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Hardware Hacking Games

Using a Treadmill and Wiimotes To Run and Fly in Aion 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-can-see-my-house-from-here dept.
MMO fans may recall news from last year when a treadmill was hooked into World of Warcraft so players could run in real life to make their characters run, getting exercise while playing. Now, with the release of Aion, which features characters with wings, the makers of the Robopult decided to take it a step further. Reader wintersynth writes "We hooked a treadmill and Wiimotes through BlueTooth and GlovePIE to Aion so we could take advantage of the run/fly sequences and get fit while we play the game. It's kind of like interval training, which is supposed to burn more fat and be better for cardio. It's too tough to play this way all the time, but for a quest a day, it might be perfect."
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Using a Treadmill and Wiimotes To Run and Fly in Aion

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  • by oldhack (1037484)
    First thing that pops into my head is lawsuit. Crazy country.
    • by RuBLed (995686)
      ~At least there is no prior art.~
      • Oh I wouldn't be so sure. Most of it was covered here [sussex.ac.uk] although no fear of a lawsuit. Academic works are great for providing prior art to thwart patents as they are time stamped public disseminations. The new version looks a more high tech, and after eight years it just takes a team of two to massively improve on the hundreds of authors on that paper.

    • by rot26 (240034) *
      WARNING: Wings Do Not Enable Wearer To Actually Fly Looked better in ALL CAPS but whatever.
  • That you can't go outside for 20minutes to run outdoors?
    • by Unending (1164935)

      Actually this sounds like fun to me, I get bored with running pretty quickly and I could see some sort of treadmill game being a good way of helping with that. Especially if it's not just about the running as in this case.

    • Well, could be below freezing, Or over 45C, or raining. Or spring just arrived and you've got horrible hay fever. Plenty of reasons why someone wouldn't want to be running around outside. I always thought that's why gyms have treadmills and the like.
      • by MrNaz (730548) *

        Well, could be below freezing, Or over 45C, or raining. Or spring just arrived and you've got horrible hay fever.

        As we say here in Australia: "Aww... diddums"

        • by Canazza (1428553)

          We say that in Scotland too, then go out for a run in what some people call 'rain' but we call 'slightly damp'. There are people walking around with umbrellas up and it's barely even spitting... pansies :P

          • It's quite refreshing running in the rain, and the cool air means more oxygen per breath.. plus you really appreciate having a nice warm shower afterwards :P

            • by jandrese (485)
              It's also useful for biodiversity. We don't want the Pneumonia bugs dying off just because people stopped doing things like running 20 miles in the freezing rain.
    • Didn't that look fun to you? This to me is what slashdot is all about. This story is like a story about setting up a webserver on a gameboy, except instead it's about setting up a way to make the game system more interactive. Looks fun to me.
      • Definitely, this is the kind of setup I start imagining when I read stories about 3D headsets or new Wii=like control systems. I think the ideal thing would be a sort of bungee harness for your body and some kind of 360 degree treadmill (no idea how such a device would function - perhaps have hundreds of little medium resistance trackballs on it?) below you that can measure the speed and angle of your steps, whether you've just jumped, flipped around etc. :)

        • by stupid_is (716292)
          You could always try one of these [jog2play.com] - no need for the bulky treadmill. Or you could see if these folks [wired.com] have progressed any further.
          • Nah, I'd prefer something with proper leg extension and force, jogging on the spot isn't really my idea of fun, though it does give you a bit of exercise (you can do that already with Wii Fit and the Wiimotes though, no need for a separate pedometer).

            As for the other thing, unfortunately I'm in the UK, and it needs to be heavily customised for each game!

            I hope someone brings out something similar to my trackball idea, or maybe I should just try building it myself somehow.. one giant trackball would be easie

            • by stupid_is (716292)
              I seem to remember that maybe the Sony Centre (or some such company, I think the shop was in the Trocadero in London so maybe it was in SegaWorld) did something very similar. You got in to a big ball shaped thing, and there was an omnidirectional treadmill for you to run about on while shooting things (don't know if they did anything like tilting it to mimic the landscape you were travelling over though). The inner surface of the ball was, obviously, a full-surround screen.

