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The Motion-sensing Dead-end

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The Motion-sensing Dead-end

Unread postby icycalm » 07 Jan 2017 18:38

http://culture.vg/features/art-theory/t ... d-end.html

I just made a thread in the Oculus forum:

https://forums.oculus.com/community/dis ... g-dead-end

I wrote:The Motion-sensing Dead-end

Hello everyone. This is the title of an essay I just published on my website. Here is the link and a couple of quotes:

http://culture.vg/features/art-theory/t ... d-end.html

"In videogames, then, we want to AMPLIFY movement — that is our goal here. So that if I move my finger, Marcus Fenix cuts a Locust in half. We don't want to do the OPPOSITE, which is cut something in half in real life so that a few pixels on a screen will change color. How can you not see that that would be MORONIC?"

"I am in fact a huge advocate of motion sensing WHEN IT CAN BE DONE WITH 1:1 CORRESPONDENCE; i.e. when the motion the player performs is more or less identical with the one his avatar does. I would never for example dream of playing a flight sim without a stick, a racing game without a wheel, a light gun game without a light gun. But a 1:1 Street Fighter motion-sensing game? You want me to attempt to pull off in my living room Guile’s moveset, which doesn’t even make mechanical sense? Which defies even the laws of frigging physics? And SF and Guile are even some of the most tame examples of the genre I could give! Let’s not even get into the Guilty Gears and the Arcana Hearts! (which are the best games, by the way, precisely because they are the wildest, most imaginative ones)."

"The highest level of immersion in art can indeed only be achieved when the player is motionless. So motion controls are by definition a dead-end, as it says in the title of the essay you've been reading."


I hope some people here will take an interest in the ideas I am trying to disseminate. Thanks for reading.


I'll be looking for more VR-focused sites, whether run by enthusiasts or VR-related companies themselves, and starting the same thread, so if you have addresses to point me towards, post them here. Also, email addresses of people involved in the industry. I will make a nice little email and send it to all of them.
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Unread postby icycalm » 07 Jan 2017 19:07

Just emailed Mike Ambinder, Jeff Ballinger and Aaron Barber at Valve, from the following page: http://www.valvesoftware.com/company/people.html

It took three web browsers to send the emails, because it only allowed me one per browser. I know I could clean the cookies or whatever, but I don't care, I'd rather send a few emails every now and then until I've covered the entire list. This is the email I sent:

I wrote:Hello there. I just published an essay on my website titled "The Motion-sensing Dead-end", and I would like to bring it to your attention since you work at Valve, which is a major VR player. Here is the link and a couple of quotes:

http://culture.vg/features/art-theory/t ... d-end.html

"In videogames, then, we want to AMPLIFY movement — that is our goal here. So that if I move my finger, Marcus Fenix cuts a Locust in half. We don't want to do the OPPOSITE, which is cut something in half in real life so that a few pixels on a screen will change color. How can you not see that that would be MORONIC?"

"I am in fact a huge advocate of motion sensing WHEN IT CAN BE DONE WITH 1:1 CORRESPONDENCE; i.e. when the motion the player performs is more or less identical with the one his avatar does. I would never for example dream of playing a flight sim without a stick, a racing game without a wheel, a light gun game without a light gun. But a 1:1 Street Fighter motion-sensing game? You want me to attempt to pull off in my living room Guile’s moveset, which doesn’t even make mechanical sense? Which defies even the laws of frigging physics? And SF and Guile are even some of the most tame examples of the genre I could give! Let’s not even get into the Guilty Gears and the Arcana Hearts! (which are the best games, by the way, precisely because they are the wildest, most imaginative ones)."

"The highest level of immersion in art can indeed only be achieved when the player is motionless. So motion controls are by definition a dead-end, as it says in the title of the essay you've been reading."

I hope you will take an interest in the ideas I am trying to disseminate. Thanks for reading.
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Unread postby icycalm » 07 Jan 2017 19:15

Reminder to myself, when I move to the next company, to edit out the reference to Valve from the email and replace it with the new company's name.
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Unread postby Joshua » 07 Jan 2017 20:28

Can someone who already has a long-standing reddit account please post a link to the article in the Vive reddit? https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/

As far as I know that's the largest audience of VR enthusiasts on reddit, browsed regularly by both users and developers. The Oculus reddit is the second-largest, but I was able to post the link there: https://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comment ... g_deadend/

It looks like VRTalk has a much larger active user count than both of them combined, I'll have to look into registering an account there too...
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Unread postby icycalm » 08 Jan 2017 12:02

Emailed a few more Valve guys inc. Gaben. Also, privately messaged Palmer on Facebook, and wrote on Cliffy's wall: https://www.facebook.com/CliffBleszinski/

It's on the sidebar. He replied to the message two messages before mine, so it's pretty much a certainty he'll see it.

The Oculus and reddit threads are trainwrecks. Essentially, not a SINGLE person agreeing lol.

mothman made a thread on Select Button where ONE person says "he's not wrong". Too much to ask of him to say "he's right", I guess.

https://selectbutton.net/t/the-motion-s ... d-end/3663


Edit: Oh wait. Finally a decent response:

Raziel wrote:Oh boy I love this guy. Hilarious and always on point.
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Unread postby icycalm » 08 Jan 2017 12:40

Made a significant edit to the text.

Before:

I wrote:The disconnect between me hopping in place and Guile doing a somersault is far greater than the disconnect between me pressing up on the controller and Guile somersaulting. It’s more believable, not to mention far less physically strenuous, so that I can play SF for half a day if I want without having to train myself to endure 1000 jumps in place per hour.


