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Enhancing PlayStation Move: DualPLAY’s Creator Talks Motion, Crowd Funding and Trying to be Truly 1:1

March 9, 2013 Written by Jesse Meikle

The PlayStation Move’s motion tracking may be accurate, but it clearly has problems that have stifled its success. In our previous article on Playhouse Entertainment’s promising (if not wishful) DualPLAY peripheral, many of our readers expressed a specific interest in the accessory – in contrast to existing motion controlled offerings.

So, we spoke with Playhouse Entertainment’s CEO, Brett Gale, and scrutinized him on all things motion, and why you should pay attention to Playhouse’s promising potential product.

Can you explain what the DualPLAY is for our readers who may have missed our previous article on the peripheral?

The DualPLAY is an innovative peripheral that combines motion and navigation control into one handheld combo. The DualPLAY’s unique controller layout now makes it possible for joystick control and simultaneous motion control of the same hand, allowing for new and incredible gameplay opportunities using current motion and navigation controllers.

Most importantly, the DualPLAY solves a major problem that has been hindering motion controlled games ever since their release on home consoles over 6 years ago; the lack of dual joysticks for character and camera control!

The DualPLAY is currently in the development stage and we’re seeking crowd funding to assist with the manufacturing and distribution of the peripherals.

I have created several working prototype peripherals, along with custom tech demos to showcase the unique capabilities and added gameplay benefit the DualPLAY presents.

Where did the idea for the DualPLAY come from?

I’ve been a hardcore gamer practically my entire life. I’ve personally owned over 10 home consoles throughout the years, and like a ton of other hardcore gamers, I’ve been mastering my skills with dual joystick controllers for over 15 years.

1st and 3rd person action and adventure games have always been my favorite types of games. I love playing these games mostly because of the precise control you have over the game characters allowing you to explore and look around game worlds in a completely natural way. This type of character and camera movement feels so natural, because, I have been training myself to move in a 3D space using two joysticks for so many years and with so many games that the controls feel so comfortable, that any other control scheme just seems to be unnatural and imprecise.

When motion controls came out, I was instantly a big fan and purchased a Wii during the launch month. But, sadly, I was continually let down by the motion controlled experiences that came out, as it tended to be not nearly as 1:1 as we were led to believe it would be. The PS Move fixed a lot of the issues with 1:1 motion control, and it features minimal lag which makes motion-controlled gameplay as immersive and intuitive as it was originally intended. But, again, sadly Sony decided not to fix the issue with the lack of a solid solution for character and camera control while still allowing for two-handed 1:1 motion controls.

So for quite some time I had imagined a way of playing that would use two joysticks to control your character and camera in a way familiar to hardcore gamers, but, still had the opportunity for two-handed motion controlled gameplay.

Using a bit of my computer science and mechanical engineering background, I developed a few prototype peripherals and built a very rough 3D demo using a free version of Unity.

After a few weeks I had the majority of the DualPLAY control scheme programmed and working properly and I quickly discovered that the controls not only worked, but they worked remarkably well and were incredibly comfortable to use in a split dual joystick setup.

What advantages do you see the DualPLAY having over a traditional PlayStation Move/Navigation combo?

In order to explain more clearly why the DualPLAY is an important innovation, we must first take a quick look at the way motion controls have been previously implemented for different types of gameplay, and the problems that hinder each one of them:

1 motion controller:

  • Sports games (Tennis, Frisbee, Bowling),
  • Driving games, on-rails shooters (Mario Kart)
  • On-rails shooters (Dead Space: Extraction)
  • Virtual hand (Datura)

Allows for motion control such as swinging, throwing, or aiming, but no simultaneous character or camera control. Or it allows for character control but typically no camera control and motion is typically restricted to simply steering side-to-side.

In Datura’s case, 1 motion controller was used as a virtual hand that was capable of 1:1 motion control, while face buttons combined with pointing the motion controller was used for character and camera control. Many problems arise with this control scheme, with the most obvious one being that character movement and looking restricts the 1:1 motion control of the player’s hand, in addition to the awkward pointing in the opposite direction as the one you want to head in in order to back up.

1 motion & 1 navigation controller:

  • FPS (Killzone, Resistance),
  • Third person (Zelda, Sorcery)

Allows for character control, but, camera control is almost always mapped to pointing with the motion controller, and using the motion controller for camera control essentially eliminates motion controlled gameplay and simply reduces expensive and advanced technology to be used as a mouse cursor. Not to mention the camera jerks and disorientation when situational motion control is introduced, such as melee attacks.

