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EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes with SCEA Research & Development (Part 1)

Chris Morell's Avatar + Posted by Chris Morell on Aug 28, 2009 // Senior Social Media Specialist

During E3, we showcased a prototype for a new controller launching next year. We know you probably have a lot of questions, so we sat down with Richard Marks and Anton Mikhailov, two of the main brains behind the new controller, to get some insight on the E3 demo, the back-story behind development, and the future of this new technology.

Today, you’ll get an inside look at our R&D team—more specifically, who they are, what they do and how they took camera technology to the next level with the new controller. Check out the video below.

We’ll be posting more interviews with Rick and team over the next few weeks. Expect more info here soon…

//Add Your Own

200 Comments

51

+ davivman on August 28th, 2009 at 11:46 am said:

I’m actually very excited about this technology. I have a Wii also, and while I like the concept of some of its motion games games (e.g., wii sports, and mario and sonic at the olympic games), I get frustrated with the limitations in the acuracy and responsiveness of the wiimote. I even got the new motion plus with the Tiger Woods game and the improvement doesn’t seem to be that great. The technology of Sony’s motion controller looks a lot tighter. When you add that to the powerful physics calculation capabilities and gorgeous HD graphics of the PS3, I think there is the potential for some really fun games that some of my less hardcore family friends would be able to get into. I can’t wait!


52

+ DJnal05 on August 28th, 2009 at 11:46 am said:

Really looking forward for this device… buying it day one!!

its really hardcore with tracking… I really like how you guys are using camera, accelerometer and gyroscope… really smart move…

Now can we get hardcore games supporting this game?? really its the only reason why i didnt buy a wii…

good example
like Killzone 2 sinper will sixaxis!!

my suggestion… or my idea… I think it will a good idea to add a analog stick to the wand… jus imagine playing Killzone 2… u use the analog stick to move in/out and left/right… n the wand for aiming!! the color changes for medic/repair/Grenade…

Jus an idea!! plz dont flame!!


53

+ Callahan09 on August 28th, 2009 at 11:47 am said:

FANTASTIC!

Thank you so much for this video. I would love to see more R&D videos. Please make these sorts of videos a regular occurrence. Dr. Marks is a genius, and the Sony motion controller / PSeye combo is definitely the most versatile and impressive looking motion sensing technology I’ve seen. Can’t wait for some games to come out with this!

Also, if you’re reading this, please give it some serious consideration: Sony’s been pushing motion controls with things like Sixaxis, the PSeye / Eyetoy, and the new Motion Controllers for a while now. You’ve also been pushing an online gaming, Play / Create / Share initiative. Please consider creating a Hot Shots Golf game using the motion controllers (similar to Tiger Woods 10 w/ Wii Motion Plus … motion controls and golf go together like two peas in a pod) and having it as a Play/Create/Share experience.

There’d be nothing like having an unlimited variety of user-created courses to try out like in ModNation Racers & LittleBigPlanet, and having fun creating my own courses. I think that Hot Shots Golf would be a PERFECT fit for both initiatives. Keep it under consideration! And keep up the good work. I’m proud to be a PS3 owner.


54

+ Jisatsu_Kiddo on August 28th, 2009 at 11:50 am said:

@ 4

Yea instead of “waggling” a controller they make you “waggle” your whole body.


55

+ SPOPS on August 28th, 2009 at 11:52 am said:

Awesome video, would love to see a lot more of these in the future. I love behind the scenes stuff, find it very interesting.


56

+ vogonistic on August 28th, 2009 at 11:55 am said:

I think this will be absolutely amazing, but I’m afraid that moving in a game will become unnatural.

Finally someone can deliver a truly great Sword game!

But again. Movement? Is there an analog stick on there as well so I can move around in the world while using it? I don’t want to do the point it to the side to turn thingy, that doesn’t really work.


