Those other guys’ controllers

Yeah, I know, that was fast. Especially since I’ve decided I will still keep working on this – multiple reasons.

On the wands, they’re not coming out till 2010 (so far). I watched some demos, and they’ve got what I think of as the Wii jitter – the hand twitches, and the motion sensor picks that up, and so the pointer isn’t held smoothly. That’s somewhat of a problem in real life when trying to aim or do other fine control, but… Picture trying to do everything with your arms at full extension, using at least one foot handles. Some things are fine. Carefully drop some liquid into a bottle? I… think that’s going to be too challenging for most people. Next to last, I’m not looking at competing with the PS3’s controllers. I have a PS2, I have a Wii, I have an Xbox 360. Finally, there’s more but it applies to both. So let’s look at the 360.

The demo left me thinking “nice prototype”. Allegedly it’ll detect finger movement, but that wasn’t displayed in any demo I’ve seen. Further, the precision of control seemed, well, loose. Even on the show with the driving there was some slop -mostly in the gas pedal (which required moving a foot forward; or back to reverse/brake.) The parenthetical there is what makes me suspicious of the finger claim. Why can’t it just detect my foot rocking up or down as I’d use a ‘real’ gas pedal? Maybe it could and just wasn’t demonstrated correctly – the guest said, however, “move the foot forward, back for reverse”. I’m gonna guess that if this is a 2010 release we’re talking late 2010. And I’m gonna guess once more that precision is more hoped for than known. Finally, well…

Both require the players to stand up. That was one of the subtle failings of the Wii. Yeah, it’s remarkably fun and “gee I wish I could” – but when you start doing a lot of the games you need (or at least are expected) to stand to do them effectively. With practice you can bowl and golf while sitting, but it is awkward.

Both the wands and the natal allow the player to move around in a virtual room by moving in reality. Huh? I’ve got to stand up to dodge? I’ve got to dart forward and back to attack and escape a blow in Oblivion? If I’m playing CoDWaW or Modern War, I’m going to have to move to get behind cover?

Fine for about an hour. The longer it’s played, however, the more the player will look for ways to sit. Motion capture fails in that aspect.

Or so I’m gonna guess. Which means I can keep working on my controller – it might just be wanted by some players who don’t need to dance around the room.


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