Q&As// UK Developer Mick Stockton

Posted 4 Dec 2007 18:38 by
SPOnG: How does the Wii gameplay mechanic work in PDC 2008?

Mick Stockton: The player points the Wiimote at the screen to aim at the area they hope to hit. Using the [B] trigger allows the player to switch between board views from full-screen to close up.

Once they are over the area they want to hit, the player ‘grabs’ the dart with the [A] button. This locks the aiming reticule, and the player then moves the Wiimote as they would a normal dart, pulling back and then throwing forward at the respective speed to give the required velocity to throw the dart. At the point where the player would normally release the dart, the player releases the [A] button to complete the throw. Angle and spin are also read from the Wiimote.

Phil 'The Power' Taylor
Phil 'The Power' Taylor
The control method is actually simplicity itself – if you can throw a dart, you’ve got it. Though simple to pick up, the control is quite sophisticated and takes a lot of practice to master.

SPOnG: Have you seen SEGA's Touch Darts? How does it compare to PDC 2008?

Mick Stockton: We really like Touch Darts in the office. It does what it does very well and has a good understanding of how the user naturally approaches the platform. The game itself is great fun because it offers a very narrow and clear game dynamic, though it does not have the depth PDC World Championship Darts 2008 presents.

SPOnG: How have you gone about capturing the characteristics of the different players and translating them into the game?

Mick Stockton: Mo-cap data is probably the single biggest improvement a developer can make in terms of animation. We’ve all seen the pictures of people with ping-pong balls stuck to Lycra bodysuits – these are placed on key joints and bones on the actor and used as points of reference for cameras to capture their exact movement and position.

The data is then cleaned up to remove any erroneous data and is then applied to a skeleton in our software. This then gives a completely accurate representation of the actor's exact moves, creating a level of subtlety and quality which would take many, many man hours to reproduce by hand – if it could be achieved at all.

For the purposes of PDC 2008, we enlisted the services of a professional darts player and actor who recreated the moves, walks, celebrations and quirks of each of the 15 professional players with amazing accuracy.
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