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Virtual Sword Fighting 177

Posted by michael
from the sword-sword-revolution dept.
Faeton writes "SIGGRAPH is on, and Extremetech has the scoop on it. From Nvidia's N30 to ATI's monster 4x Radeon 9700 render board, the coolest thing was the virtual sword fighting simulator. With a VR headset and a gyroscopic force-feedback "sword", you could really be the badass knight you've always dreamed of. I want this at a local arcade soon!"
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Virtual Sword Fighting

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  • by flewp (458359) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @07:51PM (#3965781)
    I think most of the slashdot community would use this be Jedi Knights.
  • Why does the display rotate? Why couldn't it just be 30 stationary displays? It would seem stationary displays would be a lot easier to create and maybe even synchornize. Also, less moving parts would help durability. Anyone have any info on this, or has anyone seen it live at Siggraph?
    • It's a parallax barrier system, this is for the 3-D to work. If it didn't spin it would have big black stripes and you wouldn't be able to fuse the images. This doesn't help with the low resolution as someone else suggested, they just used an LED display because it was much cheaper to buy billboard display blocks than lots of custom LCD displays. It is probably easier to drive the low res display. It takes a special display server with four digital video cables to drive IBM's high res display, this would probably be similar with the large 360 degree stereo view.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And became interested in swords, and fencing. In college, there was a fencing class, so a friend I took it. After a while, we considered buying our own swords. Eventually, we decided not to, because odds were that eventually, we'd want to play with them, and one of us would end up badly injured or dead. I think we made the right choice.
    • by flewp (458359) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @07:59PM (#3965811)
      Eventually, we decided not to, because odds were that eventually, we'd want to play with them, and one of us would end up badly injured or dead. I think we made the right choice. Further evidence Darwin, and his theory of natural selection, is indeed, correct.
      • Further evidence Darwin, and his theory of natural selection, is indeed, correct.

        I have an ex-girlfriend that used to be a big SCA fan, she has some pretty neat swords and didn't mind using them. She's now married and 5 months pregnant and I long ago decided not to have children, I'd say the odds are good that sword play doesn't hurt your procreative chances. I for one had an ancestor that killed three of his playmates with his first sword, on his 10th b-day no less.

        I'd rather play with that gyro sword from e-tech and you can see where that path has led....
        • by joshuac (53492) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @09:13PM (#3966019) Journal
          ---snip
          I for one had an ancestor that killed three of his playmates with his first sword, on his 10th b-day no less.
          ---snip

          ok, I'll bite...his _first_ sword? You mean he was given another one after this?
          • ok, I'll bite...his _first_ sword? You mean he was given another one after this?

            When he was older, they didn't have prisons back then, so either you were executed or not, and well he was only ten. You weren't allowed to leave the county if you owed money, so not everything got you executed. Someone later in life stuck an ax in his head and he is said to have killed him too, but I guess that was considered legitimite. Archeologists dug up his body a few years ago and verified that he lived long after the ax injury (that is the bone regrew.)
    • And became interested in swords, and fencing. In college, there was a fencing class, so a friend I took it. After a while, we considered buying our own swords. Eventually, we decided not to, because odds were that eventually, we'd want to play with them, and one of us would end up badly injured or dead. I think we made the right choice.

      Funny, a friend and I had the same impulse in college. Both of us ended up on the fencing team. I eventually ended up as team captain, and we won four straight conference titles.

  • 1) Any mention of this technology with pr0n.

    2) Any mention in reference to the "vibrating stick".

    3) Any polls that mention prOn or "vibrating stick" with a CmdrTaco last-choice.

    4) Creating any troll-ific "Please refain from" lists.


  • I have to contend with sword-fights at all the local bars... now I get to do the same on my computer.

    *twirls finger in air*
  • SIGGRAPH is off. I just got back last night.

    I was a student volunteer and I had the dubious luck to work at the Episode 2 special session. On the one hand I didn't have to wait in line, but on the other I had to deal with freaks with BO who got irate when I had to close the doors.

    See you all next year in San Diego, where I'll hopefully be packing a demo reel. :)
  • by ApheX (6133) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @07:57PM (#3965803) Homepage Journal
    It seems like VR stuff has advanced very slowly in the past few years - except the graphics part of it. We are now getting to the point with the new cards from ATi and Nvidia that movies can be rendered real time so the visual experience is great, but physically its still cumbersome. Why isn't the equipment wireless, using bluetooth or something similar for everything to communicate. Its not going to feel very realistic to me if I have a strand of wires attached to me. I think the VR industry needs to step back and worry less about pretty graphics and more about making the hardware more user friendly to help add to the experience.
    • Check out this project [uiuc.edu], where you can have a light saber fight with a cheap plastic toy and a webcam. It was on Slashdot [slashdot.org] two years ago.
    • if vr becomes avalible do you really think its going to be some expensive bluetooth gyroscopic control scheme, even if it doesn't have a big strand of wires theres gonna be at least a cable attached, do think people wouldn't steal a control device from something like this if they could, even if the hardware gets better, its still going to be expensive, arcades dont want to invest in some gigantic expensive machine thats goign to be broken easily
    • Why isn't the equipment wireless, using bluetooth or something similar for everything to communicate. Its not going to feel very realistic to me if I have a strand of wires attached to me.

