Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sony Playstation - Move

This is just a little summary of information gained at the last Boston Post Mortem, held 20th May.

So what makes this a good thing to develop on? Hard question to answer with out seeing any killer apps for it, though the tech demo was pretty interesting and does show some potential for tools creation and as a editor for current games.

What Sony are doing to help developers is providing the Live Motion 2, the motion library for free to all licensed Sony devs and they are trying to make a push for people to use this by offering various bundle deals, most including the Eye Toy camera which is need to get this working, which is a good thing as they have only something like 10M Eye Toys out there at the moment.

What doesn't help, certainly devs going for the casual sports and pub type games, there won't be any controller add ons, such that you get with the Wii controller with all those baseball bats, golf clubs etc. This I think is a bit of a short fall as it breaks the illusion of being part of the event, sure this thing is accurate but there is a much larger level of disconnect from the game because of that.

A concern for who will use this is another big issue. For a party accessory, unlike the Wii, this becomes very expensive, having the PS3, the camera, the Move and the navigator, not a cheap toy to bring to a party. Also you need a certain level of light for this to work, and it needs to be consistent light for it to work at its best, so that could rule out anywhere with strobed party lights. A nice tough though, the controller can phase out colours which are similar to the background and lighting so that they won't create problems with the controller and if two or more controllers are using similar colours, it can auto change the colours for you to make game play smoother and easier.

You can have up to four Move controllers on any one system which is good, but there was no mention if that included the navigator controller or not and they would take up a joypad spot, so limiting how much of a mix and match you can have.

Allowing older games to function with these, should be easy apparently, though this is a little more in the programmer sphere than I understand, it did sound relatively simple because the units used very little system resources with a 13m/s latency per SPU for each controller. I think I got that right.

What was very nice, the face detection, this could add quite a bit of fun to game design because it could track relative age, eye movement, head movement, if you had glasses and whether you were smiling or not. It could also consider your height, if you were sitting or standing. This was a nice mechanic for game show puzzle type games because it could indicate various facial factors.

Gestures, which was also quite nice, but very glitchy. It allowed you to create a rough skeleton of your height and build, so you could control yourself and using the buttons on the controller to add fine hand control, something they pointed out that Natal didn't have. It was nice to see, but it didn't work that great though.

Big issue was the line of sight, the light on the Move controller had to see the camera and getting in the way either because you were moving around, someone passing through, or you swinging the controller back behind for something like a baseball swing broke the controller, left you hanging in the air as it were. It was quite quick to pick you back up, but it still broke the illusion.

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