Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Did you get a Kinect?

I did!  I have to admit that I did not expect to get a video game for Christmas, especially as my mother has been complaining about me "shooting aliens" since I was 8 when nearly all games were about shooting aliens, or what were supposed to be aliens but were in fact shapes made up of 8-10 squares.

But there's a recent news story that I just have to share with students about the future of gaming and the future of technology.  Why do it here?  Because the people who are pioneering this, the ones designing it, who will be writing the story of the games, and writing the programs that bring that story to life, are the ones who stick it out, get degrees, and get the good job.  Folks if something this cool can't keep you in school, well I'm sure there are other things that will, but this is still pretty danged cool.

From Wired:

A Microsoft Kinect hack lets World of Warcraft players cast spells, fight opponents and maneuver their characters using simple hand gestures and body movements.

Using Kinect and an open source framework tool called OpenNI, University of Southern California researcher Evan Suma and his team at the school’s Institute for Creative Technologies hacked together a middleware program called the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit, or FAAST, which lets World of Warcraft players plug Kinect directly into their computers’ USB ports. Then the software translates real-world gestures into in-game commands, so players can level-grind with their fists.

In the demo video Suma and his team released this week (embedded above), the researcher shows off his implementation of FAAST in Warcraft. He uses his left hand to move the in-game camera, his right hand to select attack spells and his body to walk. The number of possible gestures is currently limited, but Suma says more will be available in coming weeks.

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