      SGI was showing off some examples of what you are describing. Basicly, the big iron (clusters, or large machines such as Onyxes) sit in the machine room, while the users have wireless webpads and such elsewhere. It's the only way we can currently tap the power of thousands of processors and dozens of 3D accelerators in a handheld using current technology.

      http://www.sgi.com/visualization/van/ [sgi.com]
    • It seems like VR stuff has advanced very slowly in the past few years - except the graphics part of it. We are now getting to the point with the new cards from ATi and Nvidia that movies can be rendered real time so the visual experience is great, but physically its still cumbersome. Why isn't the equipment wireless, using bluetooth or something similar for everything to communicate. Its not going to feel very realistic to me if I have a strand of wires attached to me.

      Graphics have always been the easiest part of building a VR rig; it's the user interface that's the hard part.

      Radio links would indeed work for the control devices, but shoving full-motion video through the link with acceptable resolution and low latency would be trickier (recent wireless kits can likely do it, with difficulty). Also bear in mind that many of these rigs use EM-based position sensors. Nearby radio transmissions could quite possibly screw this up if it's being used.

      Biggest killer of current VR technology for me (besides the price)? The display. I like having a decent field of view with decent resolution. Current head-mounted displays aren't there yet (and a CAVE-type solution is a bit bulky/costly).

      Historically, fast and accurate head-motion tracking has been a problem as well (even a slight lag causes simulator sickness). This may have improved in recent years (haven't kept up with the field).

      VR rigs are really cool toys, but nobody's figured out how to build a really _good_ one yet that I know of.
  • You can.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ..actually do it in real life, too.

    Aside from the fact that you have to a) leave yer basement and b) take some bruises. :p
    • Aside from the fact that you have to a) leave yer basement and b) take some bruises. :p
      I think bruises would be the least of one's concerns in swordfighting...
      • Re:You can.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Planesdragon (210349)
        I think bruises would be the least of one's concerns in swordfighting...

        Not really. The science of armor advanced to the point where it was quite equal to the sword, and an opponent has to work pretty darn hard to actually hurt someone wearing it.

        I understand the SCA has quite a good safety record, considering they have guys in armor swinging swords at each other as a recreational activity.

        Oh, and then there are *training swords* that don't have the sharp edges. And boffers. (toy "swords" made from some things easily obtainable at a hardware shop, that are far less effective than a fist when it comes to hurting someone.)
        • For the most part, in the SCA, heavy weapons combat is done with rattan sticks wrapped in duct tape, made to look like swords. Here are the armored combat rules [sca.org]. If you look at weapons standards, you'll see what I'm talking about.

          Disclaimer: I am not a marshal, nor am I a stickjock. I'm just going to pennsic [pennsic.net] for the beer.
        • There are several ways to make swordfighting safe for practice purposes. You can use real swords, blunted, and avoid swinging for the head (Empire of Chivalry and Steel does this). You can use foam swords of various degrees of hardness, and then armor is almost unnecessary. You can use a wooden sword with padding on it (like the Historical Armored Combat Association), and light armor. Or, as in the SCA, you use hard wooden swords, and heavy metal and / or plastic armor.

          None of these systems can accurately reproduce all the nuances of real to-the-death sword combat.

          For safety reasons, live steel is out. Foam swords are far too light; you wind up moving them in ways that real swords simply don't. SCA swords bounce off armor exactly wrong, and they tend to be round, making it hard to tell when you are throwing flat (the aerodynamics of a real broadsword make this obvious), and SCA rules prohibit shots below the knee. The padded wood swords that HACA uses feel right and swing right, and with heavy armor you can even play full-speed, full-force (HACA members often say they can go full-speed and pull your shots, which just demonstrates that they are used to going slow, I think).

          The HACA system would be the best combination of safety and accuracy, but it is not popular enough to have the critical mass of players needed for advancement of the style. Last I checked, it was still low-speed cut-and-thrust stuff straight from the books, and a giant chip on their collective shoulder about it.

          The inherent problem with the HACA system is that, like all these, the sword doesn't cut, and that matters. Take the Viking Holmgang style - three light center-boss round shields per combatant, and the sagas tell us it was quite common for blows to cut through the shield, and the leg beyond it. Therefore, correct use of a light Holmgang round shield would be to block with the boss, and probably try to bind your opponent's blade in the wood of your shield. This can only be done with a sharp sword. QED, no system of swordplay can be both safe and accurate.
      • Judging by my experiences with competitive fencers, the actual bruises aren't the issue -- it's what happens when friends/classmates/counselors/romantic interests notice them.

        "Is your home life OK?"
  • Is not that out of reach - but one uses a foil or epee, and the sport is called 'fencing'. I was friends with the California state champ a long time ago. He loved it, and as a sport, it makes a person a bit more interesting than 'football player'. He did say it was nothing like what you see in the movies.
    • Problem with real fencing is it's far too formalized, especially with the foil. Kind of sucks a lot of the fun out of it.
      • Could just have been his personality that caused him to like it. He said that gear had triggers on it, and the theory is that if anyone ever got enough pressure on the trigger, then they hit you enough to kill you (in real life, without the shielding). So essentially you have a ton of manuvering (without a lot of movement), but really only one shot to take out your opponent. It would only appeal to certain types of personalities - the impatient ought to just fall on their swords and get it over with. (pun intended).
    • Fencing isn't sword fighting, it's prodding each other with needles. How dull.