And perhaps worst of all, the player is forced to be pointing at screen with a steady arm at all times, resulting in short gameplay sessions and dizzying effects, as resting your arm results in your character spinning or looking down.

2 motion controllers :

  • Two handed sports games (Boxing, Jousting, Volleyball)

Allows for two handed motion controlled games, but still no natural option for character movement or camera control.

Two-handed motion controlled games were the proof I needed that using two motion controllers in each hand presented an extremely unique and realistic approach to gameplay. Now your character can practically match every movement you as the player are capable of performing. However, all that it was missing was a way to properly control your characters movement and camera direction, in order to complete what I consider to be the perfect control scheme.

The DualPLAY – 2 Motion Controllers and 2 navigation controllers:

The DualPLAY is capable of all the gameplay scenarios listed above, but, also creates a huge batch of new gameplay possibilities that have not yet been explored.

There really are no restrictions when using the DualPLAY, since it can be used for traditional gameplay, motion controlled gameplay, and now dual joystick enhanced motion-controlled gameplay. The DualPLAY also opens the door for unique one-handed gameplay when using just one complete peripheral.

What games do you imagine making best use of the DualPLAY?

Since developing the DualPLAY, I have realized that it can actually greatly enhance almost every type of game imaginable. However, the games that I imagined making the best use of the DualPLAY when I was first creating it were really immersive 1st and 3rd person games that allowed for lots of item interaction and improvised weapons, such as BioShock, Skyrim, Dishonored, Hitman, Heavy Rain, Metal Gear Solid, The Walking Dead, and Assassin’s Creed.  Dual wielding weapons, interacting with every game object in a room, grabbing humans and items and using them for cover, crafting objects, weapons and traps, all the while getting completely immersed in the game environments and characters interactions. Those were all gameplay elements that significantly influenced the development of the DualPLAY.

You currently have an Indiegogo campaign to get the DualPLAY started, can you detail the more exciting pledge options for those who want to get a hold of the DualPLAY?

Our indiegogo campaign is designed to generate awareness about the DualPLAY and allow any interested consumers to assist in the development of the DualPLAY by selecting one of our many awesome perk options. These perks have slightly changed since the campaign’s launch in December based on public feedback and below is a breakdown of what people can expect to receive in return for their supportive contributions:

$1 Or More – Thanks for the Support!

  • Thanks on Website and our in-game Credits!

$25  – Welcome to the Playhouse

  • Playhouse T-Shirt or Hat

$35  – Get Your DualPLAY On!

  • 2 DualPLAY Peripherals on launch

$50 – The Missing Link!

  • 2 DualPLAY Peripherals on launch,
  • 1 Navigation Controller

$250 – Fully Equipped!

  • 2 DualPLAY Peripheral on launch.
  • 2 PS Move
  • 2 PS Navigation
  • 1 PS Eye Camera

$500 – Playhouse Gameplay Tester!

  • Gameplay Tester for upcoming game
  • 2 Early DualPLAY Prototypes
  • Collection of in-house tech demos
  • 1 Playhouse T-Shirt
  • 1 Playhouse Hat
  • (Requires own PS3, Move and Navigation controllers, and computer running Windows or Mac)

$10,000

  • Flights to and from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Room for 2 Nights
  • Two 3rd Row Winnipeg Jets Tickets
  • 1 Fully Equipped Package on launch
  • 1 Playhouse T-Shirt
  • 1 Playhouse Hat
  • (Must be in Canada or U.S.)

The fastest way to get your hands on the DualPLAY and to try them out will be to attend the Game Developers’ Conference in San Francisco at the end of March. I’ll be there showing off the peripherals, and allowing public demos for the first time.

Shortly after that, I’ll be sending out prototype peripherals to anyone that contributes towards the Playhouse Gameplay Tester perk option.

The recipients of the prototypes will be given access to a Playhouse Tester PSN account that allows them to run the Move.Me application at home.

The recipient must also have access to a computer that is connected to the same internet network as their PlayStation 3 running the Move.Me application.

Once we have assisted with the setup of the Move.Me and the DualPLAY controller configuration, we will open up access to a collection of tech demos that I have been developing to showcase various aspects of the DualPLAY’s abilities.

When the time comes that we are ready to begin play-testing on our upcoming and unannounced DualPLAY game, the recipients of this perk will also be among the first to help out with any play-testing, should they desire to.

