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Input Devices Games Hardware

Omnidirectional Treadmill: The Ultimate FPS Input Device? 292

MojoKid writes "The concept of gaming accessories may have just been taken to a whole new level. A company called Virtuix is developing the Omni, which is essentially a multidirectional treadmill that its creators call 'a natural motion interface for virtual reality applications.' The company posted a video showing someone playing Team Fortress 2 and using the Omni along with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. You can see in the video how much running and movement this fellow performs. With something like the Omni in your living room, you'd likely get into pretty good shape in no time. Instead of Doritos and Mountain Dew, folks might have to start slamming back Power Bars and Gatorade for all night gaming sessions."
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Omnidirectional Treadmill: The Ultimate FPS Input Device?

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  • Ready Player One (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mossy the mole ( 1325127 ) on Monday April 22, 2013 @02:22AM (#43513491)
    Didnt they have this in [] ?
  • by MaxToTheMax ( 1389399 ) on Monday April 22, 2013 @02:39AM (#43513523)
    Whenever I try to walk on a step that isn't there, or if I misjudge the slope of the ground, I stumble. So should the simulation become to engrossing and you get distracted, you'll end up on your face the first time you try to navigate some uneven virtual terrain and the floor is still level.
  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Monday April 22, 2013 @05:05AM (#43513837) Journal

    Perhaps one day we'll have Star Trek style holodecks. And that will be great. Until the point - roughly 10 minutes after the first trial - when people realise that if they're really bad at running around doing atheletic stuff in real life, they're also going to be really bad at it on a holodeck like that.

    I think controllers which try to make games more immersive by having them mimic real life activities are (with a few exceptions I'll touch on later) missing the point.

    That isn't to say that games shouldn't try to be immersive and that controllers don't have a role to play in immersion. However, given that in most games, the player is doing things he wouldn't be able to do in real life, simply trying to translate real-life controls into the game isn't going to work. In most genres, the best thing the controls can do is let the player forget that they are there at all. They need to be the most efficient means possible of translating the player's will into the behaviour of his on-screen avatar.

    Every time a player dies (or otherwise fails, depending on genre) in game due to control issues, the immersion is broken. I can think of some really awful examples here, going back decades. Remember Ultima VIII, as it was at launch? Those jumps across the moving platforms, where a mis-step meant death? Remember how you could see precisely what you needed to do to get across, but how the atrocious point and click control inputs made each and every jump an exercise in trial, error and sheer luck? And remember how much it broke the immersion every time you failed - reminded you that you weren't the Avatar exploring a strange land, but a player wrestling with a cumbersome interface and control system? That one was bad enough that they eventually patched it (turning it from "atrocious" to "just about tolerable").

    Or more recently, take the Super Mario Galaxy games. I enjoyed both of these immensely - until the point at which it became necessary to use the spin-jump to make certain jumps. See, "spin jump" was mapped to "waggle the Wii-mote". And "waggle" is not, on a Wii-mote, a precise input. There's actually a good bit of variation in just how much and how hard you need to waggle before the game will accept that, yes, you have waggled (and I can't believe I've just typed that sentence). So all of a sudden you have a precision platformer which is dependant upon a non-precision input. And even though it's only for one single input, each time you rack up an unnecessary death due to that input going wrong, the immersion is broken.

    Or sometimes a game uses a "normal" input device, but because the game adapts itself to that device badly, it still ends up feeling broken. Resident Evil 6 is a case in point here. I've played this on the 360 and the PC and found the 360 version effectively unplayable, due to control issues. I don't normally object to playing shooters on a console controller (though I'd prefer mouse and keyboard), but the shooters in question need to make concessions to the fact that they're being played on a device less suited to precise aim. Actually, many console shooters these days do that well; snap-to aim, relatively generous hitboxes and slow-moving enemies may not always make for the most exciting game mechanics, but they do take a lot of the pain out of playing a shooter on a console controller. Resident Evil 6 makes no such concessions; in a game where only headshots do appreciable damage to enemies, aiming at these tiny, fast bobbing targets on a console controller is nigh impossible and the abiding impression I took away from my 360 version was that my in-game character actually had worse accuracy with a gun than I myself would in real life (which is saying something). After that, playing with mouse and keyboard on the PC was a complete revelation - while the game itself still has flaws, it was an order of magnitude better than the console version. By contrast, the recent Tomb Raider reboot makes such good concessions to aiming on a controller that I played it on PC using a 360 control

  • Re:Dream on. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Monday April 22, 2013 @05:25AM (#43513889) Journal

    I saw something similar on a future tech show and the problem you are gonna run into is the "puke factor".