      They should use proper longswords and stop wearing those crap costumes.
      • The costumes are actually lightwight body armor, and if your opponent ever got enough pressure on the end of the sword to trip the trigger, then they hit you enough to kill you (in real life, without the armor). And yes, sometimes someone does accidently puncture real flesh. Compared to this, I would think video games are dull....
    • That's for sure. Proper fencing has very formal rules- I still don't understand 'right of way'. Movies tend to be big impressive swings and hitting people's swords enthusiastically- any light weapons combat fan finds this very funny and smirks a lot watching it. (Exception: recent Star Wars movies got impressively believable with this, probably thanks to Ray Park, a martial artist. The lightsaber fights in TPM were fantastic- still fake, but the fighters were going for real targets and blocking believably, not bonking their swords into each other)

      Probably the best option for Slashdot geeks is not fencing, or SCA, but boffs: lightest-touch foam weapons combat. SCA demands a hell of a lot of committment to do serious combat- you will break fingers and such, this is bad for most geeks. Fencing demands more discipline and is as formalized as chess, sort of dignified. Boffs, your main rules are (IMHO) 'get hit, you lose it' (as in arms, legs) and 'no face shots', for obvious reasons. Some systems like the one I played allow top-of-head-bops, an amazingly swift and deadly attack but prone to face shots if tried by newbies.

      Fighting in boffs, you move in to the strike zone of your opponent (reach and sword length matter- but a great fighter with a 'dagger' can take out a poor fighter with a 'hand and a half'). You will probably use a fencing-like pose with extended leg and sword-tip up above your head. That means you can duck your leg up rapidly if it's swung at, and you can form a sort of umbrella with your sword, deflecting blows. If your sword tip is way over to the side, you're wide open, you probably can't bring it back in time to deflect a blow.

      My favorite boffs move is one my brother Steve taught me- don't know if he invented it. You slash fiercely out to the side of your opponent's head, forcing them to block to that direction (if you're right handed it'll be to the right of them as you see it). Before their block can hit, you whip your sword around really fast, over your head, all from the wrist, and 'catch' it just as it's going to slam into them from the other side, so it just lightly bops them. Fast and spectacular move that's safe and effective- you're never thrusting directly at the person, and when the whirling sword reaches them, your arm's in a position to pull the blow very effectively, sparing them a Louisville Slugger whack (and those are against the rules anyway).

      What can I say- it's a cool sport :)

  • I've posted this idea to various bulletin boards many many times in the past few years, about time somebody listens to me. :-D

    (My idea was using off the shelf equipment though, and the controller had an estimated price of ~$90-$120, and was wireless to boot. No forcefeed back obviously, heh, would've required tons of batteries for that. :)
  • by green pizza (159161) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @08:04PM (#3965835) Homepage
    SIGGRAPH exhibits closed on Thursday evening, but here are some of the biggest highlights:

    SGI [sgi.com] annouced their Infinite Reality 4 [sgi.com] option for the Onyx series... comes standard with 1gbyte of texture ram and 2.5gbyte of buffer, expandable to 10gbyte of buffer for a total of 11gbyte of onboard gfx ram. Up to 16 IR4 subsystems can be installed in a single machine. Each subsystem can drive up to 8 monitors... or all subsystems can run in parallel for greater performance. The Virtual LA Urban Simulation project [ucla.edu] demoed part of their 3D LA using IR4 and the older IR3. They currently have over 1TB of texture and geometry data from Los Angeles, mostly in downtown areas... though they have 20,000 square miles mapped out, 4,000 of which are quite detailed.

    Sun [sun.com] was showing off their XVR-4000 gfx option, a cardset that uses the IPA slot found in most Ultra-series machines. It has about 8x the geometry performance of IR3 and about 50% of the fill performance of IR4... for a fraction of the cost. 1gbyte of texture and 144mbyte of buffer. Different market targets, but interesting none the less.
    • You know, it's good to see that SGI hasn't entirely lost their grasp on what had initially built their empire. Every since I had first heard of SGI, their name has basically stood for graphics power beyond belief. Then suddenly they lost their edge. No one needed SGI's for mechanical engineering anymore, since the processor speed in IBM clones had caught up, and consumer grade video cards designed initially to run games could perform quite well with most CAD related tasks. In fact, cards designed for games, at one point, seemed to even be outperforming all of SGI's offerings.

      Combine that with SGI's sudden idea to start selling x86 systems running linux, and I was sure that they were only a year or two away from closing shop.

      It's good to see them finally getting back to what they were always good at. Making video cards that performed admiringly well when given tasks that would bring the competition to it's knees, and putting together the systems with the custom busses required to push these cards.

      Anyways, enough of "yay SGI".

      It's also nice to see Sun finally getting in on the high level gfx market as well. I've always favored Sun when it came to selecting Unix servers. It's nice to see that they have an offering for the gfx market as well.
      • Combine that with SGI's sudden idea to start selling x86 systems running linux, and I was sure that they were only a year or two away from closing shop.

        Yeah, it's interesting that there's a distinct correlation between SGI's dropping all of their x86-based workstations and servers and their being able to actually squeak out a tiny profit one recent quarter.

        I guess the lesson there is, "don't build stuff that people won't buy."
    • by foobar104 (206452) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @09:52PM (#3966117) Journal
      You got most of your info about IR4 right, but I just wanted to clarify some things in greater detail. IR is confusing at first, and very different from the typical single-board graphics systems that most people are familiar with. All the details can be found here [sgi.com], but here's an executive summary.

      InfiniteReality (be it the original IR on Onyx, or IR2, IR2E, IR3, or now IR4) is comprised of a set of boards. In order to function, the set has to include one geometry engine (or GE), one raster manager (or RM), and one display generator (or DG). The GE board is where the graphics coprocessors live, and it's responsible for most of the 3D math. The DG converts the frame buffer into an analog RGB signal, or a CCIR-601 SD video signal, or, recently, a digital signal.

