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Sony Demos Natal-Like Control System 63

An anonymous reader writes "It's not just Microsoft investigating full body, markerless motion capture. Sony has enlisted the help of Swiss firm Atracsys to develop similar technology. Sony has openly discussed the technology with New Scientist, and has realistic expectations for the new system — it can capture broad body gestures but not individual fingers. That's just one trade-off needed in order to develop a real-time system that anyone can use, according to a markerless motion-capture expert." It's still in the early stages of development, but the accompanying video shows the use of face-recognition software as well. The demo game has players moving their heads left or right to position their character, and then smiling to "catch" an object.
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Sony Demos Natal-Like Control System

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Project Natal running on PlayStation 2 , 5 years ago


    What's next on Slashdot? Microsoft 'invents' open source software development?

  • So that means, not only are they going to rip off Nintendo, There going to rip off Microsoft too?

    So now the PS3 can tell you look like an idiot while swinging the lighted Bingo Dauber around. Nice.

    • by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @09:19PM (#30011758)
      MS copied Nintendo Mii's with their avatars. Sony Copied MS with achievements. Sony Copied Nintendo with motion control (poorly). I'm hoping Nintendo copies MS's online play and friend system. As long as they can give us all a better gaming experience without getting their asses sued, I'm in favour of it.
      • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @09:23PM (#30011778) Homepage Journal

        Umm.. what's poor about Sony's motion control system? It's a lot more useful than the original Wii control system..? I'm looking forward to it anyway (and yes I have a Wii, but I got bored of it and started using my PS3 exclusively long before motion plus came along).

        • by ukyoCE ( 106879 )

          How do you think it's more useful than the Wii controllers? Eyetoy was a cute game but it doesn't seem anywhere near as useful to capture movement using a single camera (ie: no 3d movement) as using a controller. I'm sure at some point the two will be combined for some interesting effects, but the camera alone is very limiting.

          • When I said "Sony's motion control system" I was referring to the one they demoed at E3, the one that uses a controller (or two controllers) in combination with EyeToy for full 3D positioning with "sub-millimeter accuracy". That system does all the things that I thought the Wii was going to be able to do, but didn't.

      • I have very similar thoughts as the parent. The only difference is that I'm in favor of it
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sony has had camera control since the PS2. Sony actually DID innovate this time. Microsoft ripped them off.

      • Ah, but since it was Microsoft that copied the eyetoy concept, we're all supposed to forget that the original ever existed. I'd think Slashdotters would know how this works by now... ;)
    • Wasn't the Sony ps2 the first major console to have this? (the eyetoy- I know it sucked, but the idea was there)
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @09:14PM (#30011730)

    Sony demoed this system at the same show Natal was announced at. Both Microsoft and Sony were trying to come up with answers to the Wii.

    Microsoft's system is, if you think about it, pretty clunky. It can't recognize fingers either (or it didn't at the demo).

    Sony's is a little better, in that at least you have a controller with real buttons to denote actions.

    But I think both, are in the end not as good as the Wii system, where you can sit on the couch and play if you want instead of requiring a rather large clear area right in front of the TV set, just where most people have coffee tables laden with remote controls and magazines...

    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday November 06, 2009 @10:12PM (#30011990) Homepage

      Yeah, maybe I'm wrong here, but I feel like this idea is about as overhyped as the idea of replacing your keyboard and mouse with a touchscreen.

      First, people have to realize that it won't be like sci-fi level virtual reality. You'll still be looking at a TV, so it won't be completely immersive. Just measuring body movement without a controller means no haptics or force feedback. Plus, game designers still aren't good a providing real freedom in games to "do what you want". Hell, even sandbox games usually only allow you a couple of pre-prepared actions in a walled-off world. Grand Theft Auto is nice enough not to have you running into invisible walls around their world, but they instead put you on an island in the middle of an infinite ocean.

      So the things people imagine don't quite work out. People imagine a sword fighting game, but forget that you won't feel the other fighter's block. People imagine a game where you can have realistic interactions, where refined and specific movements can make a meaningful difference in what happens in the game, but instead you're limited to a vocabulary of a couple gestures.

