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Author Topic: The Gunstringer  (Read 3107 times)

ChromaTick

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The Gunstringer
« on: February 01, 2011, 01:49:19 PM »

The guys at Twisted Pixel (Maw, Splosion Man, Comic Jumper) are working on their first Kinect title.

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Well, The Gunstringer is a Kinect game where you get to marionette a kick-ass undead cowboy puppet through action packed stage performances. Everything is set as if it’s an actual play performance, complete with hand crafted “actors” and props.
Through a bunch of on stage performances, you get to marionette the Gunstringer through an awesome western themed revenge story filled with action, drama, and mildly creepy puppet love. Having being raised from the dead by an invisible string-pulling force, the Gunstringer has only one goal – to seek revenge on the rag-tag posse that put him underground in the first place.

They have an official website up that also has a game trailer.  Color me intrigued.

http://www.thegunstringer.com/
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adamsappel

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Re: The Gunstringer
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2011, 09:18:18 AM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/R42-CJjPSRE" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/R42-CJjPSRE</a>

Looks neat, though I'm not quite sure how it's controlled. Character movement looks on-rails, but you aim the cursor with your hand?
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Geese

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Re: The Gunstringer
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2011, 09:21:50 AM »

Skip the first minute if you aren't interested in cheap shots to PS3, Wii and Mac.
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Now Playing on XB1: Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome

ChromaTick

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Re: The Gunstringer
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 04:20:46 PM »

Really interesting insight into the development process.

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From the start of development on The Gunstringer, we’ve focused on getting across the feel of puppeteering as well as the feel of being an awesome kickass undead cowboy. It’s really only something we could do with the Kinect sensor for two big reasons: pure analog actions and full skeletal data.

From a design perspective, the vast majority of games over the last 30 or so years are dealing with binary actions. Even with the advent of analog sticks, most of the functionality for those sticks just boils down to interpreting a binary action like “Move in this direction” and turning it into “Move fast in this direction” or “Move slow in this direction” because of the very small travel distance between the null zone and the extents of the analog stick.

There are two exceptions to this: mouse control and accelerometer control.

Mouse control is a great example of analog control, but it’s only really great as a target acquisition device and not a movement device because of the way it moves – there’s no “null zone” to rest your movement in. Because of that, it’s very easy for you to creep out of a reference position over time if you’re using it for anything besides targetable movement.

Accelerometers try to solve this, but at the end of the day you’re dealing with interpreting a single point of data floating in the air. For most developers, the simple way to interpret that data is to build a library of gestures, then record every possible movement of that single reference point, then match the player’s movement to that library to trigger a binary gesture.

You’re essentially trying to map binary actions to analog movements, at which point you could play the game with a controller. Gesture libraries and waggle are the designer’s way to fit a square binary peg into a round analog hole.

Then, there was Kinect. Like most new human computer interfaces, working with the Kinect requires you to rethink and relearn all of the interaction rules and behaviors that you’ve learned previously. We spent a lot of time with various prototypes trying to figure out what was fun and what didn’t work, and over the course of many (and I mean many) iterations we found a bunch of really cool things that the Kinect sensor does really well.

One great lesson we learned from our Kinect prototyping: because it’s reading in information about your body and not just a point, we can get the information of where your points are in real terms. “Your hand is stationary next to your hip” is incredibly more useful than “this dot of information isn’t moving”. Because your limbs have natural resting positions and extents, you also get the same benefits of Fitts’ Law that you’d get with a physical device like a thumbstick!

If you try to apply normal game mechanics that uses binary actions to this analog system though, you have the same waggle problems as using accelerometers. But, if you design your controls for true analog inputs instead, you can really make something new and inventive.
This is what we set out to do with The Gunstringer. Marionetting isn’t about binary actions like “move in this direction at x speed”, it’s about the analog feel of a puppet. Because of that, we ended up building a unique control system that uses your hand, wrist, arm and shoulder to determine how to move the Gunstringer through the environment.

Having that whole tree of skeletal information allows us to make really unique decisions. We know where your hand is relative to your shoulder and body, so you can move the Gunstringer anywhere along the screen just by moving your hand to that location instead of doing the “move left, move left, no move right, okay stop” shuffle that you’d have to do with an analog stick or D-Pad.

This isn’t limited to movement, either. Since we know how your entire arm from your hand to your shoulder is moving, we can accurately extrapolate what you’re aiming at with your hands, and place the reticle exactly where you’re pointing. It allows you to do either huge swipes with your hand, or smaller, more precise movements to target something specifically.

It also allows us to implement a real “fire” command using your arm without it conflicting with the hand movements you need to mark targets to kill. Our fire action involves literally firing your six shooter as if you just felt recoil in your arm. Because we can look at the full arm instead of just a point, we can tell the difference between the player firing a gun and the player just moving the reticle upwards.

In layman’s terms: you get to pew pew enemies with your hands.

All of this comes together to form a core gameplay experience that’s really awesome, and something that’s really unique and not like anything else you’ve played in a single game before. I still get a stupid grin on my face when I dodge a couple of chasms by throwing around the Gunstringer, then tag six puppet guys to kill by swiping over them, then fire my six shooter cap gun to take them all out in a mess of wood and stuffing explosions.
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adamsappel

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Re: The Gunstringer
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2011, 08:25:40 PM »

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Beer Monkey

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Re: The Gunstringer
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2011, 12:45:04 PM »

This game has been bumped up from XBLA to full retail.
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ChromaTick

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Re: The Gunstringer
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2011, 12:26:53 PM »

The demo is out on xbla and it's pretty darn fun.  The kinect controls are spot on.
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Beer Monkey

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Re: The Gunstringer
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2012, 11:22:29 AM »

I picked this up for $20 with Fruit Ninja code.  I dig it.  My casual gaming friends have been going crazy over it.
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