The fact that Kinect is fully upgradeable with software means that “Kinect 2 is already here,” said Rare’s Scott Henson at Develop 2011, as the Microsoft studio showed how some of the improvements in the motion sensor are powering Kinect Sports: Season 2.
Scott Henson and Nick Burton of Rare have been discussing at Develop 2011 how the upgradeable software basis of Kinect means that the motion sensor is being continually improved and how they’ve used those improvements for their latest game, Kinect Sports: Season 2.
“The great with Kinect is it’s all software,” said Nick Burton. “Yeah, there’s a sensor bar there, but everything is dealt with in software, which means we can continue to push it.”
He went on to demonstrate how Rare were able to implement extra software layers that constantly monitored for errors in the Kinect motion tracking – and then corrected them for the future. This enabled them to tackle games such as golf and darts that had proved problematic when developing the original Kinect Sports.
The error correction was used to improve how Kinect read people’s golf swings, while using the depth sensor allowed Rare to track players hands even when held in front of their face during the darts section of the game.
Nick Burton also said that Rare were “really pushing” voice control in Kinect Sports: Season 2, with for instance a virtual caddy in golf allowing you to change your club by talking to the game. Kinect Sports: Season 2 will recognise over 300 phrases just for the caddy section alone – the previous highest amount recognised in a Kinect game was 30 in last year’s Kinectimals.
Throughout the demonstration, both Henson and Burton were keen to stress that Kinect development was only just beginning to scratch the surface of what the controller can do, and that the software basis for the system meant that a huge jump forward was already being made in these “second generation” Kinect games.
When a member of the audience asked whether – with rumours of an Xbox 720 recently flying around – when we would see a “Kinect 2″. Henson replied: “Kinect 2 is already here” citing the improvements they’d discussed.