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Input Devices Entertainment Games Technology

OCZ's Brain Wave Interface Headband Reviewed 89

Posted by Soulskill
from the as-good-as-you-think dept.
J. Dzhugashvili writes "Could you control a game using your jaw muscles, eye movements, and brain waves? OCZ designed its futuristic Neural Impulse Actuator controller for that very purpose, and it claims the device lets players shorten their response times and interact with games more naturally. But is it really all it's cracked up to be? The Tech Report took the NIA for a spin in order to answer that question, and it made some interesting discoveries along the way. The verdict is that the NIA works (mostly) as advertised, but getting used to it can take enough dedication and perseverance to put off many prospective users."
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OCZ's Brain Wave Interface Headband Reviewed

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  • by TomRK1089 (1270906) on Friday June 27, 2008 @10:04PM (#23977059)
    From TFA, it sounds like it's responding more to your small muscle movements than actual neural control. It's not as though you picture yourself running, and Gordon Freeman jogs across the screen. In that regard, there's a long way to go to true neural control.
  • by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Friday June 27, 2008 @10:54PM (#23977409) Homepage
    But when do I get the 1/8" jack on the back of my neck?
  • Powerglove (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ottawanker (597020) on Friday June 27, 2008 @11:04PM (#23977477) Homepage

    So basically its a Powerglove for your head.

  • by name*censored* (884880) on Friday June 27, 2008 @11:23PM (#23977579)
    Why do you think porn sprays are banned in most TF2/CS servers?
  • Re:Just.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by astrotek (132325) on Friday June 27, 2008 @11:37PM (#23977655) Homepage

    thats because halo aims for you and the movement control is horribly inaccurate

    playing on your own setup always has its advantages, mouse sensitivity and the delay between your mouse and the update on the screen is a big deal and can throw anyone off that invests enough time playing for long periods of time

  • Re:Just.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cubic6 (650758) <tom@@@losthalo...org> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @12:06AM (#23977811) Homepage

    The reason matches tend to be so close in Halo 3 is because, contrary to your assertion, "skill" is almost nonexistant as a factor. It's an easy FPS, designed to be fun for everyone. You don't get big winners, but you don't really get big losers either. Hitboxes are huge, everything moves slowly, and controller controls are horrible for any kind of accuracy. Simple strategy and luck become the only factors, and since most people are devoid of the first and equal on the second, you get close games.

    Your implication is that anyone who actually does well in PC FPSs is hacking, but that just tells me that you've never played with anyone with actual skill. While *my* former roommate wasn't into gaming much, his girlfriend played CAL Counterstrike matches, and I usually watched from over-the-shoulder. I'm not horrible myself, but in any kind of 1v1 situation, she'd wipe the floor with me, and did pretty regularly when we played public servers or LAN games. The funny part? She didn't even own her own computer at the time, she played on my roommate's, which was a mid-range Dell with nothing fancy.

    About your roommate, while he's probably an idiot who wasn't very good to start with, there's definitely something to be said about your "home" machine. You get used to the feel of the keyboard, the precision and delay of the mouse, even things like the color balance or brightness of your monitor can mess you up if they're changed. Playing on a different PC can really throw someone off their game.

  • Re:100 ms (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icegreentea (974342) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @12:34AM (#23977979)
    That's quite a lot. 100ms of lag is very noticeable in almost any FPS and even some RTS games (you can easily pick out 100ms lag in a Starcraft game). Widening the field a bit, many fighting games have timing down to one or two frames (as in, in order to block a certain attack, you have to complete another move within a few frames of the attack animation). Going back to FPS, say you have a rocket blasting at you (UT2k4, TF2, Halo, whatever). Say it takes maybe 300ms for the missile to hit you from the moment you see it, and you need to hit jump 100-50ms before impact to survive. With zero lag, you have 200ms to start (human reaction time to visual averages around 200ms). So you can pull it off fairly consistently. You have 100ms of lag, and now its just impossible.
  • Re:Just.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Awptimus Prime (695459) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @01:14AM (#23978175)

    The hitboxes on the battlefield games and the Halo series seem to be about the same. Sure, the controls suck, but when everyone is using a similar controller, it makes for a more even battle. The game moves slowly, because it is intended to be fun on this particular controller setup and emulate the speed at which people move (like CS), as opposed to the sprinting pace of Quake or Unreal. As for accuracy, the game rewards those who are actually able to get their accuracy up, as the "headshot" hitbox is rather small for thumb-based controls. I've seen a mess of people who are terrible at the game, one kill for ten deaths are common, even with over a thousand matches on their accounts. To say it's somehow not a good shooter because running in packs and using simple tactics wins the day, I'd to comment that simple tactics and team-work tend to win every game from Quake to Unreal. All these games have different tactics, or good treadmills to run in and I've yet to find one where it's hard to learn.

