PC periph evolves EyeToy promise

Developer shows off title that puts gamers in control of a flying dragon--mo-track interface makes for new gaming experience.


Sony has proved that there's a market for its EyeToy motion-tracking camera: The company reports that global sales are approaching 3 million units. But Sony has positioned this device to attract the mass market, and most of the EyeToy games so far have been all-ages ventures. This begs the question: why not use this kind of technology to make something a little bit meatier?

Russian developer Gaijin Entertainment has provided the answer to that question with its in-development title Flight of Fancy. Displayed at this year's E3 (in the depths of Kentia Hall), the PC game lets the player control a dragon's flight by flapping his arms in front of a motion-tracking camera. A ghost image of the player's arms is shown on the screen, and it's fascinating to see how accurately the dragon follows your movements. Raising your arms makes the dragon climb, and dropping them to your sides sends the dragon into a dive. Speed is controlled by flapping faster or slower, and turns are accomplished by tilting your arms and body, sending the dragon into a banked turn.

The demo we saw was very cool, but the best is yet to come. According to Anton Yudintsev, president of Gaijin Entertainment, the finished game will feature gesture-based magic spells--wave your hands just right, and your dragon will cast a magic spell. It's a creative solution to the question of how to make the dragon attack, and it's a new way to put motion tracking to use. Until now, your body motions were simply directly translated to game character motions--in this game, your body motions are also used as commands.

Gaijin Entertainment is currently looking for distribution for its game and is keeping its options open. Yudintsev said the company would be happy to sign a publishing deal, but it would also consider alternate forms of distribution, like cutting a deal with a peripherals maker to bundle the game with its USB cameras. However it comes to market, this is a game that represents the next generation of interactive products--ones that apply technology and creativity to new and unusual input devices.

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