Microsoft’s new technology transforms your room into a video game

In an unprecedented and long-awaited move, Microsoft has patented a new gaming console that blends projector and Xbox/Kinect technology to take the video game environment literally outside the box and into your home.  The patent should serve to keep Google’s competing Interactive Spaces project at bay, a project that also uses projection and cameras to map locations and movement using blob-tracking.  The console, being touted as Xbox 720/Kinect V2, projects the 360 degree video game display onto all four of your walls, encompassing you in the game and making your room into the game environment.  It tracks furniture positions and adjusts the projection to visually eliminate them from the environment.

Thanks to science, we are one step closer to creating the Holodeck.   I’m so excited that this is happening in my lifetime.  I think it’s something that every gamer has dreamed of at least once in his or her childhood.  The project is estimated to be under construction for another few years.  In the meantime, you can start working on your startle response so you don’t wet yourself when Left 4 Dead’s Hunter pops out from behind your bed.

Here’s some more technical context for the ‘Immersive Display Experience”  (Source: US Patent via WP7’s site.)

A data-holding subsystem holding instructions executable by a logic subsystem is provided. The instructions are configured to output a primary image to a primary display for display by the primary display, and output a peripheral image to an environmental display for projection by the environmental display on an environmental surface of a display environment so that the peripheral image appears as an extension of the primary image.

An interactive computing system configured to provide an immersive display experience within a display environment, the system comprising: a peripheral input configured to receive depth input from a depth camera; a primary display output configured to output a primary image to a primary display device; an environmental display output configured to output a peripheral image to an environmental display; a logic subsystem operatively connectable to the depth camera via the peripheral input, to the primary display via the primary display output, and to the environmental display via the environmental display output; and a data-holding subsystem holding instructions executable by the logic subsystem to: within the display environment, track a user position using the depth input received from the depth camera, and output a peripheral image to the environmental display for projection onto an environmental surface of the display environment so that the peripheral image appears as an extension of the primary image and shields a portion of the user position from light projected from the environmental display.

[0002] An immersive display environment is provided to a human user by projecting a peripheral image onto environmental surfaces around the user. The peripheral images serve as an extension to a primary image displayed on a primary display.

[0003] This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter. Furthermore, the claimed subject matter is not limited to implementations that solve any or all disadvantages noted in any part of this disclosure.

Source: US Patent via WP7’s site.



Try Googling “Zerg Rush” for an Interactive Google Experience…

This morning my brother told me to google “zerg rush,” which, to anyone who doesn’t play Starcraft, means complete gibberish.  Still unsure if it was work-friendly or if Zerg was a word for some kind of freaky porn, I decided to take the risk and do it anyway.  For the ladies in the house who don’t dork out on the regsies: zerg rush is a Starcraft reference for battling insectoids.

When you google ‘zerg rush,’ the O’s from Google’s logo launch an attack on your search results, eating them up unless you have extraordinary index finger strength to click them all away before they do any damage.  Even if this is true, you will still lose, I don’t care how good you are at Starcraft.  When the deed is done, you have the option to submit, share, and compare your score with others.

This is the first instance of interactive search engines that I’ve ever seen, and it means exciting things for the future.  What if you were to launch a completely interactive search engine?  What is the intention and reward from doing this?  Well, in Google’s case, it does a few things: 1. They’ve pioneered the interactive search engine style, claiming it as theirs. 2. They will draw even more people to their site while this goes viral, attracting fringe audiences, gamers, and nerds. 3. They can test out interaction on google to see how well it does, how many people it draws, and as a result, it serves as a prototype for future interactive implementation. So, it could and probably will be a huge moneymaker for them.

Google didn’t really need to test this out, since it’s pretty obvious that adding interactivity to any commercial product will take you straight to the bank.  We can’t help it-we’re a curious species and we’ve been wanting to push random buttons since we were toddlers (how often did you argue with siblings over who gets to push the elevator button…?). But I’m glad they did, because they are giving us a taste of what’s yet to come, and I can’t wait to see more.

If you’re still reading this and you haven’t googled Zerg Rush yet, what’s wrong with you?? Go do it! Get ready and click here.

3 Sweet Adventurous Video Games for 2012

1. Botanicula (release: April 19, 2012)

Very much like Limbo, adventure game Botanicula takes you on a journey through beautiful scenery, challenging puzzles, and heartless adversaries.  It’s a follow-up from Machinarium, and is to be released April 19 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Gorgeous animation makes it all the more fun:

2. Closure (available for purchase)

Closure reminds me even more of Limbo (have I played that too much?) in its high contrast, black-and-white aesthetic adventure style.  What’s so creative about it is that your environment is based on your light source; where there is darkness, there is literally nothingness. Solve all the puzzles, and don’t fall!

3. Journey (released March 2012)

This adventure game for PS3 strikes a balance between the Final Fantasy series and Okami, but with a subtler, more introspective tone.  That Game Company describes it as this:

“Faced with rolling sand dunes, age-old ruins, caves and howling winds, your passage will not be an easy one. The goal is to get to the mountaintop, but the experience is discovering who you are, what this place is, and what is your purpose.”

Watch the trailer below to get excited:

Sources: Kotaku, That Game Company

No Guts No Glory: Comics ZOMBIFIED

I’m going to be a little harsh here, which I don’t usually do.  But I take my zombie interest very seriously, and if you’re going to put the time and effort into drawing zombie portraits of famous comic book characters, you should at the very least make it Badass (with a capital B, of course).  How about some innards stuck in Archie’s teeth? Better yet, he ate Betty and Veronica and is flossing with their hair?  When zombie Waldo goes all Night-of-the-Living-Dead on crowd of unknowing humans, is it easier to find him?  And it looks like Popeye gets to ditch the Spinach supplement in favor of some sweet Olive Oyl.

Anyway, I digress. You know what they say…no guts, no glory.  Here are the zombie portraits here by Andre de Freitas…

Source: Andre de Freitas

Interactive Website of the Week: Little Alchemy

Frustrating, humorous, straight forward, and soothing–these are all the qualities of playing Little Alchemy.  It’s a simple game of combining objects to make new objects (à la MineCraft), and so on and so on until you have items like “Cow” and “Ice Cream” from only four elements: water, fire, earth, and air.  Sort of like Legos, except without the rectangular constraints.  There are 240 possible combinations in total, with the option of using cheats and hints. Yes, I’ve been cheating.  The best part? You can save your progress, so you don’t need to start from scratch every time you have a few minutes to kill.

Check out the game here: Little Alchemy

Real-life Aerith Trolls Real-life Midgar Mako Reactors

Blogger Lana Sator snuck into NPO Energomash, a Russian military rocket factory outside Moscow.  The facility is so massive that it looks desolate despite the fact that it is still very much in use.  The sheer magnitude of the structures look like something out of a video game…specifically, Final Fantasy VII, my 13-year-old self’s favorite way to waste time.

“The open joint-stock company NPO Energomash named after academician V.P.Glushko is leading enterprise in the world on development of powerful liquid rocket engines for space launch-vehicles. The enterprise conducts the history since May 15th, 1929. For last years it has been developed here nearby 60 LPRE which were produced serially and were in operation and continue to be in operation in structure of space and military launch-vehicles.” –NPO Energomash Website

Can you tell the difference between the two?  I mean, yes, obviously you can unless you’re a f*ing idiot. But it’s still cool to compare:

And for a little fun comparison: