30 June 2010

Kinect and it's specs!

Seems it's a busy day, news-wise!

Seems Eurogamer has the scoop on Kinect. I was quite skeptical of Kinect and it's abilities on our last podcast and it seems my fears might not be that far off the mark. The technology for the kinect is generally scaled down from its prototype (take that Bioshock 2 haters!):

Maybe Tboon can enlighten us a bit better on the field of view specs (which i've posted below).... that's a little over my head, but the resolution is half of what we thought with at a distance of up to 3.5m. My simple calculations for a distance of 2.35m (middle distance for the depth sensor) put it at approximately 3.24 DPI. Considering they're supposedly only tracking whole body parts as opposed to individual pieces (such as the fingers) as the tech was originally designed to be able to do, then it's unlikely to be much of a problem for gesture control..... that poor depth 'perception' might limit what developers can and can't do on the system though: Gestures won't be able to be too slight otherwise they will not register - especially if the camera is unable to properly detect the depth. This likely means the movement of an arm that is in the plane of the body will be easier to detect than if it is pointing towards the camera.

More worryingly is the potential only two player limit. I don't quite understand why the system can track six people but with only two participants.... i'm not understanding the difference there. This could limit the appeal of the system as opposed to the Wii and Move but then, to be honest, how many games allow more than two people to play a game when on the screen at the same time anyway? From my understanding this is rare even for Wii games.

One interesting tidbit is that the motorised portion of the device is only for effectively setting up the monitoring area of the cameras so that it'll work on multiple surfaces/height levels and in different environments. It won't be used to follow users around if they move towards the edges of the monitoring area - which is what we saw from demos at E3.

Overall these differences in spec from prototype to final product might not make much difference in user experience as Eurogamer reports that, having tried both pieces of tech, they state that "the overall experience is fairly close". Playing devil's advocate - it makes me wonder if the overall experience is being held back...


Colour and depth-sensing lenses
Voice microphone array
Tilt motor for sensor adjustment

Field of View

Horizontal field of view: 57 degrees
Vertical field of view: 43 degrees
Physical tilt range: ± 27 degrees
Depth sensor range: 1.2m - 3.5m

Data Streams

320x240 16-bit depth at 30FPS
640x480 32-bit colour at 30FPS
16-bit audio @ 16 kHz

Skeletal Tracking System

Tracks up to 6 people, including 2 active players
Tracks 20 joints per active player
Ability to map active players to Xbox LIVE Avatars

Audio System

Xbox LIVE party chat and in-game voice chat (requires Xbox LIVE Gold Membership)
Echo cancellation system enhances voice input
Speech recognition in multiple languages


Taylor said...

I get it to be pretty close to 1 pixel per horizontal inch at 2.3m distance. That should be good enough to do most gestures, I should think. My experience on the Wii (with Wiimote) has shown me that you have to move much more than an inch to get anything to register on that system. So I think this will be fine.
I agree that it is puzzling about tracking 6 individuals, including 2 players. It would seem like you are either tracking or not, whether you are a "player" or not. But I guess we shall see, right?

Matt said...

I know I'm getting old when I can't conceive of the usefulness of new things. I crapped on the iPad for months until I woke up and realized I was using one in a dream... and it WAS useful. Similarly, I have no idea why I'd want a Kinect. The whole thing reeks of shitty MS focus-group marketing crap. Am I wrong? I suppose I just have to wait and see.

Duoae said...


Haha, so it's worse than what i thought?

I spent like 10 minutes on those vertical/horizontal calculations as well :D This is why i never became a programmer!!


To be fair i think that dreaming that something is useful is a bit different to being useful in real life.... unless you immediately went out and bought one after the dream. :) I don't think i'll ever get kinect for two reasons:

1. £130 price point and no games
2. No space to be able to stand up and play.