Tag Archives: Wii

Video Game Design 4: Matrix Bullet-time

Johnny Chung Lee pretty much shocked the entire video game world (and lots of others) with this video (5.8 million views, 5/5 star rating with 21,000 votes):

This is a pretty nifty bit of engineering, using the off the shelf Wii Remote and a relatively cheap extra (safety glasses with IR leds <15$) to provide a very high level virtual reality setup.

Secondly Nintendo has recently come out with the Wii Balance Board. This peripheral can accurately measure your weight distribution.

If we combine the potential of head tracking with weight distribution it would be possible to create a very accurate Matrix-style dodging bullets experience, simulating what is seen in this clip:

This would be a damn sweet feature if integrated into a full action game. It could likely be accomplished with head-tracking alone, but the combination of board, head-tracking, and Wii Motion Plus makes for near full body integration. The Matrix franchise is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the technology, seeing as everyone wears sunglasses in the movie anyway.

Posted in design, fun, products, Wii. Tagged with , , , , .

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.

Posted in design, fun, technology, Wii. Tagged with , , , .

Video Game Design 2: Marionette Theater

Apropos my first post on video game design, I have thought up a new “game” for the Wii. It is a marionette theater simulator: you would get to create virtual marionettes, with customizable bodies and outfits (Mii integration if possible, lots of different clothing options), and levels would include performing different scenes from plays or entire plays. The accelerometers of the Wii controllers would function as the strings on the virtual marionettes. As you tilt the controllers different ‘strings’ would get pulled or slackened moving the different parts of the marionette’s body.

Interactive audio effects would be crucial: recorded voice acting for characters, dynamic background music and sound effects (e.g. when a marionette hits a wall, a thud could be made), with karaoke-style text of the characters’ lines scrolling across the screen, as an option (voice recognition, if possible). A scene/play creation mode would allow players access to creating their own sets, characters, and lines, giving the game infinite replay value (online sharing of new sets, characters, etc., and entire plays, if possible). Buttons could trigger effects on stage, change the motion control to different characters, have the marionettes pick objects up, change camera angle, etc.

If saving a marionette performance and text-to-voice is included (with user-defined manipulations – angry, soft, loud, etc.) a playwright could produce his or her play on the Wii and immediately distribute its virtual staging. This could be done by recording the output of the Wii, but if the Wii could upload and download complete performances, it would become an artistic platform.

A good puppet show is something amazing. Check out these scenes from Being John Malkovich done by Phil Huber:

Posted in design, fun, products, Wii. Tagged with , , , , , , .

Video Game design

I’ve bought meself a Wii and I quite like it. But there needs to be some more killer games.. freaking mercury meltdown got delayed. So for some reason – this is a first for me – I thought of a video game design. Simply put it is a spy game. The interesting thing is that each level is composed of 2 parts: the first part is a ‘training’ program put on by the spy agency to train the spy in what needs to be done. This ‘training program’ will not make use of the Wii motion sensors but will feature classic style gameplay only. Then the spy is sent on the mission but now to do everything will require using the motion controls. This game design will specific highlight the immersion that the motion controls bring to the game by contrasting them with the classic controls for doing the exact same operation. Also, the game design is efficient by reusing aspects of the same level design twice, though with different art direction, and differences in the ‘training’ and ‘mission’ – due to ‘incomplete intelligence’ – will make for good surprises. Ok game makers, hop to.

Posted in design, products, technology, Wii. Tagged with , , , , .