By Alexander d’Authreau
Innovation in the gaming industry can be a funny curve. Companies starting off new, quick and sexy often become yawning dinosaurs within years. Gamers and tech-heads alike could be forgiven a degree of pessimism with the knowledge that the main ‘innovation’ from Xbox is an online, virtual police state, and that Square-Enix are releasing a remake of Final Fantasy X, a game extraordinary only in it’s mediocrity. Sales predictions are as upbeat and optimistic as the death of Aeris.
But rest assured otaku brethren! All is not lost and the future is brighter everyday. Sent into the far hidden reaches of the Tokyo Game Show we’ve picked out the top three products and inventions. Enjoy!
Iphone/Ipad (coming soon to Android)
As you play this 3D space shooter from indie outfit Quibit Games, you pick up different coloured blocks which are used to build and unlock different playable ships. We use the term “ship” loosely, as it can be anything from a rubber duck to a toilet.
So far so good, but here’s where it gets interesting: They have an intuitive 3D editor which allows you to use collected blocks to create your own ship. This can then be posted on the in-game gallery or social media sites such as Facebook, allowing you to download your friend’s craft to your own game and vice-versa.
The studio’s partnership with a 3D-printing company takes the idea even further. By simply selecting an option from the menu a price is calculated (based presumably, on the number of blocks and the selected scale) to have your design sent straight to your doorstep as a 3D model. We expect they’ll be doing a lot of penis and boob-shaped 3D printing for teenage boys in the near future.
Spidar-G 3D Haptic Mouse
We had no idea what this object was at first, and a short broken Japanese conversation didn’t manage to glean much information, but they were very nice gentlemen and let us try their mystery machine. After gripping the ball we observed as all of our movements were translated to the control of a 3D block on the monitor. When we ‘encountered resistance’ (read: bashed blocks like a playful child), the feeling was translated, very convincingly, to the hand via motors connected to the wires.
The overall effect was extremely realistic and we’re looking forward to seeing how the technology could be used (we’d love to hear any suggestions in the comments).
Qumarion Mannequin with Clip Studio Action Software
Taking the appearance of a traditional wooden artist’s mannequin, this device allows you to manipulate a figure as the exact posture is displayed in the form of a 3D avatar, dramatically cutting down the length of time required by CG artists and animators to realistically pose their subjects.
A representative from Celsys demonstrated its use with a cute cel-shaded idol on the monitor (because… Japan!). He selected the background of a concert stage and had her act out a dance routine by moving the mannequin to various positions and setting up hit points as the software did the rest.