I'm Jon Olick. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I presented Sparse Voxel Octrees at Siggraph 2008.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review Xbox Kinect & Kinectimals

I got one of these for my daughter for X-mas. She loves it. She loves to watch me play it that is, not so much playing it herself. That is probably due to her age though. Kinectimals is a genius bit of hardware / software combo. Very well matched.

Here is my review of the hardware: Kinect.

Overall Fantastic device. I'm very impressed that they have been able to pull off what they can with it. The data is fairly low resolution in Z, and very noisy I bet.

It only works when you face the camera. Kind of obvious when you say it like that, but this has some pretty serious implications for what kinds of games you can create.

If you try to play the game with one hand behind your back, it breaks completely: Randomly positioning your arm trying to figure out the best position for it. Don't put your hands in your pockets or behind your back.

Don't point the camera at a window. If sunlight comes in the window, it doesn't work very well at all.

Don't have anything in your hands. It screws up. Including don't hold your kids in your arms.

Don't play while sitting on a couch.

In general, I think the corollary to the Wii's waggle is the flailing of your arms and legs wildly while you try to get the game to do what you want it to.

Precision with the device is apparently pretty bad. So bad that most games auto-aim for you when you try to toss something.

It doesn't detect any finger motion at all, so don't worry about it.

There is also a pretty significant lag from doing something, to the game actually registering the movement. Its pretty easy to plan for that ahead of time with the existing games. So no problems there. It might limit what kind of games you could make with it though.

As long as you are using the games the way they were intended. 9 times out of 10 it does what you want. Which is pretty awesome considering the data they are working with.

The software:

My daughter loooves kinectimals. She just can't get enough of it. Good job on that one Microsoft.

You purchase real-life stuffed animals and then register them with the games. Very cool idea connecting the physical and the virtual with that.

The other games are pretty nice too. Kinectimals is clearly the winner of the bunch though.

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