Button-Using Kinect "Hybrids" On the Way

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Button-Using Kinect "Hybrids" On the Way

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Kinect might be controller-free, but it won't discriminate against button use.

One of the primary selling points for the Xbox 360's Kinect device is that it's totally controller-free. There's nothing for players to get greasy, and there aren't 15 buttons that might confuse casual players. However, in a recent interview, Kinect director Alex Kipman revealed that there are "hybrid" games in development that will use the Xbox 360 controller and the Kinect's controller-free technology in tandem.

"We love controller-free games, we love Kinect experiences and we'll continue to grow our set of those as well," Kipman told GamesIndustry. "What we haven't really talked about, but exist, are hybrid games."

Kipman says these will be "games that are using the controller ... and pieces, if not all, of the Kinect experiences to again make those experiences more immersive, more fun and more emotionally connected." He admits that part of Kinect's development philosophy was to take the technology out of people's hands so they were no longer "enslaved" by it, but apparently understands that it's still okay to play games using buttons.

He didn't reveal what kinds of hybrid games are being developed, but only that they were in the works. Microsoft had said in the past that it was possible to use Kinect with a controller, but this is the first I've heard that actual games are in development to do so.

I'm personally wondering how well this would work. Anyone that's played a DS knows how much of a pain it can be to swap between two-hand button control and stylus control on the fly. It might not be as painful from controller to Kinect as you can still hold the controller with one hand, put it in your lap, or just kick your feet and yell or something. In my opinion, these hybrid Kinect games will likely be the most compelling experiences, because they can implement the accuracy of button control, and the cool-factor of Kinect.

Source: GI.biz

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Well, if done right it could work. But wouldn't we end up with something like the PS3 six-axes?

Sounds interesting. I could imagine it would be fun - if a bit flimsy - to use voice commands to select your line of dialogue in an RPG like Mass effect or Oblivion.

I wonder if they will focus on using both control schemes at the same time - moving around while holding the controller - or if they'll separate the Kinect-controlled parts from the controller-um...controlled parts.

I can see this being for that Battlefield game set in the future, possibly Project Draco as well.

Least us controller players aren't left out on these games :) just hope they work!

Jonluw:
Sounds interesting. I could imagine it would be fun - if a bit flimsy - to use voice commanads to select your line of dialogue in an RPG like Mass effect or Oblivion.

I wonder if they will focus on using both control schemes at the same time - moving around while holding the controller - or if they'll separate the Kinect-controlled parts from the controller-um...controlled parts.

That would be quite cool, i can't wait to see how this turns out.

Ghost Recon: Future Warrior will do this (you use your hand to give commands). My friend has rabbited on about this when we have pointless Move vs. Kinect, and it's the only example of hardcore gameplay that he can give, yet when I multiple examples for Move he still thinks I lost the argument.

But £130 for hand gesture recognition? Piss off, I'd rather use the button presses (and with a PS3 it's not that hard because of the placement of the d-pad)

End of rant, I shall now bathe myself in acid to wash the fanboyism away

Soooo.... waggle?

This is getting closer to my whole idea of a sort of PC experience on consoles (motion controls being a substitute for a mouse, meaning that soon stuff that could never reach a console without major work due to the lack of interface commands may soon start coming over). This could potentially expand the market for the better, rather than just being "wagglefests."

Still waiting for a true 3D meets motion controlled sort of experience though... (think of that CGI stuff from the Iron Man movie with the holographic interface, or the countless "holo tools" in scifi).

Wasnt the whole point of the kinect NOT to use a controler?

Isn't the idea of advancing video game technology to MINIMIZE the motions between fingers and on screen action?

Eh, I probably won't start to care about controller free games until I can swing a sword and ride a horse on one of the Elder Scrolls games, feel all the movements and fatigue effects and shed a few pounds, all the while remaining completely immersed in the gameplay.

Which won't be for a very long time, I would imagine.

Really? The author really can't see how this would work? Can see the benefit of a kinect like system for menu/inventory and a standard control for everything else? Seriously how do these people get jobs writing about tech?

Lets consider something simple like quick panning to look around while playing FPS would seem easily possible. Require little of overall movements. Look to see Kinect "enhancements" to your favorite series in the future if it really takes off, I'd imagine.

Shycte:
Well, if done right it could work. But wouldn't we end up with something like the PS3 six-axes?

Sort of I think. It will be more accurate and flexible of course. Since Kinect is able to track movement better than a few accelerometers you stuck into the controller at the last second, plus it can track feet and head movement.

