Rigging the accuracy of video games

As video game consoles and controllers become more accurate in interpreting human movement, the designers must wrestle with a question: do they really want the machines to be 100% accurate? A Sony executive discusses why the accuracy is compromised in order to create a better gaming experience:

Wired.com: Move is much more accurate than the Wii remote, so it can be used to create much more complex games. But will those be attractive to a general audience?

Shuhei Yoshida: We never intended to use the accuracy as-is, because that makes games totally unplayable…. But people love one-to-one, they really enjoy seeing on the screen what you are doing, actually tracked. Our teams have devised a way to make you feel that everything you do is accurately tracked….

It’s taking the intent of the player by looking exactly at what he or she is doing, but assisting, filtering it a little bit, and still giving a little bit of what he or she has done. You feel like, “This is what I intended.” It makes you feel like a good player, but still allows people to progress from entry level to advanced.

You remove the assistance bit by bit. Games become more challenging, but at the same time you understand completely that if you fail it’s your fault, and if you succeed it’s your achievement.

I think that’s a new requirement for designing games using accurate motion tracking. But unless you have accurate motion tracking, you cannot create that depth of gameplay.

I’m not sure I buy into this reasoning. So playing ping-pong on the PS3 is a game because the machine assists/interprets your actions if you are really bad. Becoming “good” at the game comes with machine assistance. Playing ping-pong in real life is something different because you can fail. This is something I’ve never understood about Guitar Hero or Rock Band: wouldn’t you rather learn to play the real instrument? Perhaps the game is more “fun” and easier to learn if you can’t fail but it ultimately doesn’t translate into any useful skills.

I suppose manufacturers must do this so gamers don’t become frustrated but it seems like the easy way out. With the new Playstation Move, is there a way to turn off this assist feature?

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