    I've been playing shooters multi-player since the days of Doom. I've been exposed to all sorts of player skill levels, game problems, hacking, etc. Just because it's a guarantee that people will defend PC gaming on /., it doesn't add truth to the fact that a number of people who use transparency hacks in games aren't any better or worse than other gamers, they just happen to be cheating because that's their personality and they find some joy from it. Trust me, I've worked with a few jokers who used to cheat at CS and they were good with or without their cheats. Remember, immaturity does not equal a lack of intelligence.

    My roommate was alright, I am just using him as an example of someone who is great on a particular computer, but can't play without his toys. For instance, I'd imagine he'll be buying one of these new head controllers and beat down people who would have been an even match, if only they weren't having to physically reach for a button to throw a grenade, or use some other special attack, that he's going to be learning to do with the new hardware.

    Everything else aside, you can piss on my opinions, but they are marketing this device as giving players an advantage over those who don't have them, that was kind of the point I was speaking of in my OP. Regardless, chat with some folks on PSN or XBL and you'll find plenty of folks who have been playing FPS games over a decade on the PC and stopped for the same reasons I did: DRM problems, cheating, constant expense of upgrades, people acting like assholes, server admins booting good players because they suspect a cheater when their score is good but are absent when someone is really cheating and causing people to leave in droves, etc.

  • Re:Just.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cubic6 (650758) <tom@@@losthalo...org> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @03:53AM (#23978791) Homepage

    What you mention seems to equate to what I was saying about consoles being more level playing fields, people are given equal machines for a reason at these events. You don't get that luxury when just bumping around on the 'net.

    Bah, I forget this is /. sometimes. Everyone wants to blindly save PC gaming, which requires the use of Windows over 90% of the time unless you want to wait a long time for Wine support or a port. I say let it go down the stinker and don't look back.

    No, you're still completely missing the point. Calling console gaming an "equal playing field" is like calling No Child Left Behind "equal education". It's equal because performance is equally handicapped, and because players have equally LIMITED tools. Playing a FPS at a tournament with standardized PCs isn't about handicapping, it's about making sure that every player has the tools they require to play their best, which is the very OPPOSITE of the idea behind console FPSs.

    Here's another way to look at it. Say you're playing golf with your buddies, and one of them is a pro golfer. He has his own really nice set of clubs, matching tees, and a personal ball-washer. You have some hand-me-down clubs that you found in the attic, and the rest of your friends are similarly equipped. He solidly trounces all of you every time you play, and eventually you all get tired of it. You tell him that from now on, the only club allowed during your games is a mini-golf putter. Sure, he's still better than you with the putter, he makes nicer shots on the green, but it doesn't really matter, because you ALL suck with the putter compared to regular clubs. But the playing field is equal now, and that's what counts, right?

    Console gaming is golfing with nothing but a putter. PC gaming lets you use whatever clubs you can afford, and competitive PC gaming makes sure that everyone has equally nice clubs and that nobody's using a guided missile to drop their ball a foot from the hole when nobody's looking. If you want to keep playing mini-golf, be my guest, I'm sure it's a good time. However, if you run around screaming about how pro golfers are only good because they have nice clubs, and that you'd show them who the real pro is if they came to your mini-golf course for a few games, you WILL be ridiculed, and deservedly so.

    Finally, this has nothing to do with Windows or Linux or any other OS for that matter. For fuck's sake, you're playing Microsoft games on a Microsoft console and whining that PC games require Windows? Kindly take your stupid off-topic OS trolling and get the fuck out.

  • Re:Just.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fifty Points (878668) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @04:58AM (#23978999)
    Controller thumbstick = 360 degree axial movement.
    Keyboard = 4 way directional movement.
    Just because a mouse alone is superior to a single thumbstick, doesn't negate all the other advantages a controller holds over a keyboard (movement, button placement, tactile response, ergonomic comfort level, analogue button response, freedom to leave your chair and keep playing, etc.)
  • Fear Factor? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by IonOtter (629215) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:46AM (#23980359) Homepage

    This should make games like "Alone in the Dark", "Resident Evil" and "BioShock" a LOT harder.

    Monster: "OOOGITY-BOOGITTY!"

    Me: GYAAH!! OHSHITOHSHITWHERESTHEFIRECOMMAN*

    Game: You have been eviscerated. Try again.

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