Lionhead's Project Natal Video... Fakery?

But does anybody really care?

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Lionhead's Project Natal Video... Fakery?
Remember at about 1:55 in the Lionhead video of Project Natal, Peter Molyneux (now creative director at Microsoft Game Studios) points out "This wasn't acted"? If you don't, the video is below. Well, maybe that particular moment of goggle throwing wasn't.

What's interesting, however, is that Peter also points out (1:58) that "Everybody, every single person, that has experienced this reaches down (to catch the goggles that Milo throws)". Sure, this demo featuring uncanny Milo was obviously run hundreds of times with various staff members before being rolled out in front of the E3 crowds. That said, then, we can't be expected to believe that this is the first time that 'Claire' stood in front of the virtual lad. Something rankled...

Fast forward to 2:36 on the video, where Claire (or Clare) plays with the water. The reflection of Clare on screen shows her arms in roughly the correct positions in respect to real Clare. The water seems to be moving based in her hand movements.

However, keep watching to the point (2:37) where she appears to make a rippled appear on the left-hand side of the screen. Real Clare's arms are almost crossed in front of her. 'Reflected' Clare's arms are spread out. Even more startling is the fact that (see the screenshot) the ripple begins before Clare begins her gesture.

Says Peter Molyneux at this point, "There Clare is, in Milo's world. She's in that pond. Every hand movement is being recognised." Well, from the look of the footage is seems that either every hand movement is being pre-recognised, which is even more of an achievement.

Another few moments of fun include Clare's picture of a fish at about 3:35. Says Peter, "Clare drew a picture on a piece of paper... Milo looked at that piece of paper, recognised the shape, recognised the colour... and able to get on with his project". Sure, there's a bad piece of editing between "colour" and "able to get on" but that's not really the issue. The fact is that all Milo says is, "Orange, that's good", no fish recognition there. But we nitpick on that one.

The reason for the nitpickery being that darned pre-gesture ripple and the position of Clare's arms.

The fact that Peter ends his Molyneuxian presentation with, "This is true technology that science fiction has not even written about... and this works... today... now".

Weeeeell, sort of. Let's get one thing straight, we're not saying that Natal is out-and-out FUD that will never appear and that the Milo/Lionhead video is a complete and utter fake. We are saying that the Lionhead video is rather more acted, rather less well edited and just a tad less pushing the boundaries of "true technology" than we'd initially been lead to believe.

That is, of course, unless Milo's pond can recognise a hand movement before it's made.

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Showing the 20 most recent comments. Read all 89.
goretek 7 Jun 2009 21:19
70/89
this looks more like the real thing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZyErkPjOR8&feature=channel_page ... Mgestyk released it in Nov. 2008 and demoed it to any one coming by their booth at CES 2009, I know cause I was there and used it live. It looks like they beat MS to the punch plus to top it off the MS promo video has a disclaimer "Product Vision"... i.e. we're not claiming Natal to be as real as we make it out to be. Got to wonder why MS did not show it working with their existing games like Halo?
tonyp 7 Jun 2009 21:24
71/89
This looks more like the real thing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZyErkPjOR8&feature=channel_page ... Mgestyk released it in Nov. 2008 and demoed it to any one coming by their booth at CES 2009, I know cause I was there and used it live. It looks like they beat MS to the punch plus to top it off the MS promo video has a disclaimer "Product Vision"... i.e. we're not claiming Natal to be as real as we make it out to be. Got to wonder why MS did not show it working with their existing games like Halo?
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PreciousRoi 7 Jun 2009 23:42
72/89
Nice triple post there...I mean kudos for registering as a user, unlike most of the douchebags weighing in on this, but c'mon, at least use something you haven't already posted twice anon...

My take...as far as I can see, machts nicht...either MS will make something out of this or they won't. If they do, then whether this is faked or not will be forgotten, if they don't it'll be a footnote.

Of course, even if this is a major success, in the near term it will be of severely limited utility, controllers are not going the way of the cartridge any time soon, and many gametypes do not lend themselves to this type of control.

All the naysayers and Nintendo fanboys need to step back and give MS all the rope they need to either hang themselves...or do something cool with a bunch of rope...err...macrame? The Wii has had time, and its proven out to be a very mixed bag. On the one hand, its a commercial success, and has some highly entertaining games many people can't get enough of...on the other hand, aside from Nintendo themselves, few have been able to capitalize on it, and many people get bored with Wii Sports and quit playing theirs.