      Maybe these things are a stepping stone to something more, but I doubt I'll be ditching my controller anytime soon. There are probably also other techniques that are both easier to pull off and more effective at creating immersion. For example, imagine playing a FPS with a high-quality Wii-remote-like device and 3D head tracking [youtube.com].

      • by BillGod ( 639198 )
        I will be holding out till some one releases a holodeck!
      • The point is not to be virtual reality, but rather "wiimote v2". I.e. it will allow new types of gameplay for casual gamers that don't enjoy (=can't handle) button mushing with a pad. It's MS's response/evolution to Nintendo's innovation on motion controlled gaming. It's not going to revolutionalize gaming, but it's big enough for Sony to realize they can't be only one without.
        • Part of my point is that I think it's a mistake to believe the "next step up from the wiimote" = no controller. The wiimote gave some feedback both in terms of sound and vibration, and also allowed relatively good control of some things with relatively subtle movement. Yes, people got up and jumped around and looked like idiots, but if you wanted to you could play Wii Sports sitting comfortably on your couch, barely moving around.

          You can make things easier to control and more immersive through other tech

      • imagine playing a FPS with a high-quality Wii-remote-like device and 3D head tracking

        ... combined with nvidia 3D vision. It's the perfect combo. You already need to wear funky glasses and have a usb dongle near the screen. Just put little led's in the glasses and a small camera in the dongle and the immersion would be complete.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HalAtWork ( 926717 )
      Sony demoed this system at the same show Natal was announced at.

      No, what you're talking about is the dual wand system [ps3maven.com]. This article is about a system that "uses stereo cameras to watch a player and, like a pair of eyes, to judge depth." It will probably be used for eyetoy-like games and other full body motion games.

      Personally I can't wait for the wand system for the pointer functionality, since RE5 will make use of it. It was pretty disappointing going from Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition to RE5, and al
    • by IrquiM ( 471313 )

      Sony discovered with EYETOY on the PS2 that you need a controller for anything useful. Nintendo took that knowledge, but implemented it on a low budget system, and lost all the geeks - but gained the rest.

  • by martas ( 1439879 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @09:24PM (#30011790)
    from Natal. Here's why: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/6/5/ [penny-arcade.com]
  • Just think of all the hilarious motions going un-captured!
  • by Cabriel ( 803429 )
    Maybe I'm looking through rose-tinted glasses, but I seem to remember this funny little thing that games used to be defined by. I can't remember the word for it... oh yeah. They were Fun. I can live without these new-fangled gimmicks. I don't see games being any more fun with the Natal system than with the Wiimote, nor do I see them being any more fun with Sony's system. The concepts are neat, but they just don't seem efficient. The focus is turning away from good games and more toward gimmicky games.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bogjobber ( 880402 )
      You are being too nostalgic. Gimmicky games can be made for any control setup. There were crappy novelty games for the 8-bit generation and before as well.

      Advances in technology open up new ways to interact, which can create the opportunity for new types of games and advance current genres. I can't speak for the quality of this particular system, but new ways to interact with video games is a good thing. Your complaint isn't really relevant.
      • I think the argument is very relavent. Yeah, gimmicky games have existed for every system but now everybody wants to design systems around gimmicky ideas. I remeber being totally immersed in many games without the need for fancy peripherals, I didn't need them because the games were fun. I had a Wii for a year before I sold it because the controls became very annoying and most of the games that were released were crap, Even the fun games were hampered by the controls. From what I 've seen of the Natal promo
    • You are being nostalgic. I have some very gimmicky games from the 8-bit era. I have a light-gun game for the C-64, for example, where every enemy comes through the same door and dies in one hit. Aim at that point and press fire repeatedly until you get bored with the game (about a minute for most people - oh, and it took ten minutes to load). Remember the little robot and all of the other gimmicky add-ons for the NES and Megadrive? Even the BBC micro had a few games with gimmicky controllers. By and l
  • Welcome to the future of gaming! Have fun with your friends while you stagger around like zombies! Please take a look at the feature video and behold the faces of the players! Yes! That's a smile right there! Sony brings joy to your life. Ain't that game great?

    And it's the only game you actually get better the more Jager's you kill.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas