Following the teasing DualPLAY tech demo released a few weeks ago, Playhouse Entertainment reveals the “secret” behind its unique control system: a dedicated PlayStation Move peripheral merging analog sticks with motion controls.
As many of you might have guessed already, the “PlayStation Move Exclusive Game Targeted At Hardcore Gamers” announced at the end of October does indeed use a dual Move set-up, but it turns out it does more than that as movement and camera controls are tied to analog sticks.
But the Move doesn’t feature an analog stick, right? Right. Well, founder of Playhouse Entertainment, Brett Gale, has been able to address that omission by developing a dedicated Move peripheral which basically combines Move and Navigation controllers into one, hand-held combo.
Double that up and you end up with a set-up allowing for all kinds of 1:1 motion-based interactions without sacrificing movement and camera control.
To learn more about this interesting (if not heroic) indie project I’ve asked Brett a few questions.
So, what have you been working on exactly: a PlayStation 3 game or a PlayStation Move peripheral?
Brett: Both. The first thing I started working on was the concept for the peripheral. I then developed some rough prototypes peripherals. In fact, my first prototype was crafted out of clay that I moulded and let harden overtop of a Move and Nav controller. While refining the process for developing prototype peripherals, I began programming the new control scheme and used Unity 3D to set up a simple tech demo, and once I had two working prototypes I was able to properly test the gameplay for the first time. This first tech demo proved to myself that using the 4 controllers in such an arrangement not only provided the exact experience I set out to achieve, but was also extremely comfortable and required very little practice to get good using them.
By using two PlayStation Move motion controllers combined with two analog sticks (provided by as many Navigation Controllers), The DualPLAY peripheral basically recreates the controls set-up of the Razer Hydra motion controller for PC. What was the reasoning behind the development of this peripheral when you could have simply used the Razer Hydra and build your game for PC instead?
Brett: To be honest, I have never used the Razer Hydra before and I actually didn’t even know it existed until a couple months ago when reading news on the Portal 2 patch for PlayStation Move support and Move dedicated DLC. It was definitely a bit of a shock to see, but upon closer inspection I think one might be easily convinced of the benefits the DualPLAY has over the Hydra or any other motion controller option currently on the market. Not to get into too much, but it appears the Hydra is bound by wires that are connected to a central unit which enables the 3D tracking. The DualPLAY allows for extremely comfortable wire-free gameplay, which allows you to perform actions such as going cross-armed, over-your-shoulder, extended all the way pointing outwards, etc.
Another benefit the DualPLAY has over the Hydra is that it is being developed for console gameplay. With over 70 million PlayStation 3 owners and 15 million PlayStation Move adopters, we are hoping to appeal to all of those who either already have invested in existing motion controls for consoles, or those who are on the fence about them and own a video game console like the PlayStation 3.
Isn’t the requirement of two PlayStation Moves and two Navigation Controllers to go along with the DualPLAY peripheral a concern to you with regards to its adoption rate?
Brett: The DualPLAY is being developed for hardcore gamers. If you are part of our target market, there is a good chance you already own two PlayStation Move controllers and a Navigation controller. This is because games like Sports Champions came out showing a limited look at how great two handed Move games can be and how responsive the 1:1 3D tracking is. Games like Killzone 3 and Resistance 3 probably convinced a lot of you to purchase a Navigation Controller to play through 1st and 3rd person shooters using motion controls, only to disappointingly find out that you’re actually just using the Move controller as a cursor.
If you’re like me and the countless others that already had three of the four required controllers and they have just been sitting collecting dust, you can now invest in an inexpensive solution for what motion controlled gameplay should have been like for years!
Does the DualPLAY peripheral take advantage in any way of the communication interface (the EXT port) located at the bottom of the PlayStation Move like the Sharp Shooter or the recently released Racing Wheel do?
Brett: No, the DualPLAY does not require the use of the EXT port. This allows for cheaper production cost and retail price, as well as longer battery life for your controllers.
Do the PlayStation Move vibrations propagate strongly enough through the DualPLAY peripheral so that you can feel them even tho you are actually holding the Navigation Controllers?