I also don't necessarily see Project Natal as a slavish copy of or attempt to emulate either Nintendo's WiiMote or Sony's EyeToy, though the relationship to the latter is clearer. Natal is a rather obvious, to me at least, evolutionary path which was nearly inevitably going to be explored by someone. Perhaps Sony jumped the gun a bit and their lack of real success with the EyeToy discouraged them from making further or greater efforts to expand and refine it, but they haven't pursued it very aggressively and I certainly don't see anything wrong with MS picking the concept up, dusting it off and trying to make something out of it. I mean look at the use of Motion Capture technology in games...whats more natural than to invert that (using it as an input, rather than producing output) while eliminating the need for the black suits with the ping pong balls on them...

In any event, its not as though MS' console's entire future rests on the shoulders of this gimmick, so even if the idea fails to bear viable fruit, or people get tired of it once the novelty wears off, it'll be OK.
Michael 8 Jun 2009 21:28
73/89
I'm not sure that this is faked so much as misleading. The "This is not acted statement" in the video is presumably just about her reaching down to catch the goggles. The actual interaction with Milo has to have been scripted, it is physically impossible that they could have made software that could respond to anything you say. The fact that he says that everyone reaches down for the goggles means that the demo must be linear in progression. When you consider that the dialogue must be scripted the demo becomes alot less amazing. It is basically a video that will just wait for you to speak for it to advance with things that the EyeToy has already done (interaction with the water) and apparently the ability to scan and recognise images. This last bit wasn't even really shown properly, we didn't see the picture in real life or in the game. I can't see how it could possibly have been scanned in such a short time either. In any case if it was scanned I don't see how that is such a big deal, anyone who has watched the trailers for sonys eyepet will have seen that you can apparently draw an object, hold it up to the camera and the game will convert it into a 3D toy for your eyepet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEBmj8gMvKw (skip to 1:23). All in all I was fairly dissapointed by what originally looked to be an increadible piece of software.
albino 9 Jun 2009 04:36
74/89
@OptimusP you just made a whole lot of assumptions and assumptions make an ass out of you...Or something like that. First off you dont know how accurate the natal can track motion. Where you at E3? An even better question is, are you part of the dev team? If so then maybe I could believe you. The natal was a tech demo. Not a representation of what the final tech can do. So there is no way you can know how well the natal tracks motion, and since you act like you know that makes you an idiot.

Then you move on to make more assumptions. Saying that natal and the ps3 wand cant understand force only movement. Again I would ask you what you are basing this off of. Is it the eye toy? I am positive when this was in development the first thing sony and microsoft did was compare it to the eye toy. I make that assumption because that has been the only major console motion "tracking" device on the market to make a comparison to (when talking about cameras tracking without the use of a controller). Now I am no genius but I do know that even a motion tracking can account for speed. How fast is a motion being tracked? And considering the natal and ps3 wand will most likely understand how fast a motion is why couldnt this be translated into force? The answer is that it can and thus I conclude that you are talking out of your ass and you have no idea what you are preaching and nit picking about.
OptimusP 9 Jun 2009 09:11
75/89
albino wrote:

Then you move on to make more assumptions. Saying that natal and the ps3 wand cant understand force only movement. Again I would ask you what you are basing this off of. Is it the eye toy? I am positive when this was in development the first thing sony and microsoft did was compare it to the eye toy. I make that assumption because that has been the only major console motion "tracking" device on the market to make a comparison to (when talking about cameras tracking without the use of a controller). Now I am no genius but I do know that even a motion tracking can account for speed. How fast is a motion being tracked? And considering the natal and ps3 wand will most likely understand how fast a motion is why couldnt this be translated into force? The answer is that it can and thus I conclude that you are talking out of your ass and you have no idea what you are preaching and nit picking about.

You're one of those payed MS plants aren't you? I used bloody physics to explain it...very basic physics. You can't argue against very basic physics. Camera's, in any way or form, can not detect forces working on objects. You need pressure sensors, gyro-sensors and other tech to do that. You can calculate it backwards, but there are so many variables (since you don't play in a vacuum area) at work camera's again can not detect it for the life of them, that will not work as well.

