Going Gold: It Just Feels Right

Going Gold: It Just Feels Right

Making games feel right is a very inexact science - one that the proliferation of motion controllers is only going to make more difficult

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Great piece, Mr. Ward. You put a nice knock in the argument of the anti-motion movement (Whoa, that's weird to say) without being an asshole. I sure couldn't have done it like that.

Twitch gaming is something that motion controls won't get for awhile, if ever, especially in the fighting genre. However, a good degree of 'twitch' is required in First-Person Shooters, and there are a number of high-quality FPS's on the Wii, such as Metroid Prime 3 and The Conduit (Actually play the game, don't quote Yahtzee at me or I will destroy you for being an ignorant fanboy). I've yet to have any issue with the twitch needed in The Conduit, especially after I modified the control scheme a bit to fit me.

It's amusing how fundamentalist gamers are. They shun anything that's new or revolutionary, and condemn experimentation even when the experiment does what it is supposed to, although not without flaws. Am I the only one who remembers the Light Gun for Duck Hunt? That sure as hell wasn't incredibly accurate, but I didn't see anyone bitching about it.

It's almost as if we've become spoiled.

One of my hopes is that the game controller does not go away because of motion controls. I don't think that will really happen, because not everything translates to human motion. I get worried sometimes though the way Microsoft talks about Natal though. Sure I love to play Wii Baseball or Bowling with my GF, but I sure don't want to be jumping around flailing my arms and legs around when playing the next Mortal Kombat game.

In the Natal demo video on xbox.com they show people playing a racing game by holding your hands up like you are driving the car. This is neat and great for short term gaming. What about long term gaming? You know, those 4 - 12 hours straight gaming sessions. Your arms would start to get tired. For that matter what about a coffee table that blocks your feet? I don't know about you, but in front of my couch and between my TV is a coffee table. Do they expect me to re-arrange my furnature every time I want to take a spin around the track or fight Sub-Zero so the Natal device can see my feet move?

How would an FPS game work with motion control. Can you imagine standing around your living room for hours with your hands up like you are holding various weapons. How do you handle turning or looking up. Granted 'teabagging' could be a bit more fun. Lets not forget the fact that not everyone has good reflexes when it comes to their whole body.

I agree that different types of games will be created using this interface. I just don't see it becoming the mainstream way of gaming. I am playing Twilight Princess for the Wii currently and my wrists hurt after playing for an hour or so from flicking my wrist to swing the sword, I can't imagine having to swing my arms around for hours to play. If I wanted to do that, I would practice with my Shinai sword.

I think the fear that most hard-core gamers have is, that the casual popularity of motion-control will force a lott of major console developers to support this control-scheme for the sake of revenue.

I agree that the only way to really evolve games is to chance the controller, but it needs to remain "in your hands". That's what makes games so relaxing yet exilirating; the fact that you only need to move you hands and fingers. Your arm motions will never be as exact as the motions of you fingers. And there needs to be some form of physical feedback.

Thinking about this, I'd like to see an RTS with motion control--strangely, motion controls might work best for the most 'hardcore' genre of them all.

Now you really would feel like a god (or the god your shaman worships) in Populous.

Very good argument, can't wait to read your defence of QTEs!

Good read. As a gamer not against motion controls. But in regards to the Wii. There needs to be physical feedback. Maybe it's because I've been raised on Dual Shock 2 controllers and the like but still. That's not to say I don't like the Wii mind you.

That was surprisingly completely correct.

Cheeze_Pavilion, I just thought about your suggestion and that would be the coolest thing ever. Poke a unit to select, double-poke where you want it to go. Or it could be using two fingers to literally grab the unit.

Motion controls, when they get it down, will be very fun.

Probably.

Depending on the game, motion controls can be a good thing. When my friend bought a Wii, I was over at his place every weekend playing Mario Kart with him. It was great fun. But where I see motion controls falling short is field of view and scope of controls. It's hard to make a complete 360 degree turn with motion controls, and as far as Natal and FPS's are concerned, it would be hard to allow primary and secondary grenades since it would be the same motion as well as create a way to run around maps without running around your living room in turn.

If motion controls are the future, developers need to get around those types of problems, especially since the FPS/TPS and sandbox genres encompass the majority of the gaming market. As Cheeze said above, the RTS genre, and in my opinion top down MMO games like Diablo, could possibly be revolutionized by motion controls. Until MS releases a video of an FPS executed successfully, it'll be hard to convince me controllers and keyboards are obsolete.

