Looks like I finally got my wish.
So happy. I blogged about the need for something just like this 3 years ago.
Microsoft unveiled their new Xbox 360 controller, or, lack-of-controller today at E3. Yes, I’m referring to Project Natal.
If you haven’t heard of it yet, you obviously don’t have a Twitter account. All of the videos I’ve seen thus far are pre-recorded, but if this thing works as good as they make it look, we are all in for a treat. Check it out:
Looks pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
I have a few questions, which I’m sure you all do as well. Mine are
Combine this with a projection-cube-room like this one, a treadmill floor so you can actually walk, and you’ve got yourself a holodeck, son.
What do you think??
Am I the only late-20-something that’s sorely disappointed that Virtual Reality has basically dropped off the face of the planet?
When I was young, Virtual Reality was supposed to be the “next big thing.” And for a while, it was. I played Dactyl Nightmare with the best of them on a Virtuality machine in a mall in Port Huron and anxiously awaited any tidbit of news to come from Atari about their Jaguar 3D headset.
Then, all of a sudden, VR disappeared.
I think it’s because of the Virtual Boy. I really liked that system, but I guess at the time it made a bunch of people sick and companies got scared to try it again.
Does anyone know of a high-quality headset like the one described above? Let me know in the comments!
As far as the gloves… I was thinking about getting 10 Nintendo Wii controllers and removing and then mounting the IR units on the tips of my fingers. Take advantage of the many open-source Wii controller drivers around the net to build a PC joystick driver that can work in engines like Torque.
I often fool around with 3D tools like blender and Torque Construction Set. I get frustrated at the interface with my computer. Not only is any size screen too small, a mouse and a flat 2D display just can’t manipulate the objects fast enough. I want to use my hands, damnit!
Just think of how cool it would be to wave your hand and have a forest grow behind it or earth raise into a mountain. The Matrix, here we come!
Google has launched a new initiative asking people for ideas on how to help as many people around the world as possible. The project is called “Project 10 to the 100th”. Users submit ideas, which are then reviewed by a small panel of experts. The ones that have the potential to help the most amount of people will have financial resources committed to them by Google.
Google is spending $10 million to help these projects get off the ground. If you have a great idea that you think may help people lead better lives around the world, you’re encouraged to send it in! While you won’t be receiving a financial reward if your idea is picked, you will sleep well knowing your idea is being made for real and will help those in need.
There are 10 categories to choose from. From the official website:
Submissions to the project are due October 20th, 2008. For more information, watch this video:
Earlier today, I had a thought: What if a few of us got together to develop specs for a PC-based open-source games console that uses a bootable Linux-based game DVD for games?
I blogged about the awesome boot’n'play Linux CD before, but it still relies on someone to burn the disc and reboot their machine. Also, this requires gamers to (unless they have a unique set-up) sit at their desk and look at their computer monitor to play games. Finally, you always hope that the bootable disc supports your graphics or sound hardware.
Why can’t we put together some specs for a cheap gaming PC in a mini-atx case, include a TV-out card that has composite, S-Video, and Component output, and offer downloadable ISO game-packs from a website. The system can have a hard disk or can save the games to a USB memory card.
The goal is to make the gaming system as easy to use as, say, a GameCube.
Download the ISO, burn the disc, put it in the console and play.
We’re already half there — the games console could easily use the boot’n'play Linux CD I spoke about earlier. It kind of makes you wonder why this hasn’t been done already?
In light of the recent release of the Quest for Glory 2 Remake (omigod I still can’t believe it’s real), I wanted to do an “If I had a ton of money…I would make/remake these games” post. These are games that mean something to me — they have either touched my life in some way or I always thought they were overlooked by the gaming masses. Sometimes because of a glaring design flaw, sometimes because the technology just wasn’t there. Regardless, here’s the list (and it’s by no means final).
Shenmue epitomized the Sega Dreamcast. Years ahead of its time, yet somehow not quite technically capable of doing what it set out to achieve. This epic game featured neat novelties such as being able to pick up and examine pretty much anything — even completely useless matchboxes. An intriguing story marred by awkward yet unintentionally funny dialog, this game is a good candidate for a new as yet unavailable virtual reality technology. Imagine playing this game with full, modern graphics and a 3D headset!
For a long time when I was in public school this was my favorite game for the Atari Jaguar. I loved the idea, the music, and the game-play. I played Syndicate Wars and it was awesome, as well. I’d really like to see a sequel made with today’s graphics.
If game developers nowadays took almost any old-school platform game and converted it to 2.5D, it’d be a much more fun world for all of us. Bonk’s Adventure, in my opinion, would be near the top of the list of games to re-do in glorious 2.5D. In all honesty, I could see a remake of this game appearing on the Wii for today’s kids to play. Good stuff.
