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 I've discovered something amazing! AMAZING!

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PostSubject: I've discovered something amazing! AMAZING!   Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:15 pm

Let me put it this way, I think Microsoft should stick to OS's. I'm not a fan of the soul-rendering, money-vacuum that is the Xbox 360. I'd rather have my Wii and my Steam account which I already happen to have and quite like regardless of the fact that neither are much better in their intentions. Furthermore, I enjoy using Windows 7. Its a little soulless, maybe. It has no real personality but then again, the Microsoft personality has always been a dull office drone that does paperwork and nothing else. Windows 7 is not that different but he's got a shiny new suit that makes him look better. Also, he's become a bit smarter. 7's got several features I cannot live without, the most prominent being Aero Snap. Microsoft managed to sweep Vista under the rug and then do up the rest of your living room too. Thumbs up.

Then, they made the Kinect.....

Initially, I joined those that snubbed at the blatant attempt to take a piece of the Wii pie. Even though imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Kinect was just a nice gimmick for the causal crowd to join in again. Hurray! The got lovely HD bowling to play, the 'gamers' got diddly squat.

Then! Oh, that mighty day, reports that basement programmers had made the Kinect compatible with Linux, within an hour of it going on sale.

This is not surprising news. If you didn't know already, Linux users are generally stereotyped as programming uber-geeks that defend their open-source to the hilt. I can kinda see where that has come from. I run Ubuntu 10 on one of the computers in my home and it can't run a lot of Windows stuff. Windows and Ubuntu are build on different languages and have weird and complicated reasons for not being able to use each others programs....probably. The thing is that going from Windows to Ubuntu meant that you couldn't use MSN any more. Lunux busy-bodies created a program that allowed to to use most windows programs but it stubbornly refuses to work with MSN. Their reaction to that was simple it seems, to me at least: "Ah fuck it, lets make our own one". Thus things like Pigeon are born.

But the mighty gods of mods move onward with the ideas and started fiddling with it.

Its motion-sensing capabilities that make human beings into giant lumps of constantly varying data are being used in a variety of odd ways. Simply put, its being shoved into normal, everyday computers so that you can say good-bye to your mouse. Now we're catching up with Minority Report. That big, gesture-controlled computer he uses to filter through the vision on-screen thought it was so smug. Mr Gates has smacked it in the face. Possibly with Tom Cruise.

Look, here's that scene from the movie:


And, to compare with that, and to make the glaring fact that fiction has become reality again, here is some guy in glasses messing around infront of his computer:


Oh my giddy aunt....arranging my desk top icons has never been so...well, bizarre. Its a landmark point for man and machine. All it needs is AI and Science Fiction tells us we're screwed but a guy waving his hand to guitar and the computer copying it was awesome. Surely! Its not much but its epicly exciting for the possibilities...

So, as all new playthings must be, its being played around with. Firstly, by doctors.



Its a tad dull. I mean, programmers aren't always the most expressive of people but he gets round to actually showing you everything you came to see around the 3:30 mark. Its being used here, if you skipped most of the video, because these guys find it hard to look at CAT scans with a mouse and keyboard. Their good for 2D environments, not 3D, if that makes any sense.

How about: A keyboard and mouse it great for looking at this site and typing into it. The Kinect is great for looking through the human body like your Superman.

But this isn't worth quibbling over, right? I mean, I've just nicked a guy from Youtube's catchphrase. It needs to be something more than a replacement for your mouse.

How about one step closer to making our very own VR that doesn't appear to suck? Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the combined efforts of Nao790 and Okreylos!

These are just two of the more impressive videos that delve into a weird new world to call our own, something like thirty seconds of digging could find. It seems to have been a slow process but these guys are using today's technology to create something I am staggered by.

Firstly, lets look briefly at the Okreylos has been doing.

Again, not a greatest speaker in the world but he seems to be doing pretty well with his Kinect-silliness. Firstly, he connects the Kenect to his computer and discovers this:



Weird, isn't it? His new webcam can create a realistic 3D model of this bloke just by looking at him. Good god! This isn't surprising really, its partly how the Kinect works on the Xbox 360 and takes its 3D stills. Whats more interesting is that he's got the basics for a development suite there. Its literally his play thing now. Plus, wouldn't you want that as a webcam. Even if it does look really wavy....although....



Does that not look oddly similar to you? If you cleaned up all the interference along the edged of the Kinect image from Okreylos, it might look like the same sort of images from here. Different technology, I know but I'm starting to think Microsoft have a list of films employees are required to watch. Then weave into reality....

Anyway, not content with just messing around with Kinects, he added a Wii Remote too. The technology to connect a Wii Remote to a computer has been around for quite a while. Heck, I've seen someone make a Wii Remove into a Theremin, which is embarrassing to think that we can just abuse technology like this. Anyhoo, Okreylos desides to use it as a good substitute for his hand. Why not? It like it was built for this. It is just perfect. All those measurements that the Wii Remote is taking can bee added to those taken by the Kinect, making the control that more precise.



Look at him! He's in a fuzzy, slightly crappy alternate reality and he's playing with atoms. He has worked out how to splice a background into the image so that he looks like he's in this weird world. Those funky goggles is actually a VR headset that also tracks motion. This time, for his head. He can look around with those within the world of the program. At least, I think so. I'm not sure but it makes the most sense. Either way, he's done it. He's in the Martix. He's robbed Laurence Fishburne of his famous line and is already down that rabbit hole. You go, dude! Arrange the heck out of those triangles.