To be honest, I'm not crazy for Project Natal. Motion control can only go so far. See what the Wii has? Sports games and some very unpopular shooters. Something like Gears of War or Oblvion would never work with the Natal system, unless you were to completely re-design the entire engine and system from the ground up, which would take a bastard-load of money, which is not readily available in this recession-era climate.
Games were designd to be fun, lazy things to wile away the hours by pressing buttons and making things die, or by making new lives in a medieval world of wizards and goblins and making them die by pressing buttons. Soon enough, if this blasphemous thing catches on, shooters will be done away with, replaced by pseudo-futuristic health games that fool you into thinking you're playing a videogame, when you're just excersizing and not having fun.
I believe that this whole motion control shtick is just another facade of the health-craze. To make videogames a health excersize, the exact opposite of what they actually are.
I'm not adversed to staying healthy, but videogames aren't about that! They're about saving the world, fighting aliens, killing zombies, slaying dragons and getting better highscores than your friends. They are a way of expressing our fantasies in a world where we can do anything. You can excersize in the real world. Can you slay dragons in Dublin? No. Can you fight aliens in London? No. Can you go out to Spaina nd fight off hordes of the undead? No. Can you save the world on a daily basis from an international, super-advanced terrorist organization controlled by a mad scientist? No, you can not. Unless you're Solid Snake or Jack Bauer, which you're probably not.
Frankly, I think this motion control thing is a fad, a hideous, cancerous fad, that unless taken car of, will consume the games market and turn it into bollocks.
Damn it, why not just make controllers with more buttons placed in areas occupied by your fingers which could be doing something instead of just holding onto the controller? You shouldn't just have to make do. Add stuff on. Don't take it all away.

Also, does anyone else think that Milo, the creepy little Molyneaux bastard, is a sort of Skynet forerunner?

I play games for several hours, I can not exercise for several hours, I can not play motion controls for several hours.

Monshroud:
One of my hopes is that the game controller does not go away because of motion controls. I don't think that will really happen, because not everything translates to human motion. I get worried sometimes though the way Microsoft talks about Natal though. Sure I love to play Wii Baseball or Bowling with my GF, but I sure don't want to be jumping around flailing my arms and legs around when playing the next Mortal Kombat game.

In the Natal demo video on xbox.com they show people playing a racing game by holding your hands up like you are driving the car. This is neat and great for short term gaming. What about long term gaming? You know, those 4 - 12 hours straight gaming sessions. Your arms would start to get tired. For that matter what about a coffee table that blocks your feet? I don't know about you, but in front of my couch and between my TV is a coffee table. Do they expect me to re-arrange my furnature every time I want to take a spin around the track or fight Sub-Zero so the Natal device can see my feet move?

How would an FPS game work with motion control. Can you imagine standing around your living room for hours with your hands up like you are holding various weapons. How do you handle turning or looking up. Granted 'teabagging' could be a bit more fun. Lets not forget the fact that not everyone has good reflexes when it comes to their whole body.

I agree that different types of games will be created using this interface. I just don't see it becoming the mainstream way of gaming. I am playing Twilight Princess for the Wii currently and my wrists hurt after playing for an hour or so from flicking my wrist to swing the sword, I can't imagine having to swing my arms around for hours to play. If I wanted to do that, I would practice with my Shinai sword.

I'm sorry, your argument lost validity at the bolded point. First-Person Shooters HAVE been done with motion control; see Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, The Conduit, and Red Steel. MP3 did it best, because it made the vertical axis on the motion fairly sensitive; you were able to look straight up, straight down, etc.

It's not incredibly difficult.

Flying-Emu:

Monshroud:
One of my hopes is that the game controller does not go away because of motion controls. I don't think that will really happen, because not everything translates to human motion. I get worried sometimes though the way Microsoft talks about Natal though. Sure I love to play Wii Baseball or Bowling with my GF, but I sure don't want to be jumping around flailing my arms and legs around when playing the next Mortal Kombat game.

In the Natal demo video on xbox.com they show people playing a racing game by holding your hands up like you are driving the car. This is neat and great for short term gaming. What about long term gaming? You know, those 4 - 12 hours straight gaming sessions. Your arms would start to get tired. For that matter what about a coffee table that blocks your feet? I don't know about you, but in front of my couch and between my TV is a coffee table. Do they expect me to re-arrange my furnature every time I want to take a spin around the track or fight Sub-Zero so the Natal device can see my feet move?

How would an FPS game work with motion control. Can you imagine standing around your living room for hours with your hands up like you are holding various weapons. How do you handle turning or looking up. Granted 'teabagging' could be a bit more fun. Lets not forget the fact that not everyone has good reflexes when it comes to their whole body.

I agree that different types of games will be created using this interface. I just don't see it becoming the mainstream way of gaming. I am playing Twilight Princess for the Wii currently and my wrists hurt after playing for an hour or so from flicking my wrist to swing the sword, I can't imagine having to swing my arms around for hours to play. If I wanted to do that, I would practice with my Shinai sword.