Really, if you can't grasp basic physics, there's an even bigger idiot running around on the world then me.
DoctorDee 9 Jun 2009 11:20
76/89
"Science fiction writers, film-makers... they haven't imagined what we are able to do today". Has society really become so credulous that this kind of glib hype is now acceptable? What about the tennis player in Total Recall, Orac, the intelligent shopping assistant in Minority Report, the Thought Analyzer from Forbidden Planet, every holo-deck character in Start Trek?

It's good to be enthusiastic about your work, it is bad to disrespect the giants on whose shoulders you are standing.
Rutabaga 9 Jun 2009 12:20
77/89
holywat 9 Jun 2009 18:11
78/89
i don't care what or which started the stupid its a fake or it real one thing, i was dissapointed at the fact that invisible walls podcast proved that Milo was controlled and non the less a fake, the other software that the natal can dish out right now are small mini games that you would most likely see on the wii, and yes 360 fanboys the natal may not be coming out in the next 3 years or so due to the fact that most of the software is not complete for the natal and hence the name "project" im not entirely impressed at it anymore because most of it was simulated and pre-rendered, sony and Microsoft had some good line ups and i will be looking forward to playing them but the natal blunder was what killed me after e3. this is where i get my funny stuff http://maserbeam.com/
albino 10 Jun 2009 02:01
79/89
@OptimusP your argument revolves around you knowing nothing, once again. This isnt about physics because physics dosnt dictate that the IR sensors built into the natal cant see the speed of motion. Thats infrared sensors, sense your obviously so dense. You know, the same tech in modern radar guns that can track how fast your going. Why couldnt the speed of your motion be translated into force? As I said before it can and once again you show that you dont know what your talking about. Me 2. You 0. Oh and saying Im a Microsoft plant for pointing out how much of an idiot you are only furthers my point. Thinking microsoft wastes resources to send people like me into forums to talk to dip s**ts like you is a childish excuse for you not making any sense. Do your homework next time tard.
OptimusP 10 Jun 2009 09:28
80/89
albino wrote:
@OptimusP your argument revolves around you knowing nothing, once again. This isnt about physics because physics dosnt dictate that the IR sensors built into the natal cant see the speed of motion. Thats infrared sensors, sense your obviously so dense. You know, the same tech in modern radar guns that can track how fast your going. Why couldnt the speed of your motion be translated into force? As I said before it can and once again you show that you dont know what your talking about. Me 2. You 0. Oh and saying Im a Microsoft plant for pointing out how much of an idiot you are only furthers my point. Thinking microsoft wastes resources to send people like me into forums to talk to dip s**ts like you is a childish excuse for you not making any sense. Do your homework next time tard.

Are we keeping scores now? Does someone have a issue with losing? And thus does no effort at all to comprehend what the other guy is saying, aka very simple physics.

Let me explain this in full.
Wiimote uses sensors (accerelometers) that can detect force (up to 3 g in the Wiimote case) so it can measure the accerelation. This is physics. The formula how the Wiimote does this is F/M=A, F= force, M= mass (which the Wiimote keeps constant at it's own weight probably) and A= accerelation. This works because the force someone applies on the Wiimote also creates a counter-force of equal value (one of Newton's laws), it is this counter-force the Wiimote actually senses (again, up to 3g). However, the making of the accerelometer, as far as i can grasp it, seems to use gravity in the proces. So it actually senses the difference between gravity and the other force working on it. It is then possible the Wiimote will not work in low to zero-gravity enviroments.

Camera's use co÷rdinates, which is physics as well, but not Newtonian ones (more of an extension of) because you don't swing around the camera, the camera observes movement, is not the object in movement. Camera's know the speed and the accerelation of an object it tracks trough measuring the distance between two 3D co÷rdinates and the time to travel that distance. In Simple math it looks like this: speed= distance/time, accerelation = speed/time. Bringing this back to Newton, the camera knows A, so to know F, it needs to know M (mass) because F=AM. The problem here is that camera's have no way of telling how much mass your arm is or your leg, or that of random person x using Natal 5 seconds later. While M is constant with the Wiimote, because M= weight of the Wiimote, M is an unpredictable and changing variable with camera's. Theoretical speaking, the PS3 wands can do both what the Wiimote and the Natal does because M is constant (the PS3 wand itself).

