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Kick Your Input Device 153

Darkfox writes "This story from BBC News shows a new Thrustmaster device designed to let you actually carry out physical movements for input into fighting games. Looks like contortionist heaven, and the input mechanism is ... coarse to say the least, but perhaps this is just the start of the evolution of input devices?" An input device that my brother and I can agree on -- except that it only works with Playstation for now. It's nearly guaranteed to be denounced as encouraging violence and lust. Ergo, we need drivers for PCs running Free operating systems.
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Kick Your Input Device

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    just kick this thing in a morse code type pattern to output ascii so we can code with them. /* out of breath, fix later */
  • by Anonymous Coward
    you wont catch us [] using this thing...
  • My bottom line is having fun when I play a game. If it involves funky dance pads, maraccas, force feedback, or even good game design, I'm all for it. I remember the old floor pad for the 8 bit NES, it was quite a workout to actually use the thing with any of the games for it (no DDR). Most everything for it was track and field games where you basically had to run in place for like 15 minutes for a single round. It was actually fun at the time (although you were *exausted* after playing a game on it).
  • by jbuhler ( 489 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:18AM (#2191234) Homepage
    I tried out that new "up up down down left right left right A B A B" combo kick... and blew out a disk in my back. Does my insurance cover this?

    BTW, we're having a Quake deathmatch this weekend. You'd better write me a scrip for some Oxycontin, just in case.
  • this is the bottom line...90% of video games are about ESCAPISM, not more REALISM. I love the lousy game player with a black belt comment, though, from above. Now the guy can have his revenge on the gangly geek who thrashed him at Mortal Kombat :) LMAO
  • Actually, I'm just bored out of my fucking mind and decided to write up some stupid "pull it out of my ass" philosophy, but I didn't feel like doing it in a serious way.

    Actually, it's a pretty well written assessment of the common viewpoints on technology. So why didn't you post it on Everything [] where it would not only be ontopic, but actually useful?

  • by Kozz ( 7764 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @12:16PM (#2191237)
    Really, what about the game providing physical punishment or feedback? The XBox will do just that [].
  • I could swear this looks like a cross between a Dance Dance Revolution pad and the old IR tier controller for the Genesis. I think that was called the "Intensor" or something like that.

    It still looks like this won't stop me from doing a quarter circle back and a punch. Make it so that the character on screen does what *I* do, and then I'll want one. It'll make the fireball a lot more interesting, that's for sure. Something along the lines of mimicking the motions, seeing as I still can't actually blast my enemies with white hot energy emanating from my hands in real life :-)
  • I'd love to try it too!

    But I can't see it being more than a niche product. And niche products have a tendency of up and dying. Anyone really serious about playing the game wouldn't use it, because it doesn't offer any advantages to use it.

    More fun sure, more competitive no. (It's focus seems to be fighting games.)
  • I have the same problem with it as I do force feedback. Why on earth would you use it?

    If you can get the same scorces, results, and endings using a regular keyboard and mouse (or Joystick), why expend the extra effort and jump around? Purely for exercise? OK, but that's not going to attract any hardcore gamers.

    If you turn off force feedback, you don't have the distraction. What does it add to the game anyway? Sure, without it the realism goes straight to hell, but if your bottom line is beating the game (or an opponent), then you like the realism of having to expend energy to be nonexistant.

    Perhaps I'm just too damn lazy :).
  • I have been dying for something like this to come on the scene. I am a gamer, and I have also been studying martial arts for over 10 years.

    I study Wing Chun Kung Fu specifically, and we use a wooden dummy to practice full-force techniques on. (It is not nice to practice full force techniques on a fellow student.)

    I have wanted for something like this to practice on for some time. Mind you, what would be perfect for me is one that offered real world resistance. That is, you could whack it full-force like you do on a wooden dummy. You cannot do this with the infra red device, because there is nothing to physically hit. (And if you think you can throw full force punches and kicks against air, you either don't know what you are talking about, or you have wrecked your knees and elbows already.)

    I have heard of a similar game to this in Japan that uses a stick as opposed to parts of the body.

