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Thankless Answers: Revelation 16 Ian's avatar
I'm going to try and get through this entire preamble without droning on about Yakuza because too many more articles on the subject and I run the risk of turning this site into the internet's first Yakuza fan site. No, instead lets talk about motion controls. Call me a rickety old man if you will, but given the choice between using them and not using them, I would always pick to not use motion controls. Anyone play Heavenly Sword? Early on there is a bit where you were firing arrows at guys, and you can correct the course of the arrows mid flight using the six axis controls. Doing it this way was almost impossible and is highly frustrating, so it’s fortunate that they give you the option to switch them off and use an analogue stick instead.

To not just rag on the poor six-axis, which I should note is barely supported by anyone any more, the Wii has a positively stuffed catalogue of games that I think would be easier with more traditional controls. I believe it has got a lot to do with fidelity of the motions detected by the wiimote and sensor bar. For example in MadWorld I felt that it couldn’t work out what actions I was doing, so often when I was doing a vertical motion the wiimote was picked up a horizontal motion and I was failing to be beat a boss as a result (Which resulted in a 30 minute loss of progress. Didn't really get on with MadWorld). This wasn't really the MadWorld’s fault as much as it was the wiimote that just didn't have enough science in it to accurately determine how it was being moved.

The Wii MotionPlus came along and solved the problem briefly, but that thing isn't really getting supported. Also you had to set it down upside-down quite regularly to stop it from exploding or something. Now the Move comes along to take another stab at motion controls. It's a shame that the majority of what they showed off looked like Wii Sports Resort HD to me, but if it genuinely works like an HD version of motion detecting then it might at least mean a PS3 port of MadWorld that works somewhat satisfactorily.

Why am I talking about motion controls again? Could it possibly be to tie in with today's question? Surely not.

Question: whats with that ball thing on the playstation move?

Answer: The camera measures the size of the ball to determine how far away the Move is.

Working out the distance from the camera is one of the toughest aspects of the technology. The Wii does this using the sensor bar. There are two sets of five infra-red LEDs at each end of the bar, and the camera in the front of the wiimote can see how far apart they are and use that to information to work out distance from the TV and also the cursor position. It's for this reason that if you have a lot of light behind your TV, the on screen cursor will get all jittery and confused.

If you ever find that you've left your sensor bar in your other pants, you can get the same effect by lighting two candles and placing them about a foot away from each other in front of your TV as the candles emit the correct wavelength of light that the Wii sensor bar does. A fun trick to see how well your Wii setup will work is to look at the sensor bar through a digital camera screen as most digital cameras can pick up infra-red light and turn it into visible light that you can see through the viewer. If you have a iPhone and a TV remote control sitting near you, try it out. You can check to see if the lights on the sensor bar are distinct or if they get lost in the background glow of your room.

hidden lights

To get around this need for a sensor bar, the Move does it all in reverse. The camera on the TV measures the ball on top of the Move, and can get a very accurate idea of how far away it is from the precise pixel measurement of the ball. The ball can also change colour so that it stands out from it's background more clearly, though I reckon in a really bright lit room it will still have a some trouble seeing the ball.

Tags: playstation-move, thankless-answers
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