Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mad Genius Motion Controller is Almost What I Wanted

Every now and then, now that we know what the proper DualShock 4 is going to look like, I wonder about what could have been with my proposed MoveShock idea.  I mean, sure, technically it wasn't -my- idea, but you can't deny that I took it and ran with it in the whole scheming sense.  I started to think that I was kind of the only one, but as the video above shows, I certainly wasn't.  While the prototype might've not even been born of the same train of thought (and likely isn't, given that it was displayed on a 360 rather than a PS3), it's along many of the same lines as the MoveShock idea seemed to touch on, and, more importantly, it could theoretically be the device that I insisted was not a dumb idea.  Some agreement is better than none, even if it's not done all that...convincingly.

Granted, it's a proof-of-concept thing more than anything at this point, and it's definitely going to be a little rough because of that.  The actual moving with the controller to move your character seems superfluous at best, and the input lag is noticeable to say the least.  However, there are some obviously solid ideas under the surface there.  Actually pulling the controller apart makes it send commands to the game to prepare it for actual use?  Brilliant.  Using it to precisely aim thanks to the refinement of the tech?  Expected, but still great.  Actually having the left hand control the left hand and the right control the right?  Yes, thank you.  Thank you for actually just...doing the smart thing.  The natural thing.  Overall, it understands the concept of getting motion while also having the full range of controls (and then some, surprisingly) and the only issue I take with it all is the actual execution so far.

First off, it seems like they really focus on all sorts of motion control uses for what is a split controller with full controls that...aren't taking advantage of the fact that it's a split controller.  Again, the whole dodgy "move around with the controller" springs to mind.  Even with the archery thing, all you're doing is taking an archery stance without...actually getting the archery experience.  There's no pulling, no illusion of a string or lining up a shot, you're pointing and hitting a button.  You get more accuracy, of course, but it still seems like it's completely missing the point.  Then when you actually get into the good stuff, the using the motion to swing the sword, you're not actually swinging the controller, but just punching it forward.  But you're not stabbing, you're slashing.  Faster punching, according to the video, means a more powerful strike.  That's....what?  It's the same thing when they even got into the double-attack thing for the werewolf bit.  Not even mentioning the absolute lag included in the whole thing.

Now, I realize this is a limitation of the parity, and not actually representative of the device, but at the same time, that's sort of its one big downfall.  This was meant to bring motion controls to games that don't have it, not design the controls.  You can't map the controller to make your character swing in an animation arc that is not pre-programmed already, and that's completely understandable.  You cannot get full extension on the arms out to the side simply because you're standing as such.  You cannot dual-wield magic and launch one spell one way, another spell another way and slowly bring them together for a more powerful version or combined version of the spell.  It's not in the base game.  The motion controller is literally just adding a new layer of inputs for the -same- inputs you already have on the controller.  Which, ultimately leads to the very big question:  Why?

If the game cannot take full advantage of the motion controls that you're bringing in, what's the point in having them whatsoever?  Beyond a little accuracy and a little novelty....the answer is unfortunately "none" really.  When implemented correctly, motion controls can add a surprising amount of depth into a game.  Certainly aiming a bow with the feel of holding one between your split controller adds -something-, but not nocking an arrow, not being able to determine a sword's swinging arc, not being able to block high and shield block low directly afterwards, these are all things that should be available with motion controls.  Yet not a one of them are used by this new controller that is literally the best of both worlds as a situation.  That is truly unfortunate.  Really, the only environment a controller like this could have survived in would've been the main one, where it would've been a 'requirement' for some things.  As a third party controller that adds cumbersome motion controls to games that don't have, don't need and/or can't properly utilize them?  That's...uh....that's not going to work.

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