    All that said, I would use it because it would be fun, and keep me up with my training. To be certain, it will be a long time before the moves are accuately translated to the game. (I cannot for the life of me see some martial arts moves being picked up properly by this device.)

    As for not attracting hard-core gamers, perhaps you have never been in play wrestiling matches with hard-core gamers.

  • ...Just recently at Dave and Buster's.
    It's a virtuacop style plastic-gun-shooter, but it can track your movements, allowing you to duck, dodge, etc.

    Pretty cool stuff, but even with all this technology, they still don't make
    game guns with trigger switches that feel realistic.

    C-X C-S
  • ...or at least at the one here in Atlanta. Konami has released two such games, one called, IIRC, "MoCap Boxing", where you pick up a pair of gloves and actually beat up your on-screen opponent (don't swing too hard, you'll throw your arm out. You don't actually hit anything.) Sensors above you and in the floorpad note when you move to the side or duck. The other one is a gun-game in the style of Time Crisis where the same sorts of sensors note whether you've ducked, or leaned to the left or right, and the image on screen acts accordingly (you duck behind a table, lean out around a corner to shoot the bad guy.)

    Great fun, and the boxing game can get to being a workout...
  • Whats the fun if it doesn't kick back? :)
  • No, you won't, as hand dexterity far exceeds the relatively coarse and slow control you'll have with this thing. Provided he sticks to the multifunction joystick he knows and loves he will still probably kick the (virtua) crap out of you!!
  • It occurs to me that for games along the lines of Black and White.... Instead of gesturing with the mouse, you gesture with your hand -- and actually THROW that fireball at those infidel dogs.

    If you have a digital glove (I forget the make) Black and White already supports gesturing using the device - see the instruction book!!
  • SirSlud wrote:
    What's next? Drugs that look, taste, feel like the real thing, but without the fun high or addiction?
    Here you go: marijuana candy [].
  • The code is actually "Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start".

  • Perhaps you should try Gran Turismo 3. That should answer your question.
  • I remember trying to beat the 8-bit color character "Rabbit" from Nintendo's World Class Track Meet as well. I've beaten the whole game legitimately when I was younger, but I had to push myself to the brink of cardiac arrest to do so.

    The problem with the input device, a big plastic mat with embedded pressure sensors, is that the sensors weren't all that accurate. You could be running in place as fast as your legs would let you, but the mat itself wouldn't pick up all of the impacts, so your on-screen character would resort to a sort of one-leg plodding.

    What did work pretty well was the ability to jump hurdles, but "Hop, Skip, Jump" was downright impossible simply due to the timings of the game.

    I'm sure you could fool around with one of these devices yourself for $15 or so.
  • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:16AM (#2191251)
    I don't recommend it. The one time I did it, I had to buy a new keyboard and a new keyboard drawer. Kicking the PC case produces a much more satisfying thud, but is pretty hard on the hard drive.

  • the article title may mislead you: you're not kicking the two vertical poles. the poles contain intrared sensors to detect where your legs and arms are.

    the technology is getting quite a bit better than previous incarnations. if you want to see infrared in action, visit your local arcade and try out police 911 [].

  • Richard Simmons Workout
  • They already have that, it's called "methadone" and is available at a rehab near you! ;-)

    #include "disclaim.h"
    "All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak
  • I knew all the trade rags, and general interest magazines were like this (basically, industry payola for column inches), but BBC News? Somehow I thought they still had journalistic integrity :-P

    #include "disclaim.h"
    "All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak
  • Yeah, but when the whole piece sounds just like a corporate PR press release (right down to quoting the price and availability) I tend to think "ad" not "news" - maybe I'm just being cynical though.

    #include "disclaim.h"
    "All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak
  • They should work with that thing, right?
    N64/PSX to PC USB converter []
  • Ergo, we need drivers for PCs running Free operating systems.

    ...but didn't you say it was Playstation only? What about PCs running non-free operating systems? After all, Windows *is* the biggest gaming market.

    This is the attitude that pisses me off most and makes me ashamed to be a Linux user. We expect everyone to cater to us and cry foul when a *company* whose purpose is to *make money* does not bow to our every demand.
  • This: tm l

    Slashdot article talked about a controler that would give the user electric shocks as feedback. I cannot find anything on the Mad Catz site to support this, nor anywhere else.

