Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nintendo announces ´LiveMove´ development tool



Nintendo has announced the release of a development tool called ´LiveMove´ that they describe as "a groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence product, that enables the Wii Remote™ to learn."

The tool was developed in conjunction with California-based Artificial Intelligence specialist AiLive and will allow developers to define specific controller moves without any coding or scripting, according to Nintendo´s press release:

Instead of complicated programming, developers need only take a few minutes to train the Wii Remote by examples. LiveMove lets developers focus directly on creative work without the burden of onerous coding requirements, helping them quickly unleash the potential of Wii™. The only limitation is the game creator's imagination.

The tool is available to developers working on Wii projects only and bears a relatively cheap license fee of $2.500.

Just how will it work? Well, here is an interesting video which illustrates just that (as well as the demonstrator´s crazy bird moves fetish).



Below are some interesting examples that further help to illustrate how ´LiveMove´ can help developers. See if you can answer these two little puzzlers. The answers are left as a comment to this post.



Which graphs correspond to the action of a lasso being thrown? Which show whip actions?


Which numbers from 0 to 4 are being drawn in each of these graphs?



This is going to be a very helpful development tool, no doubt about it. When I visited Ubisoft Paris in April for the ´Red Steel´ first-look session, I vividly remember the developer starting his lengthy talk about the development process by saying that they initially had to organize their 3D space.

With that complicated part out of the way, developers can now spend much more time on actually designing a game - like the great mini-game in the instructional video above. This tool could easily prove as important to Wii as XNA is to Xbox360 - and will undoubtedly attract more independent studios to the platform.

Sources: Nintendo press server, Google Video, AiLive white paper
Thanks to: Joystiq

27 comments:

Falafelkid said...

Here are the answers to those two puzzlers:

Which graphs correspond to the action of a lasso being thrown? Which show whip actions?

Whipping action is shown in the top left and the lower right fields.

Which numbers from 0 to 4 are being drawn in each of these graphs?

They all show actions of the number ´2´ being drawn.

Nomadx469 said...

hey Falafel, do you think it could be implemented to virtual console games

Anonymous said...

I have to say I'm quite impressed of Red Steel.
It looks good.
Nice lightning, colour-power, art direction.

And remember this is a launch title.

Just imagine how much further Red Steel team could push Wii if they decided to cary on with the franchise (and less pressure I should add).

The only minor gripe I have with the visual presentation are the enemy character clothes :

While the lightning safes them from looking totally half assed they certainly lack real pleats nontheless.
It looks a little static on some of the characters but thats about it.
Still a good sign of things to come if the new videos are any indication.

910do said...

That's the Revolution right there !!!, it's amazing, I did some robotics back in the day, and this actually has a lot of potential in robot movements and such !!! great

Falafelkid said...

There is another great editorial over on Next-Gen, this time about the impact the first Wii television commercial had in Japan. Great read, as ever.

Hi Nomad.

Do you think it could be implemented to virtual console games

I sure hope so. But this tool is going to be for approved Wii developers only. After all, while $2.500 is next to nothing even for a small developer, it would be big money for any private person. This is a proper middleware tool, for developers only.

Grandmaster B said...

Yeh I read that earlier and saw the add when it come out. I like simple ads like that. Get's people talking from the mystery. Good marketing.

Falafelkid said...

Hi Grandmaster. Agreed, remember the flawed N-Gage ads ("This is where i beat him...") where they showed neither the hardware, nor the games?

It´s good to focus on the product and with Wii. You have to establish the hardware first, then show some games alongside the controller. Keep it simple and don´t try anything fancy, that´s my motto.

Also, check Gamespot´s COD3 hands-on, comparing each of the three next-gen versions of the game. Here´s the brief on the Wii version:

It's reasonable to expect that the relatively weaker system will have fewer enemies and simplified geometry in some parts, but in terms of storyline, basic level design, and so on, you're getting the same game across all three platforms.

The Wii version naturally doesn't feature the extreme detail of the other versions, but it does play much like we're coming to expect first-person shooters to play on this unique new platform.

Sylver said...

