting their hands on their lap will no doubt feel their arms/shoulders starting to feel like lead after an hour or two.

I had to laugh when I listened to one of 1Up's Podcasts that included talk of the Natal. How quickly one of them assumed it would work with PC due to it's having it's own CPU and only needing to transfer the data via a USB port. Have they forgotten the 360 was made in such a way that only peripherals with a certain proprietary chip in them will work with it? What's to stop them from making that "new" 360 with a chip in it that makes it the only device the Natal will work with, which may be one of the primary features of the 2010 360 if there is one, and possibly not played up in the media to avoid skepticism from the PC players whom fear Natal will ruin PC ports.

In summation, I suppose my greatest reason to be skeptical about the Natal is that MS is at the helm and it's a major tech change that could change all of gaming as we know it. That means they would have even more power to change the face of gaming as they see fit, including how it affects PC gaming's success and/or game development. This could start another new era, one of all those PC gamers whom loathe what MS has already done console wise to affect PC gaming to rise up and more interactively voice their opinions by way of boycott.




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#5 9 years ago

I laughed when you said Boycott. How exactly is that going to stop microsoft?




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Modern Warfare

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#6 9 years ago
bud389;4933631I laughed when you said Boycott. How exactly is that going to stop microsoft?

Did I say it would stop them or even do any good? It's more of a thing of principal that I think a lot of hardcore gamers won't lie down for if it invades on the production of quality, intricate hardcore game development. Boycotting may however influence them enough to realize games made for Natal may need to be in a separate category than games made for gamepads and KB/M vs trying to take over with the made for casual gamers, anyone can play them mentality. I seriously doubt Natal games are going to appeal to most avid gaming enthusiasts. Just take a look at the Natal Dicussion thread on the Xbox 360 forum and amplify the many responses of skepticism ten fold and you'll likely have the average opinion of avid PC gamers once Natal is up and running.

Project Natal Discussion - Xbox 360 Forum

Hopefully Natal will be no more than an optional addon allowing some to use it vs a gamepad, but I doubt that will be their vision should it catch hold. Publishers and developers tend to go the direction their cash flow is strongest, even if it means turning what is now pretty intense gaming into a simplistic casual affair. Natal games will likely be Wii clones, like I and many others are saying. Natal can't really be a mere addon though for the simple fact that games have to be written for it. That means devs will be deciding whether their next project will be a Natal title, or traditional controller title, the former offering lesser nuance and challenge. I mean did you even notice how slowly that martial arts "master" threw punches in the first game shown in that video? A real fighter game takes quick reflexes to play. This is clearly looking like a gimmicky feel good device they're trying to hook the average person on, not gaming enthisiasts.

You have a tendency to be quickly and easily impressed bud, but I'm sure you probably haven't thought out the negatives much or even looked closely enough at the videos to see the drawbacks. Games having to be written for Natal in itself is a major potential problem as it could easily mean if MS gets their way, games will no longer have to be intricately designed regarding player input, they'll only have to work with Natal and it's limited recognition of player motion. No longer will there be intricate in game settings like acceleration, brake and steering saturation in race games. You may not even be able to stay focused on the screen for certain simple player moves like the mere act of turning around to see who's behind you in a shooter. You can see an example related to this point in the video by how the kid does a 180 on the virtual skateboard.

Bottom line, we've already witnessed how MS can deceive the public with a claimed concern for PC gaming via their role in the PC Gamer's Alliance, which seems to be no more than a bully pulpit to bolster their image. In reality all they've done with Games for Windows is use the PC format to advertise their 360. GfW titles aren't any better in quality than the average PC game, in fact many would argue worse. This is just another step that may polarize PC and console even further. It was a bit of a Freudian Slip I think that Steven Speilberg called consoles "councils" in the video on the Natal site where he spoke to help promote it.




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#7 9 years ago

Well, just because some PC elitists get butt hurt over it (and i seriously doubt gaming its going to "change as drasticaly" as you think it is, that's what people were saying before the Wii released, and i doubt any motion sensing for the computer is coming any time soon) doesn't mean theirs going to be tirades of people joining in, some people might actually LIKE (yes, it's actually possible) how everything is going.




crisissuit3

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#8 9 years ago

i feel that motion sensing is an insult to, what i think, gaming stands for.




