Microsoft’s Kinect used to have issues with sitting players, but a studio has specifically revealed why that’s no longer the case.
One of the big questions surrounding Kinect that was sparked by developer criticism was whether players could sit down or not while using it. Considering that the act of sitting is a common mix with videogames, it mattered not only to gamers but to the device’s future. Sneak King studio Blitz Games has confirmed that yes, you can sit as you play Kinect, but only as of a few months ago.
Blitz explained to Eurogamer that Kinect’s skeletal modeling system would at one time get confused when players would take a load off. However, an update “a few months ago” made significant changes to Kinect’s software that apparently fixed the problem.
In the update, Kinect’s human “base node” was moved from the bottom of the spine to the back of the neck, which Blitz Games co-founder Andrew Oliver says enabled Kinect’s confusion of people’s lower halves with sofas to not matter as they could still waggle around their arms. Oliver reveals: “A few months ago [Microsoft] changed stuff around. A lot of developers were like, ‘Oh my God! Everything’s broken,’ because all the nodes were moved.”
“But then it was like, ‘Oh, actually, this is more logical,'” he adds. Until the update, developers like Blitz were stuck re-writing Kinect’s software themselves because it didn’t allow players to sit or lay down. Oliver continues: “We were talking to [Microsoft] last February saying, ‘Are you ever going to fix the libraries so it will work on the floor?’ And they went, ‘Oh come on, that’s lying on the floor. That’s so rare. We’ve got other issues we’re dealing with.”
Blitz says games in the future “won’t have a problem” with sitting or lying down, say for a sit-up or push-up game, but there may not be too many titles that include the ability to read anything but standing players at launch. The more I hear about Kinect, the more exhausted I get. I really do want to see Kinect improve the way we play somehow, but the combination of a controller and a bean-bag chair will be hard to beat.