    So why should I believe this article?

  • All you do punch and kick air. Blehhh.

    When I first saw the picture and read "presure sensors" I thought the poles were like those martial arts exersise poles. If my martial arts friend saw it, I know he'd think the same and have one (or both) of those poles kicked clean out of its pad and smashing into the far wall. There goes the warranty!

    All you really do is kick air and break beams between them (I know there is a "break wind" joke in there, but I can't think of it right now.

    Besides, it wouldn't take long for a lazy bum (like me) to figure out how to just stand there and pass my hands between the appropriate beams at just the right times. Purpose defeated.

    OTOH, If they were to devise a real pole you could actually kick and punch -- That would be something!

  • I tried out that new "up up down down left right left right A B A B" combo kick... and blew out a disk in my back. Does my insurance cover this?
    Hey, you have 30 lives now. Stop complaining.
  • I was sore in the legs and back for two days after a tube-full of quarters with this game. Very cool game + you get exercise!
  • I am a programmer and I have been studying Kempo for about a year and a half now. I started because there were a couple of guys at my last job who studied and it sounded like fun. It has really whipped my ass into shape, and has been a great experience at the same time. For those of you who do like to leave the house and play some REAL fighting games, I highly recommend it.

    Plus, chicks always ask about scars and bruises. I cant imagine a game so intense that it leaves you with injuries.
  • The good:
    The gadget is designed to aid players of fighting and boxing games who typically have to hit several buttons in sequence on a joypad to perform a combination or special move that could knock out or maim an onscreen opponent. Sounds good to me.

    The thing you're missing is that the complicated button sequences are designed to seperate the amateurs from the pros. The complication is the challenge of the game .. make the special moves easy to execute, and you kill your dedicated user base. Sure, the reacreational users might not appreciate this, but as the saying goes, 20% of your user base (your heavy users) is 70% of your profit, in the form of the merchandising and spinoffs and such. So, while this thing might be fun for the uninitiated, the afficionado will hate the fact that any joe shmoe now knows how to execute the 15 hit combo without having to proove his dedication to the game via practicing the button sequences. Nenermind that bigger or more agile (or whatever) people now have an advantage, totally killing the attraction of games for the geek set that loved games for the fact that it gave them the opportunity to 'kick anyone's ass', regardless of size. Thats the beauty of games .. you can compete with someone regardless of their physical or (to a lesser degree) mental level.

    Anyhow, yes it's got gee-wiz factor, but it totally kills the idea behind games, if you ask this fighter-game veteran.

    On a side note, can you imagine having two of these things in the same household; seeing two guys kick the air between each other, with their eye on the screen to see what's happening is an absolutely priceless mental image. Why not just wrassle like real boys (and men) do?!
  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @12:26PM (#2191265) Homepage
    Hahaha! Oh yeah, I know that the average console/PC gamer geek is just /dying/ to get out of his chair or couch and perform the moves for real.

    I'm sure the demographics of 'person who likes to tae-bo' and 'person who loves playing fighting video games' have a sizable intersection set! HA!

    What's next? Drugs that look, taste, feel like the real thing, but without the fun high or addiction?

  • > They used to make the coolest joysticks around, I bought one from them many years ago.

    Aye. The F16 with the THQS (sp?) flight yoke ROCKED. The base was a good 8" square and an solid inch tall. It was a "man's" joystick, meaning it had a AWESOME SOLID feel to it, that was SMOOTH to operate.

    > the stuff they're producing now is as cheap as anything else.
    Unfortunately (or fortunately) peripherals are a "commodity" market .. meaning you get more sales if you sell your product in the $20 .. $50 range, then $70 - 140 range, if the quality is "good enough."

    > It's a sad day when Microsoft is producing the best joysticks around

    I just picked up the Logitech Digital Extreme 3D joystick and it's VERY sweet for only $40 ! I specificially bought it, since it has no force-feedback which is just perfect when playing Mech4 & Mech4X. The BIG problem with force-feedback joysticks is if you turn the force off, you loose the ability to auto-center!

