Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, chances are that you probably enjoyed your first few (or few dozen) games of Wii Sports. Before (and maybe even after) you realized that the limited nature of the Wii’s motion tracking meant that you could do just as well with small flicks of the wrist as you could with your well-tuned backhand, the game was pretty fun to play. The Wii was followed by both Sony and Microsoft’s attempts at motion gaming on consoles, but the PC market hasn’t seen the same rapid rise in motion-control technology; the Razer Hydra and Kinect for Windows are options, but with the former virtually impossible to find and the latter priced at $250, choices are pretty limited. Luckily for PC gamers, Extreme Reality is looking to change the outlook of the PC motion gaming market with new technology that eliminates the need for dedicated motion-control hardware.
The software-based technology, called Extreme Motion, uses an ordinary 2D video camera to free you from standard mouse and keyboard controls. Extreme Motion translates your movements as seen by the 2D camera into a 3D model, allowing you to directly interact with the game environment. Taking a note from the Wii’s playbook, one of the first games to take advantage of this is Top Smash Tennis. Like the name suggests, it’s a tennis simulation that lets you play against a virtual opponent. Your opponent’s speed and difficulty will increase as you progress through the game’s 15 levels. You can see Top Smash Tennis in action in the video below:
The makers of the Extreme Motion technology don’t think its potential is limited to just sports simulators though. They expect Top Smash Tennis to be the first of many games to utilize motion-control both on PC and on the go:
Top Smash Tennis is paving the way for what we expect to be a tsunami of motion controlled games that can be played on any device and in any location a user wants to play,” said Sarit Firon, CEO of Extreme Reality. “Until now, motion controlled games have been tied to the console platforms such as Xbox, PlayStation and Wii. Now, just as users are migrating from console-based to mobile-based games, Extreme Reality has the critical software ingredient that allows any developer to create a full-body motion game that requires no additional hardware than the smartphone, tablet or PC people already own. This gives tremendous new freedom to the developer and the gamer.”
Top Smash Tennis, developed by Side-Kick Games, is available today in the Windows 8 store, and hopefully there will be more games to follow. It will be a while until we know just what this technology is capable of, but I’m interested to see where it goes. As a fan of games like Just Dance (it’s good exercise!), I’d love to see some dance and rhythm titles show up eventually. In any case, a “tsunami” of motion games for PC that don’t require me to shell out extra money for new hardware? Sounds good to me.