The technology opens up all kinds of exciting game design possibilities, and offers games players far greater freedom than they are currently able to enjoy on both current and next-generation formats. A tennis game, for example, can be played with a wireless mini tennis racquet rather than just a standard controller. The technology can not only track when the player swings, but also where they are on the court, the angle of the racquet as it hits the ball, and the precise arc of the swing. This level of control and interaction is impossible with other technologies, and will take gameplay to a whole new level.
Perhaps the most exciting function is the system’s ability to emulate any other motion-based controller. This allows games designed specifically for the Nintendo Wii motion controller to be brought to any other format. In a market where game development budgets can run into tens of millions of dollars, being able to publish a game on multiple formats has become essential for publishers to recoup their investment.
Developed by the innovators behind the Gametrak controller, In2Games, and scheduled for release Q3-2007, this plug-and-play system will offer publishers and gamers consistent motion sensing control across all formats. As such, games that benefit from enhanced gameplay through motion sensing can be enjoyed by a far larger audience, not restricted to one console.
Unlike existing products and technologies, In2Games’ Fusion system does not rely upon the gamer pointing a controller at the screen or restrict the gamer to limited movements. Instead, it combines patent-pending ultrasonic and RF technologies with 3-axis accelerometers to track the precise absolute position and orientation in 3D space of almost any wireless accessory such as golf clubs, baseball bats, tennis racquets, and bowling balls.
The technology can be integrated into any input device. Developers have begun exploring ways of using the system, even modifying existing joypad controllers to accommodate true 3D motion sensor technology – with some truly revolutionary ideas:
- throw the first pitch of the World Series
- dribble, shoot and dunk on the basketball court
- swing a golf club and watch the ball soar down the fairway
- swing a tennis racquet and unleash forehands, backhands and smashes
- run, jump, aim and shoot in a shooting game
- toss a grenade at enemy forces
- throw a punch or rapid combination of punches
The unit will feature a baton-style wireless handset and a base station which is connected to the console via a USB port. The handset can be used on its own, or with add-on accessories such as tennis racquets, bowling balls, golf clubs and guns to enhance the gameplay experience.
“It’s great that the world is waking up to motion sensor gaming,” says Elliott Myers, Managing Director, In2Games. “Since we launched the world’s first 3D motion-sensing games back in 2004, we’ve been developing this system for the next generation. Our goal is to allow everyone to enjoy this wholly immersive way of playing games, regardless of which gaming platform they own. We’ve got the best technology, with incredible functionality allowing developers to produce exciting new games specifically for the system – taking advantage of its unique features - or to allow titles which use motion sensing to be published on any platform. It’s an exceptional proposition – for the industry and for consumers. We can’t wait to begin showing it off.”
Michael French, editor of Develop Magazine recently saw a prototype and concluded: “This kind of technology could level the playing field and have a serious impact on the direction of the next generation console market.”