Archive for the ‘Game Controllers’ Category

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Goodbye GlovePIE, Holla Java!

September 12, 2008

So, last night I rolled up a noob toon on Deathwhisper named Thules, just to test out my set up on Tortage.

 

Yeah…and… it actually worked! Minus a few bugs it was fairly successful. I ran around the island slicing left, right, down all the while bonking alligators with the giant broken oar I had. It didn’t quite get my heart pounding, but I can see a lot of potential for this.

 

If I can figure out a way to create a mechanism that makes your character jog when you jog, and turn right or left when you do (hehe, and jump when you jump!) it definitely would be better. And I know I am not going to accomplish this with the Dance Pad, so I’m going to have to retire it. But what would replace it?

I really wish the guys at http://virtualproductsllc.com/ would respond to the emails I send them, because that looks like something I could use. In the end I will probably do something like create a Wiimote/Nunchuck belt that responds to the up & down motion of jogging, and turning etc.

 

Even though I was able to use my rudimentary bonking and running abilities on Tortage, for some reason the IR mouse in my left hand was being stubborn, and none of the buttons on EITHER Wiimote were working properly. I think that my script is simply too complex for GlovePIE, or I am doing it wrong. Either way, I believe at this point it would be better to ‘borrow’ some projects done by others, and basically weave them together to make what I want. In that way, I would only have to learn a minimal amount of scripting/coding in Java instead of trying to start from scratch with GlovePIE. I’m going to use Java because theoretically it is a cross-platform language, and the gesture recognition library I want to use is written in Java as well.

 

So, looking at Java APIs for the Wiimote, I have these three so far:

 

WiiUseJ

A very simple Java based API for the Wiimote with a graphic UI that is fairly intuitive. It’s very similar to WiinRemote in that it can set commands for all the buttons, and do IR Mouse application. Aside from that, it doesn’t really support gesture recognition so I would have to figure out how to add WiiGee to it for swing recognition support.

 

Motej

“Motej is a slim Java library for Wiimote communication” according to their website.

It simply allows for Wiimote communication and the data from the Wiimote is as unchanged as possible. There seems to be several ‘packages’ that come with it that I don’t completely understand yet. Here are the features comprehensively listed though.

  • Discover and connect to Wiimote devices
  • Wiimote IR Camera in both basic and extended mode
  • Wiimote Accelerometer
  • Wiimote rumble feature
  • Wiimote player LEDs
  • Wiimote buttons
  • Read Wiimote EEPROM memory
  • Write Wiimote registers
  • Wiimote Status Information
  • Wiimote Calibration Data

So it definitely allows for comprehensive data gathering from a Wiimote. Now to interpret that data into actual key strokes might be a different monster all together.

 

Also, there is no graphic UI, so I might have to add that myself? (gulp) Although it provides several ‘demos’ with it.

 

Wiimote Simple

I’m not exactly sure how ‘Simple’ this API is. Although it claims to have “less functionality than WiiremoteJ” the features it lists are the same as Wiiremotej

The features listed are:

  • Read accelerometer data, useful for responding to dynamic swinging actions.
  • Read infrared camera data, useful for cursor pointing.
  • Respond to button pushes.
  • Vibrate Wiimote.
  • Set lights on the Wiimote
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    The one thing that interests me is the “useful for responding to dynamic swinging actions” in that it mentions “swing” and not “flick” because so far the only action that I can read or interpret from the Wiimote is an almost-instantaneous flick action.

     

    In the end, I want to combine one of these API’s with the WiiGee Java-Based Recognition Library so that I can have button interpretation, an IR mouse, AND complex gesture recognition so that both Wiimotes will be able to properly & comprehensively communicate with AoC. So for now I’m dumping GlovePIE. It was great while it lasted, but unless I’m scripting retarded with it, I’m pretty sure that the language is a bit too limiting for what I want to do. Therefore, on to Java!

    I guess when I get home I’ll install Java and the Bluetooth Java Library etc and see how it all works. Maybe I know more about Java than I think I do.

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    The Forza Workout Program

    September 10, 2008

    Digressing from the realm of Conan & Wiimote at the moment. I want to take some time in explaining the actual workout that this idea (in theory) would provide. After looking through different martial arts involving the use of the katana, or Wooden Katana called a Bokken, I decided on using certain exercise movements put together in a book written by Ilaria Montagnani. She creates an exercise technique called Forza, which is Italian for “strength”. They are extremely specific, and I should be able to interpret the movements in this book so they can be detected on a Wiimote imbedded in a Bokken.

     

    On that note, I also received my Bokken yesterday, and I think the Wiimote could be transplanted into part of the handle with a little bit of deconstruction, sodering, and reconfiguring. But that is a whole nother project in itself, as I will have to purchase a tiny 3 pronged screwdriver to take apart my Wiimote. So let’s save that for another day.

     

    I am going to use illustrations from the article and show the first basic 3 cuts that one would use with a Bokken, which will translate into the first three cuts used in AoC until level 40 (or 50? I forget)

     

    Here would be the Forward, or Vertical cut.

     

     Where basically the Wiimote’s Roll = 0 and it’s RawAccY < 0.

