A small US based company, Mad Genius Developers, looks set to launch a revolutionary new gaming controller compatible with any game console and PC. According to the makers of this new device it works straight out of the box, without the need for hardware or software modifications. What appeals to gamers is the fact that this one device works with any game they already own.
Elkie Holland spoke
with the Developers to find out more:
ELKIE: How does the controller work, and more importantly where does the MultiValue database fit in?
DEVELOPERS: Unlike traditional motion controllers and camera based systems, the Mad Genius Controller uses an Absolute Positioning system to determine where in the room each half of the controller is. It's also wireless.
ELKIE: Each half ?
DEVELOPERS: Yes – the controller looks and behaves like a traditional game controller, but it’s actually two halves joined by magnets. You can pull it apart and rejoin it at any time in game play to control your gaming experience with motion and traditional sticks and buttons.
ELKIE: So it’s like a Wii ?
DEVELOPERS: Not really. The Wii uses accelerometers to determine if you’ve moved. It knows you’ve moved, and roughly how far, but has no concept of where you are. Also because it uses accelerometers it suffers from something known as Sensor drift, which is why you have to recalibrate it in games. It also lacks the accuracy and precision of our system.
ELKIE: So how can this work with existing game titles?
DEVELOPERS: A “map” exists that translates the controllers location and movements to the stick inputs, button presses and sequences already recognized by the console and game. This adds a very immersive experience to game play, and makes you feel totally connected to your character. Those who have tried the device marvel at the incredibly accurate aiming we can provide. These “maps” are built and stored in a multivalue database.
ELKIE: So someone has to build these maps?
DEVELOPERS: We will provide maps for a ton of popular games across all consoles, but we will also provide a Profile Designer tool that will ship with the controller.
ELKIE: So this Profile Designer is a desktop application?
DEVELOPERS: The Profile Designer is a desktop application, but it’s also available on most browser enabled devices. Leveraging a local MultiValue database with a GUI front end we have been able to build an application that gives the functionality, ease of use and familiarity of a “windows” application with the power and flexibility inherent in a MultiValue database. You can actually see an early version of the tool in one of our videos:
ELKIE: But why MultiValue ?
DEVELOPERS: The MultiValue Database allows a much faster turn-around time from concept to production than your traditional SQL based applications. As the controller is developed we are discovering exciting new things that can be done with it, requiring changes to the Profile Designer. In addition the Profile Designer is more than a local app for users that wish to build or customize their own motion profiles. We are also providing a web-based library of gaming profiles. The idea is to build a web based community where Gamers can build their own profiles, upload them to the cloud, and share them with other players. At the same time we want players to have the ability to download profiles from us, and other gamers, and have the ability to tweak them if they wish, rate them, and share them. To make this work we needed a toolset that would work both locally and on the web, while providing us with a rapid development environment, ease of debugging, and most importantly of all the ability to handle large volumes of data.
ELKIE: Interesting. So can you give an example of how MultiValue development would be quicker to turn around than a SQL application?
DEVELOPERS: The best example is with database updates. If we add a new field to the database we would have to modify our SQL query that gets the data, along with the Update and Insert statements that allow for the creation or change of a SQL based record. These modifications have to be made every time the database changes in addition to UI modifications that make use of the newly available data. That’s three modifications to the data layer that have to be written and tested. In the MultiValue space the read of a record, and the write stays the same. The MultiValue database doesn’t care what’s in the record, the only changes required would be in the UI to manipulate the new data field.
ELKIE: You mentioned an Absolute Position System. Is this limited to gaming?
DEVELOPERS: Absolutely [pun] not. The gaming controller is the first adoption of this new tracking technology. Our hope is to be able to introduce this to many industries where a high degree of location tracking is required. Given we can track to within 1/100th of an inch (.23mm), the medical industry has seen some value in using it to measure range of motion in physical therapy patients. There are many applications for the technology.
ELKIE: And would the Multivalue database be used in those applications too?
DEVELOPERS: Yes indeed. We see a range of motion control devices customized for a specific purpose, controlling an application or device of some kind. To simplify the task of working with the device, and not have to understand the raw data streams coming from it we plan to provide the end user of the technology with a simple UI that enables them to build custom mappings between the controlling device and the device being controlled. We would certainly prefer to keep the database that drives this a MultiValue database.
ELKIE: So when does the game controller come to market?
DEVELOPERS: Our Kickstarter project launches October 7th. Once we’re funded we can take the device into production.
ELKIE: If people want more information where should they go?
DEVELOPERS: Visit our website at www.madgeniuscontrollers.com