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Sony's Motion Sensing Still Lagging Behind? 89

Posted by Zonk
from the tacked-on dept.
Chris Kohler, over at Wired's Game|Life, had the chance to see an in-production PS3 game in action. He said that, for the most part everything looked great. The one thing that concerned him was the motion-sensing controller that Sony is pushing on developers. From the article: "The developers told us that although we'd be using real PS3 controllers, they didn't yet have the motion-sensing functionality built in. And not only that, although they referred to the build as 'feature-complete,' they did admit that the one feature that was not yet included was (wait for it) motion-sensing, although they did 'have some cool ideas.' There was plenty of speculation after Sony's E3 conference that the motion-sensing functionality was jammed into the controller at the last minute as a reaction to Nintendo's strategy. This was backed up by the Warhawk developers' offhand remarks that they'd implemented motion sensing 'in just a couple weeks'."
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Sony's Motion Sensing Still Lagging Behind?

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  • Kirby! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman @ g m a i l . c om> on Friday August 18, 2006 @03:38PM (#15936728) Homepage Journal
    I think this [youtube.com] says it all. :-/

    Honestly, I *do* believe Sony that they had been considering the technology before this. What I don't believe is that they committed to it prior to Nintendo's announcement. I think that they originally considered whatever Nintendo was working on to be "gimmicks" (the exact word used by Ken Kutaragi at Sony E3), and that raw graphical technology would win the day. They only got worried once they saw the incredibly positive response to Nintendo's new controller.

    In the end, I think this may end up harming Sony. Their Dual Shock controller was well liked in part because of its rumble technology. (Also "inspired by" Nintendo.) Now they've replaced this long-established feature with a simple sensor that they've had very little time to test. Which means that it may end up being useless to developers as not enough fore-thought went into it. The result will be a double-blow when the Wii introduces both usable motion sensing technology (powered by a network of sensors rather than just one!) AND rumble in their controllers.

    Ouch, Sony. Ouch.
    • by MojoBox (985651)
      I just can't see a whole lot of practical application for motion sensing in the way that Sony has designed it.
      • Re:Kirby! (Score:5, Funny)

        by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75@@@yahoo...com> on Friday August 18, 2006 @04:09PM (#15936962)
        I just can't see a whole lot of practical application for motion sensing in the way that Sony has designed it.

        I personally think it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for throwing your controller at the TV.
        • Re:Kirby! (Score:4, Funny)

          by Kagura (843695) on Friday August 18, 2006 @05:12PM (#15937320)
          Just be careful not to hit the TV in its weakpoint, for MASSIVE DAMAGE!
          • Don't worry. Sony has added Real-Time Weapon Change to help you out. At only $599, it's the perfect platform for playing Riiiiiidge Raaaacer! It's Ridge Racer! Riiiiiidge Raaaacer! And they have absolutely no gimmicks like a playing card scanner or a tilt-motion sensor. It will be an experience like going to a fine restaurant and getting hit with a $599 bill. But you won't mind the third mortgage on your house, because you'll be able to spend even more money on hardware upgrades, and buy stuff online with "
    • Re:Kirby! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday August 18, 2006 @03:58PM (#15936881) Homepage Journal
      The result will be a double-blow when the Wii introduces both usable motion sensing technology (powered by a network of sensors rather than just one!) AND rumble in their controllers.

      Well, I can do without vibration, except where games make it a part of play. The nicest thing I can say about it is that I usually don't turn it off. Vibration is probably spectacularly bad for your hands.

      But what really destroys the whole concept for me is that having motion sensing built into a gamepad, depending on how it is used, is not necessarily going to be a benefit. It makes a lot more sense built into the Wii's controller, because of the form factor. I have one of the Microsoft gamepads with the tilt and the throttle, and using it sucks. It's way too hard to tilt accurately. Granted, the only thing I've ever tried to use it for was actual control axes, and maybe it would be more useful for something else - but I have a hard time figuring out what.