      The RMs are the interesting part. The RM board holds both the frame buffer (80 MB on IR3, 2.5 GB on IR4) and the texture RAM (256 MB on IR3, 1 GB on IR4). A graphics pipe can include one, two, or four raster managers. When you add RMs, you increase frame buffer size (or the size of the raster you can render), but texture cache.

      So a four RM graphics pipe will have 10 GB of frame buffer and 1 GB of texture cache, but that 1 GB of texture will be on each of the four RMs. So each texture you download will be stored, in parallel, on each of the four RMs. This keeps texture operations nice and peppy even when you're rendering into a 3840 x 2160 buffer. (That's four times more resolution than HDTV, if you're interested.)

      Note, also, that these memories aren't combined. The TRAM and the frame buffer RAM are isolated in hardware. You can't store textures in the frame buffer, and you can't render in texture RAM. So saying that IR4 has a combined 11 GB of graphics RAM is not quite true, and slightly misleading. But only slightly. ;-)

      The whole thing adds up to an incredibly flexible system. You can configure the graphics pipe as a relatively small raster of 2,048-bit-deep pixels, or an 8-million-pixel raster of 256-bit-deep pixels, or almost anything in between. You can render a truly giant image-- about 3K by 2K pixels, progressive scan, or even more than that if you're willing to live with interlacing-- with full antialiasing, multi-buffered. It's pretty.

      (If all you want is pure geometry performance, for viewing giant CAD models and stuff in real time in a VR environment, SGI also has their InfinitePerformance line of graphics hardware for Onyx. But that's another topic.)

      Okay, that's enough "Rah-rah, IR" for one night, with just one more little piece of trivia. InfiniteReality graphics has remained fundamentally unchanged since 1996 or so. The only exception is the change from an Everest bus host to an XIO host system. Every few years, SGI has increased the speed of the GEs, or the texture capacity on the RMs, or the performance of the DACs in the DG, but the system itself hasn't really changed at all in six or seven years. That's pretty amazing.
      • The whole thing adds up to an incredibly flexible system. You can configure the graphics pipe as a relatively small raster of 2,048-bit-deep pixels, or an 8-million-pixel raster of 256-bit-deep pixels, or almost anything in between. You can render a truly giant image-- about 3K by 2K pixels, progressive scan, or even more than that if you're willing to live with interlacing-- with full antialiasing, multi-buffered. It's pretty.

        Could you possibly explain just what it means to have 2048-bit-deep or 256-bit-deep pixels? I've often wondered about this - I assume it is not exactly analagous to saying "24 bits per pixel" or "32 bits per pixel" as we commonly do when referring to more common PC graphics hardware. Perhaps I'm missing something simple, but this is one particular statistic that has confused me for far too long.

        Oh, and thanks in advance for enlightening me.

        • I'm not seeing a reply here, so I'll take a stab at it. My guess is that it's the size of the Z-buffer, which is used to tell how "deep" into the screen the pixel is located. 2 Kb per pixel seems like overkill to me, though... Numbers like 2^2048 make my brain hurt.
        • Well, as I said before, I'm not a graphics programmer-- I'm a different kind of programmer-- so I may get some of these details wrong.

          When you say "32 bits per pixel," you're talking about output pixel depth and format. A pixel in RGBA8 format stores one byte for each of red, green, blue, and alpha, and no other data. Those 32 bits are used by the DACs on the hardware to generate a component RGB video signal to drive your monitor. (Or, as I said before, a digital signal, but I'm not familiar with digital signal formats, so I get a little fuzzy at that point.)

          IR doesn't support RGB8 or RGBA8; it uses either RGB10 (the default), in which 10 bits are used for each of red, green, and blue (not sure of the packing used), RGBA10 (adds alpha), or RGB12 (12 bpp).

          On top of the color data, you can have a second buffer (used to eliminate image flicker in real-time animations), stereoscopic buffers (rendering two different images into the same buffer and display them through special stereo viewing hardware), auxiliary buffers (used for off-screen rendering in hardware; glCopyPixels() can copy aux buffer pixels into the visible frame buffer), multisample antialiasing, Z-buffering, and so on.

          As I understand it from my vis sim buddies, it's really not that hard to fill up a 256 bit pixel in a real time image generator. They use 1 Kbit and 2 Kbit pixels pretty often.

          Here's an example of a visual available on my Onyx2 at the office:

          Visual ID: 6b depth=24 class=TrueColor
          bufferSize=48 level=0 renderType=rgba doubleBuffer=1 stereo=1
          rgba: redSize=12 greenSize=12 blueSize=12 alphaSize=12
          auxBuffers=1 depthSize=23 stencilSize=8
          accum: redSize=32 greenSize=32 blueSize=32 alphaSize=32
          multiSample=4 multiSampleBuffers=1
          Opaque.

          I wish I could tell you what everything in there means, but most of it is beyond me.
    • The Virtual LA Urban Simulation project [ucla.edu] demoed part of their 3D LA using IR4 and the older IR3. They currently have over 1TB of texture and geometry data from Los Angeles, mostly in downtown areas... though they have 20,000 square miles mapped out, 4,000 of which are quite detailed.

      Imagine an add-on to the America's Army game - urban warfare, utilizing maps and geometry from the UCLA project. I'm surprised that they're getting funding from NSF only (that's all I saw on the site.) I would have expected at least some DoD or Navy funding given the potential applications for VR training and research (ie, into AI and simulations in an urban environment
  • by gilroy (155262) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @08:09PM (#3965849) Homepage Journal
    ... "Hiro Protanonist" reference here.

