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On Fine-Tuning Wii Controls 81

MTV Games has a great article looking at how developers are refining Wii controls, now that they've had most of a year to work on them. The game cited is the Wii version of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance; the Wiimote is used to represent Thor's Hammer, Spidey's webshooters, and Wolverine's claws, among other things. From the article: "'Now in some cases people will do something that's not going to work right, and in that case they're probably going to have to adjust the way they do it,' said Chrzanowski, a black Wii development controller in hand. 'But that's a rare case.' He wasn't talking idly. He said a system developed by a Vicarious colleague, Jesse Raymond, a few weeks ago has been crunching the data of dozens of players who have tested the game on the Wii, analyzing the results of requests for players to do 10 swipes in a row or 10 stabs in a row, recognizing which moves the current version of the game fails to recognize as the intended gesture, tweaking the code, checking the pool of data from the gesture trials again for any new misunderstandings, repeat and recode, again and again."
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On Fine-Tuning Wii Controls

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  • Pah. (Score:5, Funny)

    by ( 782137 ) <joe@joe-FORTRANb ... t minus language> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @01:43PM (#16017337) Homepage Journal
    I can control where my Wii goes perfectly. Don't need no fine tuning here.

    (I've stooped to making a urine/Wii joke on Slashdot. This is truly the stuff of suicide notes. :P)
  • I am in heaven (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @01:44PM (#16017349) Journal
    Not only are they going to have lightsabers, but now:

    Spidey's webshooters, and Wolverine's claws

    Seems there's no limit to the possibilities. You can act out whatever superhero or whatnot fantasy you've had. Hack up zombies with chainsaws holstered to your arms? Have a Wiimote strapped to the back of your wrist to operate like Boba Fett's cord launcher? "Punch enemies" realistically? Have a Wiimote on each limb for a more complex version of DDR that can detect 3D body motions? Why not!

    I'm really interested to see what developers will put on the market. (of what they'll let hobbyists do...)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Khakionion ( 544166 )
      I would love to see some sort of "Gesture Toolkit" for devs that lets you assemble curves with orientation and direction (Bezier vectors, you heard it here first), and a library to detect said curves from input.
    • Re:I am in heaven (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @01:59PM (#16017448) Homepage
      DDR nothing, I can't wait for Punchout Wii. One in each hand, REAL boxing type moves. You can block, punch, uppercut, jab, etc. That would rule. Also, have you seen the Madden [] video going around? Neither of those tends to be my kind of game but I'll have to try 'em out anyway.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        You might want to check out MadCap Boxing in the arcade. You 'wear' 2 gloves (each has some good weight to it) and motion capture captures your moves. I played it at a local arcade here in town, and actually was sweating by the end of the game. Information about it []
        • I have long thought that game is the best. cardio. ever... for nerds. Seriously, how much does one cost? More than a Bowflex or something? I want one.
        • Am I the only one that really wants to mod that game with some kind of impact target?

          I love playing that game, but puching with those heavy gloves and not actually hitting anything plays hell on my shoulders. Maybe even replace the gloves with real gloves and some thin steel cable to keep them from walking off.
    • by Doggan ( 945328 )
      The already have a full-body DDR []. Wiimotes would definitely be less encumbering, though.
      • I think that has a lot to do with why I specified full body DDR " that can detect 3D body motions ". A silhouette does not specify three dimensions (or twirls, or kicks, etc.)
    • by Veetox ( 931340 )
      *GASP* Harry Potter's wand!
      • by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:33PM (#16017734) Homepage Journal
        Fuck Harry Potter... this would actually make the Wind Waker FUN!!!
        • by Veetox ( 931340 )
          I'm speaking from a developer point of view. Wind Waker was fun even without a physical wand to compose with; it's the sword fighting that will enhance the Zelda series (via the Wii remote). However, if you develop a game to use the Wii remote for Harry Potter's spells how many kids (and adults for that matter) do you think will purchase the game? ...That's my point. To get an idea, just observe how much profit the Harry Potter books made last year: ($25.57 million) I'm pretty sure it's obvious where to go
        • by Simon80 ( 874052 )
          no it wouldn't, what good is a precisely controllable wand, sword, or bow when you're going to be at sea for the next 2 hours? I guess you have a point though, hehe.. In all seriousness though, I enjoyed WW a bit, but it was way too easy to beat, and way too much time sailing everywhere. Now, Metroid Prime, THAT was fun... Omega Pirate, Ridley, then Metroid Prime, good boss fighting fun..
          • by 7Prime ( 871679 )