    Basically there is an uncanny valley for environments just as there is for bots and when you get beyond a certain point your brain senses that something is "off" about a place and you'll start feeling pukey. The guy trying it on the future show was big into both 3D and FPSes but when they put him in this game, complete with plastic gun that let him aim and fire in game? Within 30 minutes he had to get off because he was getting sick at his stomach, there was enough little things wrong with the computer environment that even though it looked like the latest Call Of Duty realistic shooter it still gave him something akin to vertigo.

    So I have a feeling that unless you dumb down the graphics enough that your brain goes "Bah it is just a game" you are gonna have a lot of folks that did like the reviewer on that show and have to hang onto the walls until the queasy sick feeling goes away. The brain knows its fake when you are just sitting on your ass playing a game, when you integrate movement that is when you start throwing the brain a curveball.

  • Re:Dream on. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Monday April 22, 2013 @06:57AM (#43514137) Homepage

    Getting shot and the possibility of getting hurt are on the plus side. That's what makes things not-boring.

    This is one of the things I find puzzling about people who enjoy sport and exercise. The active pursuit of pain and discomfort. Paintball: you're likely to get a bruising, painful projectile whack you. Many team sports: an obligation to spend hours in the cold and wet. Cyclists actively prefer hilly routes. And so on.

    Don't get me wrong, I exercise because it's not pleasant finding that going upstairs or running for a bus almost kills you. But enjoying the discomfort? I'll never get it.

  • Re:Dream on. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kilo Kilo ( 2837521 ) on Monday April 22, 2013 @07:10AM (#43514189)
    Paintball also involves paying more for one day's entertainment than the average cost of a video game, which can be played over and over.

    We all have our hobbies, but once my friends and I all realized how much money we were spending, it wasn't so fun anymore. Also, this activity lets assholes actually shoot at you. There was nothing worse than going to a big game (one of the 24hr scenario ones) and realizing you're surrounded by assholes and your own team has no interests in completing the objectives, they just want to go throw paint around then get back to drinking in the parking lot.
  • Re:Dream on. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aevan ( 903814 ) on Monday April 22, 2013 @07:40AM (#43514303)
    Think there is some zennish phrase or such about measuring a man by his enemies or such.
    Pick up a baby out of his crib, typical day. Pick up a baby out of a a burning airplane, hero. It isn't so much the action, but what was overcome to do the action. Stength of will, perseverance, mind over body, face of adversity etc etc etc. From there they glean satisfaction, glory, a sense of accomplishment: I beat that.

    That or they are all just loopy masochists. Either or :P
  • Re:FYI (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bleh-of-the-huns ( 17740 ) on Monday April 22, 2013 @07:58AM (#43514369)

    Gatorade is not really a good option for an active person. It is sickly sweet, and sometimes makes you even more thirsty. As a cyclist who does 100 mile rides, I tend to prefer things like NUUN, which are tablets you mix with water, have only a slight taste to them.

    If I am in a crappy scenario where my only option is gatorade, I will water it down, 50/50 water/gatorade to cut down on the taste.

    Also, Unflavored Eduralytes taste like ass (I had to throw that in there.. even mixes with 50/50 water/gatorade mix.. you end up with Lemon Lime tasking ass)...

  • Re:Dream on. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cynyr ( 703126 ) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:08AM (#43514397)

    I've seen one 3D movie (The hobbit in HFR), and I had to actively work to keep motion sickness and headaches at bay. I like looking at all the detail in the background, and that simply was not do-able in 3D. Also the scene where the fall down the mine-shaft i basically shut my eyes during since I couldn't keep up with the changing focal point.

  • Re:Dream on. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 22, 2013 @11:47AM (#43515963)

    Pick up a baby out of his crib, typical day. Pick up a baby out of a a burning airplane, hero.

    Just run into a burning airplane and out again: No hero, despite suffering the exact same pain and danger by doing it.
    Pick up a baby and carry it into a burning airplane: Villain, but still suffering the same pain and danger.

    Picking a baby out of a burning airplane doesn't make you a hero because it hurts, or because it is dangerous. It makes you a hero because you saved the baby that way.

    I don't see how playing Paintball helps anyone.

  • Re:Dream on. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by heathen_01 ( 1191043 ) on Monday April 22, 2013 @01:07PM (#43516751)

    So with paintball you have the fog-issue, running through the woods (depending on the course / company / etc), worrying about ticks (here in NJ), the pellets can hurt when you get hit, etc. Sure, some people love. But I can't fault anyone for not liking it due to the reasons I listed (and there are probably others).

    The costs too. Buy a game once and play it hundreds of times vs going to the paintball place and buy supplies and rent space every time. It's even more expensive if you have to rent equipment.

    They're trying to fix this problem with DRM.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.