@ Falafel:

its been more than often mentioned that the VC is more than just a platform for old games... think live arcade... it'd be sweet to geometry wars stle things for a couple of bucks. plus a lot can be done with this software, so i dont see why not to use it on vc. plus, i belive programming for the controls was the single most time consuming task for the wii. it is great middleware software, and it'll make ports way more easy. remember what renderware meant for the industry? halo, gta, burnout.. all great games in middleware engines... wish they made it free and release an sdk for wii, so we could have homebrew games :)

Anonymous said...

THIS IS GREAT NEWS IT GIVES DEVELOPERS MORE SPACE to polish a game rather than struggle with development a wiimote set up that might take 6 months to develope may only take a week with this kit combine that with wiis easy development its looking rather rosey for wii fans

some guy said...

Good news for Nintendo, (although not entirely unexpected) Game Stop/EB Games sold out of all of their Wii pre-orders in minutes. It seems that both the PS3 and Wii are in high demand in North America. I think that this is real good for competition, though the Christmas holiday belongs to Nintendo considering they will win by sheer volume of units (2 million + units) opposed to Sony’s 1.2 million units shipped by the holidays at most.

Anonymous said...

THIS BLOG SOMEHOW LOST ALL ITS ENERGY
EVER SINCE.....



SAD.



R.I.P

Falafelkid said...

Hi Some Guy.

The Christmas holiday belongs to Nintendo considering they will win by sheer volume of units (2 million + units) opposed to Sony’s 1.2 million units shipped by the holidays at most.

Absolutely agreed. Even those who believe that the PS3 will eventually come out tops admit that it will be in third place to start off with. Here´s what president of Famitsu publisher Enterbrain told Joystiq:

The PS3 will have a tough time globally at the initial stage. Its launch titles in Japan and exclusive software titles overseas are quite limited. But its overwhelmingly realistic graphics will give it a long life span. It will stay competitive even when a game console battle breaks out among a newer generation of machines in 2010. Sales should grow every time Sony cuts prices.

This here is the real issue: Will Sony have the muscle to overcome what will undoubtedly become a shaky and fumbled launch? Will third parties believe that Sony can turn things around and stay with them through this period?

If so, Sony may have cleverly skipped a generation and saved billions in hardware development costs compared to its competitors. If not, the PS3 as a platform might be dead before it ever reaches a mass market price point.

Either way, I personally don´t think that PlayStation3 is able to compete with an Xbox720 and a Wii Next in 2010. Skipping a generation, I believe, cannot be done in this business. The original PlayStation had an astoundingly long shelf life, but it was never able to compete with the Dreamcast and Xbox.

Alleged-Rapist said...

I see this being used for mechanical gestures, such as a sword slash, but I don't see this being for gestures based on what is in the environment. For example, will this work for games where you have to hit a ball based on how fast it's going or where's its position is? To me, the exitement in the controller is being able to perform actions as if you were in a virtual world. This tools seems too much like a macro (the macros in MS Word, that is). A game like Zelda or Red Steel would suit this, because I doubt that swishing the controller at an angle would correspond to the sword swishing the sword at the same angle in those games.

Falafelkid said...

Hi A-R.

I guess you are right. This tool is only for games where a specific movement triggers specific code (like a pre-rendered scene). It seems as if the tool is not helpful when the controller movement is replicated on-screen one-to-one. Good point. But, I guess, the latter will only really be the case with bigger budget productions like Red Steel, who don´t need middleware tools like this one as much.

hj said...

Despite it's suite best for specific move trigger, nothing restrains developers to feed the gpu with 1:1 movement onscreen and also feeding LiveMove to know what the result.

a Harry Potter game for example : you see Harry potter' hand+wand moving like yours and at the same time, LiveMove analyse it and the end of a spell gesture, it trigger the action.

exXxodus said...

Nice Blog. Even good news, so Nintendos support towarts the developers is very good. I think to create a good base there must be support.

Last gen, Nintendo forgot this support, so the Nintendo GameCube got to less exclusiv titels.

With this "tool" it is so much easier to develope games, even for "low-size-developers".
Its like Microsofts "DNA", which allows those "low-size-developers" to realize their projects and let their creativity run wild.