57

+ davivman on August 28th, 2009 at 12:00 pm said:

@56 – even if it doesn’t have an analog stick, I can envision as scenario where you hold a sixaxis/dualshock in one hand and the motion controler in the other in the same way that a nintendo user holds the wiimote and the nunchuck (except there would be no need to connect the controlers via a wire!)


58

+ yami930 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:01 pm said:

For everyone talking about Natal on this website, they should know that natal just improves on the technology of the eyetoy and Playstation eye that these guys in the interview came up with, and the Playstation eye also tracks body motion in addition to the controllers.


59

+ Dice_for_Death_ on August 28th, 2009 at 12:02 pm said:

Interesting stuff.


60

+ PBarnum on August 28th, 2009 at 12:02 pm said:

Wii like controllers… I won’t be getting it. :/


61

+ Korbei83 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:03 pm said:

I’m looking forward to seeing the games. I’d like to see a head-to-head sword fighting game where you see the video of your opponent on screen and they see yours. On screen, the opponent’s controller would show a blade, but you’d feel like you were magically fighting them off with just a sword hilt. The same idea would make an interesting Wild West gun fighting game.


62

+ ThreeLeggedFreak on August 28th, 2009 at 12:07 pm said:

Instead of this, why don’t you give us awesome games like:

SOCOM IV by Zipper – with awesome SP, online/offline co op and awesome MP with option for split screen online as well (like warhawk)
Syphon Filter IV by Sony Bend – same as above, going back to basics, III and OS sucked but DM and LS were good.
Twisted Metal by Eat, Sleep, Play – online/offline MP and mayhem, this NEEDS to happen
Eight Days by SCE London – Get rid of EyePet and bring this back from the dead, the footage looks awesome and make it online/offline co-op and competitive as well
Getaway 3 by SCE London – Same description as Eight Days


63

+ LukaX23 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:07 pm said:

I’m slap’n da bass, MAN!


64

+ Zweihander on August 28th, 2009 at 12:07 pm said:

What’s the diffrence between Natal and this?
This is accurate.
Natal is for casual games.
This is for core games which require high precision so as to create a sense of difficulty rather than a sense of bad technology.


65

+ Ghost_Shrimp on August 28th, 2009 at 12:08 pm said:

Honestly I am impressed. This does look way more accurate than any other motion controls.


66

+ SSJNeBiRoS on August 28th, 2009 at 12:08 pm said:

I have heard the rumor that it’s going to have an analog stick. Confirm or deny… xD


67

+ ATLRoAcH on August 28th, 2009 at 12:10 pm said:

Thanks for this. This is what I want to see, interviews and behind the scenes with people at Sony. I really want more of these. I would love it if you would do an interview with Eric Lempel. Maybe even a live chat on the blog with him. I’m more interested about what’s going on at Sony than anything else. I feel that the people at Sony could be more involved with the blog. I love hearing from devs but Sony is who I really want to hear from.


68

+ davivman on August 28th, 2009 at 12:12 pm said:

@66 haha, I don’t think the VP of Rumor Confirmation will be stopping by today.


69

+ superstewie on August 28th, 2009 at 12:12 pm said:

Microsoft just bought some start-up, and realized it wasn’t that good.

the problem with Natal is, is that the hardware is clearly too complex and too expensive.
while this is far more accurate in detecting fine and precise hand motion compared to the rough Natal body detection.
and as we saw with eyetoy on the PS2, it’s already reached a much higher level of accuracy on there than Natal is showing right now (and the PS2 had very basic hardware, compared to the xbox360).

also natal can’t be used in tiny little rooms, like that race game (for example in The Netherlands where the average women are 5.8″(1.75/1.80m) and men are on average 6.2″ (1.90m) it’s not going to work (as kids here are also the tallest of the world)
(i was 5.9″ 1.80m when i was 12 and 6.1″ 1.88 when i was 14 to eventually settle at 6.4 1.95m”


70

+ Shin-Ra on August 28th, 2009 at 12:13 pm said:

Buttons, trigger, rumble. Excellent. Please let there be an analog stick on there, otherwise I can’t see how you’d move a character around. If the face buttons are still analog like the DUALSHOCK2 and 3 they could probably be used well too.


