Johnny Chung Lee, now famous for his Wii remote 3D-Head Tracking program has given an interview with Gameinformer; in it he talks of the future potential of the Wii and it's games and how 3D can truly come to the masses pretty easily with some effort from developers. Some developers that Johnny knows are already seriously considering using this for their Wii games! Read a portion of the interview below:
"GI: These next few questions are related to your head-tracking video. Do you think that kind of tracking would be especially difficult to implement in a game? It seems as though it might be taxing once applied to a 3D world.
Lee: From a pure technical standpoint, it’s trivial. My code uses Direct X and there are maybe only 100 lines of code to make that work. Assuming that the game consoles have the capability of doing that type of rendering—because it’s a slightly different type of rendering to make it look like it’s really 3D; you can move the camera around, but that’s not quite what I’m doing—if they’re willing to and they have the software code to do that and they’re willing to bundle some hardware, like IR glasses, then it’s trivial for them to make a game. Whether or not it’s perhaps taxing as a game player to use it for a long time, I’m not entirely sure yet. There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm around making games that get people moving around and getting involved in the experience, so it might be tiring but that might be a good aspect of playing the game.
It’s up to the developer also to determine how to apply this technique. In software, they can apply a scaler, and small movements translate to big movements in a game, so they can choose or leave it up to player preference. So it’s essentially head-motion sensitivity that you would set. From a technical standpoint, it would be easy to make a game, but it’s up to the developers to use it properly.
GI: Does the head tracking only work in first-person experiences, or would it be effective in a StarFox type game or in God of War-like gameplay?
Lee: I think it’s most compelling in a first-person point of view, but it’s still very useful for third person or other games—even in a side-scrolling platforming game. What it does is give you motion parallax, which is the technical term, which is essentially the way objects occlude with each other when you move your head. So it gives you a better sense of space, which any game that has space involved in it could probably benefit from a head-tracking system.
GI: Do you think 3-dimensional technology is the next step in entertainment? It seems like it’s something that people revisit every so often, but it hasn’t been used in any widely successful applications.
Lee: I think a lot of people are really interested in trying to bring realistic 3D experiences into the home, because it’s sort of the next step beyond television. I think where it’s been sort of a difficult or an uphill battle—or even a failure—in the past is because usually it requires specialized hardware that’s not in everyone’s home already. The nice thing about the Wii is that it’s already in 13-million homes, at least, so most of the hardware is there to do this.
I’ve heard from some technical developers that this is re-exciting the 3D-technology community, and even people who are working on 3D shutter glasses are wondering if they can make them for the Wii Remote or the Nintendo Wii console. That’s entirely speculation at the moment, but essentially it’s a chicken and the egg problem. If you can get the hardware in the homes to do this, then you can make content for it. Hopefully, I think it’ll come. It’ll be up to how well people can adopt the technology if it’s successful or not."
The possibilities are so amazing its hard to fathom being able to play a game in full 3D and have motion control to go along with it. Also, being able to adjust the sensitivity of the head tracking movement in relation to the camera really gives you a great sense freedom. This is absolutely amazing stuff!