The Leap Motion Kicks Arse Harder Than The Hulk

If you haven’t heard of the Leap Motion before, you’re like to be pretty damn amazed by what you’re about to see. I’ve been following the device for more than a year, as it’s a device that I’m hoping to integrate into my studies.

A good place to get an overview of the Leap Motion is an intro article I wrote here – the demo video there is very much worth seeing up front before you read on.

The release date is slated for May, and as you can see in the video (and related article) below, developers are already doing some pretty damn amazing stuff with it:

So there you go – if the product evolves like I think it will, it’s going to make the Kinect platform look pretty damn lame in comparison. What do you think?

[Thanks to Phillip Street for the heads-up]

PS4 Launch Roundup: My Take

‘And Another Thing’ is a semi-regular look at key events or issues in the gaming industry. Written by Flash Point podcast co-host, dedicated tweeter and all round good guy Simon Potter – drop him a line if you want to suggest future columns.

After a two hour media spectacular in New York which brought parts of the internet to a standstill, Sony have begun the next phase of the Console Wars and announced the PS4.

What will it look like? We don’t know yet. How much will it cost? Again, they haven’t said. What we do know is that it will hit shops Christmas 2013 and that E3 is going to be Sony’s next media blitzkrieg.

The good news is Sony learnt their lesson from the Cell processor and the Emotion engine. Based on the x86 architecture, this machine is going to be a comparative breeze to code for (we saw it running Unreal 4), which eats into one of XBox’s big advantages. The upshot is the PS4 has an army of game developers behind it (‘a console designed by game developers for game developers’).

Obviously it’s easy to get swept away in the reality distortion bubble that these things create, but you are still left with an overwhelming sense that devs are genuinely excited about the new platform, and that means games. Lots of games.

So what about those games? Usually you only see tech demos at such hype-fests but we did get to see some real gameplay this time, specifically Killzone Shadow Fall. Not only did it look startling, even through an overloaded video stream, it also gave some solid evidence of the investment and momentum already in the industry. All the big players were there, MediaMolecule, Activision and their subs Blizzard (Diablo III) and Bungie (Destiny… squeeee!), Sucker Punch, Capcom, Square Enix and others. It really felt like an abundance of riches, just like they wanted it to.

Some interesting facts revealed:

  • You can suspend gameplay then jump back in later without reloading
  • A secondary chip allows background downloads, even when the console is off.
  • Heavy social integration – spectator mode and ‘share’ button.
  • With built in Gaikai tech, the PS4 becomes a games server to your Vita (and potentially other hardware, like mobiles and tablets)
  • Play a game while you download it from the PSN – no more demo downloads to try.
  • PS3 games not natively supported or emulated.
  • Current project to allow you to play PS3, 2 and 1 games on the PS4 or any other hardware through Gaikai tech (how that works with preowned is anyone’s guess).
  • Predictive game downloads (the PS4 knows what new games you’d like before you do)
  • The Dualshock 4 and stereoscopic camera, although whether this is the final look, is uncertain (PS3 boomerang)
Things not revealed
  • Whether online gaming will remain free or be folded into PS+
  • If a pre-owned market for PS4 titles can exist
  • Cost and appearance

It’s hard to say whether Microsoft’s job is made easier by Sony announcing first, but if I had to guess I’d say harder. As was pointed out by the founder of the original Xbox project  in his blog Stupid, Stupid, xBox!!, MS have been laser fixed on integrating their ecosystem across multiple devices. In doing that they’ve made the Xbox into a media/advertising hub. In other words they’ve de-emphasised the games.

What wonders Xbox 720 has in store is a mystery for the moment, but if Redmond isn’t feeling a little nervous right now, they’re not paying attention.

Simple Tutorial: Transfer Data From Wii to Wii U

wiiu-trannsferHaving just spent a couple of hours setting up my new Wii U, I thought it might be useful to create a tutorial, as the official instructions missed a couple of simple explanations that caused me to make some mistakes. For this transfer to work you’ll need both consoles to be able to connect to the internet and for both to be able to be seen on your TV. For the sensor bar I just kept swapping the plug between the two consoles as I needed to, using separate power and AV connections for the two consoles.

The transfer process:

1. Have an SD card with at least 512 MB free

2. On the NEW (Wii U) Console: go to the shopping channel and download the Wii Transfer Tool to your system memory

3. On the NEW Console: after downloading successfully, go to the main Wii Menu and select the transfer tool. Follow the instructions and the required data will be downloaded to the SD card you will have inserted (the slot is just under the CD slot on the front of the console – just flip down the black lid and you’ll see it)

4. On the NEW Console: Go back to the main Wii Menu and remove the SD card ready to put in the old Wii console. No need to turn the console off.

5.  On the OLD (Wii) Console: If like me you’d already paired your Wii remotes with the new console, you’ll need to re-pair one with the old console. Just remove the battery case at the back of the remote, press the red sync button until the lights on the front of the remote start flashing, then press the sync button on the Wii console (it’s the red button inside the little white section just below where you insert the game CDs). The remote will stop flashing and you’re paired up.

6. On the OLD Console: go to the Nintendo Shopping Channel and download the Wii Transfer Tool to your system memory. The tool is located under the Channels box in the main menu of the Shopping Channel.

7. On the OLD Console: Insert the SD card you set up on the Wii U into this consoleGo to the main Wii menu and select the Transfer Tool and start it up. Follow the instructions on the screen. Your Wii’s info will be downloaded to the SD card. Remember – once this occurs all the info is removed from your old console. A cool animated transfer sequence shows on the screen while it is transferring. You’ll be told once it’s complete and when you can remove the SD card.