I'm sorry, your argument lost validity at the bolded point. First-Person Shooters HAVE been done with motion control; see Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, The Conduit, and Red Steel. MP3 did it best, because it made the vertical axis on the motion fairly sensitive; you were able to look straight up, straight down, etc.

It's not incredibly difficult.

Actually I think you missed my point. I am well aware of MP3 and The Conduit. With the Wii though, you still hold a physical controller which you would then use to swap weapons and also provides some context for holding a weapon, moving to the left and right for looking on the X and Y axis. You can do that sitting, laying down or standing. With Natal, there is no controller that you physically hold, your body is the controller which I think would be a much different gaming experience and that has not been done, not yet anyway. This is a completely different experience.

I am also only basing this on the demo videoes I have seen. Maybe they already thought of a solution. Based on what I have seen, you would have to play the majority of a game like that standing up and moving your whole body, which I still stand by the idea that it would be tiring on the player after some amount of time.

Monshroud:

Actually I think you missed my point. I am well aware of MP3 and The Conduit. With the Wii though, you still hold a physical controller which you would then use to swap weapons and also provides some context for holding a weapon, moving to the left and right for looking on the X and Y axis. You can do that sitting, laying down or standing. With Natal, there is no controller that you physically hold, your body is the controller which I think would be a much different gaming experience and that has not been done, not yet anyway. This is a completely different experience.

I am also only basing this on the demo videoes I have seen. Maybe they already thought of a solution. Based on what I have seen, you would have to play the majority of a game like that standing up and moving your whole body, which I still stand by the idea that it would be tiring on the player after some amount of time.

In that case I completely agree with your point.

I feel like a dope.

natal should be an option not a requirement. Today games allow for K+M or gamepad or wheel, and in case of flight sims joystick. also some games can utilise different controller for different player,and you can have splitscreen(unfortunately, there are many games that miss this functionality)

Natal is indeed yet to show it's usefullness,you can have it scan any object and have that in your hands, and I think there is no reason why not to utilise controller in one hand and natal for aiming with primary hand. If I'm not mistaken it should provide same input as trackIR, only without any gear, which in turn means less accuracy. And if they managed to have eye tracking there is more stuff to come...

And people still come with examples of motion applied to current games. It's as if they read only the first two lines of the article and went "oh, motion controls, let me drop my 2
cents"...

Our current controllers are very good at twitch gaming because that is primarily what the controllers have been designed for. Natal may not be as responsive as a button press if, say, you were to duck your head to take cover - but our thoughts about what games it could create are limited by the types of games available right now. Those games, in turn, are limited by today's interfaces.

Gamers really need to get a clean slate to think about this. Make it not a question of evolving current games so they can use motion controls, but making something that's fun to play using motion controls.

I perfectly agree with you.
Everyone who hates Natal thinks of it with the same genre thought for the old controller (see Timewave Zero here...). Sure you can't play any fps with natal! (or if you want to, you should make a new interface that could be completely unintuitive or unrealistic)
Combat and driving games could give some fun, but still they present some issues (as Monshroud pointed out).
But the problem is that we stick to the old genres!
How long since a new genre has been created (do you remember when rts was born? SCUMM system? Rpg?)?
How many fps can we play before they'll become obsolete?
How about a strategy game as Cheeze Pavillion suggested? Remember that there's a mic too in Natal... (anyone played Tom Clancy's EndWar?)
Or what about an adventure game? Point-and-click adventure 2.0!
God, how I miss adventures!
The thing that we console player are missing 'cause we don't have a keyboard can be solved with natal.
Think about diablo 3. Voice and movements can solve most of things.

I hope that they don't even try to use natal to replace the old controller for fps (because they would surely fail), but I sure hope that they use this technology to make something new, that we couldn't even imagine.
C'mon! Enough space marine killing bad aliens!
No story, same old mechanics. Let's try something different.

It's all well and good...but personally, my main feeling on the matter is one of spacial relations. I simply do not have enough room in my gaming room to bound up and down, or pirouette across the room. Okay, maybe most people with games have a spare room the size of a sitting room, but I don't and never have. When I got a Wii I tried to place it beside the rest of my console village, it didn't work, I was always too close, the sensor wouldn't read from about two-thirds up the screen...I had to move it into our main living room. It was fine, no-one minded it was a Wii and only came out when everyone was drunk (well after the first two weeks anyway). But had I been setting up my PS3 or X-box, I would have been in for a very serious argument with my partner, (especially if she happened to be about when I was playing Fallout or Mass Effect for 10 hours straight).

