A Look At Head Tracking With ArmA II

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Avatar image for jeff
Posted by Jeff (5563 posts) -

Today's the day for ArmA II, at least on Steam. While I'm sitting here, watching it slowly download, I'm fully expecting it to be way too much for me to handle. I mean, Operation Flashpoint was already way too much for me to handle. So a new game along those same lines, from the same developers? I'm probably doomed.

Maybe I need to further complicate things by getting one of these crazy-ass head tracking units. Dave sent me this video of a guy using a TrackIR with ArmA II. The TrackIR is a camera devoted to watching your head. Or, more specifically, it's looking for a set of markers that you have to wear on a hat or on something that can clip to a headset. When those markers move, it translates the movement into in-game actions that you can program via an external tool. It's the part where you need to wear something on your head that immediately switches me into "thanks, but no thanks" mode, in case you were wondering.

The guy likes to use phrases like "situational awareness" and "threat scans" when he really means "I'm going to turn my head a bit so I can see what's going on around me without having to change my character's position." But it's his stoic, empty stare and overtly salesy vibe (he is, after all, pushing his affiliate links in the video) that kept me sort of giggling through the entire thing.

 




[UPDATE] In case you needed any more proof that dslyecxi here is serious about his ArmA II, he sent over this link to a tactical guide he's written on the game. It's incredibly serious stuff. Even as I read it and attempt to digest it, It's managing to make me feel even more ill-prepared to handle ArmA II. Which is almost done downloading, by the way.



Staff
Avatar image for jeff
#1 Posted by Jeff (5563 posts) -

Today's the day for ArmA II, at least on Steam. While I'm sitting here, watching it slowly download, I'm fully expecting it to be way too much for me to handle. I mean, Operation Flashpoint was already way too much for me to handle. So a new game along those same lines, from the same developers? I'm probably doomed.

Maybe I need to further complicate things by getting one of these crazy-ass head tracking units. Dave sent me this video of a guy using a TrackIR with ArmA II. The TrackIR is a camera devoted to watching your head. Or, more specifically, it's looking for a set of markers that you have to wear on a hat or on something that can clip to a headset. When those markers move, it translates the movement into in-game actions that you can program via an external tool. It's the part where you need to wear something on your head that immediately switches me into "thanks, but no thanks" mode, in case you were wondering.

The guy likes to use phrases like "situational awareness" and "threat scans" when he really means "I'm going to turn my head a bit so I can see what's going on around me without having to change my character's position." But it's his stoic, empty stare and overtly salesy vibe (he is, after all, pushing his affiliate links in the video) that kept me sort of giggling through the entire thing.

 




[UPDATE] In case you needed any more proof that dslyecxi here is serious about his ArmA II, he sent over this link to a tactical guide he's written on the game. It's incredibly serious stuff. Even as I read it and attempt to digest it, It's managing to make me feel even more ill-prepared to handle ArmA II. Which is almost done downloading, by the way.



Staff
Avatar image for luberik
#2 Posted by Luberik (128 posts) -

that's quite something

Avatar image for pirate_republic
#3 Posted by pirate_republic (1151 posts) -

This looks pretty neat, but very impractical. I'm not liking this trend of replacing the controller with you.

Avatar image for tiwi
#4 Posted by Tiwi (1422 posts) -

ArmA II FTW!
that game is awesome!

Avatar image for hughesie27
#5 Edited by hughesie27 (229 posts) -

weird reminds me of that asian dude with the Wii invention

Avatar image for heartagram
#6 Posted by Heartagram (1322 posts) -

THE FUTURE AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Avatar image for al3xand3r
#7 Edited by Al3xand3r (7912 posts) -

Eh, old?

Too expensive anyway, look up faceapi which yields similar results with just a standard webcam. Now that one might just take off. Developers will actually want to enhance their games since a large part of their fanbase will be able to use it. Just about everyone has a webcam.