Brett: Yes, the vibration feedback is actually quite strong. The snugness of the peripheral allows for the vibration of the Move controller to make its way up the peripheral and onto the area you hold, giving a strong vibration feedback when shooting or taking damage, and light feedback when interacting with objects.
How are the two analog sticks used in your game/prototype? One for movement and one for camera control?
Brett: Yes, the left stick is used for character movement while the right stick is used for camera control.
Does the virtual hands’ orientation match the camera one or you can look in one direction while extending the arms in another?
Brett: This is actually a really good question and something that I toyed with for quite sometime. The way I have it currently programmed is so that you reach out independent of the camera orientation. If you are looking up and not reaching up, you wont see your hands. If you are looking down and holding your arms by your lap, you will see them in the same position. While looking straight forward, you do not see you hands unless you reach out far or put them up in front of your face. Moving the right joystick left and right acts as if you are pivoting your whole body along with your arms and shoulders, allowing for your hands to stay centered while turning. The idea is to have the controls as natural and realistic as possible to make for intuitive gameplay. Just ask my 56 year old dad who had never played a video game in his life and he’ll tell you all about how natural grabbing pistols off his waist and blowing up turrets was!
Can you assign different functions to the pairs of Cross and Circle buttons located on the Navigation Controllers? For example, can you use the X button on the right-hand Navi to interact and the one on the left-hand Navi to jump? What about the D-Pads?
Brett: The D-Pad, Cross, and Circle buttons are typically recommended by Sony to have the same in-game function. However, these buttons uses will vary depending on the game. For example, one game might use the D-Pads for weapon selection for the right and left hands. In another game they might control the dialog options.
For a better understanding on the control scheme used in the DualPLAY tech demo I will post below the Controls List that I used.
DualPLAY Tech Demo Controls
LEFT MOVE WAND – Left Arm Motion Control
LEFT JOYSTICK – Character Movement
UP – Left Hand Action Camera
DOWN – Return to First Person Camera
LEFT – Select Left Hand Primary Weapon When Reaching Down by Side
RIGHT – Select Left Hand Secondary Weapon When Reaching Down By Side
CIRCLE – Flashlight/Red Dot On and Off
CROSS – Interact
L1 – Shoot Left Weapon
L2 – Left Hand Close and Grab
L3 – Sprint
RIGHT MOVE WAND – Right Arm Motion Control
RIGHT JOYSTICK – Camera Control
UP – Right Hand Action Camera
DOWN – Return to First Person Camera
LEFT – Select Right Hand Secondary Weapon When Reaching Down By Side
RIGHT – Select Right Hand Primary Weapon When Reaching Down by Side
CROSS – Interact
CIRCLE – Flashlight/Red Dot On and off
R1 – Shoot Right Hand Weapon
R2 – Right Hand Close and Grab
R3 – Jump
Is the DualPLAY peripheral form factor shown in the video final? Has production started yet? When can we expect it to show up on store shelves and at what price?
Brett: The peripherals you are seeing today are still just prototype versions. Though, they are very close to what the final version will look like. We are waiting to begin mass production until we have established whether or not consumers are interested in adopting such a product. We hope that hardcore gamers will want to support the development of a unique innovation like this that is sure to greatly enhance motion controlled gameplay for existing and upcoming motion controlled games.
We are launching our Indiegogo campaign with the goal of raising enough funds so that I can team with a third party peripheral manufacturer and distributor, as well as continuing to develop a PlayStation 3 game to take full advantage of all the new gameplay opportunities the DualPLAY enables.
Our funding campaign is currently live and will be ongoing until March 31, 2013.
What are your hopes for the DualPLAY peripheral and motion controls in general? Do you see this sort of “dual” set-up as the way to go for motion controls?
Brett: My hope is that consumers who feel like they’ve been burnt by investing in motion controls see the DualPLAY as the device they’ve been waiting for to get back interested in using them. I believe that there is a large amount of hardcore gamers that purchased the Move expecting the next level in immersive gameplay, only to be let down time and time again. I hope that I can boost the spirit of all those gamers by letting them know that an affordable solution is ready and can be available much sooner than you might have expected. I want to change the opinions of all of those who think motion controls are just for kids and their grandparents! The PlayStation Move is incredible technology that has not been properly supported.
I aim to change that.