    • Warhawk at E3 played well for me, and the controlls were very responsive. Hell even a cameraman from some game rag was able to pick it up and play, since the controls were fairly intutive. The only thing I didn't like is the game 'played it safe' in that you can't just loop-the-loop without pressing a button. I think they were afraid people wouldn't figure out to stop pulling back once they started to flip.

      Kojima will be using this feature in the new Metal Gear, so I can't wait to see what he does more
      • by crabbz (986605)
        I read somewhere for MGS they were considering some options for the controller, like sneak up behind an enemy and twist the controller quickly to snap his neck. That could be cool!
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Reapman (740286)
          You know, that might actually be a really great use. Touch Sensitive buttons kinda worked for peeking around a corner, but imagine just tilting it ever so slightly to take a quick look around the corner. That might be really cool.
      • by JordanL (886154)
        I completely agree. Speaking from first hand experience, (reporter for a "game rag"), the controls made sense. They enhanced play instead of defining it, like the Wii's control system does.
    • Controller (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mongoose (8480)
      I guess I'll comment on the controller a little too.

      Due to the legal issues with rumble functionallity, I think Sony wanted to add something back in it's place. Tilt motion is as good of a choice as any for 'replacement functionality'. The Wii controller on the other hand will have a lot more issues to deal with. Aspect mapping, distance from screen, and lighting issues affect if the control even works properly. I was told most of the issues for the Wii at E3 were due to not having each control setup f
      • by dolson (634094)
        What about the people who saw the demonstration at E3, and how laggy and unresponsive it was? Seeing is believing.

        So, still no NWN2 for Linux, huh? Oh well.
        • by Mongoose (8480)
          Good one, as some people may not know here that demo would've been bad for anything requiring response time. There was a delay issue in the video setup, which is why I made my hands on comment. ;)

          No comment on NWN2. ;)
      • It would be wise for someone that's not played either to not comment until YOU get hands on -- I'm talking to you Slashdot. You must be new he..... oh, wait... nevermind
      • I was told most of the issues for the Wii at E3 were due to not having each control setup for each person. The storage on the remote is supposed to keep this setup info for you, so you can bring it to a friend's house I guess. It's not the same using a device, seeing a demo, or listening to some moron from the press trust me.

        Interesting, I didn't know that. I really hope it can save settings in a profile much like my Xbox 360 does (that profile system is pretty damn slick if you haven't used it). Storing i

    • First of all, while I have confidence in Nintendo they do have more moving parts and thus complexity in thier system. It's much harder to get just right than what Sony is doing (while offering a more impressive motion controller to be sure). So I would say they'd probably end up working about equally well for what they are doing, even with Nintendo probably having worked with real-world units longer.

      As for rumble, I was sorry to see that go as I thougt some games used it to excellent effect. I guess with
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        First of all, while I have confidence in Nintendo they do have more moving parts and thus complexity in thier system.

        There are no moving parts, it's build off of solid state MEMS accelerometers

        http://www.x-arcade.com/newsletter/Wii%20Dupe.shtm l [x-arcade.com]

        What it really comes down to is that Nintendo is offering a complete motion sensing/pointing device that is of a reasonably mature design; and Sony has added a minor feature of limited use in extending functionality to games. Basically, Nintendo's system allows the c
      • by Babbster (107076)
        It's much harder to get just right than what Sony is doing...

        It's so much easier for Sony that they apparently haven't been able to get it out to their developers... :)
    • by hords (619030)
      The one thing I don't understand is why Sony couldn't leave rumble functionality in the controller and perhaps only disable it for games that use the motion sensing. Perhaps they have another reason (Patent licensing fees?) It's not like every game used it as it was.
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        It's the patent issue. The Wii has rumble and motion sensing. In fact that may be desired for some games (e.g. aiming with the controller, when you fire the gun the rumble goes into full force to mess up your aim). Although Nintendo has patent issues as well, their rumble must be on-off only, no variable strength (although, as the GC shows, you can simulate varying strengths with that, too).
  • So? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gentimjs (930934)
    Hey, if it works and it turns out to be fun, who cares?
    If it doesnt work, isnt fun, or is vapourware .. then I wont use it, no sweat off my back.
  • by timster (32400) on Friday August 18, 2006 @03:46PM (#15936788)
    There's no point to the motion-sensing in the Dual Shake, as it's a two-handed controller. When holding a controller with both hands, making all but the simplest motions is unnatural because you can't use your wrists.