Use of voice commands is also a possibility. Remember Tom Clancy's EndWar? That game was fun to play aside from it not being able to tell apart "Alpha" and "Delta" (pretty important since units were designated by the NATO Phonetic Alphabet).

When I read this story I first envisioned a Pikmin-esque strategy game which made use of hand gestures and voice commands.

I suppose if they could combine the facial recognition and voice commands abilities with the controllers then perhaps it might not be a bigger flop than it is now...they still have to implement it correctly though.

Controller + Minority Report menu systems = lots of sex appeal, although I'm not sure it's enough to put it in my living room

So let me get this straight. They marketed Kinetic as a "Controller Free" Motion gaming and are now adding a controller? Isn't that irony or something?

Buy KINECT, where you ARE the controller! (warning: may require a controller)

ToonLink:
Isn't the idea of advancing video game technology to MINIMIZE the motions between fingers and on screen action?

I've always thought of it like this! It's as if technology is going backwards.

And as for the article, doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of 'being the controller.' :P

I got a few ideas...

1. Use it in a manner similar to the Wii Speak for online casual games with voice chat.
2. Sixaxis rip-off
3. Use the controller for menus and the Kinect for gameplay.

This would be great for head tracking in racing games. As it stands there's no right analogue on the MS wheel (or any other wheel available for the 360 for that matter) so you can't move the camera to see cars next to you. This would allow you to drive with the wheel and turn your head to see to the side, something real racing drivers have to do.

Or, you know, those FPS things the kids are all about these days...

Still not worth the money they're asking though.

Kinect has YET to present me with a game I would actually play as anything more than a 15 minute diversion. When Microsoft explains to me how Kinect would enhance my enjoyment of games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Assassin's Creed, Gears of War, Bioshock etc. then I might start actually giving a crap about Kinect. Currently seeing as the simple act of "movement" in 95% of the games I play would be annoying... yeah... flail fail and all that.

Even then, how would Kinect be anything other than a $200 annoyance to me? I have no issue with the way my favorite games control, I don't currently see any need for motion control, hence I can't see how Kinect will be anything more than a "Ha ha, you need to pay us $200 to keep playing games".

300lb. Samoan:
Controller + Minority Report menu systems = lots of sex appeal, although I'm not sure it's enough to put it in my living room

To use a tired Internet meme, "This." I also see some interesting potential for hardcore games using Kinect's mic array and facial detection in addition to the now-traditional controller input.

Some folks here are being (deliberately?) obtuse... I don't think anyone assumed that Kinect would replace the controller completely, any more than the guitars in Guitar Hero did. (Though I did get to watch one intrepid soul play a round of Halo 2 with the guitar... 'twas amusing.)

I also think that it's telling that media outside the "hardcore" echo chamber are giving either mixed or positive reviews of the system. I have yet to be convinced to get one by any of the reviews, myself, but I'm not going to just dismiss it airily; someone could very well do something interesting with it. There's a lot of potential there if studios can find a way to use it.

-- Steve

I hope that they start using this more often. It would be cool to throw grenades with the force depending or your arm speed.

Also to navigate the inventory

The face recognicion would be cool to express your emotions in online games, and also for the lip sinc for when you talk on the mic.

Let's destroy the whole point of a new console guys! I guess it's to let us gamers ease into it.

Well if Microsoft annoucnes new "Kinect Kontrollers" a la the Wii-mote peripherals, I bloody called it!!!

Because let's face it: realistically, how convienient, immersive, or important would any movement be if you have a controller for everything else? Oh wait! Maybe the developer felt like being a prick and excluded the jump button so every time you want to jump, you must leap off of your couch as though you realized you've been sitting in your dog's excrement(or just stand if you have any sense). The 360 controller is either going to be in your hand as normal, your only one hand will be utilizing one side. The later is more difficult because the 360 controller simply was not designed to be used with one hand as the player flails about.

If this actually results in any form of 360/Kinect hybrid controller, I honestly won't know whether to laugh or cry. BUt eventually, my Kinect-incompatible 360, my PS3, and I will all point fingers and share a laugh playing a game that doesn't suck[1].

PedroSteckecilo:
Snip

I feel exactly the same way as I find the Kinect titles in particular to be rather dull attempts at shoehorning in the Kinect control system while not providing a lasting experience. I see more possibilities for games that are the same price that become tired several times faster.