            Are you a mirror image of me??? Seriously, I'm 100% with everything you just said. WW was okay, but the sailing bored me to hell, and Metroid Prime (the first one), is probably my favorite adventure game of all time... yes, even slightly better than Super Metroid, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask (probably my favorite Zelda). Metroid Prime has to be one of the FUNNEST boss battles ever created. After I beat it once, I went back and beat it another 5-10 times in the next few weeks... how often does a game

            • by Simon80 ( 874052 )
              Have you played the older Metroids? The problem with MP2 is in how they destroyed the presentation, I think, even as they innovated. The first Prime had this retro feel to it, they preserved all of the old enemies, it was reflected in the music, and they made sure to trap you in plenty of rooms with giant bosses. The first thing I noticed about MP2, other than the cheesy story, was how the music just wasn't the same, and the nostalgia effect was gone.. I hope they don't keep butchering the presentation
              • by 7Prime ( 871679 )

                I've played ALL the Metroids. The only one I haven't finished is the original (which I have mixed feelings about). Super Metroid is obviously the centerpiece of the 2D series, although Zero Mission was a very fine game that came very close to the wonder and amazement of Super Metroid, albight much shorter. But yes, "Echos: A Link to the Past" totally destroyed the style. It felt like it was trying WAY too hard. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of backstory to Metroid games, Prime did an excellent jo

    • by MojoBox ( 985651 )
      I want a really killer golf game. Something help improve my swing :D
      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
        Pangya Golf [] has been announced and demoed for the Wii already.
        • by fotbr ( 855184 )
          Assuming there's an english version, that game just move the Wii from "likely purchase" to "will be buying as soon as that game is available".

    • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:22PM (#16017639)
      I'm waiting for a Wiimote-enabled 3D version of Joust, where you have a Wiimote in each hand and have to flap your arms and run around the room. The real value would be in watching someone play the game.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by JoeLinux ( 20366 )
      Umm..yeah...knowing most video game people, the fact that you have to hold it up for an extended period of time would limit it based on the "I'm too tired to lift my arm to play video games" factor.

      I mean, their idea of exercise is huffing it up their mom's basement steps to get dinner...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fotbr ( 855184 )
        I dunno....look at how DDR did.

        Your typical lives-on-mcdonalds-takeout-200lb-10-year-old-gamer , maybe. "Most" video game people? Don't think so.
    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      I don't know...I am just unable to get excited about this like others. So you get to do gestures to make spiderman shoot his web, or you have to swing every time you want Wolverine to slash at a bad just doesn't seem like fun to me. Even if you are making your gestures small and are still swinging (or wiggling) away a lot. It is easier to map those motions to a button. I am just worried a lot of the games on the Wii are going to make it too much of a gimmick. Controllers are ex
  • It's like the DS. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lave ( 958216 ) * on Thursday August 31, 2006 @01:49PM (#16017377)
    Initially, with it's relatively weak graphics, and the difficulty for developers to craft new games that utilised the touch screen the DS looked to flaunder next to the much stronger graphical power of the PSP. However the unoriginal content and expensive disk medium that was crippled with bad load times (let alone battery life issues) held the PSP back.

    To me that sounds prophetic. I think the Wii will get a bad reception - based on the graphical inequality of the software and the (percieved) difficulties 3rd parties will have utilising the Remote. But as that experience grows believe developers will be able to create a catalogue of games that can't be acquired anywhere else - and the Wii will really shine.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Klowner ( 145731 )
      And they're already talking 20+ titles available at launch, and I'm pretty sure all of them are using the Wiimote in interesting ways. Plus I won't have to sell my car to get one.
      • Re:It's like the DS. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by grumbel ( 592662 ) <> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:14PM (#16017569) Homepage
        I'm pretty sure all of them are using the Wiimote in interesting ways.

        Some will use the Wiimote in interesting ways, but all of them, no way. I wouldn't be suprised if half the launch titles turn out to be rather shitty normal-gameplay games quick&dirtily adopted to the Wiimote. For example Tony Hawk Downhill Jam only uses the Wiimote as analogstick replacement, not for anything exciting, which might mean that it actually plays worse with Wiimote then with a normal controller (Wiimote doesn't auto-center like analogstick, so controls could get pretty imprecise).

        We will for sure see lots of interesting games on the Wii, but we will for sure also see a lot of bad ones. DS had its fair share of junk and the touchscreen is a lot easier to manage then a 3D Wiimote.

