Video Game Design 3: Golf Practice

The Wii has a lot of potential as a golf simulator/ practice program. With the introduction of the Wii balance board the opportunity for using weight distribution has become a real factor, and, though I know nearly nothing about golf, balance and weight distribution during a club swing has to be critical.

Now using the balance board to monitor weight distribution is somewhat obvious. However, very accurate motion sensing from the controller would also be required to really pinpoint the motion of the swing. By some pretty basic reasoning about cost and manufacturing I heard once, it is fair to say that Nintendo is providing middle of the road accelerometers- they are good, but there is still a lot of noise (inaccurate random data) to be dealt with. Lots of noise means that a lot of processing of the data from the motion sensors is required to get a clear picture of what is going on, and if lots of processing occurs, then the nuances of the motion are also getting smoothed over. My solution is to connect the nunchuck controller to the main controller in a rigid way.

Connected Controllers
A mockup of the connected remote and nunchuck in the
shape of a traditional controller.

The nunchuck controller is incredibly light and would add almost no bulk to the main controller, while doubling the number of accelerometers. With double the accelerometers, a clearer picture of the motion would be provided.

Secondly, to get a more complete picture of the orientation of the Wii controllers, the sensor bar which is normally placed near the television should be placed on the floor where the golf ball ought to be. With the sensor bar on the floor where the golf ball should be the controllers would be able to pick up the location of the sensor bar and provide non-inertial data about its velocity. As the controllers swing past the sensor bar, the location of the infrared lights would act as fixed points with which to measure velocity.

A picture of someone on a Wii balance board with
the sensor bar on the floor.

All on-screen menu navigation can be done in the traditional way by using the directional keys; pointer-enabled functions are nice but unnecessary for this sort of game. Moving the sensor bar around the room would be a clever way to also have a swing trainer for baseball.