    What? What did you expect to follow "insert"? Get your mind out of the gutter. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I dunno. I think that ATI's demostration of REAL TIME RAYTRACING ON THEIR RADEON CARDS was the coolest thing at SIGGRAPH.
  • "Apparently, one overly exuberant combatant in a moment of pique jumped up to deliver the death-blow, and upon landing smashed the sword into one of the posts you see in this picture, leaving it in pieces, and the device's creators nearly in tears."

    Typical. Give a geek a stick and he think's he's Li friggin' Huahua [henan-china.com].

  • Intel's Glow-cube
    Intel's Suctioncup Clock
    3DLab's Fan/Lite
  • Just imagine everyone having one of these bad boys at home! :-D Then they'd profit when users had to buy new swords.
  • I've always wanted to learn kendo, but the nearest club from my university, is, alas, 50 miles away. And I don't have a car.

    Would be nice to know that in the future one could just don a VR headset and practice any sort of exotic martial arts :p

    Probably safer for getting initiated into using sharp weapons as well..

    Nice,

    Michel
    • Kendo requires that you look directly into your opponents eyes.

      And nowhere else.

      You must see every little contraction of his iris, every slight flick of eyelid.

      Lose concentration for one thousandth of a second and the next thing you know your head has been split in two.

      No VR system is gonna allow you to do that.

      Great sport anyway.
  • by wackybrit (321117) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @08:43PM (#3965953) Homepage Journal
    I want this at a local arcade soon!

    This might be slightly off-topic, but it has to be remembered that since the 80s, arcades have REALLY had tough times.

    Back in the 70s and 80s, the cost of the best games and technology was prohibitively high, so arcades did good business. Since the mid 90s (pretty much since PlayStation), however, you can buy something just as powerful as an arcade machine for home use and you don't need to go to the arcade at all.

    I am somewhat saddened by the 'fall' of the arcade, and think they add a great social aspect to gaming. Imagine modern day arcades with 16 player Quake 3 style shoot-em-ups.. but it ain't going to happen for most arcades. Most arcades these days still have their crappy early 90s games (Test Drive, Sega Rally, etc) along with a bunch of lame shooting games.

    Arcades are for tourists nowadays, not serious gamers. And that is sad.
    • Silent Scoped is _not_ a "lame shooting game" =)

      But i do agree, aside from large malls, arcades are woefully under equipped...on the flipside, i once saw capcom's Dungeons and Dragons arcade box for under 400 bucks used...i drooled
    • so why don't arcades "upgrade" to LAN houses where you can charge people to play 18 player quake or whatever else there is in one environment? I remember a really long time ago during the SNES/Genesis days, there used to be a store where they charge a buck for like 10 - 15 min playing any SNES or Genesis game they had. That was a cool place. But anyway, arcades just arent fun anymore... I hate the new dancing games they have and they overcharge on everything... It used to be a quarter to play, now it's a buck to play for 60 seconds in Daytona. Arcades have killed themselves, I think.
    • I don't know about your assertion about the expense and the fall of the arcade. Maybe you are too young to remember arcades in the 80s. Either that or you are a little older and have a more nostalgic view, but still not a very clear memory.

      Well, I remember in the 80s (post 83 or so), arcades had pretty much the same games you could play at home. You had asteroids, pac-man, paperboy, duck hunt, games like that. The only value the arcade added was social value, and unique control systems that the home games didn't have. What was under the hood was mostly the same thing you could buy for home use.

      There may have been a brief period in the early to mid 90s where arcade technology outstripped home technology, but I don't really know much about that period in arcade, the number of times I have been to an arcade since the early 90s is few.
    • Actually, Namco has a virtual sword fighting game called Mazan : Flash Of The Blade [system16.com]. It's not force feedback, but you get this stub of a sword and you swing it at bad guys on the screen. It's pretty neat to watch.

      As for arcade games having tough times, Namco and Konami are keeping them alive by offering games that aren't quite as good on consoles/PCs as in the arcade. Examples of games like this are Dance Dance Revolution (unless you build your own hard pad, it's not the same as the arcade), Percussion Freaks (play drums, like DDR except with a drum set), and Para Para Dancing (wave your arms around). Yes, arcades aren't as popular as they used to be, but that doesn't mean the arcade is dead yet or that they're crappy.
    • actually Arcades are doing wonderfully well.

      to combat the increasing power of home consoles, they've added large site-specific attractions that can't be replicated at home. dance dance revolution, that boxing game, the snowboarding simulater etc.

      arcades are doing fine

      the problem with this, for many slashdotter, i'm sure, is the people at the arcades. these kids never played kid icarus. they weren't into the video games/action figgures/comic books scene as little kids. no, they got together on the weekend and played sports. *sports* for god's sake! and now they're in arcades, our turf. it hurts.
    • I don't know about arcades in general, but my local arcade is doing quite well. I estimate (based on points) that their Dance Dance Revolution machine earned something like 20K$ this summer, at 50 cents a pop.

      I've heard that there's been a revival in arcades lately. Modern arcades have the huge advantage over normal games that they can provide all sorts of wacky controllers you don't have at home: dance pads, drums, soccer balls, sniper rifles, etc. "Big deal," you might say, but that's if you haven't tried one. As Tycho on penny-arcade.com said recently, it's kind of a blinding revelation to actually try a game on one of them. Dance Dance Revolution is fun, far more than it has any right to be. It kept me addicted for the past 4 months: I can count video games that did that to me on one hand. The controller makes all the difference.