    I'd rather take the Logitech mouse, wheel, and joystick any day over the M$ stuff. :)
  • Hmph. It's been around for years... [] :)
  • Well, I don't normally play that sort of game (heck, I've never even owned a console, the main market for fighting games AFAICT), but... actually, that ties into my point. I'd be a LOT more used to tossing around punches, palm strikes, and simple kicks (front, side, roundhouse, say -- nothing fancy like jumping up and kicking two people at once...) than I am familiar with button and joystick combinations. So some might get *better* results.
  • found this [] at the xbox site today, looks like one of those ski/surfing games at the arcades

  • You forget about all the jocks and athletes who LOVE fighting games. Step foot inside a freshman college residence hall on a weeknight and count the number of people sitting in rooms waiting for their turn at Tekken or MKx. Then go out the next afternoon to the intramural fields and you'll see many of the same faces.
  • I saw this same exact thing in the Taiwan area at Comdex last year. They had it hooked up to a PS and had tekken 3 playing. It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. It was very weird fighting the other person because you were right next to each other fighting but facing the screen and not each other. The version they had used 4 poles though.
  • and just when i learned all those secret combos so that I could challenge jackie chan and say that i beat him in a fight, now this'll just give him the advantage again :(
  • ...Thrustmaster device designed to let you actually carry out physical movements for input into fighting games

    I'm guessing that fighting games aren't gonna be the ONLY genre to benefit from this device...
  • No, you just had to brace yourself and vibrate your heels really fast. Easier than pounding it with your fists. Beating the rabit was simple with that technique!

    Oh, how I miss those days...
  • If you want to get realistic feedback, just go get in a real fight. Instant load times, and the feedback's about as realistic as it gets!
  • There are a few arcade games out there that already have motion-sensing interfaces. There's a boxing game, and a police shoot 'em up that require the player to move and duck as they are playing.

    That's one area where arcade games still have an advantage over home games. They can more easily have unique controllers and interfaces that would require a home player to buy special equipment to have.

  • errr, hit enter too soon while filling out the post, the text I mentioned is:

    The Activator was Sega's attempt at a "virtual reality" interface for the Genesis. It was a flat, octagonal piece of plastic and wires that translated the movement of someone standing inside it into movement in a game. Control was clumsy and imprecise, and after a few frustrated minutes of play, the urge to sit down and pick up a gamepad is nearly uncontrollable.
  • by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:21AM (#2191278)
    This thing is weak. Back in the day there was a controller called "The Activator" for the Genesis that set up as a large, nearly flat hexagon on the floor. The hexagon would send up a grid of infrared beams, and could detect when beams were broken.

    Of course, making it affordable meant that the technology was not up to snuff, so it never really worked worth a damn.

    There is a short description of the Activator in the classic gaming museum. [] I ripped the text and posted it below:
  • It's called the "Activator". It was a kind of circle with motion sensors that would translate some basic moves to a joystick input (ie. kick = A button). I can't find any pictures on the net (I wish I could find my Sega Vision collection) but you can still buy it for $25 here [].
  • I had an idea for educational software that could use an input device similar to this. Why not make a Tai Chi or Karate teaching software?

    You could log in and the program would prepare a lesson based on your progress. A video would play instructing you in a particular move. It would then prompt you to try it yourself perhaps showing a model of your sensed movements next to the "ideal" execution. It could calculate what you did right and wrong (use a neural network) and instruct you on how to improve. Of course a virtual sparing partner could be included similar to the Mortal Kombat game.

    Tai Chi and streching would appeal to older folks. Karate, Tai Bo, etc. would appeal to the younger genration. Arobics, boxing, and dancing instruction could also be done this way.

    The software infrastructure could be open source, but I think the "database" of moves and lessons would require expensive production (hire a black belt, construct series of lessons, record them) and marketing (have to hire someone famouse and put their mug on the box). Perhaps a mixed licensing model.

  • I might actually get some exercise


  • The conspiracy is on! Microsoft managed to produce the best browser for the OS 90% of the public uses, now they make the best gaming devices...

    If I were of the grassy-knoll crowd, I might think MS was engaged in industrial sabotage [] by 'planting' people to toss wrenches at the competition.

