I'm a Human Inbox

Sunday, May 01, 2005

My Nintendo Revolution theories seem to hold some weight

A couple of months ago I theorized that the Nintendo Revolution would use some sort of camera which would allow games to interact with a player's surroundings. It seems that some high profile rumours are also agreeing with me here. The Blog for Broken Saints has a couple of things to say about this:

At the core of the theory sits how Revolution will display games: through a form of real-time 3D projection.

A forum post on the same blog also claimed the Revolution will come "equipped with a short-range wireless mapping camera that will somehow make the software 'adapt' itself to [the player's] surroundings," presumably to customize the 3D projections

First of all, I don't really believe that the Nintendo Revolution will have 3D projection. 3D projection definitely exists in various forms, as projection upon a wall or as a screen, but I'm wondering how costly such projection would be in a console.

Gamespot tackles this rumour and basically says that "We'll see at E3"

As for the second point, I still believe that this will be included in the Revolution, at the very least as an add-on. I'm going to repost a portion of my previous theories here as well. Some of the ideas feel a little outdated but the links are still very relevant.


Lately I've been hearing a lot of exciting things going on in the world of video game user interfaces. So far, I've seen about three articles showing off future interface technologies, ones which may seem far too futuristic, but in reality they are being prepared for the market within the next year or so. The idea behind these new user interfaces is that by using a video camera, a computer can impose computer generated graphics upon the screen that interacts with the real world. This might be a little vague at first, but here are some examples:

- A video is being taken of someone's office desk and a computer imposes a 3D generated car upon the video in real time. While panning the camera around the desk, another person can control the 3D car and drive it around the desk. The car will collide into objects on the desk, and drive over bumps.

- A video camera mounted upon a PDA (Palm Pilot), is taking a video of a wooden train track upon a kitchen table. The PDA is generating a 3D train, which can be moved around the track by drawing on the PDA using the stylus.

- Using the next generation of Eyetoy (A PlayStation 2 video camera), Dr. Marks held up a real world wand which attracted 3D generated butterflies that swirled around it on the screen. As he moved the wand, the butterflies flew to chase it. But then, when he passed the wand behind his back, the butterflies on the screen flew behind him. It really looked like they were flying around him.

These are examples of what the next generation of interfaces will be capeable of, which will be coming out by next year. Sony seems to be focusing on the eyetoy, a camera which tracks the movements of people, and will surely release a next generation eyetoy for the Playstation 3 next year. Nintendo, is calling their next console the "Nintendo Revolution", and they claim that this console will revolutionize gaming, not use/need a TV and use gyroscopic controllers (gyroscope technology would allows controllers to be used in a 3D space, measuring movements in every direction. A glove that could grasp things would be an example). Although Nintendo's details are very sparse, and vague, I believe that Nintendo will base their console almost entirely upon this new interface technology. The fact that Nintendo mentions that a TV is not necessary to play the console suggests that the console might be centered around augmented reality. Also, there is a patent submitted by Nintendo which might suggest that they indeed are planning on using this technology. Because this technology is capable of running on a simple PDA, this would probably be very easy to implement in terms of processing power. Imagine, for example, that you could wear the Nintendo Revolution as a backpack (it wouldn't be too large, look at the gamecube for example), and have a set of glasses connected to the system. Through the glasses you are able to see real life, and the console would then superimpose 3D rendered graphics upon the images that you are viewing. By using some sort of gyroscopic controller, a glove let's say, you would then be able to interact with these rendered images by hitting, pushing, pulling, grasping or twisting. Coupled with a WiFi Internet connection, something which is already implemented in the modern handhelds like the PSP and the Nintendo DS, you could interact over the Internet with other people playing the same game. You would be able to see and interact with their rendered forms, while they are on the other side of the world.

This kind of technology sounds far too futuristic, or sounds like the user interface found in Minority Report. The interesting thing is, is that the Minority Report UI is actually quite possible now, using off the shelf commercial products. Expect to see these sorts of products released within the next year, and spearheaded by the next generation of gaming consoles.