Platform: Xbox One & Kinect 2.0
With a new console generation on the horizon, the studio assembled its most experienced staff to create a brand new next-gen Kinect game.
The new game would be more immersive than previous titles, allowing the player to freely navigate in an environment. As someone who had spent countless hours with Kinect hardware and players, I was tapped to design a control scheme that would feel natural, intuitive, and comfortable for long periods of play.
I began with systems of real-world steering, inspired by cycling, surfing, and bird flight. Subtle core movements could control most manoeuvres, with a few discrete motions to change to direction and momentum. I showed players mockups of gameplay footage and asked them how they would control the character using these themes. Trends quickly emerged— nearly everyone steered by leaning forward, back or side to side. They twisted their torsos to turn corners, and held out their hands to stop or slow down.
I designed a library of motions — easy to execute, natural to transition between, and distinct enough for Kinect to interpret. We found that folks tended to mimic the movements of the player character, so we leveraged his body animations to help teach the standards of the gesture language.
From here the process involved capturing as many gesture variations as I could and feeding them into our machine-learning system. I worked with the design and engineering teams to build telemetric tracking for controls and collectibles, so we could pinpoint instances where things almost worked, and assess common misfires and their causes. Creating these systems proved enormously valuable experience as we moved on to create our next Kinect experience.
My contributions included...
Typical design questions