  • I want it for home consoles... also when are they going to come up with a decent gun device for the current round of consoles... or a game with realistic gun sighting.
  • Unless it's as exciting as Defender of the Crown's sword fighting, I dont' care. Remember, that means there has to be a late-night rendezvous with a recently-rescued fair maiden, all in glorious 16 colors at a 160x240 resolution, as the reward for the winner. ;^)

    Sure, the Amiga version was higher resolution and more colors, but the Commodore 64 was first. :^D

  • by mccalli (323026) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @08:52PM (#3965976) Homepage
    Whilst at University, a few friends decided to have a crack at a live-action role playing session. Not an organised one - just us lot pratting about on the playing fields really.

    Armed with my foam sword, and utterly unable to use it, I cheerfully bumbled about with the rest of 'em, swishing the odd swish and generally having a good time.

    Until I came up against Nick.

    Now Nick is an interesting person. He has reactions like no-one else I've ever played against in anything. To give an idea, I had never been defeated in air-hockey by anyone I played (and I played a lot) until I played Nick. And Nick I never beat even once...

    Back onto the role-playing session, and in my wanderings I ran into Nick, who was holding two rather better constructed foam swords. Turning to me, he did some ridiculously cool flick with both hands - crossing swords whilst swinging them, like you see in the old pirate films - and began his advance.

    Role-playing to the hilt, I briefly considered. "What would my character do in this situation? Would he a) buckle his swash and fight like a man or b) flee like the cringing curr he really is?".

    I ran like hell...

    Cheers,
    Ian

    • by Lord_Slepnir (585350) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @09:26PM (#3966047) Journal
      There are actually groups that do this frequently. There is the origional, Dagorhir [dagorhir.com], The rescent spin-off called Belegrath MCS [foamfighting.org], and if you want more role-playing, Amtgard [amtgard.com]. I've never participated in Amtgard, but I have in Dagorhir and Belegarth, and while the concept of dressing up in medeval clothing and fighting with foam swords and sheilds on central campus seems strange to some people, it it actually a lot of fun, and it's completly safe...doing it several hours a week for a year, the worst injury I ever sustained was a bloody nose.
    • Oooo! Keep an eye out for whether, in his Errol Flynn showing-off, he is totally out of balance at any point, like with the swords well to the side or something. Or better still, see if you can get him to twirl!

      *bop* dead ;)

    • In my third (and last) shot at live action role playing I tangled with someone that had got too far into character and had a real axe, which he pulled out and threatened me with, and wouldn't listen to me when I said "you've won the game I quit". It looked as if there was going to be blood spilled (either mine or his from a few desperate kicks and punches in an attempt to stop him using the axe), until about six people came over and managed to calm him down. People were surprised that I dropped out of that game then and there and complained about real weapons being used as props.

      Foam weapons would have been good in that situation, even though the few rare combats were actually run by dice rolls and cards. I think anytime adults play at fighting and heavy objects are involved there should be either protective gear or a lot of empty space sepating the business end of the blunt object and the target (eg. virtual fighting on opposite sides of the room).

      As a kid I used to thump at other kids with a six foot wooden staff (the nature of monkey was irrepressible), but that usually involved hitting at the other kids staff or lots of slow motion theatrical stuff. If a kid with a blunt object loses it people are less likely to get hurt than if an adult loses it.

      With something like this setup and two people in the same room with virtual headsets I can forsee someone beating the guy in marketing to a bloody pulp with the gyroscopicly stablised VR sword during what would start as a friendly game. Keep it virtual, stay in your corner.

  • by Vess V. (310830)
    For a much less crude, albeit less geeky, sword fighting "simulation," check out the SCA [sca.org]. It's a nation-wide organization that reenacts all aspects of Medieaval life... from armed combat, to chivalrous ceremonies, to arts, crafts, and cooking.... but mostly combat . People craft their own custom armor and costumes and make all sorts of weapons from rattan (the stuff those chairs are made of) wrapped with duct tape. Combat ranges from one-on-one bracketed tournaments, to full-scale open field battle consisting of hundreds of warriors in rank and formation under multiple subdivions of field command, complete with mock castles, and authentic battle formations (shield/swordsmen in the front, pikemen and spearmen behind them, archers in the back, etc), and siege engines! Nothing is scripted - all combat is as if it were really happening -- except the death. "Deaths" in combat are much like paintball -- if you're hit, you're out... more or less honor system. If you're hit in an arm or leg, you lose control of that limb. Loks like a whole ton of fun.

    You can check out some of my favorite pictures of stuff going on here [lglan.net].

  • Go to Disney World. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Night Goat (18437)
    You can play this virtual sword-fighting game at Walt Disney World's Disney Quest [go.com] area in the part of the park called Downtown Disney. It's pretty fun, and a good value, since you pay around $15 and get to play unlimited arcade games, pinball, and weird cool things like the sword fight. I don't think you need admission to the park, either. You could just do this if you wanted. I got sort of bored of the sword fight once I did it once. The gyroscopic sword is a really cool way of simulating an actual sword though. It's sort of funny to see 10 people wearing headsets and waving these handles around! There's also this incredibly cool thing at Disney Quest where you make your own rollercoaster and ride it. How that works is you lay out the track, then once you get all that good to go, the track is rated based on how severe it is. The attendant told me that if you're only going on it once, make it as severe as possible. Then you get into this rotating cabin that can spin a full 360 degrees in any direction. You look into this screen that takes up your entire view and the combination of the spinning, the video, and the fact that you have no idea which way is up makes your body feel like it's actually on a rollercoaster. It's a better feeling than a real rollercoaster, people have gotten sick on it. Amazing.
  • ... the Shuttle SS51 had a 64bit PCI slot - then I could put one of these in it - CAE render board with 4 x Radeon 8500 GPUs [ziffdavisinternet.com]

    Mind you I would have to cut a big long slot in the top and front of the case to make it fit..... who cares though if my PC looks like a toaster when you have one of those.