Have you spoken to any developers about supporting the DualPLAY with titles?

Talks have begun with other developers and publishers in regards to supporting the DualPLAY through the use of it in other upcoming games and perhaps even patching older games to add DualPLAY support. At this time, I am unable to go into further details about who and what, but, as I mentioned above, I’ll be showing off the DualPLAY during the Game Developers’ Conference in March. It is there that I hope I’ll be able to show a lot of developers through public demonstrations and first hand use just how much the DualPLAY can enhance the games that they are making or have made. The DualPLAY has the potential to revolutionize almost every genre of gameplay. Whether it’s a shooter, RPG, sports game, racing game, farm simulator, etc., the DualPLAY can bring an entirely new way to play to each.

Do you plan to develop games for the DualPLAY? If so, what concepts are you playing around with?

The DualPLAY has only been able to show off a tiny fraction of its potential, and that is largely because I haven’t been able to talk about or show off the game I am personally creating to showcase the DualPLAY and the new gameplay opportunities it allows for. I still cannot go into much detail about it other than saying it is going to be absolutely amazing, and will be exactly what gamers will come to expect out of a motion controlled experience.

The problem with console peripherals that aren’t strictly supplemental in nature, is typically the lack of an install base to develop for. How do you see the DualPLAY paving through this issue, where the singular PlayStation Move has been perceived as having “failed.”

I find the notion that the PlayStation Move has “failed” to be completely inaccurate. If anything, it is developers that have failed the PlayStation Move and its consumers. Recent sales reports from November indicate that there have been over 15 Million PS Move controllers sold to date. For a controller that’s only 2 years old, that is a pretty impressive install base and proves that consumers are interested in the Move. The biggest problem is lack of interesting software to use the Move with, and that’s because AAA developers have a ton of other priorities when developing games, which is why we get stuck with little innovation and so many sequels. Being a one-man indie developer, I have the freedom to focus on what I, as a gamer, think is important, and being a hardcore gamer that has been continually let down with motion controlled games, I am passionate about creating an experience that really showcase what motion controlled games can achieve and how far they have come since the days of strictly waggling in 9 out of 10 motion controlled games.

If you are like me, that means you are part of my target market and most likely already own two PS Move controllers and one Navigation controller because you wanted to get the most out of your motion controlled games. I understand that some people who haven’t invested in any motion controllers at this point may be a bit hesitant to adopt now, but, for those like me, instead of letting that investment go to waste, you can easily and affordably enhance your existing motion controller setup with the DualPLAY peripherals and an extra Navigation controller. The DualPLAY peripherals can be pre-ordered from our indiegogo campaign for only $35 a pair, or a DualPLAY and extra Nav. controller can be picked up for only $50.

Despite the install base conundrum that plagues every dedicated peripheral (Microsoft’s successful Kinect included) the DualPLAY is exactly what I, and likely many other gamers want from motion gaming. Have you spoken to Sony about bringing the DualPLAY on board to ship with the PlayStation 4?

As a licensed PlayStation 3 developer, I certainly have been in close talks with PlayStation regarding the DualPLAY and its development, however, I’m unfortunately unable to discuss any specifics regarding this subject.

The PlayStation Move has been criticized for requiring too many individual peripherals for the optimal experience. Many games have been tailored to work with just one controller due to this segmentation problem. How do you plan to tackle this tricky issue?

The games that will make use of the DualPLAY will be entirely unique and for gamers that are looking for the most immersive experience they can get their hands on. Playing with one motion controller can lead to fun gameplay, just not the full-featured experience that the DualPLAY has been designed allow for. The DualPLAY offers so many gameplay options and capabilities that it will certainly be the last peripheral the PS Move will ever need.

The most obvious use for the DualPLAY is FPS titles since gamers love blowing each others heads off, but the DualPLAY can simulate a hand in 3 dimensions that’s even able to grasp, and throw objects. What genres are you excited to see the DualPLAY utilized in?

I’m certainly hoping for a ton of great FPS’s to make great use out of the DualPLAY, but, the type of games I am personally the most excited for the DualPLAY to take advantage of are games that won’t be able to be put into one of the cookie cutter gameplay genres and will be considered something entirely new. With so many exciting gameplay possibilities and unlimited potential, the DualPLAY is sure to surprise even me with how it get utilized! Be sure to follow us on twitter @PLAYHOUSE_ENT to stay up-to-date with all the latest information about Playhouse and The DualPLAY!