Maybe one day you can download these small-games at the "virtual-console".

some guy said...

Hi Falafelkid,

"This here is the real issue: Will Sony have the muscle to overcome what will undoubtedly become a shaky and fumbled launch? Will third parties believe that Sony can turn things around and stay with them through this period?”

I think they could, just not in the beginning. (No, I’m not a Sony fan, just being objective) It will just take some time, the PS3 isn’t going to disappear just because the Wii outsells it during the holidays. Sony will continue to push the PS3 since they also have the future of BLU-RAY riding on this as well. With the inevitable price cuts and release of AAA titles (something that the launch is definitely lacking) Sony could end up at the number 1 spot for the third generation in a row. Not saying that this will happen, just a possibility.

Just look at the Nintendo DS; the launch was mediocre at best in Japan and in the US (not sure how it went in Europe) and the media quickly declared the PSP the winner since it had a great launch. UMD movie titles sold out in the beginning. Several titles sold over 100,000 in a few days, but then it all began to slow down. With the lack of any solid game titles consumers started to turn to the DS. And we all know the DS ended up crushing the PSP in global sales. (both hardware and software) Not to mention that UMD is all but dead now.

My fear is that many are already declaring the Wii the winner solely based off of launch sales projections. If launch sales translated into victory then PSP would be the number one handheld and the N64 would have crushed the playstation. (N64 sold over 500,000 units in a few hours in Japan, similar sales in the US). It all comes down to quality software that will appeal to the majority of consumers.

As for skipping a generation I fully agree with you, it can not be done in the video games industry. Unless the Cell processor can self generate new and more advanced Cells.

Before people say I’m just being a Sony fan by even thinking that PS3 could do sell somewhat well just know that I am buying a Nintendo Wii this year and not a PS3. (BLU-RAY DRM scares me)

Now I am just adding text to the bottom to make my post seem even longer, but most people don’t read past the first five lines so they won’t notice :)

Arsenis said...

@ some guy

the things you pointed, like having more titles and a big variety is what Ninty is trying to do, thats the reason it will tale a lotta time for Sony to catch up.

macserv said...

This could be good or bad. On the one hand, it speeds up development. On the other hand, it gives the industry an excuse not to implement 1-to-1 interpretation of movement, which is very difficult to do correctly.

Take swordfighting, for example. In a 1-to-1 game, the sword moves onscreen as the Wii remote moves in your hands. To defend against a downward blow, you'd need to hold your sword above your head. To defend against a crosscut, you'd need to have the remote vertical, and to the side.

With LiveMove, you'd make a general "defend" gesture, and it performs the animation on screen which was programmed into the game. There is a tiny delay, and it does not necessarily mimick your actual movements.

Both types of input are desirable for different games. I just hope the industry puts in the effort when it should.

Grandmaster B said...

As for skipping a generation I fully agree with you, it can not be done in the video games industry. Unless the Cell processor can self generate new and more advanced Cells.

I find that funny.

2007 Xmas should determine who should end up on top, unless its neck and neck. But really I dont know how a expensive machine should sell as many as a machine that costs more than half less. Well I can if the Wii ends up like GC since the PS2 outsold everything else by 1m miles. But given the expectations, it should be a lot closer this time around.

Steven Kent said...

A few months ago, I met with an executive on the Xbox team who made a most incredible statement. He said, "There are only two properties that count in video games right now, Halo and Grand Theft Auto."

I had to disagree. "You're forgetting about Mario," I said.

He admitted that he was forgetting about Mario; but he also said, "Mario isn't as big as he used to be."

Microsoft executives have a pretty good reason for burying their heads in the sand when it comes to Mario. They have an equally good reason to play dumb when it comes to Gran Turismo. For the last year Microsoft has had the next generation console market pretty much to itself. Next month, Nintendo and Sony are going to cut in on that dance.

Here are my predictions:

First a no-brainer--Microsoft will womp everyone this Christmas.

Why is this a no-brainer? Look, Sony and Nintendo are going to come to market with a few hundred thousand consoles to sell. Microsoft will have millions of consoles in inventory. Microsoft has worked out the manufacturing glitches. This is not a question of quality, it is a fact of quantity. Microsoft is simply going to have more boxes on store shelves.

