3DV Systems’ Z-Camera: Game interaction post-Wii?

Games, Interactive Design, Wii
3/4/08

IGN Wii Editor Matt Casamassina recently posted video on his blog of 3DV Systems’ Z-Camera technology, which was showing at GDC. It looks pretty impressive--enabling body motion sensing in 3D without the need for an input device. As the comments on Matt’s blog indicate, there’s obviously going to be many applications for which you want to be holding something anyway, but the idea that that something could be a cheap plastic toy instead of an electronic device is an intriguing one. Matt hopes Nintendo is considering the tech for Wii 2--what should Nintendo do for Wii 2, anyway?


 

“Flash is the next-gen console”; designing for multiple input schemes

Flash, Games, Interactive Design, Wii
3/2/08

Raph Koster, president of Areae and designer of Ultima Online and Star Wars: Galaxies, made this and other interesting statements at a private GDC lunch as reported on gamesindustry.biz. Koster argues that Flash’s ubiquity and device-independence puts it in a leadership position among next-gen gaming platforms, and notes that as devices proliferate, “a lot of games… are not going to know what devices they are landing on”.

As it becomes increasingly common for a given experience to be run on multiple devices, some fundamental design issues come into play, as I’m discovering trying to develop works that will accommodate both the mouse and the Wii remote. While in this case I’m talking about multiple control schemes on a single hardware platform (a PC running WiiFlash), the problem is essentially the same as if I was designing a PC experience that could also run on the Wii.

It’s one thing to design a casual game in which the vocabulary of user actions is defined relatively independently from the control scheme, and then figure out how to make that game work with various input devices. It’s something else, however, to design an experience that takes advantage of the unique capabilities of the Wii remote, while still making the interface functional and rewarding for a mouse user. Of course, the fallback position is always to design for the mouse user and then use the IR pointer capability of the remote to emulate the mouse, and this might be perfectly appropriate for especially complex interfaces. A more customized bit between experience and controller, however, will always be desirable.

 

Source and slides for the Flash Platform Workshop (Updated)

Events, Flash, Flex, Interactive Design, Source Code
2/24/08

UPDATE: The Adobe Connect archive of the workshop has been posted.

Workshop description: Flash is no longer just a plug-in; it has evolved into a massive suite of tools, services and techniques called the Flash Platform. Used for everything from character animation to interactive video to full-featured applications that rival their desktop counterparts, Flash plays a major role in shaping how users experience content on the Internet. This workshop will introduce the Flash Platform with specific emphasis on programming in ActionScript 3.0 and MXML and the basics of working in Flash and Flex (and how you decide when to use which).

For those attending today’s Flash Platform Workshop, this is the place to download the source code and slides.

I encourage you to leave comments on this post with your feedback (positive and negative!) about the workshop. Thanks!

 

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