  • Funny, I trained taekwondo too but I got more injured outside class ;)

    - Steeltoe
  • Actually I pondered something like that some time ago. Too bad I didn't patent it...

    It would be excellent for coding. Just map parentheses, curly braces, brackets, comma, dot, colon, semicolon and so on to the appropriate punches.


    foo(bar, baz); alpha {beta; gamma::delta};
    would be something like:
  • I've seen two arcade games that have the same effect. One is a light gun game where you actually have to duck behind things. The other is a boxing game where you throw punches and duck the other guys punches. I've only played the cop game, and I thought it was pretty fun (and tiring). The screen perspective changes as you move (I think Caramack has mentioned he would like to see this). Imagine Quake (or any FPS) with this device. You could still use a game pad for gross movement, but you could use your entire body for fine aiming and dodging.
  • It was a similar type setup connected to Tekken3. Now I'm not a Tekken god, but I can hold my own normally. This thing was impossible to use for a game like Tekken where there is a difference between tapping and holding a directional button. Jumping on and off the pad resulted in the "motion" as just standing on it. On top of that, punches and kicks didn't register correctly and forget about doing any sort of combo. The speed needed to get combo chains started in a game like tekken require a lot less time between "button presses" than these sorts of things can provide.


  • I already punt my PSX controllers. This would end up getting broken the first time I got frustrated at SFA3.
  • Actually, as a teenager, I played a lot of video games (back in _my_ day, we had to walk _three blocks_ down to the 7-11 and put _quarters_ in the games to play them, you kids these days don't know how good you have it mutter grumble ...) and also trained quite seriously in Tae Kwon Do. A fair number of my gamer-geek friends did the same. (And the expression on the jocks' faces when they realized we weren't their punching bags any more ... but that's another story.) I would have _loved_ to have had a device like this, both for recreation and for training. Hell, it might even start me gaming again, if I ever have the time.
  • It occurs to me that for games along the lines of Black and White (or a realtime version of, say, Firetop Mountain [] []) that sort of thing might be perfect. Instead of gesturing with the mouse, you gesture with your hand -- and actually THROW that fireball at those infidel dogs.
    I don't claim to be right, I just claim to be thinking about it.
  • You bet I remember that one. A buddy and I used to go to the arcade and play every other weekend. A good amount of the time the machine was broke - it just couldn't take the abuse. Too bad - it was cool!

    The only complaint about it really, was that we'd keep putting in quarters, and beating the hell out of the machine - eventually, our knuckles couldn't take it. The rubberized surface on the buttons begins to tear up the skin, and makes ya look like you've taken on a brick wall recently. Ouch. ;-)

  • If someone markets this properly, they could have something going for them. Most geeks won't use it (or will they - not sure if I find it interesting enough to buy it, but conceptually I like the idea of getting a workout while I play games :-) It would never be a huge hit, IMHO, but if they bundle the proper games with it, and hit the heath and weight loss crowds with it, they could make some bucks... Just my opinion, of course. Which is pretty much worthless ;-)

  • ...seeing as I still can't actually blast my enemies with white hot energy emanating from my hands in real life :-)

    You just need to practice more.
  • ...if they have this, anyway. At the same time, I have a feeling this will last until somebody blows out his knee throwing a wild kick at midair and sues the manufacturer. I'd love to have a training simulator for karate - any number of opponents you like, any skill level, any build! - but watching a screen to see where your opponent is while throwing punches at the air doesn't sound like a great UI to me. I think, unfortunately, that we'll have to wait for immersive VR for these things to get really good. And even then, it's not the same if you can't _feel_ the impact of a block.
  • It was the sega fighting ring or something.
  • We used to have this Nintendo game called Gyromite that we thought was the most bizarre and yet most hilarious game ever. One person would have Controller One and control the little guy, and the other guy would have Controller Two and control these pipes that moved up and down.

    And now, holy freak, it all makes sense--you weren't supposed to use the second control, you were supposed to have the Robot do it. And that's why when you pressed certain buttons the screen flashed! After so many years, the lights finally come on.

    Thank you, sir. You're a gentleman and a scholar.

