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It’s E3 minus one, and already Microsoft delivered on its promise of something big. Let’s face it, everyone was surprised. We all knew that there would be some “waggle” involved, but no-one actually expected that they’d go and make an evolutionary leap.

Project Natal is really more then motion capture, and the point of the “Milo” demonstration was to concentrate the focus on that. By removing the peripheral from the equation, the immersion becomes less about thinking, and more about doing.

People across the blogosphere, twittersphere, and all the other new-media arenas have been mixed on the point and possibility of PN. Some, like myself, blown away as the prospect. Others, critical of the “gimmick” that it provides. And let’s face it – they do have a point. Everyone remembers being blown away by Nintendo’s Wii demonstration all those years ago, and very quickly calculated the demise of the controller. How wrong they were…

But PN goes a little further then a new kind of motion capture. By removing the handle altogether, the focus is almost completely on the ability to interact with the console, rather then the controller. The gimmicks (driving, fighting, and so on) are of less interest to me, in reflection, when you have advanced voice and sight recognition. This is the ultimate trifecta, it’s the sort of thing we wanted in Virtual Reality, but were about 20 years behind the technology.

seriously

I can’t tell you how exciting the possibilities Being able to interface with your game in ways we haven’t seen, including completely customizable experiences in relation to your mood, your demeanor, your gender, and so forth. You boot up the game to fight, but the game detects from your voice and facial construct that you aren’t feeling too great, or maybe too tired. It goes easy on you, and your teammates might even try to perk you up.

The “Milo” demonstration highlights a large aspect of what I think Microsoft are focusing on. They aren’t trying to create a more advanced form of motion capture, they’re going for a more advanced form of *the* custom experience. A game can currently learn your playstyle and modify the AI to meet it. A game can currently accept basic voice commands at a reasonably fast pace to command units. A game can currently detect gravitational input to replicate balance and movement.

xbox

But no games can interact with you on a one-to-one basis. None can recognize you by your voice and face and remember what you enjoy or where you were at. I can imagine a ‘Minority Report’ situation now. Very cool.

MS have managed to detect where games were moving towards and finally took the initiative to funnel all their lovely millions into the tech. Imagine the day when you truly feel like you are part of the fight – it might not be too far off.

Now, for my disclaimer, so I may not be shot down in the future. I know this is still a concept. And it has not been proven. And it still could go the way of the ‘mote. But it’s not too difficult to see where it could run if it was developed properly. Imagine 2, 3, or 4 cameras to create a 360 environment. Wow.

Sony and Nintendo better have something amazing.

Official site for Project Natal.

  1. This looks incredible!! Hope it delivers as well as it looks in the video!

  2. avatar yzzlthtz

    huge potential, huge potential for blandness.
    it could definitely deepen the casual gaming experience, though.

  3. avatar Daniel

    This is a very well-balanced perspective on the announcement. It’s not a product, it has only been used under controlled circumstances so far, and it may not even work as promised. But IF it does, it has the potential to completely revolutionize the way we interact with our technology.

    In fact (though again, this interaction may be premature) I saw a quote from Cinema Blend concerned that the development… “is just plain scary: crossing the bridge between interactivity, real-life and everything that was once sacred.” (as quoted at newsy.com)

    What do y’all think? Are the fears founded?

  4. avatar Pisit

    I switched to Thunderbird and the Mozilla Calendar as a terromapy solution while waiting for MS Office to be delivered. Needless to say that was over a year ago, there is no way I would switch back.I use Thunderbird with the Quicktext function and template function that wipes the board with my colleagues and their outlook. We have a lot of repeat questions, so with Quicktext 2 clicks and a personalised reply is sent winging its way.The calendar is shared without the need of expensive M$ Exchange, and we have about 6 sunbird users also online now. And the calendars are viewable over the intranet with phpiCalendar. All so simple and logical to use the same file formats etc.With Thunderbird I can reply to an email, move the email to a folder, and the next email pops up.. if i want to save replying till later, I can simply click the flag next to the email to remind me I have not replied Yes it took me 2 months of thinking, do I want to stick with it, but knowing that I was going to have to learn Outl..k 2003 rather than 97 that I had been using, it seemed just as easy to learn Thunderbird instead.And yes I use Firefox too

    • avatar Shelby

      Sore and bruised body but suelry it was one hell of a weekend!I love Thunderbird resort and La Union surfing camp!Miss u already!C u soon!??

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