This game was hella fun in its day. It still is. Where are games like this today?
I know, I know. Locomotion is relatively new and it’s the spiritual successor to Transport Tycoon. But, what I’m envisioning is a huge graphical upgrade to the series along with networked play via the internet. Imagine a persistent MMO universe version of this game where players are continuing to build while you’re offline. A humongous world-size playfield: 30,000km with thousands of cities and villages. Perhaps that’s something for the creators of games like Second Life to think about. Instead of taking Transport Tycoon Deluxe and making it part of a persistent world, why don’t they make transportation a user-driven economy in large-scale persistent-world online social games? It’s more fun than chatting!
If I had tons of money…
I’d hire a crack team to develop software for videogame character modeling that is similar to the modeling system used in the upcoming game Spore.
The premise is simple: You open a program on your computer that is only based around modeling characters or animals. You create things like legs, arms, heads, torsos, and any other body accessories you wish using a simple, to-the-point editor. Really newb friendly. After painting your texture like spraypaint (or by importing from an image), the modeling program procedurally generates the animations and exports to an industry-standard, open-source model + animation format that every major 3D engine supports.
Of course, we’re miles and miles away from something this useful.
The current system for developing models using computers is absolutely horrendous. It’s not that I’m criticizing the functionality of any of the major modeling programs or teams. Far from it. Obviously those artists who spend the time, get an education in the field, and are uniquely talented can and do create some fantastic scenes for us all to view whether it be still shots, games, or video.
The problem is that the tools are too extensive for the needs of an indie videogame designer. If you don’t know how to model, texture wrap, rig, animate, export, and then import your models, or you don’t know anyone who does, or if you have no funds to pay for someone to model for you, then you’re simply not going to be able to make a 3D game and tell your story. In this case, your only solution is to go 2D with tools likeÂ RPG Maker VX or Torque Game Builder, which are at the top of their class for 2D.
It’s disappointing because there are so many neat 3D games started by so many small teams these days and we’ve all got a large amount of free (or very low cost) 3D technology, but unless you’ve got a lot of time, a lot of money, or somehow a lifetime of game development knowledge, it’s very hard to produce an indie 3D game.
There are companies who are striving (and doing great work I might add) to give indies a chance by building just the tools I am blogging about (case in point: GarageGames), but there is still one area where complexity reigns supreme: modeling and animation.
Let’s look at the current setup.
First, as an aspiring modeler you’ve basically got two choices: a powerful yet completely unintuitive open-source solution (Blender), or software piracy to download and use an industry-standard but insanely expensive and closed solution (Lightwave, Maya, 3DS Max, et. al).
Then, after installing the software, the file formats that each program use are not entirely and completely interchangeable. It’s a bit like the different floppy disk formats of the 1980s. The files on each of the disks were the same but each had a special format, key, physical size difference, or other attribute that kept them almost entirely proprietary.
In between each of these programs is a completely unique interface. It’s not like the difference between Google Docs, Open Office, and Microsoft Word, of which you might spend a total of 30 seconds figuring out where everything is. No, these all feature user interfaces that contain so many powerful tools that they have their own scrollbar. We’re literally talking feature overload, here.
A few examples:
After you finally make your model and texture it, you have to rig it by placing bones and joints inside manually that will give your player the skeleton it needs in order to move. That sentence might take you weeks to finish if you’ve never done it before. With your skeleton in place you need to animate it by using a keyframer. As your skeleton moves, your model’s body will follow suit.
Hopefully and with any luck, the program you’re using will have an exporter that will export your model in the format your game engine can support. For Quake and Half Life that was Md2. For Torque, it’s DTS.
If by this point you’ve like me and you’re wondering why modeling a character for your 3D videogame can’t be simpler then at least I’m not alone! So, what’s the solution at this stage of the game? You tell me.
If I had a lot of money…
I’d buy PlayOnLinux and Cedega and Crossover Games (while maintaining a great working relationship with the good folks still at Crossover working on apps) and put together (with some hefty funds behind them) a crack team of DirectX hackers and previous Microsoft DirectX programmers to put together a fully-functional, working DirectX emulator for Mac and Linux. Then, port all those changes back into the Wine trunk while promoting an off-the-shelf Windows games player.
I truly believe that if games worked on Linux flawlessly there would be a greater adoption of Linux on desktops worldwide. I know locally it is a huge hurdle to jump. All of my friends are interested in Linux, two of them have the ISO sitting on their desktop. Why are they not making the switch? One: Games. The other: Sony Vegas. People want to use it but they want their games too!
Game development and publishing companies wouldn’t have to write games to be cross platform if the emulator worked perfectly. They would go on making Windows games while Linux continues to grow in installed user base.
Making games for Linux is not the answer, making Linux work for games is!