Saturday, March 13, 2010

See more Move in Sports Champions dev diary

See more Move in Sports Champions dev diary

by JC Fletcher PS3

PlayStation Move requires 1-2 MB of system memory

PlayStation Move requires 1-2 MB of system memory

Sony's GDC panel "Introducing the PlayStation Motion Controller was exactly that: An introduction to the newly named Move peripheral. David Coombes, Kirk Bender and Anton Mikhailov showcased a number of impressive tech demos, many of which demonstrated the Move's incredible precision and low latency. One of the most impressive demos showcased full body tracking using an on-screen body puppet, not unlike one of Project Natal's tech demos.

Body tracking is made possible by combining the Move and PS3's head tracking capability. According to the presentation, the PS3 can also detect faces, going so far as to identify individuals through face contour and feature detection. The software will be able to recognize gender, age, smiles and when eyes open and close.

Coombes explained that all the calculations necessary to handle image processing are done by the Cell CPU, which apparently excels at the doing floating point calculations. The raw data can be processed incredibly quickly by the PS3, taking "under a frame" to translate to a game experience. And while Mikhailov didn't reveal how much of the CPU's overall power the Move controller requires, he did reveal that the memory demands are truly "insignificant" -- 1-2 MB of system memory.

Friday, March 12, 2010

PlayStation Move's Sports Champions

Hands-on: PlayStation Move's Sports Champions

Click for the gallery of Champions

You might think it derisive to call Sports Champions (working title) the Wii Sports of PlayStation Move, but it's really intended as a compliment. Although the collection of sports-themed games are relatively simple, they adequately highlight the Move's motion-sensing capabilities and, most importantly, how they're distinguished from those offered by the Wii (something that another Move game, The Shoot, did not do). Like Wii Sports, Sports Champions seems good at selling you on the hardware's abilities -- and what they might mean in more elaborate games.

The Gladiator Duel sub-game is a simple affair of blocking and attacking (your character moves towards the opponent automatically), but the Move will take into account the height of your swings and the positioning of your shield (generated by a second Move controller). It'll also sense distance -- if you don't hold your weapon arm back, it'll swing into your own shield to deleterious effect. Aside from swinging and blocking, you can also move both arms upwards to activate a jumping attack, or shuffle the controllers to the side in order to roll out of the way from an incoming strike. Basic stuff, but natural enough to not come across as a tacked-on gesture.

Table Tennis was more promising, and easily bested the Wii's equivalent. Your paddle's angle and area of exposure is almost instantly determined by how you're holding the controller. The Move's weight, coupled with the game's quick response and predictable physics, made every swing feel ... just right. It'll be a shame if a table tennis game turns out to be one of the best launch games for Move, but at least it'll stand out as one of the best of its ilk. That's a win, right?

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The best news is the only news for me. Ping-pong with this ping-pong look-alike controller is the best game for Sports Champions, the game title I am quietly anticipating. I just hope this one doesn't come out solely as a starter kit (that costs $100).