    The only comfortable motion is to tilt the controller, which will basically limit its function to driving games.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      I have microsoft's PC gamepad with tilt and let me tell you, trying to play driving games with the tilt interface is horrible. You'd be ten times better off with an ordinary joystick than that. In fact I used to play need for speed 2 with the joystick and generally beat the crap out of the two people in our group who shelled out for a wheel :) Of course, force-feedback wheels have turned that whole trend around, although I'd just about kill for force-feedback pedals.
      • by kfg (145172) *
        Of course, force-feedback wheels have turned that whole trend around, although I'd just about kill for force-feedback pedals.

        Your gas pedal already gives force feedback by sharing identity with the mechanism give force feedback in a real car; a spring.

        So you really want force feedback pedal. :)

        And you don't really want that; per se. You just want the right kind of spring and sensor, pressure sensitive rather than travel sensitive. A dual density elastomer cone on a piezo element works nicely, although if yo
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          But I'll note that brake lockup isn't felt through the pedal, it's felt through the "seat of the pants" and the steering wheel.

          While it's true that the brake pedal feel could be emulated by a very limited hydraulic system, it's not just the feel I want. If it was then the thing I'd need to do would be to take the pedal mechanisms from a real car and use them because they will feel right.

          My actual plan is to use a real car, or a piece of one anyway, but I don't have room for that right now :)

          What I

    • The only comfortable motion is to tilt the controller, which will basically limit its function to driving games.

      Obviosuly it will not feature the range of control that the nintendo can offer - no Star Wars game with the Sony controller (or at least not a motion sensitive one).

      However do not discount the usefulness that even simple tilt controls can bring to driving and flying games, there were quite a lot of those for the PS2.

      It could also be useful for puzzle games, something like Marble Madness would work
      • by trdrstv (986999)
        and Super Monkey Ball would be a natural.

        However Sony said they pulled the Rumble since it would 'Obviously interfer' with the tilt sensor. If that is true, Sony needs to hire some Nintendo engineers. [warioware.biz]

    • by monopole (44023)
      Three words:
      Super Monkey Ball
    • by niteice (793961)
      The only comfortable motion is to tilt the controller, which will basically limit its function to driving games.
      You know those people that get a little too much into a game? Their entire body tilts when they're pushing the joystick? This is perfect for them.
  • So what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by the computer guy nex (916959) on Friday August 18, 2006 @03:47PM (#15936798)
    They are still ahead in price ! :)
  • bout time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's been awhile since we had some negative sony press. I was starting to get worried. Way to go!
    • "It's been awhile since we had some negative sony press. I was starting to get worried. Way to go!"

      Like or hate the anti-Sony press, it's happening at a time where Sony could still do something about it. If that's not enough, then oh well, Sony earned it. That's the standard excuse for poo-pooing future Microsoft releases.
  • by Karlprof (993894)
    So what they're saying is, we have to pay Sony $599 for a console, only for them to go and half-assedly implement other people's ideas?

    Hopefully real time weapon change will make up for it.
    • So what they're saying is, we have to pay Sony $599 for a console

      Base PS3 is $500. Whats the matter, you so rich you can't complain about THAT price? It's still pretty high, why distort the truth?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Knuckles (8964)
        Just FYI, at MediaMarkt in Germany you can only preorder one that costs 600 EUR. I don't know which model it is, the ad didn't say.
      • The $500 Version? Pah. No wireless, less space than a Nomad. LAME (It's funny cause it's true)
    • by dolson (634094)
      And don't forget the authentic, historically-accurate Giant Enemy Crab battles. Sony to Nintendo: u can't touch this!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by UbuntuDupe (970646)
        There were no crabs in feudal Japan that were as large as the one depicted in the E3 demo.