Now someone might hit me for this, but at the moment I think that "motion control" is in fairy land, not because it can't work, or because it's too much hassle (but I tell you I wouldn't be playing for 10hours of motion control) but simply because no-one seems to realise that most people's homes aren't equipped with these kind of spaces. It's like the DS, societal norms preclude shouting at little grey boxes in your hand, but developers insist on making the microphone a part of a game. And the whole point of the DS is that its portable, and shouting undermines that not because it's a bad idea or a silly control mechanism (mostly) but because the behaviour of the player (in real life as opposed to in the game) and the physical limitations. Though come to think of it I can't remember ever seeing a DS ad that showed people on a bus or sitting in a park...so maybe it was supposed to be "interior only" portable. I'll glad embrace my Natal or my Wand if the games and control interface work...but I'll still have to sure I don't end up in divorce court because I try to convince my partner that she really would be better off watching soaps in the box room...

What these gamers either don't realize - or else they realize yet fear - is that motion controllers will not just change the way games are played; in time they will change the very way games themselves are designed.

Yes, we realize this all to well and it would ruin this hobby of ours if it happened.

Before I even clicked the link to the thread, I had a feeling that it was mine... ;)

I'm all for the evolution of gaming, but the problem I have with motion controls is that they've thus far done a fantastic job of sucking depth OUT of gaming instead of adding any.

When I first saw the Wii remote, I was a believer. I imagined how many amazing new game designs would emerge from it, how many new genres could be born from it. But that didn't happen. From what seemed like a mountain of potential came absolutely nothing worth mentioning.

I still believe that some enterprising developer could prove me wrong and make a game where the motion control adds depth to the game (not holding my breath, though), but Natal is another matter entirely.

The problem with Natal is that, in removing controllers from the equation, you force EVERYTHING to be motion-controlled, effectively making Natal the answer to a problem that didn't exist. I think the Wii remote is a good start: it's a good segue between motion control and standard controls, it's just that we've yet to see a developer who has really delivered with the hardware.

I keep hearing that we should be patient and that motion control will prove itself soon, but it's been three whole years and I'm still waiting for that magical game that will shut my mouth and change my mind.

I loved my Wii for the first year or so, but like so many of my friends, my Wii mostly collects dust these days. I feel like we were all bamboozled into believing that this was the future of gaming and then, surprise! It's a gimmick that wears out its welcome rather quickly.

Can you blame me for looking at Natal like another nail in the coffin of real gaming? If developers had three years to do it with a motion/controller hybrid and they couldn't show us that motion control can truly take gaming in new directions, what are the odds that we'd actually see a system with no controller at all suddenly reinvent gaming?

Also, I don't see current control schemes as restricting gaming. Developers are STILL coming up with new and amazing ideas for standard controllers. It's motion control they seem to be having a hard time with.

The analogue stick proved within the first year of its life that it could add a ton of depth to gaming, from being able to make Mario tiptoe past sleeping piranha plants to better precision aiming in Goldeneye. Motion control? Not so much.

No matter what kind of gamer, be they hardcore or casual, gamers will always crave depth. We want more from a game than just a few hours of minigames, and even the most casual of players will put a shallow game down when they stop getting more out of it. I believe that motion control can and will be able to add depth to gaming, but the PS3's wand and the Wiimote stand a greater chance of some day doing that than Natal ever will.

Casual Shinji:
I think the fear that most hard-core gamers have is, that the casual popularity of motion-control will force a lott of major console developers to support this control-scheme for the sake of revenue.

This.

While I have utmost respect for most game designers, I have been taught to scorn people like Bobby Kotick. If Bobby thinks making the next Guitar Hero motion-controlled (so that I have to bob my knee up and down for it to register bass hits on the drums, and flail around without a surface to hit) will make it sell like hot-cakes, he is capable of ruining my game.

On the flip-side, I'm all for advances in Human-Computer-Interface, and motion control is just one of them. I've long been a proponent that the KB/M vs. Analog stick people are idiots because the truth is that the games were designed for one or the other, and those games work better on those control schemes. I think, eventually, we'll see the same from motion control. Haven't seen it yet.

And, this irked me: not wanting to be physically active while playing a videogame is a sign of our laziness? What if you were to say the same of reading a book, or watching TV/movies? What if the next best gimmick for books was a requirement to make you do a push-up to turn the page? If I engage in passive past-times, why is it so wrong to prefer that the new material that feeds my past-time remains passive?

Geoffrey42:
What if the next best gimmick for books was a requirement to make you do a push-up to turn the page?

I think that would be the solution to bookworms always getting picked on!

But I agree: sometimes, you just want to veg out and enjoy a game. I don't mind motion control, so long as the gestures are subtle and non-impact, but I LOATHE viciously shaking the controller for any reason.

 

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