    • However, if they don't like the Wiimote, then the standard GC controllers work just fine on the Wii. Also, i've heard a lot more stuff about the PS3 being hard to develop for with the cell processor than i've heard of problems with programming for the Wiimote.
      • As far as I understand it, the development environment is very similar to the gamecube, with the primary difference obviously being the input system. Nintendo have said a few times that developers can reuse a lot of their gamecube code because of this, and many gamecube to wii ports are planned to take advantage of the wii remote.
      • According to TFA, programming for the Wii involves lots of motion capture data (which means lots of time testing each input) and several attempts at coding. Optimizing code for mutli-core instead of single-core processing only requires learning new programming methods. Like I said before: there will be a learning curve for the PS3, but it will force programmers to re-think how they program for multi-core systems. This seems inevitable to benefit AMD's new quad-core systems to release in 2007 (Say hello to c
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      However the unoriginal content and expensive disk medium that was crippled with bad load times (let alone battery life issues) held the PSP back.

      I don't think I agree that a primary reason for the DS's phenomenal success has been the relative disappointment that the PSP has been. I think it's perfectly valid to measure the DS on its own merits.

      I wonder -- if Sony had not developed the PSP, would Nintendo have bothered releasing the DS at all? Or would they have been content to eke a few more years of life
      • If Sony deserved any of the credit, they would have made it themselves. Just because you have competition, doesn't mean they get credit for your success.
      • by nickyj ( 142376 )
        Nintendo most of the time in the past has done Console launch one year, Portable launch for a year or two, then console launch, etc.

        • Nintendo most of the time in the past has done Console launch one year, Portable launch for a year or two, then console launch, etc

          Nintendo has done console launches every 5-6 years. Portables haven't been on an even schedule, but it went: GB 1989, GBC 1998, GBA 2001, DS 2004.

          Notice the original GB went 9 years without an upgrade, and the GBC wasn't even much of an upgrade (just some colors, but no better graphics). The GBASP is a sweet handheld, and could have easily carried on without the DS if it wa

    • I think the fact that the DS has already existed for a while will be a big benefit for the Wii. Many people scoffed at the touch screen as just a gimmick, just as some have labeled the Wii controller. But the market successes and the player enthusiasm that the DS has managed to develop really is a hard to argue vote of confidence for Nintendo's "different direction" for gaming.

      With even churn-mills like EA putting some effort forth to really integrate the Wiimote into the Nintendo version of their franchis
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 )

      I think the Wii will get a bad reception - based on the graphical inequality of the software and the (percieved) difficulties 3rd parties will have utilising the Remote.

      You could be right, but I'm inclined to think the buyers of the Wii will be the shiney-graphics be-damned type

      Over the years, I've become increasingly furstrated with games. I'm getting old (well, pushing 40), and I don't have the ability to actually operate all of the button sequences and stuff needed to control a game anymore. I don't ge

      • I mean whack-a-mole. =)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MuNansen ( 833037 )
        I disagree it won't be for "hardcore" gamers. I think it's just for smart gamers. I've played half a dozen games at the competitive level, played almost every MMOG in existence, and been playing most my life. I'm tired-as-hell of the arms race of graphics > gameplay getting all the press. I don't think it's actually made games worse, as there was never a time where the majority of games were worth buying, it's just shifted the attention.

        I could care less about the PS3. They obviously don't understan
    • Wii will have Smash Bros. And Zelda. And Metroid. Even if it sucks (which I doubt) those games and Nintendo's other franchises can easily save it.
      • Ain't that the truth. A friend of mine set up some 'xbox parties'; with a couple of beamers, about twenty people would have fun playing Halo2 to start with. But every one of those parties has ended with everyone playing some game or other on the two gamecubes. Nintendo knows multiplayer gaming fun.
    • Dev's are going nuts with the Revolution; not only are they having tons of fun toying with it, that has translated into a massive amount of devs actually developing for it (probably not in small part due to the low cost of a dev kit and the lower specs also translating into a cheaper content pipeline). This means many games at or near launch, which means more great games at or near launch. I know people who are getting/have an xbox/ps3...but most are getting a Revolution on the side. These sales, together w
  • by ShadowsHawk ( 916454 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @01:58PM (#16017443)
    It will be interesting to see the difference between a Nintendo game and an Ubisoft game. I expect that it will shed a bit of light on how well the 3rd party studios handle a new style of development.
    • It looks like both are taking in the ideas of consumers during development.

