Thursday, May 13, 2010

The difference between Microsoft's Natal and Nintendo's Wii for game designers: Again

Please post here in the comments (bullet points please) what the difference is for you as game designers between the technology behind Microsoft's Natal and Nintendo's Wiimote (Plus).
Can you think of a game that you can design with one, but not with the other?
Use the language from the posters in class and the design dimensions.

So far:
- Wii: expands the magic circle by supporting social play between players who cannot see each other, i.e. cannot anticipate their next moves

- Natal: supports tactics such as offense and defense in the physical space (i.e. players pushing each other to gain an advantage), as technology can distinguish body positions relative to one another


  1. Games that can be designed with either the Wii, or Natal, but not both:

    - A dance game where the entire body must be used to score points. Natal would be able to track movement of each limb, plus torso and head movements; the Wii would not.
    - The facial recognition and voice recognition can be used to further immerse players in games involving dramatic elements rather than pure action (games such as Heavy Rain). For example, a game might involve playing poker, and if the player isn't able to keep their face unreadable the game might try and call their bluff.

    - Using the vibrating wiimote, players could 'sense' something in-game that they could not see - like the scene in Star Wars where Luke blows up the Death Star by 'feeling' when to launch the bomb instead of seeing with his eyes. Natal would obviously not be able to do anything like this as it lacks any physical feedback to the player.
    - The WiiMotionPlus gives advanced motor control and direction sensing to the wiimote, allowing the closer simulation of manipulating objects. For instance, aiming a torch or gingerly rotating a delicate object for examination can be achieved with relative ease. Natal on the other hand would have a much harder time simulating this as the player isn't actually moving a physical object.

  2. MJ, good points: 1 is obvious, 2 very good, 3 also very good, but 4? WHY is it much harder?

  3. Thinking of Floyd's design dimensions I remembered that dimension called Secondary movement. While the Wii promotes the use of Secondary movement relying on a controller some what limits its ability to track broader body movements, it only tracks the actual controller. As such many of the movements can be done in a less realistic manner and still get the same results in the virtual world. Ie in bowling you can make the correct motion without even standing up. there is no need to stand, bend down to role the ball smoothly from ground level or even more get a walk/run up before you play. People still do the motions sometimes but the game doesn't care if you do or not. For designers the natal can make it much easier to encourage secondary movements as they can make the game actually measure it and track all the parts of the body involved. A music game for natal where you play guitar can actually tell if you slide on you knees across the ground, if you head bang while you play guitar and tell how much you dance around in your 'performance'. However guitar hero games would still loose something if the guitar controller was completely removed (as we discussed with the air guitar game last week).
    Even DDR can be improved with natal because it could then incorporate hand movements and a general broader spectrum of body movements. future technology developed from natal could even become an aid for actual dancers in the same way that Floyd's gym game allows users to see how to correctly use the machine.

  4. Very good Candy: you could have done just with that one sentence of yours: "For designers the natal can make it much easier to encourage secondary movements as they can make the game actually measure it and track all the parts of the body involved." Well done!

  5. To Floyd:

    Simulating the manipulation of objects would be easier with the wiimote because it gives the player a physical object to interact with. With Natal, the player could literally pass their fingers through the empty space which is supposed to be occupied, which would reduce their immersion in the game. It could also cause the game to think they're interacting with the virtual object in a way they're actually not trying to.
    While the wiimote can only replicate the feel of a limited number of real world objects, the power of suggestion can always do the rest - making the player treat the wiimote as if it is heavier, larger, or differently shaped - just like suspension of disbelief in a movie, it depends on how immersive the game can be made.

  6. Well, on the weekend I got to experience playing some games that would work better On the Wii than on Natal.

    -the Wii works well with FPS because you are given a remote that allows you to shoot with. Natal does not give you that option. Wii games, like House of the Dead, gives you a remote-shaped gun that allows you to enter your Wii-remote.

    -This goes the same with racing games. The Wii allows the player to play racing games like they are actually stirring to move left or right.

    Natal to me works better for more combat games where it is required to use the players body to play the game (just like the eyetoy on the PS2)

    -Natal will work better as a fighting game, like boxing. The Wii did have these types of games in Wii Sports and had a punching bag in Wii Fit, but it doesn’t feel the same (plus you can cheat), where in Natal, it will actually allow the player to move forward and allows the player to feel like they are actually fighting someone (without hitting anything).

    -Natal will actually allow users to work out than what the Wii can provide. Wii Fit you have to rely on the Wii board and the Wii remote and it’s annoying to carry around the Wii remote while having a jog. Natal allows you to use just your body to do these types of things without any remote.

  7. Natal technology is capable of face, voice recognition, and tracking movements. Games designers can now expand their ideas on a new level thus creating game that had never been achievable in the past. Okay so i've stated the obvious..

    With Natal techonolgy, a game can become more interactive with the player. E.g. A game that would encourage the player to make certain facial expressions. Then according to whatever expression was recognised, the game can provide different options/paths to the player.

    The nature of human interaction is by movement, speaking, expressing(facial), and gesturing(body). Therefore, Natal is one step closer to providing more "realistic interactive gaming"(sorry i dont know a better word for this).

    This is something that game designers for Wii cannot really achieve, but these two technology shouldn't really be compared because Wii provides interactive gaming in a different way.

    If game desisgners want to create a game that links closely to the nature of human interaction then Natal would be the choice.

  8. Whilst the natal is capable of tracking 1:1 full body movement within a real 3d space, the wii is not, despite nintendos recent attempt to track 1:1 motion with the wii motion plus. this is because the player of the wii is constricted to using only the wii remote as a method of controlling gameplay. Any other secondary movement is not recognised by the platform and will not effect the gameplay experience.

    on the flipside, the natal not only encourages secondary movment, but any secondary movement will have a direct influence over the gameplay experience. your body is the controller.

    Having said this I would say as a designer that the experience of playing sports/training games on the wii, would be dull, fundementally flawed and thoroughly dissapointing. Playing Sports games on the natal however would be exciting, engaging and physically exerting as your full body movements will have direct control over gameplay.

    That is why as a designer if I were to create a martial arts game that is designed to both train the player, to hone there stamina, and to offer an effective way of training withought feeling like a goofball, i would definatley choose the natal as the gaming platform. If i tried to impliment this on the wii, my creative aesthetics would be limited and i would not be able to replicate the same experience on the wiis flawed controller setup

  9. All good points but what about the fantasy involved in gaming? ie, a Game Designer often designs game mechanics & they "cheat" in a sense to make an unskilled player feel like they are awesome with superfighting, martial arts (etc... ) abilities that they do not have in real life and may be too lazy to develop in reality. Making a game too realistic in this sense, using hardware such as Natal can take away this "fantasy" enjoyment and possibly make the game "too much hard work" and not enough "easy" fun although, in the long run, it can be physically beneficial but some players don't care about that... just a thought I had :D

  10. Pranee's thought is a little bit close to mine.
    what I am thinking is players feel awesome not only by being enabled by abilities that they don't have in real life but also by real touch of wiimote when they using that ability. take zelda for example, i feel i m swing a real sword when playing with wiimote, not to mention that sound effect from wiimote makes it more awesome!=D

    I also notice the multiple player mode for each platform is different.with wii, you and your friends can play together but only can play towards the screen(a same object).with natal, since it can distinguish 2 players, combat happens between the players themselves and effect on the avatar or whatever of you in the game.