  • Many, many years ago in an arcade (remember those?) far away, there was a karate-mortal combat style game that had two large yellow buttons very similar to the cheap air pumps used to inflate sleeping pads. The harder you hit the buttons ( which were like 6" across and 4" high) the harder your character hit the bad guy.

    Pretty slick idea, although it was broken quite often.
  • "Thousands of bucks"? Where do you train? Me, I pay 30 ukp (about $45) per month for two sessions a week. It'll take over 4 years b4 I've put in "thousands".

    To get yourself a teaching tool for martial arts, you'd need some kind of rotoscoping technique, tracking where your elbows, knees, and individual fingers and toes are, before you could genuinely achieve anything. And then you'd need a robot opponent to provide proper contact (you can't practise timing in empty air, and that's the key to getting a technique right). Be cool to make one though! :-)

    Being realistic, this is to martial arts/sports games what those skiing and skateboard games with those swinging platforms are to the real thing, ie. nothing like.

  • i had a friend who had this nintendo pad for playing their track and field games. his parents got it for him because they thought it would make him excersize. wrongo, he just sat down and used drumsticks to hit the pad instead of actually running on it.
  • ...we need drivers for PCs running Free operating systems.

    Might make killing those extraneous processes and locked-up users a bit more envigorating.

  • Something in this [] article probably has the answer to using this with that OS you all seem to like. I know I've seen wiring diagrams to hook Playstation controllers up to your parallel port (see? it is good for something) as well as N64, SNES, NES, Genesis, Saturn, Dreamcast, Atari, etc. controllers. There was also a driver for Windows to support them all, and a joystick driver for Linux that also supported them. Too bad I can't remember where...
  • Tetris, arguable the most popular and broadly appealing game of all time, has _nothing_ to do with reality.
    Unless you want to do logisitic engineering.
  • don't forget the great framespeed!
  • I seem to be the kind of guy who likes the kind of girls who don't like the kind of guys like me.
    so in other words, you're like most guys... :0)
  • "coarse" input mechanisms are not new.

    remember the nintendo glove? that thing was cool, but it was a coarse physical movement input mechanism, or how about that big pad you used for track and field, that was awesome.

  • Is that my hands are too big for the controls on most game consoles. If this system is designed to be used by a small to average sized adult, I might actually be able to get past the third level on one of these games.

  • It was Jane Fonda in Barbarella!

    Nancy Sinatra, indeed!

    (pauses and waits for the uncultured people to think 'who?')

    Hacker: A criminal who breaks into computer systems
  • This story from BBC News shows a new Thrustmaster device designed to let you actually carry out physical movements for input into fighting games.

    Oh man...someone needs to program a virtual Dammit Doll [] for this. Instead of whacking the crap out of a small DD, punch the crap out of a big (virtual) one!

  • There's a pretty nice arcade at this casino close to town-- $6 for 2 hours unlimited. For this game two players face a screen, each at a 30 degree angle to it. A box between the players has 2 vidcams, one for each player. All movement and character selection is done by stepping forward or back out of a circle. Punches, jumps, crouches, and kicks are all valid moves, and three rounds can be pretty exhausting when you're not 8 yrs old any more. Because it's using some AI (presumably zones--I got told to "get back in the circle" more than once) some of my moves didn't register like my swinging haymaker and my tiger style.

    But its fun--it's just sad that we're not up to "beat the hell out of an animatronic robot" that would represent the moves of the other player. Because it's not the same punching air when there's no contact at the end of a move. You'd get people shouting their battle cries and heeeeyaa! once that's established.

    But check out the flashy VR sections of the arcades--sometimes they're actually kinda cool. My other fave that I didn't try was some lame dance game, but the attract mode demo was loud and obnoxious enough that I didn't have to go "werk my movez." Oh, yah, it's good date stuff too--skirts and motorcycle games...
  • > Class a few times a week isn't enough exercise for most people.

    Tying my shoelaces once a day is enough exercise for me.

  • What good is it if you just you just have to come up with some combination of moves that I can actually do to simulate a move the computer charator can.


  • No matter what, they always fail! Most gamers are playing games because they don't actually want to do what they're doing on screen. If they really wanted to kick people, they could join a karate tournament.