        *please mod informative, please mod informative*
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...word is they'll be putting out a root-kit that will fix this problem.

  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Friday August 18, 2006 @04:02PM (#15936905)
    Who cares what is going on with Sony's particular controller? Ok, some care, it is the default and all... but it seems to be that the real value is in the APIs and the software provided for devs. The hooks for the motion sensing are the most important thing.

    Console controllers should be like mice; there are so many out there and so many different little features, doodads, left-handedness, glowy bits, MightyMice, etc. This is great because you feel like you've got real choice. Everyone can pick something that works best for them because we know all these mice plug into the same USB jack and will work with the computer properly (more or less).

    But so far, most of the 3rd party controllers for consoles are cheaper imitations of the originals with BAD gimmicks (autofire). The one's I've really liked have been extremely rare... WaveBird, the NegCon....

    Sort of makes you wonder if there will be decent knockoffs of the Wii Remote, actually.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Osty (16825)

      But so far, most of the 3rd party controllers for consoles are cheaper imitations of the originals with BAD gimmicks (autofire). The one's I've really liked have been extremely rare... WaveBird, the NegCon....

      Console controllers are just a little bit more complex than mice. Anyway, third-party controllers don't usually suck because of the gimmicks, but because the primary functionality is sub-par. The joysticks are too sloppy, or the buttons are too hard to press, or the ergonomics are bad, etc. Some

    • by dolson (634094)
      As Osty says, the WaveBird doesn't count. But a good 3rd-party wireless controller is the MadCatz Wireless Micron for the GameCube.

      I have 3 of them, and I want a few more.

      There are two versions, one with a channel select switch on the controller, and one without... I hate the one without, and that's all I can find at WalMart these days.
    • by crabbz (986605)
      The NegCon combined with Wipeout XL was brilliant!
  • If Sony doesn't want to rip off the Wii controller, they should have Apple design one for them. Except it'll look like a laptop plugged into the console with a large Apple logo and be more sexier than the PS3.
  • The game that was looked at was Sega's Full Auto 2: Battlelines. I never played the first one so I can only make a very rough guess of what they'd use the motion sensing for. It sounds like the first generation of games may only use it for optional side things. I guess that's good if they are rushing it into play.
  • by kinglink (195330) on Friday August 18, 2006 @04:28PM (#15937104)
    Seriously, is madden commiting to it? EA as a whole? No. The PS3 is going to be getting games that will also be on the xbox 360, why add a feature that the other doesn't have unless sony is forcing you to (which they already are, they have commanded companies that they need 20 percent NEW content for a port. Watch that become a request, and then a suggestion).

    The Wii's going to have great usage of the motion sensing because EVERYTHING the Wii has done is focused on it, wireless controllers, the nunchuck. The PS3 is a PS2, that doesn't have dual shock, so they had to do something to make it uniuqe.

    The problem is if a company X makes a game Y and their plans is for "next gen gameplay" they arn't thinking "dual shake", they are thinking "better graphics, amazing gameplay, for both the 360 and the PS3" Let's not forget that with out the Motion sensing the PS3 is already a harder system to developer for, and expects more out of the developer.

    Instead if I have a game that would be very clever on motion sensing system, why would I choose the Ps3 unless I need great graphics (clever games don't need great graphics if they are truely clever). Instead I'd probably choose the Wii, it's around 1/5th of the price for a single dev kit, the controller is built for motion sensing, as well as the nunchuck, if I want two sensors, and the system has more motion sensing than the other.