After:

I wrote:The disconnect between me hopping in place and Guile doing a somersault is far greater than the disconnect between me pressing up on the controller and Guile somersaulting. If you don't understand why, google "uncanny valley"; this is the uncanny valley of motion sensing. And that's why the controller is more immersive in such scenarios; it's more believable, not to mention far less physically strenuous, so that I can play SF for half a day if I want without having to train myself to endure 1000 jumps in place per hour.
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Unread postby icycalm » 08 Jan 2017 13:05

You can help boost my post on Cliffy's wall by liking it and commenting on it. If he sees a dozen likes and comments there's no way he won't read it. And if you know the FB profiles of more people like him, post them here and I will visit them and post there too.
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Unread postby Some guy » 08 Jan 2017 21:04

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Unread postby Joshua » 10 Jan 2017 05:20

Experimenting with doing it as a text post and having my own title:
https://www.reddit.com/r/pcgaming/comme ... he_future/

A few responses so far. I want to refine my approach as much as possible before I try more important places like VRTalk.

Also, since icy was talking about emailing Gaben and Palmer, it reminded me of a couple things that have been said on the topic of where they intend to take VR in their companies. (Not that Luckey has any say anymore, but still.)

http://www.businessinsider.com/palmer-l ... -vr-future

When you look down while within a virtual space, it only feels natural to also see your hands floating in space along side you, responding to your most subtle movement. Virtual reality may be the future of gaming and online interaction, but tracking your hands, body, and feet is definitely the future of VR.

Luckey and the Oculus team know this — they've purchased a slew of computer vision startups in the past couple of years that all involve hand tracking — but they still need to give game developers the time to build rich games and experiences that incorporate this tech, even its Touch controllers.


Note that this paragraph seems to be the interviewer's own words after his interview with Palmer, but it's absolutely the direction they're going in, considering their massive investments into computer vision.

https://soundcloud.com/gameslice/valve

This is an audio interview I remember listening to a while ago, and to spare everyone the torture of listening to Gaben talk, I transcribed the relevant part:

Interviewer: How far out do you see where Valve is going right now?

Gaben: You try to look into the future, and you try to have an uncertainty function around that. Here's an example of a conversation that we actually have. So, you're working on the VR stuff, and you say, "How long is VR going to be stable?" Look at phones. Internally, we had this argument that the current smartphone is actually a fairly short-term platform. Compared to the keyboard/mouse/desktop PC, it's not going to be nearly as robust, and we'll transition fairly quickly to what we think VR is going to turn into. This weird idea of having this tiny screen at arm's length was really cool, it really was an accident of battery technology and an input methodology.

Then we look at VR and say how long will VR last, and we look at the research that is going on right now in terms of how you can directly stimulate people's optic nerves. There's some really great research that's being done figuring out how to encode signals directly into your brain. There's all this really clever stuff going into how can you... well, I'll jump ahead. It's reasonable to expect at some point that your neurons essentially have the equivalent of a MAC address, and you're just talking into people's brains using some 60GHz spectrum, so you're driving people's brains directly without surgery.

You look at that and you say, OK, if that actually happens, which parts of this are a waste of time? So spending a lot of time building really elaborate touch gestural systems -- probably a waste of time. Having good solutions for navigating virtual 3D environments with a high degree of presence -- probably a lot of that is going to map directly over to this world. A head-mounted display without a head-mounted display probably still looks a lot like VR, so a killer app in head-mounted display land is probably still a killer app when you are...

Interviewer: instead of your controller it's your hand, or your brain

Gaben: ... you look at that and you want to test to make sure that you're not investing in something that's sort of fragile. But at the same time you have to go all the way back and you have to look at the person whose desk is next to you and say, Is that person happy? Is that person having fun today? Is that person being productive today? So you have to manage these time-spans simultaneously, and every once in a while... it's like you're looking at the yield curve. Every once in a while something really long-term will cause you to... it will propagate all the way back into the present in terms of choices you're making. But a lot of times it's just this tail whipping out around. And all of these issues that you're trying to keep in your head at the same time.

Every once in a while, we'll see something that we thought would occur five years into the future... we thought five years ago something would be true, and then it is and we all high-five each other, and then, fairly often something will just come completely out of the blue that we don't anticipate at all that we need to react to in the next three months. So sometimes you have a really good idea of what's coming and sometimes you're completely wrong.


Seems like he would be easier to convince than Palmer. But as many people know, one of the best ways to convince Valve of something is to convince gamers to scream about it in large numbers. Hence my reddit spam.
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Unread postby icycalm » 10 Jan 2017 05:41

That new reddit thread is great.

Dissentient wrote:His point is that motion controls are pretty much useless for anything you can't map 1 to 1 to real motion, and if you can't do it, you are better off using conventional controls. And due to how severe that limitation is, it would apply almost everywhere other than games designed around this limitation.

So I personally expect most AAA VR games, whenever they happen, to use mostly conventional controls.


Very nice summing up of some of the main ideas (there is of course a lot more in the essay, and he of course missed the most important point: that maximum immersion DEMANDS motionlessness).

So you can achieve a lot more with a carefully considered posting strategy. I used to have the patience for it, but now I struggle to muster the energy for anything more than straight spamming. Keep doing it as long as you have the energy for it and as long as you are enjoying it. Personally, I would be happy with just one more thread on the VRTalk forum. By then we will have exposed enough people to the essay, and then they can pick up the ball and run with it.

Also, glad to see Gaben and his friends can look into the future on their own. However, even though they can roughly see that brain-jacking is the future, they still don't understand all the intricacies of exactly why this is so, which is where my essay comes in. You can see a lot further into the future, and with a lot more detail, if you understand exactly what is happening and how. My essay is on a whole other level of analysis than the simplistic "Brain jacking is the future because I saw it in The Matrix" on which Gaben and friends are operating.
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