    - HeXa
  • by dave_mcmillen (250780) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @09:34PM (#3966068)
    The article text is:

    One of the more amusing displays was this sword-fighting simulator that used a VR headset along with a "virtual sword" that had two gyro motors running it that allowed for tactile force feedback. Apparently, one overly exuberant combatant in a moment of pique jumped up to deliver the death-blow, and upon landing smashed the sword into one of the posts you see in this picture, leaving it in pieces, and the device's creators nearly in tears. But, they were able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and the virtual combat raged on. This system also used multi-channel audio to help the player localize sounds and better immerse them in the scene, and also used video compositing to put an image of that particular player into the rendered 3D scene.

    If this became a home entertainment unit, can you imagine the sort of waiver the company would want the average geek to sign before using it?

    "The undersigned (hereafter, "they") agrees that Swashing Buckles Incorporated (hereafter, "we") were just sitting around innocently when the undersigned came in and DEMANDED to be given one of these virtual sword units, despite the fact that we warned them OVER and OVER that they hadn't done anything more strenuous than click a mouse in TEN YEARS, and therefore would ALMOST CERTAINLY strain EVERY MUSCLE IN THEIR BODY within minutes of engaging in a virtual battle. The undersigned further agrees that we warned them that they would QUITE LIKELY destroy a valued POSSESSION, PET, or LOVED ONE, while leaping about blindly inside the virtual reality helmet. The undersigned agrees NOT TO COME CRYING TO US when these things happen."
  • Dueling with a lightsaber... every geeks dream ;)
  • Well, ours was not as cool, but we tried as hard as we could. We used World Tool Kit on a Sparc 5, and the Polyhemus tracking system stuck on the end of a plastic Lightsaber toy. Graphics not quite up to snuff, but fun. Wow, almost ten years ago now. Feel somewhat old.
  • by JJC (96049)
    Thought some people might be interested that there's an (admittedly less sophisticated) sword fighting game from Konami out in arcades which uses a motion-sensor sword controller. It's called Tsurugi (apparently Blade of Honor is the US). Here's some pics and information [the-magicbox.com] from the Magic Box [the-magicbox.com].
  • Have at thee! *Clash!* *Opponents arm falls off* 'do0d... the bl4ck n1t3 n3v35 d13s!!!' Your arms off! 'n0 1t's n0t d0od. I'm 2 1337 4 d4t. come get some' *Clash!* *Opponents other arm falls off* 'd0od you cheat! CHEATER!' I beat you fair and square! 'the bl4ack n1t3 n3435 dies! NONE SHALL PASS OVER MY L33tz0r BRIDGE!' *You tire and log off*
  • user interface just got a lot easier than:

    qwe iop
    asd kl;
    zxc ,./
  • by SpaceGhost (23971) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @10:16PM (#3966216)
    This wasnt even close to the coolest thing at SIGGRAPH! Takeo Igarashi's work on predictive interfacing making easier 2d and 3d drawing tools was cooler. Digiplasty [asu.edu] , a kind of 3d exquisite corpse as shown by Stewart and Makai was cooler. (For that matter the Studio, manned by Makai, Stewart, Scott and many others, where you could create 2d and 3d art and print 2d and 3d was AWESOME - you could work in there for hours, vs. the few seconds of playing with a silly virtual sword.) Scotts Dodecahedron [asu.edu] was a wonderful example of taking something abstract and virtual and making it real and usable. Isa's overview of wearable tech and cyberfashion [psymbiote.org] (she took out the notes, dammit!) was refreshing, if not so new to a frequent slashdotter. (She's a burner too!) Some of the mixed reality work [nus.edu.sg] being done at the University of Singapore was really neat. (This is an example of some of the most exciting stuff there. Several researchers showed some great work being done in augmented reality, and combining that with some of the reasonable priced wearable and wirelessable computing, we can see some real headway being made. One researcher even composites a virtual face back onto a fellow participant in the augemented reality environment, masking the HMD, even going so far as to track the eyes and simulate the gaze.) The results of last years meditation chamber [gatech.edu] research installation was an interesting and possibly VERY useful application of VR technology. W. Bradford Paley's work on applying alternative interfaces to explore other media was fascinating, where you can use this LARGE java tool named TextArc [textarc.org] to examine graphically over 400 literary works. The Web3D Consortium's release of the final working draft of X3D [web3d.org] (with tools) could end up being much more important than the newest video card from ATI. Dietmar Offenhuber's work on non-isotropic spaces at wegzeit [futurelab.aec.at] was an interesting approach to mapping and representing real places. Zachary Simpson et al's delightfully simple shadow interactivity [mine-control.com] was many times more fun than the virtual swordfight. Fabric.ch's [fabric.ch] knowscape [electroscape.org] was also exciting, both for the viewers and the presenter, as he would find additions from his European counterparts each morning when he logged on to the shared 3d space. Kenneth Huff's beautiful art [itgoesboing.com] using maya was just one example of some wonderful digital work being done. Lastly, Michael J. Lyons soon-to-be-published research on the aesthetics of Tokyo's Kyoto Gardens was both informative and inspiring. And this is just a TINY PART of what happened there!