But, because camera's use speed to calculate accerelation, it can only calculate the minimum F being excerted on the object if M is constant. For example, you can swing a hammer at a nail pretty fast and you can swing a hammer at a nail at roughly the same speed but with more force in it (it's all in the wrist). So the PS3 wands can calculate the minimum F required to move the wands at perceived A, but they can't know the excess F because they have no way of feedback (unless they have accerelometers built in, does someone know if they do?). This is where the counter-force measuring of the Wiimote come in handy, it's the feedback to calculate the excess F.

wiiboy101 14 Jun 2009 19:08
81/89
I REST MY CASE MICROSPOFT AND SONY AND THERE BLIND FANS ALL LIVE ON PLANET MORON

I SAID ALL ALONG FAKKKKKKKKE LAGGY BS

CAMS 300 DEGREES PER SECOND WM+ 1600 DEGREES A SECOND
dazl 15 Jun 2009 13:23
82/89
OptimusP wrote:
For example, you can swing a hammer at a nail pretty fast and you can swing a hammer at a nail at roughly the same speed but with more force in it (it's all in the wrist).


So you're saying Einstein's theory is a lie? E (energy, or force, if you like) = mass x speed of light squared

You can't have a hammer going at the same speed and have it give different forces. the wrist thing makes the hammer go faster and thus make it have a bigger impact... physics n00b
dazl 15 Jun 2009 13:26
83/89
also @OptimusP
(originally my first reply but then I saw you're other post and somehow that got posted and this didn't.)

First of all: why does a console want to know what force is being used?
Second: the wii mote and the ps3 wand both don't know the mass of your arms or hands either. programmers can only know for a fact what the mass of the wand or mote is and if they *do* want to know the force, they'd have to calculate from either the standard mass of the wand/mote (which would only be correct if the wand/mote swung itself) or calculate in a standard mass behind the mote.

Because programmers can't know the force (and they don't need to) they use the speed. something that can be checked by accelerometers or a 2 point camera system. the first one needs you to hold something, the second doesn't.

So please: close your physics book and shut up about game technology, you don't know anything about it.

ontopic: I'm gonna wait and see what natal brings and if studios bring interesting games.
matt 16 Jun 2009 08:03
84/89
@Martin agreed, also games like halo 3 will be gone forever because first-person shooting can't be based on agility! that's crazy! plus aiming would be such a bitch, Natal would have to scan on two spots, which will both influence aiming.
Trip 24 Jun 2009 05:04
85/89
The big tip for me, aside from Clair's obvious fake performance, is right before she hands Milo the fish. The game-camera already starts moving in on him before she initiates any action.
1337 4 Jul 2009 23:00
86/89
ar 3:53 when she have draw the fish you can see that she turn the paper around so she shows up the picture and you can see that see have not draw any thing on it
Unbeliever 6 Jul 2009 09:44
87/89
1337 wrote:
ar 3:53 when she have draw the fish you can see that she turn the paper around so she shows up the picture and you can see that see have not draw any thing on it

I just listened to the Windows Weekly podcast where Windows and Microsoft evangelist Paul Thurrott basically say the same as this article - it's all "ignore the man behind the curtain" scripted crapola

How comes reasonable people are happy to eat this Natal bullshit - and smile giddily while it oozes thru their teeth??
Usagi 13 Mar 2010 04:15
88/89
@dazl
your reading comprehension is pathetic. also your physics, light has little to do with this and tahts conversion of mass into energy( take the pistons in a car for example) and thats not what he meant. go back to your generic first person shooters and incorrect grammar.
AbsoluteTruthYo 1 Apr 2010 15:40
89/89
Usagi wrote:
@dazl
your reading comprehension is pathetic. also your physics, light has little to do with this and tahts conversion of mass into energy( take the pistons in a car for example) and thats not what he meant. go back to your generic first person shooters and incorrect grammar.


While it is true that other controllers might measure the impact of mass on force.. measuring force in a game environment does not add much to the experience. Speed is quite enough.
If you are so bent on training punches in a video game, why not go punch a bag instead? It will even provide resistance! Here, a low tech, well tested device for you. Without resistance, throwing full force punches may damage your arm. There is absolutely no point in doing that.

What the punching bag cannot provide, are interesting situations to which you need to produce appropriate reactions. Like a low kick or an evasive maneuver. This is what motion sensing games could be used for.
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