If you want an example of how this happens, think back to the Christmas of 2001. That November, Xbox and GameCube were the new systems coming after a very lackluster first year of PlayStation 2. What happened? Microsoft and Nintendo sold everything they had in stock. Sony did not. But that did not change the outcome of the holidays. Sony limped into that holiday season with a two million console lead and it waltzed out of that holiday season with a three million console lead.

As Sony Computer Entertainment America senior vice president Jack Tretton said in an interview, “If they are going to catch up to us, they better start closing the gap."

They never did.

Look for Xbox 360, with its larger inventory, better price point, and second generation games to pull away from the competition this Christmas.

Now to the wild card--Wii.

In my mind, Nintendo is like a wonderful old friend who has a drinking problem. You like the friend, you like to spend time with the friend, but every so often bad behaviors come up and remind you that this friend has problems.

Look, the Wii is a souped up GameCube with a clever new controller and the ability to go online. Nintendo dazzled us all last E3, myself included. No one handles E3 politics like Sony, but no one manages E3 hype like Nintendo. And why not? Nintendo is everybody's old friend. We all grew up with Mario.

I like the look of Wii. I got a major kick out of Wii Tennis. Mario Galaxies was my favorite game at E3. You can take you Bioshocks and Sain't Rows, give me a good Mario adventure any day.

Like the old friend with the drinking problem, Nintendo is quick to fess up to old faults. "Yes, we really screwed up using cartridge format on N64. Yes, we did not support GameCube the way we said we would. Yes, we have been hard on third-party publishers in the past. Virtual Boy... oh, what were we thinking?"

And, like the old friend with the drinking problem, Nintendo bows its head after making these confessions and says, "We've learned our lesson."

And maybe Nintendo has learned its lesson. Maybe Nintendo has only learned the right things to say. The jury is out.

Here is what worries me. Nintendo promised that Wii would feature DVD playback and pulled it. In the past, Nintendo was a company with a knack for breaking promises. Nintendo says it will stick to its guns when it comes to making promises from here on out. Personally, I do not consider DVD playback a deal-breaker. If Nintendo can deliver on all of its other promises, that will be good enough.

What concerns me more is greed. Yes, corporations exist for one reason, to make a profit. Some companies manage this objective with subtlety and slight of hand. When it comes to corporate greed, Nintendo has all the subtlety of a pregnant elephant.

Observe... Wii is a souped up GameCube. Nintendo has even told some developers to create Wii games using GameCube development kits. Nintendo boasts long and loud that it can sell GameCubes for a profit at $149, so why charge $249 for Wii.

Oh yes, I know, Wii has built-in WiFi, Internet, and a fancy controller. It is approximately twice as powerful as GameCube. Fine, charge more... but $100 dollars more? Nintendo epitomized the "give away the razors to sell the blades" philosophy when it launched its NES in 1985-6. Now it wants to make money on both blades and razors while Sony and Microsoft still hand out razors for a loss.

Some will argue that Wii comes with a game packed into the box--Wii Sports. In my mind that justification makes Wii Sports the most expensive game since SEGA released Virtua Racing for Genesis with an processors chip built into the cartridge. Would you really pay $50 for Wii Sports if Nintendo sold it sepearately? Nintendo expects you to spend $249 instead of $199 or possibly $149 to buy a Wii because that game is packed into the box.

My biggest concern with Wii, though, is that Nintendo will run out of ideas for utilizing the controller. I'll tell you what, if Nintendo can keep up the quality with Wii... if we get more than one Mario adventure in this generation... if Nintendo lives up to this whole "it's all about innovation and fun" slogan it is unleashing, than Wii is well worth the $250 pricetag.

If, on the other hand, Nintendo starts to run out of new ideas six months down the line, as it did with Virtual Boy, Wii will be a major ripoff. If, come August, Nintendo starts pushing a standard controller and saying, "Hey, Wii plays regular games galore!", then Nintendo will have pulled yet another scam on the game-buying public.

