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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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Argh!

September 9, 2008

Ok, so after looking at Glovepie, and then looking at how to calculate certain swings, I realize the only way I can do this is by using Calculus (I got an A in it in college…10 years ago!) or simply switch to writing this script in Java and figure out how to combine the efforts of:

 

Wiigee Gesture Recognition Library

and

WiiUseJ

 

Oh yeah, and then I simply need to teach myself how to use the Java programming language!

 

That’s all…no big deal… /sigh/

 

Oh well, I guess innovative creations are never spawned with ease.

 

Anyone know basic Java out there?

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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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The Script Version 1.0 (early Beta…or whatever)

September 8, 2008

My apologies for not posting in the past few days, alas I forgot my Flash memory at work so I didn’t have any copy of what I was writing for the weekend. Now that I have access again, I’ll post parts of my script and describe how each part functions. If you have any suggestions with how to add/change the script, I’m all ears:

 

 https://wiimoteaoc.wordpress.com/script-10/

 

There ya go! 

Ok, with that massive amount of crap being copy/pasted from my computer I will say this. It does not work yet!

 

The swing script doesn’t work properly, the mouselook is really screwed up, and for some reason lost my ‘old’ dancepad script so I have to go back and look at which PPJoy Virtual Joystick Buttons represent the four corners of the Dance Pad so I can script those commands in.

 

It doesn’t help that I joined a raiding guild on Thog now, and we did Vistrix last night (it was freaking AWESOME!) and we’re doing Kylikki (sp) and some wurm tonight. I’ll try to get some script fixed before raids start though. The whole thing is looking promising, and it is going to be funny once I actually get my bokken and gladius, which should be in the mail and arriving by the end of this week.

 

Yes, yes I know…”You’re gonna put yer eye out with that kid!” heh we’ll see!

 

Oh yes, and if you shop at Game Stop, check this out.

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/WhistleBlowerZero

 

I watched all 90 minutes of it (like 3 episodes), and it cracked me up. Well done sir! (Even if it was a shameless copy of ZeroPunctuation’s Yahtzee)

 

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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!

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Initial Glovepie Script Description

September 3, 2008

So the initial code I have been working on efficiently uses the buttons and motions available with each Wiimote. Here is the set up I have currently:

 

Wiimote1:

Dpad = Action keys 1,2,3,4 going clockwise from the far left

A Button = Sheath/Unsheath weapon

B Button = Alt key

Minus Button = Prev Target

Home Button = Nearest Target

Plus Button = Next Target

One Button = Sprint or Ctrl

Two Button = Jump

 

Wiimote2:

Dpad = Action keys 5,6,7,8 going clockwise from the far left

A Button = Mouse Right Click

B Button = Shift

Minus Button = Health Pot

Home Button = Mouse Left Click

Plus Button = Stam Pot

One Button = Mouse Middle

Two Button = Change Weapon

 

 

And on the Dance pad, I have the front, AND back right & left buttons acting as Turning. While directly Left and Right strafes. Also, the select button is Rest, and Start is Horse (because you usually aren’t moving when you do these actions)

 

The swings are trickier to describe without either scanning in my drawings or doing something retarded-looking in MS-Paint.

 

Basically, you hold the Wiimote with the front facing yourself, and when you swing, the buttons will slowly face left, right, or down/left or down/right depending on which way you swing it. The Glovepie code detects whether the Pitch and Roll are below/above a certain amount while specific acceleration forces are active. This is as close to gesture recognition as I can get.

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Explanation of Wiimote for Age of Conan

September 2, 2008

With the innovative combat system used in the popular MMORPG “Age of Conan” I thought it would be interesting to try to play the game using a Wiimote from the Nintendo Wii, combined with a Bokken. The purpose of doing this would be to combine the amount of time required to play a combat based MMORPG with the exercise used in Aikido, Kendo, and several other sword-based martial arts workouts. In this way one could have fun playing a game, but also receive a healthy workout.

 

Obviously this seems a little ridiculous to set up all this for one game, but I intend to port this to other systems when I get a working copy running. Currently I am toying around with GlovePIE to write a script that will not only employ a Wiimote, but also a Dance Pad controller, or Wii Fit (once I purchase one). The goal is to provide a comprehensive workout that would last an hour or longer (say, tanking in a raid).

 

Here are some links to similar projects I have found mixing gaming and exercising:

 

PC Gamer Bike

 

Gamercize

 

Of course, Wii Fit could be considered as an additional form of ‘gaming exercise’ as well.

 

Oh yes, there is also a guy putting together a GlovePIE script for Age of Conan, but it’s currently pretty buggy, and I’m not sure if he will finish it anytime soon. Here is the link for WiimoteYourConan in google groups.

 

So here are the basic components needed for the setup I will be using:

 

1.) 2 Wiimotes (one for left & right hands)

2.) One Dance Pad (or Balance Board)

3.) BlueTooth USB plug

4.) Wii IR bar (USB)

 

As far as the program that I want to use. I would like to use Glovepie since it is easy to use (I have no coding background) and works with the DancePad/BalanceBoard. Unfortunately, it does not have a gesture recognition library, and I don’t think it’s capable of doing that. Therefore I am researching a number of programs, APIs, and libraries that I could use to use or create a simple program like WiinRemote. Basically I want the functionality of WiinRemote but also a fairly accurate Gesture Recognition library such as WiiGee so my computer would recognize specific kinds of swings. Plus Java would be a good code to use since it works on so many different Operating Systems.

 

My idea has gotten a little bit of recognition (if not ridicule) from a MMORPG Blog NotAddicted when I countered their review of AoC with how the game could be made more interesting using this set up. The blogger even joked about making a loincloth to wear while playing. Ok, while I won’t be doing that, I will probably be wearing some workout pants and a t-shirt so I have free range of movement. Eventually, one could start wearing weights around arms or legs to make this workout even more challenging.

 

Here are some pitfalls I see that potentially create inherent flaws in this design:

 

1.) Lack of a keyboard = can’t type in chat. (Could be solved by a Ventrilo voice-chat channel)

2.) Basic functions, looting, mouse-usage via point-and-click, targetting, etc might be difficult if the Wiimote does not work accurately as an IR mouse.

3.) This type of idea would mainly apply to any melee class. I play a Guardian, so I would be setting it up for that class. How could this be set up for a Healer class?

 

So this is my first post in the Blog, I will post up some GlovePIE code soon, and exactly what the key setup would be to get this running on anyone’s computer. If you have similar interest in this, and some coding ability in any language, feel free to post comments or contact me.

 

Thanks!