    The next cut would be the Left/Right Swing, or Horizontal Swing

     

     

     

    Where basically the Wiimote’s Roll = either -90 (right) or 90 (left) and it’s RawAccY < 0.

     

     

    So, this is what I’m going to use as a swing model. I’ll also work a bit on getting these exact motions down as the Forza Workout suggests, because being able to focus such a swing exactly/perfectly would be an excellent exercise.

     

    As I get the script for these 3 swings finished, I will work on the last 2 swings gained at higher levels.

     

    I found out that there is a function in GlovePIE to record movement over time which I didn’t think was available before. It’s similar to taking a derivative of movement on a graph, in that it is Delta(x) as written in GlovePIE. So I’m going to see how that works in relationship to getting a swing recorded.

     

    Also I was looking around, and I found a guy who wrote a script to do Fishing in WoW by mimmicking the same movements used in fishing. While what he wrote is nothing new, I’m going to give his code a try to see how responsive it is.

     

    Oh yes, for those that think I am going to put a hole in my monitor, or endanger myself. Here is a photo of my ‘rig’ or ‘set-up’ if you will. Granted the futon on the left will be moved back about 6 feet or so. Maybe I’ll take a photo of myself and the whole set-up later when I get it working better.

     

     

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    Related News

    September 9, 2008

    After such a long and script heavy post as I put up yesterday, I’d like to note that there are some people who are about as crazy as I am with this videogame-exercise thing…. notably Jackie Chan.

     

    Personally I think this is an innovative way to make an a-typical exercise (more boxing than tennis) a more exciting and casual experience in ‘the comfort of your own living room!’ Simply pair that up with this article I found on www.gamepolitics.com about how kids burn 4x the calories when playing active video games, and now you have a fairly convincing argument.

     

    Gaming as exercise? Who would’ve thought! Seriously it’s not apples and oranges, they’re both called games in their respective fields (sports & videogames)

     

    Now why hasn’t anyone done this for World of Warcraft, or Halo, or ANY non-sport related game yet?!

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    Second Thoughts – Sore Arms and a Wider Topic Coverage?

    September 4, 2008

    Last night I joined a raiding guild in AoC, and it had something along the lines of 50 or 60 max-level people! Unfortunately, due to the raid number restrictions and me being new, I just sat outside with my mammoth sitting on top of the cave that was the instance (Pissing off members of another raiding guild whose T3 battlekeep we recently sacked.

     

    So I took some time to work on my code and get the PERFECT swing recognition code possible. Lo and Behold! I couldn’t get the reading of the damn accelerometers working correctly! Apparently, there is this law that for every force in the universe there is an equal an opposite force countering that…. I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THAT BEFORE!!!! (jk)

     

    Well, I didn’t think about that at all when I was writing my script for GlovePIE, and so when I swing down, the accelerometers read negative gy (Y acceleration) and then positive gy at the end of it, because I’m slowing down my swing at the end. So I’m going to have to somehow make it time-based, and when my arm catches up to initial speed (for example: down) then it cuts off any reading for … 3 seconds or whatever.

     

    So I gave up last night after a few beers, and a very sore arm. I continue my scripting tonight or this weekend (or while I’m at work teehee!)

     

    I was reading West Karana and realized that maybe this blog shouldn’t be about simply creating a new immersive controller for AoC, but should touch on gaming immersion in general and how I’m simply sick of the mouse/keyboard set-up. I mean, there have to be other people interested in this idea (granted, I’m writing for the carthartic experience and to learn something new, not entertain others). Well, one step at a time, and once I get this AoC thing hammered out, I can start rambling on about different changes and add-ons from there (VR goggles anyone?)

     

    It’s just, Tipa from West Karana goes on to describe gaming and it’s many aspects like a philosophy. The fact that the new Wizard101 game allows for horizontal progression (in a way) is extremely interesting. I’m not a Conan fanboi (although I’m reading the short stories right now, and they’re good), but I simply really really like this game. Maybe it’s just the shiny graphics, and the combat system, I’m not sure. It’s enough to satisfy and at the same time ignore the godloads amount of bugs and missing content in the game that the developers are taking their sweet ol’ time to fix. Sorry, woops my bold key was accidentally pressed. Sorry, I digress.

     

    While game content, style, and play is extremely important, games like Rock Band proved that you can do something different with immersive controllers: thus explaining me ordering a Bokken, and wooden Gladius to try to mix up with my Wiimote for some real sword swingin! I feel like gaming is on the verge of something big, something that could transcend gaming into and past the realm of sports. Could we be seeing VR Fantasy battles on the television in the future? Damn right we could, if the gaming industry got off its ass and did something unique, innovative, and gutsy. Not the same ol’ same ol’ WoW-like copy after copy that truly began with Everquest, ok MAYbe Ultima Online, and now is split off into many iterations and specific niche groups aside from the Mammoth-like WoW stomping wherever it wants to.
    If you’re reading this game devs (I doubt so, since it’s new), I want a ‘Rock (Fantasy Warrior) Band’. Give me a sword with buttons that I can swing around and pretend like I’m a rockstar barbarian! I’m not exactly a cosplay nerd, or a LARP kid, but give me something to get my blood pumping and my ass off the couch!