But this still isn't quite amazing enough, right? Well, I wouldn't get this excited about something if it wasn't about computer games, right? I do loves 'em. I'm planning on learning how to make 'em, I love 'em so much.

Okreylos is way ahead of me. He seems to agree that what he has created can certainly become a thing of dreams. And if you have a Virtual Reality and a Wii Remote, this is the only logical out come:



VR Star Wars. All right, its a bit naff. I mean, he still looks more like Casper than Qui-Gon Jinn and the movement is still really buggy but its a step forward none the less! This is two guys fighting with Wii Lightsabers with two Kinects in two different rooms. A few good points:

- This would be a full game if you just added a health meter or something.
- It looks naff but no-one will care because its LIGHTSABERS!
- This is effectively network-play...could this be the future for MMORPGS? Heck! Could be the future of Roleplaying if your willing to put in the elbow-grease to set everything up.

The only problem is that slicing the Virtual world and the real world You together still looks horrible and unnatural. It just needs more tweaking. I would say 'another camera' but our German-accented pioneer says its possible but not yet....

Now, we get to something pretty awesome. Nao790, he of the strange username, is a chap in Japan that has made me want to visit Japan even more so. I want to visit his house and give this stuff a go. SEROUSLY! The end result of all this could not be more exciting for me.

I've forced you to listen to uncharismatic men waffle on and some calming guitar. Now, I want you to look at this:



I might have to look at these sorts of blobs some day for every day if I get into computer games. This is the open software Nao790 has been fiddling with and simply put, its how the computer understands what the Kinect is telling it. You can clearly distinguish between the two people in shot, by colour and it keeps up with their movements despite their rather under-whelming attempts. Nao970 did this with it all:



Avatar is not looking so smug now, is it? I have no idea why the Miku Hatsune has been chosen as the model for the testing of home motion capture experiments but hey! Its Japan and I just assume she's stupidly popular. I mean, she has her own game. That screams popularity to me. Either way, Nao970 has created a Vocaloid puppet that jerks around a little too much. But 1-to-1 movement-mapping. Amazing!

But it gets better still as he seems to have the idea of becoming Hatsume. Interpret that how you want....



He's sorted the puppet out, you can see. It seems that the software he's using is able to map the Kinect's input onto a skeleton for the Miku Hatsume avatar, making for much smoother movement. Its the goggles that amaze me. Its the fact that they read the movement of your head then give you a perfect first-person perspective that gets me. They are a clever bit of kit alone but its teemed with the Kinect to make the closest to being the actual article a cos-player can humanly achieve. Impressive!

Happy that he now inhabits the digital form of the Vocaloid singer within a strange version of Garry's Mod, Nao970 could possibly have stopped there. He doesn't. He takes on-board the Wii Remote thing from Okreylos:



MY WORD! Where the heck can I get this thing?! I could have so much fun with TF2 or something like that with this.

The thing is, the technology suits its individual role so well! The Wii Remote is great for guns and things because tilting and pointing are all it can do really well. Accelerometers can only do so much, which is why we need the Motion-Plus for 1-to-1 control in a Wii game. Even so, you can tilt, fire, move away or anything and the Wii Remote seems to pick it all up splendidly. Also, I think all movement is being done via analogue stick on the nunchuk. Would make sense.

The Kinect picks up full body movement, as we've seen but I was impressed by the fact that you'll be able crouch. Its a small thing but even the leaning around walls was impressive to me. That could immerse gamers far deeper than ever before.

Finally, those First-person View goggles are perfect for what Nao970 is playing with here. He's in the game and fighting that boss. He is in that world. As Miku Hatsume but I'm sure I'd be no better as I run around as Tyro or whoever. Can you say you wouldn't try on a character avatar for a bit? Then shoot walking heads?


But think of the future. Think of what could happen if this was developed further. Games would become a World instead that we could explore. We could build our worlds and explore them. We could challenge each other to fight through each others worlds as we truly step onto the next level of interactivity.
We'll be as astronauts into the plains of Hyrule, towards the glistening horision upon Epona.
We'll be as explorers as we whack our sentries into full working order, standing guard over the intelligence from the men that walk like ghosts.
We'll be through the looking glass, peering over the edge of the stain-glass window, a bright aura of glowing colour emanating from its surface. We'll hold your weapon close as Shadow's drag themselves from the floor; twitching, soul-less, emotion-less, warmth-less. The yellow dots fall on you. The cold sweat is real.

I'm going to be weary when the VR equivalent of 'Eternal Darkness' turns up...If the VR one doesn't send you mad, the first one on the Gamecube sent you crazy first.

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PostSubject: Re: I've discovered something amazing! AMAZING!   Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:31 pm

This is awsome, I cannot wait to play as one of my characters. But it seems that it has a few years to go it get the images as good as some of the ps3 or xbox 360. Thank you for sharing this.
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PostSubject: Re: I've discovered something amazing! AMAZING!   Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:49 am

Welcome! Very Happy

It excited me no end...

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PostSubject: Re: I've discovered something amazing! AMAZING!   Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:30 am

I may finally play first person shoter without wondering if I going to get killed less then 3 sec. That is my best in halo one and two. How cool to play Bioshock in VR? I say very.
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PostSubject: Re: I've discovered something amazing! AMAZING!   Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:16 am

I sense your enthusiasm friend, but the Kinect is scary to me. I know it's silly but I do not like giant cameras looking and listening to me 24/7.

also It doesn't work to great.

when it works better and I find a sound proof box I can shove it in (for I have already mastered the art of covering a friends Kinect with a cloth), I may once again consider it.
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