    As for those saying that it's a good idea I leave you with this idea. Nintendo has developed the idea for years, Sony had the idea, developed it, stopped developing it, saw nintendo's version, and then has pushed it in the system spec and controller the last weeks before E3. That doesn't mean they weren't thinking about it but if they were actively pursuing it the developer would have some version of motion sensing even if it wasn't a very accurate one long before E3. Sony is last minuting this idea in because they are constantly second guessing themselves now. And that's what's going to destroy Sony, not their decisions but second guessing their decisions.
  • PS3 vs Wii (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    • Re:PS3 vs Wii (Score:5, Insightful)

      by laxcat (600727) on Friday August 18, 2006 @05:06PM (#15937290) Homepage

      I like this video very much, but to paint the PS3 as "not sexy" seems kinda flawed. It is very sexy. Just very expensive and demanding. A more apt analogy would be a "rich bitch" type, representing the PS3, with a "girl next door" representing the Wii. Both are hot, but one is super annoying, is always spouting shit, and requires you to spend vast amounts of money to even consider any sort of interaction. The other however, is cool, down to earth and ready to have fun. Right now. And she's fine with just hangin' out.

      • by kinglink (195330)
        I hear that as PS3 is Anna Nicole Smith. While the Wii is Elisa Cuthbert.

        All I have to say is I'm thinking naughty thoughts about that wii...
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by laxcat (600727)
          ...PS3 is Anna Nicole Smith

          Ah, but for that to work with my analogy, Anna Nicole Smith would have to be considered in some way sexy. Which is, of course, just rediculous.

      • by trdrstv (986999)
        I like this video very much, but to paint the PS3 as "not sexy" seems kinda flawed.

        Actually, I don't. Remember how people joked at the size of the original X-box? The PS3 is bigger. The Wii has a sleek, technical/industrial design. Sony should have "slapped another coat of Pretty" on the PSX [liksang.com] and called it a day.

        • by laxcat (600727)

          If you were to base your opinions purely on industrial design, sure. The Wii is way sexier. Small is hot. (I'm talking about electronics. I think.) But the video is mostly analogizing the console's features and philosophies, not appearence. Few of us techies don't covet the PS3's impressive specs. It's high end. It's attractive. It's sexy. But it's a total bitch, and takes all your money. :/

          • by trdrstv (986999)
            If I were to base this on life experiance, I've had the 'high end' that took all my money. Now I just want the 'peppy one' that is sexy, cheap and a lot of fun.

            Now that I think about it, you can apply that to the consoles too.

        • It may be small, but I don't see how you can call something that shape sleek; the PS3 better fits every definition of the word. The Wii just looks like a DVD-ROM taken out of a PC and painted black. Personally I don't give a fuck, and I'm happy to have one anyway, I just don't think it's an interesting or attractive design (the controller is much better, aside from the nunchaku).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DeadScreenSky (666442)
        The other however, is cool, down to earth and ready to have fun. Right now. And she's fine with just hangin' out.

        Yeah, and she's also 12 years old. :(

        (Kidding, kidding...)
    • Shouldn't PS3 be the shallow, sexy one? I appreciate that they are making a point about the size of the console itself, but it would be much more insightful (and a much better analogy) to look at the direction the content is taking on each platform, or even the intended audience. Anyway, if it's a choice between living with fatty and brain-dead bimbo, I'm just going to take the 360 right now (please don't be a dude, please don't be a dude).
      • Ah, but the 360 is the strung out crack whore hidden in the corner missing two teeth and soliciting anything that moves for sex.
  • Since the new guy has been in charge, he's executed significant cost reduction programs including cutting many of the bleeding edge technologies that had made Sony what it was. The PS3 fiasco is just one more example of how far Sony has fallen. I have been a Sony fan for many years, but the past couple years have broken my affinity towards their products. I now look elsewhere for a lot of tech that I once would only look towards them.

    Don't get me wrong, I still like a fair amount of their products. I ju
  • This motion sensor stuff is ridiculous... If I wanted to go through the motions of playing tennis or golf in my living room I'd go out and do it in real life. Video games are for vegging out on the couch and not moving.

    Honestly if my FPS required me to wave my arms around to kill anything I wouldn't play it. The current controller has been around in various shapes for 30 years, and any weird new designs have failed, maybe that's for a reason?

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

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