Since the release of Kinect, many have understood, and openly welcomed, Microsoft’s aim to use innovative hardware and software to increase the longevity of it’s console, out of the normal “Five Year Cycle” for consoles we had seen in generations past. And while there have been titles like Dance Central and Kinect Sports that use the hardware well, the amount of samey releases, or those with a distinct likeness to games previously seen on the Wii- in some cases better- has not helped the Kinect or indeed Microsoft as a whole.
Following from the Microsoft conference though, it seems all that is about to change, with Kinect Fun Labs.
It seems to be like a cross between a game and a dev. kit for the Kinect than anything, giving players a chance to see how Kinect can and will be used in the future, and allowing them to tinker about with, and indeed use, the features and tools via Fun Labs.
The presentation of Fun Labs showed three applications. The First was Kinect Me, which involves turning you the player into an avatar closer than anything else before. No sifting through legions of menus trying to find your correct nose or hair-style. Just take a picture, and Kinect mimics your face, body, hair and clothing very accurately, as it did for the assistant on stage.
We then had the very exciting Kinect Sparkler, which allows gamers to capture an image of wherever they are, living room, bedroom etc., as well a the people and furniture and belongings that Kinect might see. This is where the fun begins. The image taken is frozen for you to play with, and, using the finger tracking technology the Kinect can offer, gamers can draw around their own frozen image, all of which is in 3D, using a sparkling trail. As you move, the picture moves and you have more ways to draw in and around yourself. This feature has immersion written all over it.
The final application, similar to Kinect Me, was Googly Eyes. Once again, gamers place an object in view of the camera, a front and a back image being required this time, and once the scan is complete- hey presto- a computer-generated 3D image/avatar of whatever you scanned appears on screen. How this will be implemented into games is unclear as of you, but only time will tell.
To top everything off, Fun Labs is available… Now! That’s right, from the end of the Microsoft conference Fun Labs was available to download from Xbox Live today. So what’re you waiting for? Get out there and see what Fun Labs can offer you, and, inevitably, what Kinect itself can and will be offering you in the near future.