The PS3 exclusive beat-em up Kung-Fu Live uses the Playstation Eye to create a fighting experience seemingly on par with anything Kinect is offering. Virtual Air Guitar's Teemu Mäki-Patola answers our questions...
Q. So, Kung-Fu Live is squeezing a lot of power out of the PS Eye - how does it compare to what we're seeing from Kinect? What are the technical limitations, and how do you overcome them?
Our Freemotion technology is doing similar stuff. For instance, in addition to removing the player's background we also track the player's skeleton, which is used for various things such as collision detection, pose recognition, movement exaggeration and detecting special moves. The difference is that we are doing this with a normal 2D web camera. Detecting depth of the player's moves is harder.
Q. So the software is tracking limbs here? Can the game tell the difference between a punch and a kick?
Yes, it is indeed doing full-body skeleton tracking and tracks all limbs, torso and head. So it can also tell if the colliding part is a punch or a kick.
This is an ad:
Q. Will faster movements do more damage?
We tried this but ended up building a combo logic based on window of opportunity, counter attacks, consecutive hits and on detecting ducking and evading. We felt that this produced better results. Speed detection is used only for evaluating if your attack is fast enough to make damage at all.
Q. How will multiplayer work - can you explain why you made the decision for additional players to use pads rather than their own bodies?
This is an ad:
The decision is rather obvious when you observe two or more people kicking and wailing around close to each other (within the same camera's image). We cannot guarantee that they would not bump into each other, making that kind of multiplayer quite unsafe. The up-to-5-people simultaneous multiplayer mode that we ended up making is a fun social brawl, where you can gang up on your friend on the camera and see his resulting struggle. We have found this to be awesome fun. We've seen, for example, kids have a crazy blast beating their dad on camera. We haven't been too worried about balancing as this mode is more about the fun and social aspect but still have made it so that the camera player has a real chance.
Q. Can you use any real-world object as an in-game weapon?
Yes. Whatever you hold in your hand scans in as well. We are limiting the length of the items, though, to avoid making the game too easy with extra items. If the item is very long, the game might cut it shorter but objects of medium size such as clubs, rubber chickens etc. work nicely.
Q. Are you considering working with Move in future? Or implementing support into KFL?
We are interested in Move and have several concepts drafted for its use.
Q. What game modes can we expect? Single player campaign? Online co-op/competitive fights?
You can expect a single player campaign with an awesome comic book story starring yourself, local simultaneous multiplayer with one on camera and up-to-four on game pads, turn based competitions, a really cool custom fight editor where you can choose which enemies to fight and where, and quite a few special survival modes where you try to go as far as you can.
Q. Finally, have any of you guys injured yourselves/each other while playing? Looks like it could be dangerous!
Perhaps a bit surprisingly we haven't had a single injury (knocking on wood). Not in our company and not with the couple thousand people that have played the demos at consumer festivals. With that empirical data I have to conclude that it has to be much safer than it looks!
Kung-Fu Live releases on PSN at the end of November.