Faast hack brings motion control to World of Warcraft…
A hack for Microsoft’s motion control peripheral Kinect, allows World of Warcraft players to navigate, cast spells and fight opponents using hand gestures.
The hack, developed by University of Southern California researcher Evan Suma and his team at the school’s Institute for Creative Technologies, modifies an open source software tool, called OpenNI, to create a type of middleware the researchers have dubbed, the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST).
FAAST allows World of Warcraft players to hook Kinect up to their PCs to control in-game commands with real-world gestures. Talking with Technology Blog Wired, Suma said:
“Our software communicates with the Kinect software and recognizes the user’s skeleton. It calculates each gesture you do and generates virtual keyboard commands, allowing you to communicate through them.” [Wired]
Currently the number of gestures accepted by FAAST is limited, but Suma promises that more are on the way. Since FAAST is open source toolkit, anyone can download it, play with its functions, and modify it if they so wish.
Kinect has sold well since its release last year however gamers have criticized the lack of hardcore games available to date. Suma hopes the new hack will open enough possibilities to enable motion control in more games, as well as other applications.
Jesse Divnich, vice president of analyst services for Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, agrees. And although he did say that target audience for such a hack was too small to make it to the mainstream, he still noted that it only takes one revolutionary idea to drive an entirely new form of game play.
On the legal side of things, the makers of the World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment, is known for its strict policy against modify the game, however Suma thinks his hack won’t be a problem because modifying the controls doesn’t enhance your ability, neither does it affect others game play.
Check out the video clip of the motion control hack for World of Warcraft in action. And if you’re interested in trying the software out for yourself, head on over to the FAAST website for more details, and downloads.