              The main problem with the treadm

              • That sounds really cool, but also rather pricey compared to just standing on a giant trackball and using a screen or headset! The footwork wouldn't be exactly the same as running since it would be on a spherical surface, but if you were harnessed in place and the ball had suitable resistance, or force feedback I think it would take a similar amount of work as real movement.. perhaps an array of smaller trackballs is a better idea after all - unless you have a *lot* of space to accomodate a really large trac

                • by stupid_is (716292)
                  Maybe they should just let Hackney or Lambeth (or Toxteth, Moss Side or any number of other areas) devolve into GTA arenas? :-)
  • by MrMage (1240674) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @02:28AM (#29512493)
    That's a sure way to kick the MMO addiction quickly.
  • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @02:32AM (#29512515)

    I beat Metal Gear Solid 4 by using nothing but a leaf blower and a rake.

    • by MosesJones (55544)

      You used a rake? What a lightweight.

      Rakes are hard and pointy. Real Men(tm) use the leaf blower with a pack of bendy balloons and aim to beat the game using an inflatable giraffe.

    • by plastick (1607981)

      I beat Metal Gear Solid 4 by using nothing but a leaf blower and a rake.

      That is one of the funniest comments I've read on Slashdot in a long time.

      Damn you. I shot coffee out of my nose.

  • Those who enjoy running won't need the game. Those who don't like running end up using the mill twenty times and go back to the keyboard.
  • Considering how many people were using companies like http://www.gamersloot.net/ [gamersloot.net] to get characters leveled for them as they didn't want to have to click too much, i don't see this becoming too common! =b Then again, maybe that's why those guys dropped the PL thing and just offer keys and such now. Pushed out of a business because gamers became fitness addicts? Who'd have thought!
  • Submersion (Score:1, Interesting)

    What if you could gain status in the game through how much actual work you had put in. Or by how complex or consistant your wii weapon move pattern moves were? Ultimatley we're all striving to be the ultimate gamer, and to acknowledge the gamer who's proven to have put in the most effort. What if our virtual adversaries could actually teach us (inadvertantly) to chanel healing energies through our desires to participate in legendary battles. It's a start at least- getting some movement on.
    • Wow, I read your comment, but I honestly have no idea what you are talking about. It looks like it might be kind of interesting. You should try to thresh it out a bit more so your point is easily understandable.
      • You could always install MMO's at the gym. I think i'll play WOW to get my daily exercise in. That would be true irony.
  • I've allways stayed away from games that don't really end, as an all too alluring waste of time.. But if I could combine my weekly cardio with it... Allthough beeing competitve I think I would find it hard to stop at a few hours per week when others level faster. Still, if they installed something like this at my gym and took care not to make the game too levelling-focused, it might be fun.
  • by MrWerewolf (1642759) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @03:09AM (#29512649)
    This looks like a neat and innovative way to increase player's activity. Which is good, since most mmo players don't get nearly enough exercise and increased activity helps in general. Nintendo even tries to get their players more physically involved with their wii. However, it's not a substitute for real exercise. If you're getting winded after 2 min of activity (the duration stated in the article), you're not in shape; and stopping after you're a little tired won't help you much either. While an increase in activity is good in general, don't think this type of thing is the holy grail to gamer fitness. The formula and methods for getting in better shape haven't really changed much.
  • A game the gets you in shape was invented years ago: Dance Dance Revolution (DDR). I ran cross country during the same time frame that I played that game, and running 7 miles didn't wear me out as much as an hour on expert mode.
    • by Orbijx (1208864) *

      Problem with DDR is that the Americanised machines have absolutely abysmal music selections that at least I wouldn't be caught dead dancing to.

      I have no problem dancing to It's Raining Men, but some of that current Amero-pop shit they have in the machines? Aw, hell naw, dawg.

