Editor's Note: I Like To Move It

I Like To Move It

If motion controls are ever to transcend mere gimmickry, they'll have to figure out exactly which motions need controlling.

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Russ Pitts:
Have you ever run around for a half hour carrying more than 30 pounds of weapons and/or gear? I have. The first thing you notice is that your body does not enjoy the experience. The second thing is how hard it is to aim straight when you're puking in the dirt after exceeding the limit of your cardio training. Add in the adrenaline-induced effects of being shot at and the whole experience rapidly red shifts into the "do not want" spectrum.

You know, not all of us are adverse to physical exertion. Some of us even engage in actual sporting activities.

For a lot of us, the main reason we don't engage in something more than just playing space marine in a video game is that it simply isn't an option. There are things you can do that try to simulate them a little- foam weapon LARPs, paintball, etc, but not only are they not a shadow of what you can do in video games, they all have their own problems as well. For starters, you need a lot of other people, and you might not have enough friends who want to play. They can also be highly expensive, and generally require large single-day time investments. They're simply less convenient- I can't just pop into 30 minutes of paintball after work.

The quality of the experience is also highly unreliable. Videogames present a carefully-constructed, controlled environment. LARPs don't. Maybe you'll have fun, or maybe you'll sit on your ass all day waiting for the game to get started.

A holodeck-style simulation of video games wouldn't have most of these problems, and would be a lot of fun. Sadly, current motion controls aren't really moving us in that direction. They provide movement, but that movement is still largely abstract. They also lack physical feedback- the player can affect the environment, but the environment can't affect him back, rendering any attempt to move beyond abstraction futile.

Actually, I think what they need to do is figure out what activities motion controllers actually measure, and design games based on that.

A mouse, for instance, best measures precision of movement. So FPS's where aiming is key: Doom, Quake, etc.
Keyboards best measure choice evaluation. So RTS's -- games with lots of options: Warcraft, Starcraft, etc.
Console controllers best measure timing.. so platformers: Mario Bros, Sonic, etc.. and FPS's with cover systems ala Gears of War.

Now for the motion controls, the Wiimote best measures speed and rotational movement along the axis.. so bowling and ping pong turn out well. Games where wii-mote waggle are used for elements requiring timing (as many of the ported games) not so much.

The key to avoid gimmicky games then for the move and kinect is to figure out what they best measure, and then design games that take advantage of that.

For my part, I don't want motion controls for simulation, at all! I want motion controls for immersion, not for replicating motions I can make on my own. There are people out there who do want to feel like they're swinging a sword, or shooting an arrow, or punching a guy in the face (boxer, I should say) - I am not one of those people.

I'd like motion controls that offer a different take on gameplay settings, ones that at least come close to having buttons for instantaneous input. But, buttons remain important for certain things - if I'm waving my arm to jump in a platformer, or shoot in a gun game, it had better work flawlessly, or it will ruin the entire experience. This has been shown to work, in the past - just look at the Metroid Prime Collection; changing the camera angle or where your crosshairs lay on the screen is intuitive. What few motion controls there are in Mario Galaxy or NSMBW work well, too (although Lost Winds is a better example, or And Yet it Moves - both are platformers with unique motion controls that work and are a blast to play with).

What I'm looking for in Playstation Move is not simulation, but a different gameplay experience. If Move combines the advancements in motion technology from Wii and 360 (motion control and camera sensitivity...to try and sum it up in two words, anyways - Move has the motion controls and a camera to interpret depth), then we should be seeing games that are far different than what those two systems can offer. That's how I see it, at any rate - I'm not investing until I see a game that offers something truly different, not another simulation...something like 'Sorcery' (I think it's called).

Looking forward to it, but not excited, just yet!

Hey-- I wish my friends were up to paintballing or laser tag more! I have a blast when we play laser tag-- and really, I think I would enjoy paintballing with heavy gear on, even though you paint it as not very fun. (Football players run around with heavy gear slamming into each other for hours on end and they seem to enjoy the sport, after all.)

Russ Pitts:
Have you ever run around for a half hour carrying more than 30 pounds of weapons and/or gear? I have. The first thing you notice is that your body does not enjoy the experience. The second thing is how hard it is to aim straight when you're puking in the dirt after exceeding the limit of your cardio training. Add in the adrenaline-induced effects of being shot at and the whole experience rapidly red shifts into the "do not want" spectrum.

But according to Jack Thompson (who is a truthlawyer of truth) video games are murder simulators. It doesn't matter how much physical training you've had - one hour of playing Call Of Duty or Hitman and you'll be deadly enough to shoot the beads of sweat off a humping rhino's backside from a thousand miles away. That's how video games work, they proved it with science .

Uggh... defending Jack Thompson, even sarcistically, just made my soul try to slither out my body. It's like saying 'Bloody Mary' in front of a mirror.

To get on topic...

Wii motion controls always felt fuzzy and unresponsive to me, like trying to aim a cannon with chopsticks from across the room. It'll be interesting to see where Kinect and Move take it. I'm not sure which one it is (might be the Move), but the one where you don't need a remote looks intriguing. It might just be another Eyetoy but it could be a step in the right direction. Like Russ said, you need to involve as many of your senses as possible for motion control to be effective.

Personally I'm holding out for the TIV (Total Immersion Videogames) from Red Dwarf. The ones with the groinal attachment - imagine what the Japenese companies would be able to design for one of those.

But don't imagine too hard, you might give yourself nightmares.

"Piss Pitts"?

I was a little shocked (and horrified on the writer's behalf - what cruel parents!!) before I realised the first letter of the sig was supposed to be an 'R'. Oh, and the 'i' is actually a 'u'.

I'd love to sign cheques with your name. :D

Standing on a flat board in front of the TV is no fun, to be sure. Solution: Arcade machines in every home. (The kind with screens that fan out around you so as to give the impression of movement and speed, plus a board under your feet that shudders and jumps depending on where you've steered it. And maybe a small air conditioning unit for that blast of city-heat or mountain-freeze air.)

G'wan. You can put it where the couch used to be.

 

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