Skyrim Kinect





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Published on Dec 2, 2011

Skyrim Kinect is my latest PC game adapted to work with the Kinect. It allows for full character control using both gestures and voice.

Update: I've been reading your comments, and you guys have been very positive! There's always going to be debate over motion controls, so keep the discussion going. It sounds like you guys have really enjoyed the voice controls. Lucky for you, a new video is in the works, which includes Fus Ro Dah, and the ability to perform any shout you know, on the fly. Also, the new voice commands now include drinking potions and more spells. Video coming soon, so please subscribe! Cheers.

The gestures are simple and intuitive, yet allow for gameplay depth never before seen with the Kinect. Simply swing your right arm forward, up, left, or right, and your character will hack with his sword. Or, if you have a spell in your right arm, simply raise your hand or push it forward to cast. Use your left arm to control your character's view; if you have something equipped like a spell or shield, your left arm will control that as well.

Movement is also easy. Put your right foot just inches forward to run, and even further forward to sprint. Your left foot forward switches to a slow walk, while leaning left, right, or back moves your character in that direction.

Reach down with your left arm to draw or sheath your weapon, reach down with your right arm to activate objects. Crouch to sneak, and raise your right foot to jump.

This established gesture-based control scheme has worked well in my previous videos, but what is new in Skyrim Kinect is the use of voice controls:

Yes, this means Dragon Shouts!

Voice control also allows for much easier access to the menus and the 8 hotkeys. Each hotkey item has its own word or phrase, and the word 'double' before most hotkeys will equip it to both hands. Voice controls really do help create a seamless Kinect experience that would otherwise be burdened by accessing menu's using gestures.

Some features that are implemented, but not used in this video include:
- saying "Left hand" or "Right hand" to equip an item to a particular hand when in menu
- saying "Hello" to activate a conversation with a store owner or NPC
- saying "Journal" to access the journal
- saying "Skills" to access the skill trees
- saying "Switch View" to change between 1st and 3rd person perspectives.

So what kind of technology is behind the Skyrim Kinect video?

Well, gesture control is handled by the Kinect using a program called FAAST. FAAST, a middleware that operates using the OpenNI framework, converts user movements into keystrokes. Unfortunately, the openNI framework does not support voice control for the Kinect.

As a way around this, voice control in the Skyrim Kinect video is handled by a program called VAC (Voice Activated Commands). VAC allows you to pair spoken words with keystrokes.

Trying to avoid any type of controller, wires, or anything that might impede movement, I have used a RazorFish bluetooth headset to send voice commands to VAC. This device was relatively inexpensive, and probably accounts for some of the gameplay moments where a command is unrecognized.

I hope that you enjoy this Skyrim Kinect video. I look forward to suggestions about which PC games you feel should be Kinected in future videos.

FAAST: http://projects.ict.usc.edu/mxr/faast/
VAC: http://www.dwvac.com/
Music clips: Kevin MacLeod


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