  • The Future of Gaming (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sysusr (971503) <sysusr@linuMENCKENxmail.org minus author> on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @03:18AM (#29512681)
    If there is something that humans find inherently addictive about gaming, health companies should tap into that to provide something which humans both need and desire: fitness.

    If you ask around, a lot of people *want* to be fit but they have lots of convenient excuses as to why they're not. People want to look good and a lot of people are even willing to put up with the inconvenience of exercise and physical exertion - they just don't have the time.

    Being able to introduce a method of exercise that is genuinely fun for all and doesn't require extra time on top of our daily activities, as long as it's done sensibly and cleverly, could be a crucial step towards reducing obesity.
    • by VShael (62735)

      The Nintendo Wii sells by the mega-truckload.
      The Wii Fit and various others, sell in a the standard truckload.

      As an overweight Wii-game loving freak, I can tell you that Wii-Fit sits quietly on the floor, gathering dust, just like any other fitness product I've bought over the years.

      "Being able to introduce a method of exercise that is genuinely fun for all..."

      I don't think you can make getting fit, fun.

      • I don't think you can make getting fit, fun.

        Oh, hell yeah you can! Check out the book, Born to Run [amazon.com]. Once you realize that you too can be a super-athlete, and it really doesn't take all that much work, and in fact it is what your body was made to do, and when I say super-athlete I mean the kind that makes marathon running look like a walk in the park, suddenly running does become fun.

        Learning to conquer your laziness impulse, especially if you've been giving in to it for so long, is exciting because suddenly the world is open with possibilities. Y

    • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @10:30AM (#29515271) Journal

      I've got it! We could say replace the virtual paddles in Wii Tennis with real ones, then replace the 2D screen with a realistic stage that recreates the conditions of the game. All we would need is some sort of ball... damn, it's just all too hard. These LARPers are wierd.

      • Tennis requires at least two people. Bouncing the ball off the wall != tennis. Finding two people with the same schedule to play and having a court in your living room in the AC. A virtual tennis partner is what is needed.
        Then there is basketball. You need 9 other people to play with you? And once again you run into the issue of not having a court in your yard/living room.
        The same goes for most other sports. Its fun to simulate because the equipment or space needed just doesn't exist.
        For me, I b
    • Being able to introduce a method of exercise that is genuinely fun for all and doesn't require extra time on top of our daily activities, as long as it's done sensibly and cleverly, could be a crucial step towards reducing obesity.

      The problem is though that alot of people who play these kinds of games are either of the Age where they don't care about their physical form - or they just got home from a hard days work and don't have the energy to run while gaming.

      • I'll tell you from experience, although it seems counter-intuitive, nothing gives you energy faster than running. Go for a couple weeks and you will already see drastic improvement in you energy levels.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      If there is something that humans find inherently addictive about gaming, health companies should tap into that to provide something which humans both need and desire: fitness.

      If you ask around, a lot of people *want* to be fit but they have lots of convenient excuses as to why they're not. People want to look good and a lot of people are even willing to put up with the inconvenience of exercise and physical exertion - they just don't have the time.

      Being able to introduce a method of exercise that is genuin

    • Being able to introduce a method of exercise that is genuinely fun for all and doesn't require extra time on top of our daily activities, as long as it's done sensibly and cleverly, could be a crucial step towards reducing obesity.

      Maybe, but ask any nutritionist, and you'll see that exercise is by far not the most important factor contributing to obesity, diet is the most important thing. Think about it, you may have known people who exercise a lot, run 5k every day, and are still overweight. I do know such people.

      The issue is if you exercise, it makes you hungrier, so people tend to eat more. You need to pay attention to what you eat if you want to lose weight.

    • by xdor (1218206)
      I agree, exercise can be fun.
      I hate running, but if you put a ball or a Frisbee in the mix with a little competition I'll run around a field for hours
  • Genius idea (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Get exercise while playing an addictive online multiplayer game? Not a bad idea at all. It makes it feel like you are more interacting with the game.