71

+ superstewie on August 28th, 2009 at 12:14 pm said:

my asthma caused me to stop growing, otherwise i would have become 6.8″ (2.10m).


72

+ Shin-Ra on August 28th, 2009 at 12:14 pm said:

Oh, and does it have a high and low rumble like the DUALSHOCK? The Wii feels like there’s just a single rumble pitch.


73

+ desithrilla93 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:14 pm said:

This looks realllyy coool! I can’t wait to buy it! I just hope there will be a lot of software utilizing this awesomee technology.


74

+ jeremy23jacinto on August 28th, 2009 at 12:17 pm said:

Sub-pixel technology is better. Look at Natal it does not have 1:1 technology so it’s going to fail when it’s going to release trust me guys


75

+ stuna1 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:20 pm said:

People are saying that natal is a better application of motion control technology, but they don’t understand the true application of sony’s motion controller. In my opinion it’s all about the field of depth and being able to track an object on all it’s axis, and an accurate interpretation of distance the camera has to have some type of focal point that gives off what I call reactionary response, be it physical or electrical, which in my opinion natal doesn’t have a grasp on all the intricatcies that are involved in true motion sensing, because there is no focal point that gives any real feed back.


76

+ Neil_878 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:21 pm said:

This could actually be great for a horror style game.

Think about it – The light on the end of the controller could change colour based on whether you are in danger or not – Green being safe, red meaning there is an enemy nearby.

I really hope they do something like that, the potential for this techology is amazing.


77

+ LUGIEZ on August 28th, 2009 at 12:21 pm said:

Great job R&D boys..keep up the good work. look forward to shooting down some buffalo on the plains with that virtual bow and arrow!!


78

+ bk7894 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:23 pm said:

awesome video

i want to work for sony when i grow up.


79

+ jBat17 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:28 pm said:

@58

yes, you are right. natal just the ps2 eyetoy with a lot of marketing hype.. check out youtube for eyetoy boxing and virtua figher videos.. that’s natal right there.. plus voice recognition from ENDWAR (2008)


80

+ Crotin on August 28th, 2009 at 12:28 pm said:

sigh…here comes the trolls

on-topic, it looks like the technology is shaping up nicely.


81

+ phinnv8 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:28 pm said:

I got a crazy ideas for R&D…

How about working on R&D for PARTY VOICE CHAT (gasp!!!!!!!!!!!)

How about making a web browser that WORKS, Webkit based, that is fast, responsive, and doesn’t lock up the system.


82

+ MakasuUS on August 28th, 2009 at 12:29 pm said:

Fantastic tech! Keep up the great work!


83

+ bluedoggy1 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:29 pm said:

@JoE5005
Yeah Micro$oft wants to wag ur body around…


84

+ mclaren777 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:31 pm said:

Fantastic video! I eagerly look forward to Part 2.


85

+ Lokiroo420 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:33 pm said:

THis guy is a P I M P, bring the motion nowwww!


86

+ Shin-Ra on August 28th, 2009 at 12:35 pm said:

A DUALSHOCK 3 won’t fill in the job as a second controller for character movement and other actions because the weight of the other side of the controller swivels it out of a solid position in your palm, especially if you’re holding with intent to use the shoulder button and trigger. The DS3 rumbling would make it slip even more.

I somewhat regretted buying Zelda: Twilight Princess for Wii because I lost the second analog stick for camera control. I think having a stick for each hand is important in fully 3D character games. The method of moving a pointer near the edge of the screen to turn is just horrid.


87

+ davivman on August 28th, 2009 at 12:44 pm said:

@86 dude, what kind of weak hands do you have? A dualshock 3 weighs less than half a pound. If your controller is in danger of being dropped without two hands firmly gripping each side, then mabye some exercise is in order. Although your point on Twilight Princess is well taken. I had similar complaints about that game.