    Everyone else has mentioned the Power Glove and the track and field mat for NES. Is this any different? I wouldn't say that those interfaces quite changed the world. People play games to escape reality, not to move reality into their basement or bedroom and have a friggin boxing match in their bed.

  • It's nearly guaranteed to be denounced as encouraging violence and lust. Ergo, we need drivers for PCs running Free operating systems.

    Finally, we've found the true calling of the free software movement. We can all kick a padded stick hooked up to a playstation!

    "They may take our lives, but they will never take....OUR PADDED KICK STICK THING!" Not quite so inspiring.

  • heh, yeah. Something like this might actually get me off my ass, at least for a few minutes.. whats so bad about that? They need to make one of these for the pc, so I can lose a little weight while playing samurai showdown on neorage or mame...
  • Why O why couldn't they have developed this when I was into Leisure Suit Larry.....
  • I seem to remeber there was a similar system for Genesis/SNES a few years back. I forget who made it, Madcatz I think, it cost like 79.99. It was a ring that you setup on the floor it fired infrared beams upward at the ceiling(and therefore required a somewhat flat aka NON-stucco or pithched ceiling). I seem to remember results were mixed(I was working in a game store at the time), again depending on the ceiling. I do remember one kid who bought one said it worked great, cause his parents had a mirror on the ceiling of the living room(shudders at image that evokes remembering what kids parents looked like)
  • Personally, I'll stick with my Dance Dance Revolution [] pads [].

    These can be had for around $15 each if you know where to get 'em...and I'm still on my first set of pads after four months of usage.

    The game itself is quite a workout...especially after a few hours of play on the harder levels.

    That is, assuming you can handle the fact that all your friends will be laughing at you the first time they see the game. At least until they play it. Most people get hooked at that point.
  • Interactive games such as these take the gaming experience out of the TV -- great! Now... I think IR will help a ton to make this happen.

    By now, most everyone knows about Dance Dance Revoultion (DDR). However, this used a press-down pad -- which worked well for the most part, but required accurate stepping/stomping quickly on the pad to get the game to work. It also required a bit of effort to get the pads to stay put, and was clumsy at times.

    Now IR... There's already another dancing game called 'Para Para Paradise' (PPP) in Japan (roughly a year old) which utilizes IR beams. Instead of stepping on a pad, you swing your body and break the IR lines -- making smooth and catchy moves. (it's also by Konami -- go figure)

    Unlike in DDR, where you end up stomping a lot to get the higher scores, the main emphasis in 'PPP' is to look/feel cool, and the fact that your feet dont' have to stomp means it's a low impact activity.

    It's great to see more and more games utilizing IR, as this opens up the door for many more types of games that we've never seen before. Ever think you'd play a first-person volleyball game? While certainly requiring more IR beams, it's now a possibility.

    PPP is a year-old game, but it's still just as enjoyable (if not more) than DDR. Here's the main page at Konami [] and some screenshots []

    Of course, all of these interaction-based games work only as well as the effort you're willing to put into it to make it a real experience for you. I must say I've committed the simulation-game sins -- playing DDR with a gamepad, and playing PPP while sitting down and waving a ruler over the IR ports... LOL.

  • What if I want to program it to handle the complex moves of Mortak Kombat? I have a feeling I'd be there for hours waving my hand in the air and kicking in various combinations to get the thing to register the proper joystick button sequence to replicate the move on screen. This is certainly a vary rough first cut at the next evolutionary step in game control and I expect we will see better products become availble over time but as much as the idea is a cool one I expect the novelty of this product will wear off fact (until one can be created which is easier to program)

  • by Calle Ballz ( 238584 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:15AM (#2191331) Homepage
    and they want people to use this with _computer games_?
  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @12:32PM (#2191339)
    Combine this with the impact of playing games in general [] and it makes you wonder just how badass we might all become! Just imagine...brains of a geek, moves of a streetfighter, reflexes of a rabbit. But, like all superheroes, we would be powerless without something, and in our case...caffeine!
  • who trips and goes headfirst into the television.
  • if it doesn't punch back!
  • ... why not drive them down to the karate school instead?
    Maybe it would be good for the kids to be able to have fun with their favorite games and get exercise at the same time, while saving gasoline and wear and tear on the parental units. Class a few times a week isn't enough exercise for most people.
  • So this is what Thrustmaster has been reduced to I guess. They used to make the coolest joysticks around, I bought one from them many years ago. Cost me ~$120, it was made of metal, and required 15lbs of force to push it forward. That was the low end too, they sold a full cockpit for the real flight sim enthusiast. My guess is that there was a change of management a while back, the stuff they're producing now is as cheap as anything else. It's a sad day when Microsoft is producing the best joysticks around.