    • Re:Genius idea (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @06:42AM (#29513451)

      We need an MMO-themed gym for geeks.

      "Dude, did you check out Russel's stats on the leaderboards? He lost 10 pounds last month. That's +2 to DEX!"

    • Yeah, I had the idea back in 1982 or so. Video games use joystick controllers, why can't they use some sort of controller that requires physical action? Software could monitor you and make sure to rotate the muscles being used. Heavy computer users would develop great physiques.

      That was along with my other idea, inject facts into popular culture and music. Heck, people can remember all the lyrics to Jay Z and every special move in Mortal Kombat but they have no idea what acceleration due to gravity is

      • a) do people need to know the rate of accelleration of a falling object?
        b) 9.8 m/s/s
        • a) Do people need to know who represents them in Congress? Do people need to know who Da Vinci was? (no he was not a cryptographer) Why does anyone need to know anything?

          b) See? If there was but a single morsel of pop culture that mentioned this, it would be ingrained by now. But no, the only frame of reference is classes back at school where it was mostly algebra anyway.

  • The overlap between people who play WOW and people who are in the least bit interested in doing regular exercise must be so small as to be insignificant, surely?

  • by irp (260932)

    Maybe slightly off-topic, but it reminds me of the bad Babylon 5 spin-off focusing on the rangers. I saw the pilot (the plot was something with someone had a really anal interpretation of the rangers' slogan "we live for the one, we die for the one" - with emphasis on "die")

    They had this space ship, with a holo-deck like weapons-control-system. The combat officer literally had to punch and kick at the opponent (punches fires lasers, kicks fires "missiles" (or their future equivalent)) ... Not only had they

  • There's a new WiiWare title, _Overturn_ which allows one the option of controlling it w/ a combination of the Wii Fit (for movement) and the Wii Remote / Nunchuk) weapons aiming, firing, reloading, &c.).

    If it required one to hop on and off the balance board (say being on the balance board is movement, off the board is being still) it could be a decent workout.

    I'd really like to see a first-person RPG (ideally w/ some sort of persistent on-line interaction) which would use such an interface.

    William

  • This is a neat innovation : tying gaming and exercise together, with rewards in game dependent on how hard you exercise. There's a couple of problems, though : for it to work well, you need good ($$) exercise equipment tied to sensors and properly calibrated for the game ($$$). Second, multiplayer games won't be fair unless all of the players are required to exercise to make things happen in the game. Cheating would be a big problem for home users.

    So I'm envisioning a combo video arcade/health club. The

    • by stupid_is (716292)
      It's also a fairly old idea - my local gym has bikes with games consoles on them and has done for years. Go faster and you get more power ups. There's also rather a lot of communities of networked exercise games - rowing, running & cycling are probably the more popular, but I wouldn't be surprised to find a lot of other sports making the leap into the internet. They're not even confined to gyms - there is PC software out there to support the home user.

      The key problem to adding more movement beyond the

  • Heard you like to fly, so we put wiimotes in your MMO so you can fly while you fly!

    Worrying as my meme habit may be to you, it really scares me.

  • Well I'd love to try this, but with up to 7 hour queues on the European servers (and this is the week before the full release), you've got more chance of your monitor flying out the window.

  • by formfeed (703859)
    .. and you at least get a less boring gym.

    Gyms could run their own servers, making sure every player is on a machine: runners, bicyclists, and maybe people on elliptical trainers operating a Da Vinci-style flying machine with flapping wings.

  • I think this is a great move! While there are some doubts about how much gamers will use this I think it's important to remember that little changes can make a big difference. While it's true an obese person isn't going to become a conditioned athlete by using the treadmill for 20min-30min a day, that's enough to make some changes in the lifestyle of dedicated couch potato gamers. It's more than the nothing many of them are probably doing now. Maybe once they realize they can jog for 20 min while playin

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