8. On the NEW Console: Insert the SD card. Open the transfer tool from the main Wii menu. It will say a transfer is already in progress and do you want to continue – do that. Follow the on-screen instructions. The second half of the animation sequence will play. You’ll be told when the process is complete.

That’s it!

If the tutorial has helped you or you think something is missing, please post in comments!

Wii U Australian Release Date Confirmed

For those like me who love a bit of Nintendo action, you’ll be pleased to know we have some more info on the Wii U and its release date and pricing in Australia. It’s an iconic console and it seems that’s not about to change with the latest update to the franchise.

A launch was held at midnight last night, with the following snippets provided:

1. 30th November 2012 is the release date

2. There’ll be two ‘packs’ you can buy. Either:

A Basic pack which includes a
– Wii U Console (White)
– Internal flash memory 8GB
– Wii U GamePad (White) x1
– Wii U GamePad stylus (White)
– Wii U AC Adapter x1
– Wii U GamePad AC Adapter x1
– HDMI Cable (1.5m) x1
– no sensor bar included – but you can use one from your old Wii or buy one separately
PRICE: AU $349.95


A Premium Pack which includes:

– Wii U Console (Black)
– Internal flash memory 32GB
– Wii U GamePad (Black) x1
– Wii U GamePad stylus (Black)
– Wii U GamePad Cradle
– Wii U GamePad Stand
– Wii U Console Stand
– Wii U AC Adapter
– Wii U GamePad AC Adapter
– HDMI Cable (1.5m)
– Sensor bar x1
PRICE: $429.95

3. As far as games go, the only confirmed available for launch day itself is Nintendo Land, but a bunch more games are due out pretty soon afterwards: New Super Mario Bros U, Rayman Legends, Zombiu, FIFA 13, Mass Effect 3: Special Edition, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Wii Fit U and SiNG

4. You can play “almost all” Wii games on the Wii U

5. Other features of the console include:


Miiverse is a brand new network communication system that lets gamers from around the world share experiences, discuss games and discover new content.

Using their personalised Mii character, players enter Miiverse and see games, applications or entertainment content that either they have interacted with recently, expressed interest in learning more about or that their friends are using or discussing.

From here they can challenge their friends to play together, ask a question about a difficult level or discover new elements of their favourite games they never knew existed. After a notable achievement or other share-worthy moment, players can pause their game or application and seamlessly post messages to the Miiverse community.

TV Remote

The Wii U GamePad may also function as an infrared TV Remote, whether users are watching TV or playing a game.
Near Field Communication (NFC)

The Wii U GamePad has the ability to communicate wirelessly with objects that are held above it. This allows for a variety of interesting new possibilities for games and activities.
Nintendo eShop

The digital storefront for Wii U will be available at launch and offer a variety of content for people to download and enjoy. Consumers will also be able to purchase and download select games that are also available at retail stores.

There are plenty of ways to discover new games on Nintendo eShop:
you can watch trailers, view charts based on popularity, or search for games using a variety of search filters.

Video Entertainment

Nintendo is working with other partners to bring video experiences to Wii U that will take advantage of the integrated second-screen experience. Additional details will be released at a later time.
Video Chat

Using the built-in camera of the Wii U GamePad, people can communicate with other Wii U owners in real time.
Internet Browser

Wii U comes with a browser that lets people with a wireless Internet connection surf the Internet from the comfort of their couches. Using the simple controls on the Wii U GamePad, it’s possible to display your favourite web pages on the TV to share with family and friends, or just browse the web on the GamePad without using the TV. You can even use the browser when you are in the middle of a game!
Compatibility with Wii games

In addition to being able to play almost all Wii games you already have, you can also continue to use your controllers and other accessories such as Wii Remote Plus (and Wii Remote) controllers, and Nunchuk controllers.

Please note: excludes some software and accessories.

I for one am counting the days until I can play the next iteration of Mario Kart. Please Nintendo, tell me you’re working on that as we speak… I’ll also now have no excuse not to play Mass Effect 3 and Call of Duty – aside from money to buy the damn games of course.

Over to you: how appealing is the Wii U to you?

[via Nintendo AU]

Euclideon Announces Geoverse

It’s not often we get deep into the tech behind things like games, but sometimes it’s worth making an exception.

You may not have heard of Euclideon, who made a splash back on 2010 with their claims they’d changed the graphics industry. Even you haven’t heard of them, you’re likely to in coming years, as their claims seem to be bearing out in a big way.

Now I’m a bit biased on this, in that around a year ago I had a chance to sit down with Euclideon’s founder, Bruce Dell, to check a demo out. You can read about that here. It’s fair to say I was impressed, albeit with the disclaimer I have no coding knowledge whatsoever.

Since that meeting a year ago, Euclideon has been under a self-imposed media blackout to get things done. One of those things is Geoverse, a tool that allows compaction of large LiDAR data sets so that they can be viewed via the cloud rather than installed on each computer. It doesn’t exactly sound sexy but I can see how this might be a good way to build a profile in the sciences and military, rather than being pigeon-holed in the gaming industry. A year ago when I met with Bruce, his intentions were pretty clear that it wasn’t about games – and nor should it be if this technology bears out.

Anyway, enough tech talk for a minute, have a look at this video:

As someone who’s followed Euclideon closely over the past year, I can tell you these guys have copped flak and scepticism from every quarter. What I’ve seen in return is the growth of a technology that appears to have applications in a huge variety of ways.

The video above doesn’t show anything new compared to a year ago – I’m expecting the next iteration to be a few months off yet. However, the announcement of Geoverse as a product that leverages off the Unlimited Detail engine, shows a maturing company. That’s something needed to ensure this technology becomes what it claims – and that includes the gaming industry which would be seriously turned on its head if and when Unlimited Details reaches a release stage.

Over to you: what do you think of this technology? Can you see it appearing in a game near you in the not-too-distant future?