[1] I'm not saying that all motion control games suck, rather, I am referring to the ones that are essentially Wii-shovelware clones.

So they just invented the PF3 move?

*sigh* This is a bit silly, it's almost embarrassing that no one can decide what the hell to do with motion controls

The Wii
Six Axis
Move
Kinect
Then Kinect hybrid

Look Sony, Microsoft that is not what we want. We gamers want better third party support for developers so better games can be released more often. I am sick to death of seeing the exact same games being released countless times while different games have no competition so they are usually of poor quality

I don't think motion controls are completely doomed but, I don't think I know anyone who bought an xbox with the intention of motion controls

PedroSteckecilo:
Kinect has YET to present me with a game I would actually play as anything more than a 15 minute diversion. When Microsoft explains to me how Kinect would enhance my enjoyment of games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Assassin's Creed, Gears of War, Bioshock etc. then I might start actually giving a crap about Kinect. Currently seeing as the simple act of "movement" in 95% of the games I play would be annoying... yeah... flail fail and all that.

Even then, how would Kinect be anything other than a $200 annoyance to me? I have no issue with the way my favorite games control, I don't currently see any need for motion control, hence I can't see how Kinect will be anything more than a "Ha ha, you need to pay us $200 to keep playing games".

What about that Steel battalion game?

arc1991:

Jonluw:
Sounds interesting. I could imagine it would be fun - if a bit flimsy - to use voice commanads to select your line of dialogue in an RPG like Mass effect or Oblivion.

I wonder if they will focus on using both control schemes at the same time - moving around while holding the controller - or if they'll separate the Kinect-controlled parts from the controller-um...controlled parts.

That would be quite cool, i can't wait to see how this turns out.

Being able to shout out "STOP RIGHT THERE! CRIMINAL SCUM!" Makes me want to buy the Kinect

"and the cool-factor of Kinect."

Wut?

LOL, it's launch day and the failure of Kinect is already being acknowledged. Using Kinect WITH a controller defeats the whole purpose of what Kinect was designed to do. Remember, it was to simplify gaming by not having a controller. This hybrid complicates gaming beyond that of a controller alone or motion controls alone.

mad825:
I suppose if they could combine the facial recognition and voice commands abilities with the controllers then perhaps it might not be a bigger flop than it is now...they still have to implement it correctly though.

I hope you don't mind me quoting you but i had an idea for kinect today. I never bought into the whole "creating brand new amazing experiences without a controller" thing(always thought move would be a better buy and still do) but i did always think a hybrid could be pretty cool. For the life of me i couldn't come up with how it would work other than headtracking(which ps eye can do, its cool but not amazing) or moving your feet. Now moving your feet i could only see it not sucking for a mech type game where you use pedals. Then i thought of this game LA Noire. I remember reading an article on how amazing people thought the facial rigging was, then i thought: what if kinect had a setting that switched from using the camera and all the bones to track your body, to using the same number of bones to track your face and recognize your expressions. Now imagine if during cut scenes or in game a character made a joke, and it failed to make you laugh, the character would respond to that and then say something appropriate, or say the opposite if it did make you laugh. Or if you smiled and a character asked "what the hell are you smiling about?". The point would be to just enhance the experience instead of creating a brand new one. You wouldn't need to wave your arms around or do anything to take you out of the game. If anything i could see it adding to immersion. Although i don't know if the tech is currently capable of it because it has been downgraded a bit, and keep in mind kinect does supposedly "learn" so it would get better at tracking your expressions if it could. Still just something i thought of and felt the need to share.
EDIT: I do know how kinect's hardware works for the most part and i followed it since before Microsoft bought it.

Ya know, when I think about it, Kinect Hybrid = Sony Move.

Shycte:
Well, if done right it could work. But wouldn't we end up with something like the PS3 six-axes?

Not necessarily. There's still a lot more freedom than with the Sixaxxis. It can still track body parts, rather than solely relying on the movement of the controller.

Personally, I think it would have worked best with something similar to Wii's nunchuck. Simply having an analogue stick and two or three buttons held in one hand, that was light enough to not make range of motion potentially awkward (Using the 360's controller, I picture it slipping out of my hand).

In essence, what I think would be the best model would be a Wii60 hybrid sort of deal. It's possible there are some perks to Move that could be thrown in, too, but I like the above model. However, it would mean selling another controller for a product that's supposed to be controller free. And, of course, it would only work with some games--I have too many plastic peripherals as is.

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