Mad Genius Break-Apart Controller Hones Your Archery in Skyrim

Mad Genius Break-Apart Controller Hones Your Archery in Skyrim

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


Motion tracking the player like that is a phenomenally bad idea. People move and react to in game stuff all the time. To have that translate into on-screen movement will likely send you into a lava pit or a tiger's mouth.

Motion controls will never be practical until we can get away from that tiny window that is a big screen TV. You need full 360 field of view for this to even begin to be worthwhile.

I wish the wii controller would be more like this one:
standard controller design, but (optional) splittable in two.
otherwise a great concept, but sadly not much application, considering you only have one TV in front of you, and there's only so far you can walk before losing sight of the screen.

Isn't that what the Oculus Rift is supposed to do? Give you a better field of vision and more ability to move around? This looked like it was working well enough, though there definitely seemed to be some bit of lag. The motions appeared to translate well otherwise. It could do with some refinement and would undoubtedly take some getting used to, but it looks better than the Wiimote or Kinect.

First Oculus, then the Omnitrax, now this...

Well crap, I will see VR in my lifetime.

Interesting proof of concept. A fair bit of lag, especially when she was in Werewolf form. I think the sheer amount of configuration of the controller will overwhelm casual players. I see it more for a niche market.

I was going to take up real archery because of all these games and movies.
But now I'll just get that so I can keep playing those games.

Real life skills? What's that!

Impressive from a technical standpoint, but not very useful for gaming. I don't see how having to do these motions instead of pressing buttons will make the game more immersive or fun. I can't really get sucked into Skyrim if I have to stand the whole time and if my arms will get tired after two hours of gameplay, when I'm used to playing this game (and others like it) in sessions of 3 hours at least. I think it's time to put away motion controls until our technology is advanced enough to actually make it worthwhile.

Occulus Rift, plus this level of motion control equals "Ooooooo....."

As we get closer and closer to the VR system in Sword Art Online, my little squee grows and grows.

Didn't Sony filed a patent for exactly this thing a while back? (like 6 months, I'm too lazy to look for it)

It looked like a detachable dualshock with 2 PS move orbs above each half...

Oh, damn, there it is:

I think someone is gonna get sued ...

Cool idea, I wanna see motion tracking + Oculus Rift... then add in the trackpad for footmotion... Fuck this I'm waiting for the holodeck.

Sounds awesome but I wonder how that well that actually works... as long as it isn`t some form of enforced BS that developers have to use despite the game not being made for it.

Would also be interesting in combination with a Oculus Rift... until you fall over, bound by all the cables :D

thats good and all, but how does she turn around 180° ?

If you're not feelin the mo-cap movement control, seems relevant to mention that I got a Razer Hydra a few weeks back & It's actually very accurate. I had to dial the sensitivity down for when I use it as a mouse because the tiniest motion of my hand will get picked up. It's a fun addition to a PC gamer's collection

Yep and this pretty much sums up why Kinect is not fun and why the other motion controllers are silly.

In this video you can totally see how you have a nice engaging game at first and turn it into a boring chore of tedious lag.

Controlling the on-screen character by leaning adds what exactly? This will probably be good for some party games, or exercise games and stuff like that.

Yeaa, im gonna go the "this is a bad idea" camp.

does anyone remember that tank game on the Xbox with kinect that tracked the players movements so you could do stuff.
Do yall also remember how well it looked on the trailer.

And most importantly, how crappy, unresponsive and just plain NOT WORKING it was.

Everyone moves differently and everyone reacts different. To account for all that is nearly impossible.

here we go

Creates motion tracking for bow, doesn't know how to use a bow. I love it!

So it's yet another flail controller... real exciting bloody news.
While I wouldn't say it's the worst of them it sure isn't reaching for the top, I applaud them on their scripts but really apply them to something more functional.

And you just got to love how they say "no delay at all" while the footage is showing horrendous lag.

thats good and all, but how does she turn around 180° ?

Using the thumbstick?

I think that walking around to have your character move onscreen is a stupid idea, because it requires space, it requires you to stand perfectly still for some thing to avoid walking into pits or whatever... but the actual motion controls for actions look pretty sweet. It would be even sweeter if you actually pulled the controller half back to simulate pulling the bowstring taut, and then clicking a button to release or something. So it actually simulates archery better.

Here's to hoping that we do see VR in our lifetimes. That would be fun.

Yea, this is nothing like actual archery haha. You can't really stand there for minutes on end with a drawn bow, especially with draw weights aimed at hunting big game. Give me a real bow substitute that emulates real draw weights and doesn't break when I dry fire it AND gives me an analog stick for movement, then we'll talk. Seriously, tracking real-time movement to move the character is a terrible idea unless you have an omnidirectional floor or something.

Dude in his basement makes better motion controller than 3 biggest multinational console manufacturers. Motion controls still inferior to regular controllers.

I think that says it all.

Whilst everyone is in the Bad idea camp here. I really don't see how this could be a downgrade to what we have now. From what I saw there it tracks both hands fairly accurately. If he somehow managed to make this work for Steel Battalion and it fixed it I would universally declare this a success. Because fuck the Kinect.

the antithesis:
Motion tracking the player like that is a phenomenally bad idea. People move and react to in game stuff all the time. To have that translate into on-screen movement will likely send you into a lava pit or a tiger's mouth.

Motion controls will never be practical until we can get away from that tiny window that is a big screen TV. You need full 360 field of view for this to even begin to be worthwhile.

Even then it has a fatal flaw, people game to relax and get away from RL and relax, can't do that waving your arms around or jumping around.

so you move forward and it mvoe forward. i need to run this 5 km of mountain to another village, but i happen to run into a wall in my room. see the problem?


thats good and all, but how does she turn around 180° ?

Using the thumbstick?

defeating the purpose of having motion controls to begin with?

I still don't understand how I was never on that balcony over looking the smithy at the beginning of the video.

I didn't see the one to one tracking he was talking about. Close, but still not close enough to feel as though those are your hands on the screen. Like a lagged behind shadow maybe.
I also feel like she should have been playing in first person.

Pretty neat I guess, probably pushes the envelope alittle more until something that really works comes out.

I feel like an improved Kinect would have been better. I mean I can definitely get behind some voice commands and using hand gestures to deploy squadmates.


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