  • Obviously, you aren't paying attention to what TM is doing for the high end market.

    Evidently I wasn't, I was just paying attention to what I saw in stores. Since I bought my stick retail so long ago, I thought it was a fair enough method of measurement. Thanks for the info, I am pleased to see they're still producing quality products somewhere down the line.

  • The point they seem to be missing is that most video gamers are not capable of the moves they do in video games. Fast paced fighting of any sort requires training and a degree of athleticism that most gamers likely don't have (Katz's assertions not withstanding). Ultimately these video games are about fantasy. Look at any decent combo in Tekken and try to figure out how to replicate won't be easy. And if your motions don't actually need to replicate the moves in the games, then what's the point? Some kid will merely think he can fight like a Shao Lin, right up until he gets his ass kicked as he realizes his Riverdance-like moves don't actually do any damage in the analog world.
  • That's why methadone clinics are so controversial. The migration from other drugs to methadone is easy enough, but getting people off the methadone is very very hard. There's no high, but the people are still addicted - they need the drug to feel normal, and addictions to ANY drug screws up your body something fierce.

    USA Intellectual Property Laws: 5 monkeys, 1 hour.
  • You know, I think this pins down what bugs me about the game industry. The prevailing attitude seems to be that video games are all about making them as much like real life as possible. "Realistic" 3D graphics, immersive sound, realistic physics, and now these controllers.

    Video games were _never_ about simulating reality (with the exception of simulators, and they are almost a whole seperate category). They are about using an understandable metaphor (like two guys fighting, or flying a spaceship, or Pac Man) to make a fun, abstract experience. Tetris, arguable the most popular and broadly appealing game of all time, has _nothing_ to do with reality.
  • by Unknown Bovine Group ( 462144 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @01:09PM (#2191370) Homepage
    Dear Mr Coward,
    I believe you are slacking off in your duties. Posts identical to the above should be attached to 99% of the messages on here.

  • From the story: Each one of the infrared beams represents one of the four buttons on a conventional Playstation joypad controller. Breaking a beam is the same as pressing a button.

    As some of you may remember, the original NES came with two game pads, a light gun and a Robotic Operating Buddy (ROB) (Seen Here [] with the powerglove).

    ROB was an interesting device, it had sensors which recieved signals from the screen, and it could move it's hands left or right and pick up or drop two gyroscopes. The gyroscopes could be dropped into a little motorized thing that spun them or they could be dropped onto two buttons. When playing a game that used ROB you'd put the second controller in a little holder on ROB that would translate those gyros that were dropped on the buttons into controller button presses.

    So, during ROB enabled games, you'd hold the first controller, and issue commands to the game that would be translated into light signals that would be sent to ROB, who would pick up, turn, or drop gyros at your command. In the end it was a lot of work to simply push one of two buttons, and the ROB games inevitably sucked. Eventually, players would become so annoyed that they'd simply grab the second controller and push the buttons on their own, completely ignoring cute little ROB.

    The moral? Well, making it a hassle to push one or two (or four) buttons doesn't a cool controller make.

    Second, this thing is using a decent amount of technology to detect body movements, but it will inevitably make some mistakes. Think about the difference between typing and using speech recognition software... With typing, errors are your own fault, but they are often associated with the motor feedback associated with a miskey. With speech, you can say the word properly but the machine may misinterpret your speech. Unfortunately, this occurs un a probabilistic fashion, and is not easy to detect. Imagine if 1 percent of the time that you pressed a key on your keyboard it would be mapped to another key. It would be infuriating. Relying on a probabilistic detector is bound to lead to frustration.

    Check out this PDF file [] for more on speech recognition errors.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982