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Modern Warfare

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#9 9 years ago
bud389;4933970Well, just because some PC elitists get butt hurt over it (and i seriously doubt gaming its going to "change as drasticaly" as you think it is, that's what people were saying before the Wii released, and i doubt any motion sensing for the computer is coming any time soon) doesn't mean theirs going to be tirades of people joining in, some people might actually LIKE (yes, it's actually possible) how everything is going.

LOL, funny how when you get and are shown responses that put the direction console playing is headed in an accurate vs your naive point of view, you suddenly get your panties in a bunch and start spewing garbage like PC elitists feeling reamed I take it you meant. You also take some of what I say out of context when you assume I meant motion sensing taking over PC games. I was obviously talking more about the type of games and their content.

I clearly gave valid reasons for concern, one of the primary of which was PC ports being dumbed down to simpler Wii-like gameplay. That does not in and of itself imply I mean PC players opting to use the motion sensing features the console versions have, nor does it even mean the PC ports will have such a feature. It means there's a likely possibility the PC ports will have less nuances, like I said, because that's how most motion sensing games are made. It doesn't mean those playing it on PC are going to want to play them without controllers, but it may very well mean the avid players, the ones you mock as butt reamed elitists merely for wanting a decent challenge and complexity to their games (esp if they're going to shell out $50) will be very upset about it, and understandably.

You need to step away from your "Gee whiz, that's cool" child-like mentality for just a few seconds and get a grip on what's happening in the gaming industry bud if you don't think there's already been drastic changes in gaming because of tech like the Wii. Anytime you see a console like the Wii, that merely for it's gimmicky little magical wand transforms the face of gaming into the largest selling platform catering to anyone that wants to play, vs those whom have the patience to learn how to play the games that are for what you call elitists, you have a drastic change in the face of gaming. Obviously MS saw that and is now trying to cash in on the same market strategy.

It reminds me of how the sport of stunt kiting changed drastically when people all over started labeling all of them as inconsiderate, wreckless maniacs over a few incidents where a small percentage of them got careless with their power kites and became a danger to themselves and others. What followed was a trend of ultralight kites being made that people started "flying" indoors via throwing them up and tugging on them, as if that's the same thing as feeling the wind literally drag you along the ground at times. It basically became a gay sport, literally, and that's what I see happening with the Wii. It's turning off "elite" gamers and turning on those whom are too bothered to actually learn how to play a game with real challenge.

You should pay more attention to the part where you said some might actually like how everything is going concerning the direction they're taking motion sensing bud, because that's a good indication we have valid reasons to be concerned. This IMO is worse than what AL and Tipper Gore and Jack Thompson were trying to do with gaming IMO, because it's a more powerful tool against the hardcore games that are slowly fading away.

I'll end by saying I'm not totally opposed to motion sensing if it's used with limitations and in conjunction with a controller that still gives you a lot of control options. That is why I mentioned the Fusion. It's still what I consider to be the most advanced tech of it's kind, because it combines both the simplicity of hand controlled vs moused or toggled aiming, shielding, etc, and it does so with the precision of ultrasonic motion sensing and without throwing away the complexity of control buttons for all those nuances I spoke of.

What MS is doing with the Natal is far more simple than even what Nintendo is doing with the Wii though, so it's a step even deeper into the cartoon game abyss, as if to say "Who cares if no one makes hardcore games anymore. We'll make millions off all the moms, pops, grandmas, grandpas, and little sister Sally. Hell, we might even make a few games Rover can play." This makes me remember the fuss in the gaming community when Ubi announced they wouldn't be making anymore "hardcore" games, only this is a bigger concern by far.

In short, be careful what you wish for, or you may have options like Mario Shops for a Tutu vs Twighlight Princess: Queen for a Day.




SuperSmeg

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#10 9 years ago

Natal is fail.

Video games are a way to RELAX after moving around alot and tireing yourself out all day.