Sunday, 14 June 2009

Go Johnny go go go go..

Fantastic news for Natal enthusiasts still holding out for the verdict as to whether what we saw at E3 was real or dressed up fantasy. Impressions coming out of E3 have been very positive, but it still feels very much a believe it when I see it kind of experience. The cautious optimism however is gradually being replaced by downright frenzied excitement with the word that Johnny Chung Lee is part of the development team. You may recall Johnny Lee is the genius behind various Wii remote related applications, that pushed the boundaries of what technology could be made to do in the home. We all probably thought Nintendo would snap him up, but they have, it appears, been caught napping, and it's Microsoft who have made a very very wise decision.

Of Natal, on his blog Lee says "The human tracking algorithms that the teams have developed are well ahead of the state of the art in computer vision in this domain. The sophistication and performance of the algorithms rival or exceed anything that I've seen in academic research, never mind a consumer product". Strong praise indeed, and to have it come from the most recognised academic developer of home made motion tracking, bodes very well for Natal's credibility.

Lee is working on "making sure this can transition from the E3 stage to your living room", so I just got a whole lot more excited for how we'll be playing games in a few years time. As Lee says, "We would all love to one day have our own personal holodeck. This is a pretty measurable step in that direction." Blimey! Do want.

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