Hybrid control scheme using an Xbox game pad and Kinect

hybrid_game_control_using_kinect

The Kinect is an interesting beast. On one hand, it’s fantastic for hacking – a purpose for which it was not designed. On the other hand, it’s “just OK” when it comes to gaming – its entire reason for being.

One of the big complaints regarding the Kinect’s control scheme is that it’s no good for games such as first person shooters, where a large majority of the action involves walking, jumping, and aiming. For his Master’s project, [Alex Poolton] put together a fantastic demonstration showing how the Kinect can be paired with a standard Xbox controller to provide hybrid gaming input.

While you might expect a simple game that shows the fundamentals of the hybrid control system, he has put together a full fledged game demo that shows how this control scheme might be implemented in a real game. [Alex] admits that it’s still a bit rough around the edges, but there’s some real potential in his design.

Continue reading to see a video demonstration of [Alex’s] project in action, and be sure to check out his blog for news and updates on the project.

Comments

  1. Monty Werthington says:

    Nice demo, but part of me thinks it would be more tactile if a pistol was used rather than a free hand.

    But an interesting concept that should be develop further. Props to the maker.

  2. rasz says:

    my hand hurts just from watching this :(

  3. dcj2 says:

    Interesting, but isn’t he basically just replacing one control stick with hand gestures? The demo doesn’t really show anything subtle, and it would be nice to see exactly what is being controlled by gestures vs the control pad. 8 minutes of hand waving being translated to walk/look/shoot is a little much. Vid feels more like a demo of the game rather that the game system. Serious props to the Alex – it looks like a real nice piece of work – just wish the video showed it better.

  4. sariel says:

    is it me or does he look incredibly bored while doing this? perhaps he was just tired from spending x days up. cool mojo, but I agree with Rasz and Monty, It would be nice if you could use the gun not only as a prop, but also as the controller for the player too.

    • Alex Poolton says:

      Ha, you’re right. I’d been up pretty much all night, and was filming this early the next morning. I was having trouble staying awake after like 30 minutes of sleep lol :)

    • Alex Poolton says:

      Thanks for all the feedback guys :)

      As said in the article, it was rough around the edges. But as a proof of concept, created within 8 weeks, I was happy with it. Although, at some point in the near future, I’ll try and see if I can add some more functionality, and really polish it up, especially based on the feedback, gamers/enthusiasts, such as yourself are giving me. Again cheers for the comments :)

  5. killerbug666 says:

    Props to the guy for creating it…I know I couldn’t do that. Then again, I wouldn’t have wanted to do that.

    Hopefully he will keep going with this and make it somewhat more workable…right now it just looks like you do a kind of horizontal uppercut to interact with everything…and it doesn’t seem to make the game more immersive (I’ve seen adults playing Hanna Montana with their kids and looking more excited).

  6. lolwut says:

    Ah, typical Hackaday. Smart guy makes something interesting. Less smart people shit all over it because its not big studio release quality. Repeat.

    Its a demo of a proof of concept. What were you expecting, Halo?

    The majority of the battle is getting the two control schemes working together. Sure a gun controller would be nice but again this is a proof of concept. I bet this guy could put together a gun-based controller with a stick and all the buttons he needs without much trouble, using his hand for opening doors and interacting with other objects.

    But he didn’t. Because this is a proof of concept. For a masters thesis. Done in 8 weeks.

  7. Fritoeata says:

    I was thinking this could go great w fps hand gestures instead of stupid hat switch commands that I always forget and eff up in the heat of battle which results in me getting hosed…
    (clancy/team type games)

  8. Bastek333 says:

    Why no one did the simplest possible way of movement control as : kinect can see where the person stay -> why don’t check the distance – step forward->walk 2 steps->run step back->reverse side steps could be “slide to side” – aiming by hand but not necessary keep it that high in air – keep it high only on precise aiming.
    Only thing what i don’t know is how to fire – in my opinion this could be way for hybrid steering – trigger->fire – or additional simply xbox gun shape controller with trigger and better recognizable shape for kinect.

  9. Grayda says:

    I’m not sure if newer models have this (I assume so?) but older Guncon pistols had buttons built right in to the gun for movement and such. It’d be far more interesting if you combined one of those with Kinect.

    You could use the gun to point, shoot and basic movement, and use one hand for opening doors or interacting with objects and such.

    In Penumbra, you have to click and drag on objects to move them (doors must be manually swung open, lids of boxes must be dragged off, pickaxes swung etc.). If you applied that idea to games, they’d be so much better.

    And the less time you have to spend holding your arm up, the better.

    But at least this hack is starting to get people thinking about new ways to play. Initially, it was “Hold your arms up and interact!” but that got old, fast.

  10. mario says:

    I would love to see hand signals (tom clancy games), object interaction (doors, buttons, etc.), advanced hand-to-hand combat, etc. using a kinect, but built upon traditional FPS techniques with controller, or advanced with a gun controller. I think it would be important though that the kinect be used to supplement existing gaming techniques, rather than try to replace them.

    It would be really impressive if the kinect was capable of sensing slight tilting of the torso, and mapping that to movement, along with other minimal body movements that didn’t leave the player feeling exhausted after 5 minutes, leaving fingers open to more fine-tuned movements. However, I doubt the current generation of hardware would be capable of doing this precisely.

  11. edonovan says:

    As a proof of concept, it seems nice and gets the brain thinking, but there has to be a more natural approach for FPS gaming.

    I don’t know the capabilities of the kinect, but it seems prop rifles and pistols would be better interfaces for an fps (thumb control for forward/backward, angle detection for aiming). It would free up hand gestures for signals to your squad or interacting with objects, and you wouldn’t need to throw bullets.

    I’d try my hand at it, but I cannot afford a toy rifle, let alone a kinect. Maybe I’ll just whip up some design specs for a future endeavor :D

  12. Alex Poolton says:

    Note to Mod: Duplicated this as I accidentally posted it in the wrong place. Cheers :)

    Thanks for all the feedback guys :)

    As said in the article, it was rough around the edges. But as a proof of concept, created within 8 weeks, I was happy with it. Although, at some point in the near future, I’ll try and see if I can add some more functionality, and really polish it up, especially based on the feedback, gamers/enthusiasts, such as yourself are giving me. Again cheers for the comments :)

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