    Really, SIGGRAPH was NOT just an exhibition floor with cheesey swag (although the little green LED lights were very nice) and some cool new toys. It was presentation after presentation by resesarchers, some barely able to speak engrish, but all excited about their work and open to collaboration. It was hours and hours of animation, some (Like Allain Escalle's "Le Conte du monde flottant") were so stunning as to make you forget where animation ended and life began. Disney's work on replacing one actors face with another, retaining ALL facial expression, was downright scary. And the Spiderman gag footage, his spidey-suit oddly replaced with a fully reflective silver surface, like most of the rest of SIGGRAPH'S less entertaining presentations, were surely an indication of things to come.
    Take the time to go to SIGGRAPH2002 [siggraph.org] and look around. If you find something interesting, write the author. This is where the new VR and AR comes from - not ATI!
  • If you want to see a video with the Virtual Chanbara (sword fighting) in action, to to this SIGGRAPH Emerging Technologies [siggraph.org] page. Actually, a coworker of mine is a committee member. Lucky bastard.

    Click on the video stream towards the top of the page for audio visual enjoyment (which includes the virtual sword fighting and much more). I *so* wish I was there.

    A very Quick Summary [siggraph.org] of the Virtual Chanbara is also available. Trust me. The video does a much better job.
  • I just spent 4 hours makeing armor adjustmers on a friends suit so we can go to practice tomorrow. I can say with some confedenect that there is a lot more to sword fighting than swinging a stick. I would incorage anyone that wants to learn to take a class or find there local fencing club or find there local SCA practice. There is something to be saI just spent 4 hours making armor adjusters on a friends suit so we can go to practice tomorrow. I can say that there is a lot more to sword fighting than swinging a stick. I would encourage anyone that wants to learn to take a class, find there local fencing club, or find there local SCA practice. There is so much more when you do it for real, I jest don't think there will ever be enough polygons.

    Charles Puffer
    know in the SCA as
    Lord Duncan Forbes Squire to his Grace Brion Tarragon
    • *g* musta got hit in the head too much with rattan ;) there's a reason SCAdians have to wear real armor :)

      Another alternative is, find or make a boffs system instead. Boffer swords means basically pipe-foam on PVC, covered with duct tape. The padding and use of a properly constructed thrusting tip means that boffer sword fighting can be done in less controlled circumstances than SCA rattan sword fighting- boffs is lightest-touch, as well, further reducing the danger. The swords are not as heavy as steel weapons but they're certainly heavy enough to seem real- this is not Nerf (tm), at all.

      Plus, anyone who begins to explore the subtleties of light-weapons combat with boffs will be developing skills which last a lifetime- and when you do go and play the inevitable Star Wars lightsaber VR games, well *G* you will be Darth Geek, in a big way.

      I don't know if I'd be able to beat Charles here- SCAdian that he is- but most of you guys, hah! :D for I was trained in Boffs by my brother Steve, who at one point wasn't happy unless he won every tourney he entered. Plus I'm 6' and have reach. So, listen well to Lord Duncan Forbes here- you can't imagine how cool real light-weapons sparring is unless you've tried it and had enough basic tutoring to know what the hell you're doing. It is way cool. And cheaper than paying the arcade tons of quarters ;)

  • Tried It (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tux-sucks (550871)
    I actually tried this at sig a few days ago. It's interesting, but not as good as advertised. While it's fun, the feedback is slightly buggy, and chopping at the enemy occasionally would not register as a hit. The sword device uses a fast-rotating weight that must start up again every time you are "hit" by an enemy, which takes a few seconds and feels unnatural. Users would sometimes get tangled up in the wires and one user got so into it that the device flew off of his head.

    As far as the graphics are concerned, we're back to VirtaFighter 1. If high poly high texture models are your thing, this wont interest you. But,the graphics didn't worry me as much as the animation. I counted about 5 different cycles of animation from the enemy, which include predicable routines of slicing vertically, horizontly, the spinning cyclone of um, death, and the backward leap. Your enemy is no samuri. :)

    I also found it intesting that everyone who played won. It was that easy. I long for realistic, fun vr experiences, but this was hardly much of a step forward.

  • My 11 year old son and I tried this exhibit at the 'Emerging Technologies' section of SigGraph.

    The headset doesn't fit well and moves around all the time. This would be OK for the usual sitting in a chair looking around" kind of VR, but when you are jumping around and spinning to see where he bad guys are coming from - it's hopeless.

    Your field of view is *WAY* to narrow for fighting.

    The graphics were very 1995 - it looked like they were almost an afterthought. Hardly any texture, plain green floor, crude enemy animation with red triangles for blood splotches and yellow triangles for sparks when the swords hit.

    The spatialised audio didn't help in locating your enemies. People watching the show were forever shouting "He's Behing You!!" to players who couldn't see that they were being chopped to bits by enemies they couldn't see. The narrow field of view wasn't helping any.

    The fancy "force feedback" sword was about as effective as a Nintendo 64 rumble-pack in conveying that you had or hadn't hit something - but that was about it.

    It was a brave effort - and fun for a short time, but definitely *NOT* earth-shattering VR.
  • Does it make those WNNNG! WNNNG! SKKKSH! noises lightsabers do?

    If so, soon we'll see the likes of Darth Hemos and
    Padewan CowboyNeal ;)
  • I want this at a local arcade soon!
    Indeed. The appropriate Penny Arcade may be found here [penny-arcade.com].

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]

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