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Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2009-06-08 06:27:21

Project Natal and Milo

It's been common knowledge that Microsoft has been working on motion controls for some time now, with rumors of an Minority Report-esque interface. Very few people took this seriously, but it's startling to see how robust Project Natal actually appears to be with its official unveiling at E3 2009.

This first vid is what Microsoft is aiming for:

These demonstration actual capability:

Now, I have zero interest in that paint program or ball hitting game, but there IS tremendous potential here. Instead of Nintendo's approach of manipulating a motion sensing device, Project Natal employs a camera and microphone to effect motion capturing for movement and interface controls, facial recognition, and voice input. I have no idea if or when desirable applications for this technology will arise, but the potential is undeniable.

Which brings us to Peter Molyneux's "Milo":

For those of you unfamiliar with Molyneux, he's the driving force behind such games as Black & White and Fable. He always over-promises with staggeringly visionary concepts so ambitious that they don't entirely pan out in final execution. This demo is...astounding. But one has to wonder how dynamic Milo actually is. How expansive an interaction can developers practically pull off?

For my fellow old-timers who have played text-only adventures or even primitive graphical adventures games, will remember how frustrating it was to get the computer to understand your intent. Due to the parser's limited vocabulary, you often had to attempt a myriad of command combinations to force yourself through these early games.

Project Natal looks solid from a hardware standpoint, but I fear the difficulties facing programmers attempting to harness its potential. Like those text command adventure games, it could take years for developers to get a handle on how to best implement the interface. Nevertheless, I have no idea when the first good Project Natal game will be realized, but unless this thing is extremely expensive, I'm looking forward to browsing my Netflix queue with flicks of my finger...

David Kang David Kang: (ktuna717-deleteme[at]-deleteme-yahoo [dot] com) 2009-06-06 16:13:36

Diplomacy III - Fall 1904 (updated with builds)

England - Little progress was made as Vargas triple teamed NOR only to meet a triple team defense. However, the Royal Navy remains in a dominant position loaded with attack options. Also, France's unexpected reinterest in the game required a defensive move into BRE that was wisely executed. POR has reopened as an option as France did not issue a disband order. However, terms with Italy must be negotiated as the Italians will surely have their own desire to take POR and screw England.

Germany - The Kaiser continues to march east as the Russians dig in for a seige. The Kreigsmarine has entered BAL and now will directly threaten the interior positions of Russia. The current strategy of the Anglo-German alliance seems to be to isolate Scandinavia by splitting the homeland support from the colonies. However, this plan would give England first spoils of war. Also, Germany must now be wary of their cousins to the south that may no longer need their support.

Italy - For some reason, Bill decided that the pirate's life was not for him. An army has returned to NAP and denied Austria an easy conquest. This will only slightly delay the inevitable conquest.

Austria - The Turkish campaign is over and the Italian campaign, short of a minor hiccup, is over as well. The vast bounty of war materiel has allowed the Hapsburgs to build a massive army that is capable of fighting a two front war. The Med conquest looks to be the next order of busiess as Italy collapses, but options abound in the Russo-German conflict with spare and bored armies roaming the frontiers.

Russia - Linda has dug her trenches well and deep. With many options for mutual support orders, her positions can be held for some time. With luck, Linda can repel the invaders long enough until England and Germany turn on each other. Otherwise, the only hope is Austria comes to her direct aid. Of note, Russia made a great gamble by marching Army SEV to provide defensive and maybe even an offensive option.

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