88

+ gema11981 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:44 pm said:

wow thats really awesome thank you ! I will buy this as soon as it comes out !


89

+ Kchow23 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:44 pm said:

As long as this is precise has fun games and I won’t need to stop every few minutes to calibrate it to get the proper accuracy then I will buy.

P.S
Everyone talking about Natal, it looks impressive on paper, but it has yet to show it can work properly.. not to say it won’t but we don’t know yet


90

+ Lego_My_Eggo on August 28th, 2009 at 12:48 pm said:

Just wanted to show you guys this cool concept by a guy on your forums.

http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=ps3&thread.id=3947614

if you made it somewhat like this to replace the sixaxis id buy it in a second.


91

+ Paranoimia on August 28th, 2009 at 12:50 pm said:

Natal was presented as an impressive piece of kit, but the E3 showing was all smoke and mirrors and flashy video presentation. Reports after E3 suggested that those who got to try it “for real” were less than impressed.

As for the live demo, it showed nothing really that wasn’t done on PS2 with the original EyeToy camera.

I personally see Natal as being very limited in its uses, particularly with games. The majority of games require fast and accurate movements, which simply will not be possible via camera-only input – it doesn’t matter how good the camera is, the human body just isn’t designed to move quickly AND accurately.

Imagine trying to play something like CoD4 or Super Stardust just by waving your arms around. Or something like FIFA – okay, you could kick a ball, but how would it tell strength, direction… how would you pass backwards? If you were to play head to head on any game, controller versus camera, the person with the controller would win every time.


92

+ DarkCollaring on August 28th, 2009 at 12:51 pm said:

We need an analog stick. It amkes common sense even for scenarios with 2 controllers.

First : to move around
Second : to look around

Analog stick are mandatory for alot of gameplay experiences, just look at the popularity of the nunchuk on Wii Games.


93

+ Shin-Ra on August 28th, 2009 at 12:53 pm said:

@87 Just holding tighter for better grip isn’t a workable solution to this problem. Your hand will get tired, lose mobility and precision. And get more sweaty.


94

+ MoneyMaker110 on August 28th, 2009 at 12:53 pm said:

i just want to get a hold of the controller, and that tv


95

+ Shin-Ra on August 28th, 2009 at 12:54 pm said:

@87 But thanks for insulting me without thinking it through.


96

+ Darth-Krayt on August 28th, 2009 at 12:56 pm said:

@81.

PS3 already has voice AND video “party chat”. Cross game chat is probably what you think you want, but it’s a total waste of bandwidth. If they ever do add cross-game chat, I hope it’s restricted to off-line only. Not only because it’s a waste of bandwidth and causes lag on Live, but also because you should be communicating with the people you are playing with, not people playing a totally different game. People only want the feature because 360 has it. If you want a 360, go play 360.

And the PS3 browser is awesome. It’s my only web browser now and I use it for everything. It’s good enough that I got rid of my PC. I’m posting this with it right now. There’s very few things it doesn’t do now, and it gets better with every update.

Stop stretching for things to cry about.


97

+ davivman on August 28th, 2009 at 1:03 pm said:

@ 93&95 – My pleasure buddy. :) But seriously though, I don’t really see this being an issue. The controller is literally like .42 pounds. Outside of the very young and the very old, it should be pretty easy to hold onto and maintain dexterity for long periods of time. I’m sure you could handle it.


98

+ mafecto on August 28th, 2009 at 1:05 pm said:

Awesome.

Sony detractors are writing this off as a Wii copy, but it looks so much more advanced.

Great post.


99

+ WackyWeedCreed on August 28th, 2009 at 1:10 pm said:

Very cool stuff.

I’m looking forward to more videos like this!


100

+ Cool_FRI on August 28th, 2009 at 1:11 pm said:

Sick! Can’t wait! Good job Sony! :)


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