      Didn't we have news stories within the last month or two stating that the controls for both Twilight Princess and Red Steel had been changed to allow you to control the actual sword (in a more precise manner)?
  • by dividedsky319 ( 907852 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:02PM (#16017474) Homepage
    If the release games for the Wii are good and use the Wii-mote fairly well, I can't wait to play the games that come out one or two years down the line.

    Of course with new technology there's a period where the developers are learning how to fully utilize the new features... look at the DS.

    Take Castlevania, for example. Dawn of Sorrow's annoying "seal" you had to draw after killing a boss was pointless and just a way to say "hey, we used the touch screen!" But once they learned that for their particular style of game, the advantage of the DS is in its two screens and not its touch screen, they did away with the seal system for the sequel.

    It's definitely possible that games at release may go overboard with the Wii-mote, but as time goes on developers will learn how to best utilize the Wii's features.
  • Nintendo is truly changing the way we look at the letter "i". On seseme street, Big Bird was heard to say that today was brought to you by the number 2 and the letter "ii".
    Jokes aside, I think it's great. Sure, there will be some kinks to work out. I'm betting the Wiimote will introduce an entire new world of bugs (and exploits) for tons of games. However, it's nice to see developers using what they have. While it would be easy to make "normal" games without using the advanced features for launch, they ar
  • I'm really glad to hear this. We all get the idea that games are developed in an airtight room with no outside input. But it looks like companies are really doing their part to get REAL data on what works and what doesn't work in terms of gamers using the Wiimote. Of course, some game manufacturers aren't going to get it right on the first try, but with a high amount of beta testing (especially since the early release of the Dev kits allowed for a liberal amount of time) I think we're likely to see some fai
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:43PM (#16017809)
    After playing through a game it is often fun to fire up gamefaqs and see just what stupid things you can do with cheat codes, now I just can't wait to see how you input them!

    "Ok, to turn on god mode you need to hold down "B" and "Z" draw a pentacle, a hexagon, and then flip the controller back and forth 5 times"

  • And what's more... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RyoShin ( 610051 ) <> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:48PM (#16017859) Homepage Journal
    I can't for the life of me remember which article stated it, but I read an article talking about the differences in multi-platform games. Apparently, on the 360/PS3, you can map certain actions to certain buttons, but you never have full immediate access to all moves for all characters.

    With the Wii, where every movement in a different direction is a mappable button unto itself, you have immediate access to every move for every character based on the motions.
  • by murphotronic ( 985577 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:59PM (#16017947)
    I'm sure the porn industry could do quite well with interactive motion controllers...
    • ... from being released on a Nintendo system. Have you seen the number of non-US release "Girl-Get" games for the GBA and DS?
      In the US the thing companies are afraid of is the AO rating they will inevitably get, which means you won't find it at GameStop, Target, or WalMart.

      Which for some reason, is preventing game manufacturers from doing anything that might earn that rating. I suppose it's because most big development houses with good relationships with Nintendo are concerned about retail channels in a big
  • The article plainly states that some motion have trouble being recognized and the enormity of the problem just hit me.

    Recognizing a specific move from a human hand is much like voice recognition (bear with me in this explanation):

    There are millions of ways a human can make a word sound like. We all know how voice recognition works only from time to time. I still have nightmares of the game: Life Line, that was 99% controlled through voice recognition:

    Those really happened to me in Life Line on numerous occa
    • by grumbel ( 592662 )

      The article plainly states that some motion have trouble being recognized and the enormity of the problem just hit me.

      It gets even worse then that, its not only difficult to detect the right motions, its also very hard, maybe impossible to detect them in time, meaning it will work like this: you swing your arm, system does motion detection, system starts the characters action. That however has to be a serial process to get a correct detection, so the system will only start the right action long ofter you

      • You know, I've thought about this too...but it's nothing some fourrier analysis wouldn't solve quite easily. But I haven't heard anything about a dedicated fourier analysis chip/dsp in the Revolution, which would we an obvious choice to include in the hardware, if only for user input decoding. Maybe that's what the physics chip is for?
  • The article mentions there was originally a gesture for every move and they were big sweeping motions - like Wolverine's uppercut was a real uppercut. Then they made the guy simplify it to 5 common, simple wrist flicks. What? The Wii lets me do an uppercut for the first time, I want an uppercut! If I wanted abstracted wrist twitches I'd play Xbox. The Wii's goal is it feels natural - and a natural uppercut is an uppercut, not a wrist flick up.

    Lame. Go back to the original plan, or at least leave it as an op

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