Ultimate Coder 2 Week 5: Gavin Re-imagines Stargate Gunship GUI For Perceptual

This week our update was written by Gavin Nichols. You can interact with him on twitter at @radiago

At Soma Games, we tackle everything as a team. Throughout this challenge, our primary focus has been integrating a brand new set of controls into a game that's currently in development. In order to let John McGlothlan focus on the perceptual computing sdk, I've handled the rest of the app. This has meant everything from preparing our current control scheme to accept the inputs of the perceptual camera to this weeks task, a nearly complete reassessment of the GUI in order to take complete advantage of the new control scheme. Along the way I've added lots of other improvements that help out the experience as a whole, for instance a smoother camera panning, or friendly npcs that you have to protect for a bonus but don't help with the fighting.

But this weeks task has been re-imaging the GUI to take advantage of all the power the perceptual camera gives us. Previously we used a lot of buttons to switch between menus and submenus, but the sdk really lends itself more to other gestures. On top of that, voice recognition opens up whole other avenues that are brand new, and really exciting. 

So far, we are looking at a blend of everything we have had up to this point.  We want to switch between different screens with voice commands, but allow players to use swiping gestures as well if they feel more comfortable with that. The voice recognition system is not very fast, and so doesn't lend itself to many combat uses, but is impressively accurate, despite background noise and interference. Trust us, we tried. So we think it will lend itself quite nicely to menu navigation. 

We've also developed a set of gesture commands that we think will work very well in a menu setting, mostly because the system seems to take a little bit of time to recognize the start of a gesture but instantly recognizes the end. Since the fist isn't a recognized gesture, grabbing motions have worked great in our test environments.

All in all, I've had a blast so far in this project, and I look forward to showing off our great new game and meeting all the judges face to face at GDC!

For those that are just catching up to what we have done over the past 5 weeks We have posted all our video upadated and coresponding blog posts below.

Intel Ultimate Coder Challenge Round 2 Fight! 

Embracing The "I" in "UI" :: Ultimate Coder Challenge Week 2 

Ultimate Coder 2 Week 3: A first look at the Perceptual Input Manager 

Ultimate Coder 2 week 4 : The UZ Factor