Thursday, June 11, 2009

If I were to design a motion control game

I'm not terribly excited about the prospect of a motion control future for video games. Waving the Wii Remote around is already an obnoxious experience most of the time. I wouldn't want to have to writhe about with my whole body to play a game. Oh wait, I already did that with the EyeToy. It sucked. Well, okay, it was an interesting novelty, but I don't need more of that.

Part of the joy of video games is that I can do so much in the virtual world that I wouldn't be able to in my real life. It's not about simulating real activities, but about doing and being more and better. In Dynasty Warriors, I tap a few buttons, and, on screen, Guan Yu spins around and wrecks a hundred guys. The feedback is tremendous relative to the input. I would probably die if I had to swing my arms or a wand for each of those kills.

Those Microsoft and Sony concept videos and tech demos of people jumping and dodging around for real do not appeal to me. Without at least a Wii Nunchuk, how do you even navigate the virtual map of, say, a first-person shooter? Am I supposed to run in place and duck around my room? That's not even feasible for a lot of people or rooms.

But it's true that I lack imagination, and hopefully the developers working with the technology know much better what they are doing.

In the meantime, here's my idea for a simple sword fighting game using Sony's Sixaxis controller:

Attacks are performed with traditional button inputs. To block, you hold down the shoulder buttons and then fold the controller in. To parry, you hold the shoulder buttons and quickly tilt the controller to one side. To counter, you hold the shoulders and tilt forward. When two fighters lock swords, you grip all shoulder buttons as deeply as possible and then rock the controller side-to-side in a rhythmic manner. Rather than focusing just on the motion control, the emphasis is equally on using the depth of the analog shoulder buttons to simulate the tactile feel and tension of gripping a sword.

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