Do I think Nintendo will do that? I do not know what I think. I am that confused. Nintendo scammed us all with N64, Virtual Boy, and GameCube. On the other hand, Nintendo has mostly stuck to its guns with DS. As I said before, Nintendo is that wonderful old friend with the drinking habit who now says he's reformed.

I hope it is so.

And now a word about Sony. I once wrote PlayStation 3 off entirely. I have revised that opinion. I veiw Nintendo as likely to do good with a lot of potential to screw up. I view Sony as likely to screw up with a great potential to succeed.

My biggest problem with PlayStation 3 is not the $600 price, which is frankly more reasonable than the $250 Nintendo is charging for Wii, when you consider what you get for your money. My problem with Sony is that I do not think Blu-Ray will succeed.

Sony knows that companies that launch successful new media make big, big money. The problem is, Sony's media never seem to take off. Betamax, UMD, Memory Stick--none of them have shaken the Earth. As for Blu-Ray... the prognosis does not look good. The reason people switched from vynal records to CDs was becasue they were tired of wapred records and stretched cassettes. The reason people switched from VHS to DVD was because folks were genuinely tired of VHS.

Do you know anyone who is tired of DVD as a format? Middle America is not ready to switch to $1,000 Blu-Ray decks and $60 Blu-Ray discs when DVDs cost $15 and DVD players cost $40. Heck, tests are showing that HD-DVD offers better resolution.

To me, Blu-Ray has laser disc written all over it. Do you remember laserdisc? Those were the LP-sized movie discs that came out in the seventies. Audiofiles loved 'em because they had a clearer picture than VHS, but laserdisc limped along for over a decade before DVD drove a stylus through its heart.

The success or failure of PlayStation 3 may ultimately be a referendum on the feasability of Blu-Ray and not a judgement of Sony as a game company.

Can PlayStation 3 succeed? I think that in order for the console to succeed, the PlayStation division may need to pull the rest of Sony out of the mire.

Grandmaster B said...

You can talk all you want about succeeding in sales. The fact is Nintendo makes money and will continue to whatever the PS3 or Xbox 360 does. How much depends on the other manufacturer's success. The others are banking on too much.

Nintendo are making plenty of money and continue to do so, the others do not and will not in the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...

"You can talk all you want about succeeding in sales. The fact is Nintendo makes money and will continue to whatever the PS3 or Xbox 360 does. How much depends on the other manufacturer's success. The others are banking on too much.

Nintendo are making plenty of money and continue to do so, the others do not and will not in the foreseeable future. "



Pure-pointless-blind-blotted-ignorant-stupid-tactless-unneccessary-annoying-pathetic-retarded-fanboyism

some guy said...

I am getting the feeling that people are not reading an entire post before responding. Please don’t skim through and cherry pick some ones post just to find one quote that you don’t like. More then likely you will be taking it out of context.

@ arsenis

”the things you pointed, like having more titles and a big variety is what Ninty is trying to do, thats the reason it will tale a lotta time for Sony to catch up.”

I never said that Nintendo wasn’t releasing a variety of quality titles. In fact they will have the best line up out of the three of them. My post was about Sony and if they could recover from a poor launch. In fact I said the following:

”With the inevitable price cuts and release of AAA titles (something that the launch is definitely lacking) Sony could end up at the number 1 spot for the third generation in a row.”

I am stating that Sony has no launch line up and that it will take them nearly a year before you start seeing the triple-A titles. Nintendo will have triple-A title from the start (Zelda, Metriod Prime 3 and Mario not long after). Remember I said that it is only a possibility for Sony to come out on top, not a fact. Just as it is a possibility that Microsoft or Nintendo could come out on top.

@ Grandmaster B

I am not sure I am reading your post correctly. Not sure if you are agreeing with me or disagreeing. I was agreeing with Fal that Sony could not skip a generation and have the PS3 go for 10 years. Your response was regarding the Xmas 2007 sales. So I am taking that as you agreeing with me that the PS3 will not last 10 years.

Anonymous said...

So what ever happened to Smash Bros. at Wii launch???

Arsenis said...

@ SomeGuy

I wasn't arguing with you I was just saying it will take some time for sony to catch up...

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