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Mad Genius Break-Apart Controller Hones Your Archery in Skyrim

| 14 May 2013 15:55

High-precision motion tracking looks to improve the immersive delivery of arrows to knees.

One of the biggest issues with the current motion controls craze is that it's impossible to get the best of both worlds. So far, nothing on the market has achieved the novelty of extensive motion controls without sacrificing the versatility of the classic console controller and its array of buttons, sticks, and triggers. Newly founded controller company Mad Genius aims to resolve this problem in an amusingly simple way - just take an Xbox controller, split it down the middle, and add motion tracking to each half. The resulting Frankenstein controller turns out to be more than the sum of its parts.

The break-apart controller contains all the hardware and software necessary to function, so theoretically it can be used to add custom motion controls to any game, even reaching several console generations back. Unlike the Wii, Move, or Kinect, the system doesn't utilize cameras or accelerometers to track movements from afar. The built-in tracking components allow it to achieve more precise motion controls than its competitors; its creator claims that the tracking is accurate to within one percent of an inch.

A video demonstrates the controller in action, running an unmodified copy of Skyrim on an unmodified Xbox 360. The controller maps various gestures to in-game actions: there's the typical set of controls like punching with either hand to swing the respective weapon, but also high-precision actions like aiming a bow by assuming an archer's pose. The controller recognizes the gesture, automatically swaps to your character's bow, and starts aiming. The controller's creator notes that, due to the accuracy of the spatial tracking, players may need to hold their breath in real life to steady their aim before making a difficult shot.

The current model of the Mad Genius controller is an early proof of concept, relying on a wire stretching between the two halves. The company plans to launch a Kickstarter to help bring the product to completion, making the controller halves wireless and designing a sleeker model.

Motion controls are largely reviled at this point, but if developers want to get the "hardcore" audience onboard, this is the way to do it. The player in the demo didn't seem to have any trouble hitting distant targets with the motion control bow, and the custom gesture-mapping means we could see some creative applications of spatial tracking once this hits the market. Add the Oculus Rift on top of it, and we're getting pretty close to workable VR. The future isn't here yet, but when it comes, you'll be able to Kickstart it.

Source & Image: Engadget

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