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The Only Glimmer Of Hope For Kinect Is Dance Central

June 14th, 2010 by

As with most people who have just finished watching Microsoft’s 2010 E3 conference, some head scratching must be going when it comes to Kinect live demonstrations.

With noticeable lag and expected mini game collections, Kinect looked to be very light on the whole “game” front.  However I believe I saw one title where the developers actually understand that you work to your strengths and understand your limitations.

Lets take another look at what Harmonix had to show off, Dance Central.

Up until this point, every game seemed to respond slowly, however with Dance Central, it wasn’t so apparent.  The reason for this I see as being smart design.

In the same way Suda 51 knows how best to “compliment” a game with motion control on the Wii, Harmonix are understanding Kinect’s apparent limitations and working around these.

Take the look of the game while its playing, the focus is placed more on the game than the player, unlike everything else which relies on reminding the player they are in the game.  Each dance routine has been split into individual moves, meaning that for a good few beats of a song, Kinect only has to recognise one simple gesture.  There are no transitions and the actual in game representation of the player is only shown in a small box by the list of upcoming moves.  Excellent, work there Harmonix!  You understand that the controller (in this case, “yourself”) is not the be all and end all of a game.  The more you hide the controller and forget about it, the more you can be drawn into the game.

Developers please take heed.  Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do something.

Its taken a long time for some developers to hit that fine balance in the Wii and Xbox owners are much less patient.

Over to you then MLG Community: What did you take away from the Kinect live demonstrations tonight?

8 Responses to “The Only Glimmer Of Hope For Kinect Is Dance Central”
  1. avatar oldroo says:

    I expected limp, and limp I got.

  2. avatar patwin says:

    shocked to say this was the only game that didnt look lke a wii clone

  3. avatar FrostieD says:

    I get the feeling I may be chastised for saying this but I was quite impressed with Kinect. Yes the games are mainly wii clones (we knew that would be the case) and I didn’t notice the lag that Matt saw (my comp is very slow!).

    However the way it enables you to operate the system without the controller I found to be quite impressive and I don’t think that Kinect has been designed to be a purely gaming device (whereas I ‘think’ PS Move is just for gaming), its another step into making the console the entertainment hub of the home, with social networking, music, films and skyplayer I think thats its overall goal.

    And in case anyone accuses me of fanboyishness I own all three consoles and haven’t played my 360 in a while as I have been enjoying my PS3 immensely. I just think its better than people are giving it credit for and a genuinely exciting innovation, whether it works or not waits to be seen but I respect MS for making that leap.

  4. avatar Dragonbait says:

    @FrostieD the issue I have with the whole controlling the system thing is twofold.
    Firstly the whole speech thing, that’s great! But it doesn’t really require Kinect, surely they could have done this with any microphone, and this could be replicated on Move etc (since the Eyetoy also has a mic?)
    Secondly the controlling films looked really good, except is a cursor going to appear on screen every time i scratch my ear or reach for a drink? Did you notice how the guy had his hands and arms glued solidly at his side when he wasn’t trying to control the video?
    The only thing that might make me buy one is Fable when it arrives.
    Move was on pre-order as soon as I saw the sorcery demo :)

  5. avatar Martyn Hackett says:

    I’m taken with the idea of ditching the controller, especially after spending a lot of time with the Wii.
    Like Matt says, you want to focus on the controller instead of the game, and with the Wii I spend too much time thinking about how the game interprets my movements and altering them to conform.

    A system that “sees” a full body instead of tracking just your hands is a big step forward and I’m curious what new types of games can be developed using it and the face/voice recognition.

    As for Dance Central… yeah… we’re going to end up with that. I’ve spent hours on the Wii’s Samba de Amigo, even with it’s iffy controls. The missus is a DDR demon, so she has form for this kind of thing.
    Also, the demo has “Poker Face” and the Fatboy Slim mix of the Beatie Boys “Body Movin”. That’s a win right there. Harmonix know how to pick a quality soundtrack!

  6. avatar Marconi says:

    With Kinect, does it mean that nobody can walk in front of you whilst you are playing games anymore?

    Also I know that if I ever got Kinect my good lady would just walk round the house saying “Xbox Off” ….not good!

  7. avatar Kinect Losing Hope in ya ! ! ! says:

    I liked Kinect for a while now a couple months long time eh. Well recently after seeing/hearing what it can’t do i’ve lost most of all hope for kinect i don’t even wnat to see another videos of it maybe when it comes out and if people say it’s good and better then what i’m hearing now then its a maybe.

  8. avatar Fred says:

    Oh and how wrong you were now we have the released Kinect in out homes. No lag, games are great fun, PC boffins seeing it;s potential and in 2011 we are going to see core games with top devs already announcing some of theirs for 20111.
    unofficial News they are going to double camera resoloution from firmware and triple the detection seems to be true.
    And now KInect is the fastest selling gadget in history is’s all good.

    @ Marconi
    (And no she won’t be saying “Xbox Off” MS wisely removed that command they must of read your comment)

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