149 - The Future of Input

Developer diaries about creating Neverending Nightmares.
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matt
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149 - The Future of Input

Post by matt »

In this dev diary, I talk about what the future of input might be for maximum immersion by looking at specialty controllers of the past.

-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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gagaplex
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Re: 149 - The Future of Input

Post by gagaplex »

I know they're not made to be used like that, but could you actually, I dunno, put in the DJ table and spin it to control another game? A lot of the old special controllers would basically just be other ways of pushing the same buttons, so hypothetically it should be possible, as awful an experience as that may turn out to be in actually trying to play games they were not meant to be used for? :D

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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: 149 - The Future of Input

Post by RightClickSaveAs »

That would be hilarious, I want to use those backhoe controllers Matt showed off to drive a car in GTA or something.

Oh and Steel Battalion, I was trying to tell a coworker about this game and controller but I couldn't remember the name. Is that the most complicated controller setup you've used? I thought there was some MechWarrior one that had like 100 buttons and switches on it, but I may have been mixing it up with the Steel Battalion controller.

And if you want to get into expensive and very specialized control setups, you need look no further than the intimidating and pricey world of PC flight simulators.

I once bought DCS A-10C Warthog on Steam on an impulse, and although I haven't gotten much farther than sitting on the runway trying to figure out how to turn the engines on without blowing up, I know that if I ever want to have the closest experience I'll ever get to flying a real Warthog, all I need are the Thrustmaster Warthog Joystick, a set of flight pedals, and probably some kind of Track IR to make it actually playable. For a mere $1500 or so, I can pretend to fly a fighter jet on my computer.

Talk about specialized and expensive controllers, that Warthog joystick is basically made for one game and costs about $500 on it's own. It's supposed to be really faithful recreation of an actual control stick in a Warthog, and I'm just amazed and impressed that it even exists.

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matt
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Re: 149 - The Future of Input

Post by matt »

Usually specialty controllers are incompatible with other games. (The Guitar Hero controller on PS2 is regular controller except that it always holds dpad left, which is how the game detects it. Perhaps you can find some game that doesn't use dpad left that you could use with it.

Sometimes games will explicitly support them though. The maracas controller for Samba de Amigo was inexplicably supported for Mr. Driller on Dreamcast. I think I tried to play it once and it was very challenging. hahaha

We sort of did something like that with our dance mat support in Retro/Grade, but it is SUPER challenging to play the game - and extremely exhausting. hahah
Oh and Steel Battalion, I was trying to tell a coworker about this game and controller but I couldn't remember the name. Is that the most complicated controller setup you've used? I thought there was some MechWarrior one that had like 100 buttons and switches on it, but I may have been mixing it up with the Steel Battalion controller.
I'm pretty sure you are thinking of the Steel Battalion controller. It has a crap ton of knobs, buttons, and all sorts of things. There is a joystick with a hat control, 3 pedals, a special cover for the eject button, and all that. I think the set out to create the most complicated controller, and succeeded. Like 10 of the buttons are only used for the start up sequence.
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

ranger_lennier
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Re: 149 - The Future of Input

Post by ranger_lennier »

What do you think about omni-directional treadmills like the Virtuix Omni? I think this would be great for VR exploration games, or first person action games if you want a really good workout. It seems strange to be totally visually immersed, yet still move by holding a control stick, and the most common motion control solutions like walking in place aren't anything like natural human locomotion. I didn't play Rise Of Nightmares for Kinect, but the consensus seems to be that it's pretty bad.

http://www.virtuix.com/

Short video:


Long video:

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matt
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Re: 149 - The Future of Input

Post by matt »

I haven't used that myself (it was at E3, but I just didn't have enough time), but I suspect walking on an omni-directional treadmill is a VERY different feeling than really walking... At past E3s, I walked on the inside of a giant ball for a VR game, which allowed me to walk in any direction, but it felt like I was walking on the inside of a ball, and it was super uncomfortable and disorienting with the VR goggles on.

I thought I read rather negative feedback from someone who used it a while back, but who knows. Maybe it works great for VR games! I don't have the $500 or whatever to buy it nor do I have the space to store it. hahah
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

Harry Sunderland
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Re: 149 - The Future of Input

Post by Harry Sunderland »

What a shame Matt. Imagine playing NN using that treadmill to move Thomas, and having to actually run to make him run. Just hope real life asthma doesn't kick in before Thomas'!

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matt
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Re: 149 - The Future of Input

Post by matt »

I think I can actually sprint longer than Thomas despite my asthma - fortunately. haha Maybe not after all the sprinting one does playing through the game. That would probably get really tiresome.
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

ranger_lennier
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Re: 149 - The Future of Input

Post by ranger_lennier »

It's hard to judge a device like the Virtuix Omni without actually trying it. For now, all I can say with confidence is that it's attempting to do something I really want to see. If it works well, I'd say this setup will be the closest we'll get to the Holodeck in some time.

Do you know if the feedback was from the original prototype that used Kinect to track the users legs, or the newer prototype that uses capacitive sensors in the base? They talk about the improved technology here:



They're also trying to make it more compact, and easy to take apart for storage.

I looked up some articles from journalists who had tried the device, and there were mixed opinions about it. While everyone agreed walking took a little getting used to, some ultimately found it easy to use and really immersive, while others had problems with control, comfort, and even motion sickness. I'd say that these previews are mostly positive:

http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/fi ... ll-1213630

http://www.digitaltrends.com/game-contr ... ew/#!7BARF

http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/21/553026 ... st-version

And these are mostly negative:

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/arch ... forts.aspx

http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/8/528918 ... ot-to-puke

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matt
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Re: 149 - The Future of Input

Post by matt »

I wish I had tried it at E3, but I didn't get a chance. I was mostly through the line for the Occulus demo when I realized that they were doing demos with Rift and the treadmill with a much shorter line. :) It looked like they were demoing with Borderlands 2, which seems like an odd choice, since it's all about circle strafing and jumping and whatnot.

While their current prototype may not be amazing (I'd argue the Occulus isn't amazing quite yet), it's possible future versions will be awesome. I'll keep my fingers crossed!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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