@hughesie27 said:

" weird reminds me of that asian dude with the Wii invention "
I's all headtracking, just implementation varies. Lee used the remote's infared camera to track the position of 2 leds on his glasses and adjust the view accordingly, this thing also uses infared, faceapi track the position of the eyes and mouth with a standard webcam to tell how you move.
Avatar image for greatfunstuff
#8 Posted by GreatFunStuff (57 posts) -

sounds like this dude has pop rocks in his mouth

Avatar image for vinchenzo
#9 Posted by Vinchenzo (6463 posts) -

I agree this is completely impractical unless your monitor surrounds your entire periphereal vision. Because guess what, when I go to turn my head all of a sudden I'm looking away from the monitor. As to be expected.

Avatar image for yobalt
#10 Posted by Yobalt (13 posts) -

I was this a while ago and It looked cool then and it looks cool now.

Avatar image for matthewmeadows
#11 Posted by MatthewMeadows (600 posts) -

Cool video, wish my PC was good enough to run it ArmA II :(

Avatar image for jon93
#12 Edited by Jon93 (167 posts) -

Ahh, ShackTac!

Don't put Dslyecxi down, he's doin a good job demoing the tech.

He's even written a big guide to tactics in Arma.
You can read it HERE
If you are interested in this kind of game it's definitely something that warrants a good read.

There are a couple of really dedicated communities based around the game, ShackTactical is the group run by the man who made that video.

In my experience Arma is one of those games that is defined by the community, you won't get as much enjoyment out of it without being in a tight knit group like shacktac.

Avatar image for al3xand3r
#13 Edited by Al3xand3r (7912 posts) -

Which shows you simply don't know how it works and how it can be used...

A) it can adjust the view depending on your head position to provide almost stereoscopic 3D, more immersive view, without actual dual displays.
B) it can detect movement, and therefor allow you to lean and do other functions without the use of keys.
C) it can adjust the sensitivity, so a slight tilt to the left or right can translate to a more exagerated movement on the screen.

That adds to the immersion and releases your fingers and keys for more functions, of which "sims" like this have many. You don't have to use Q and E to lean, you can add other easily accessible functions there. You don't have to use a "freelook" key to look around without altering your aim.

Etc. There's certainly potential to devices like this one without multiple monitors. After all, if you actually have multiple monitors, why do you need headtracking? You'd just need the game to support rendering the different views, and you'd look @ the monitors yourself, without tracking it.

Avatar image for lyphen
#14 Posted by Lyphen (81 posts) -

I don't get it. How is this more effective than...well...mouse look? Or Q/E leaning?

But, whatever. Obviously it's meant for the hardcore - the guys all hooked up with the Philips amBX and Novint Falcon. I'm not part of that market.

Avatar image for flipperdesert
#15 Posted by FlipperDesert (2201 posts) -

The motion controller would be weird to get used to, but I'm totally giving Arma 2's demo a shot. Sold?

Avatar image for oldboygamer
#16 Posted by OldBoyGamer (7 posts) -

i whit for natal and do all this on my 360 games :)

Avatar image for jimbo
#17 Posted by Jimbo (10462 posts) -
@Vinchenzo said:
" I agree this is completely impractical unless your monitor surrounds your entire periphereal vision. Because guess what, when I go to turn my head all of a sudden I'm looking away from the monitor. As to be expected. "
It's not 1:1 tracking, obviously.

I ordered one of these after being blown away by the Arma 2 gameplay vids.  I'll let you all know how it plays (if the retailer ever decides to actually send it).
Avatar image for diamond
#18 Edited by Diamond (8678 posts) -

The biggest practical problem I see is you're turning your head but still looking at the screen in front of you.  Ideally you'd have screens surrounding you so when you look to your left you're not glancing at a screen to your right.  I have nowhere near the head discipline as this advertiser does, so it'd be a real pain to play a game like this.

For actual in-game view adjustment the product is absolutely pointless.  Could be useful if you wanted to be able to nod to people over the net though.

Avatar image for plasma
#19 Posted by Plasma (968 posts) -

Here is the use of Natal in 'normal' games

Avatar image for rokkis
#20 Posted by rokkis (76 posts) -

I'd buy it if more games were supported that I would actually want to play.

Avatar image for jjweatherman
#21 Posted by JJWeatherman (14917 posts) -

Looks awesome. I wish I could run Arma 2. I got the demo off steam and my computer almost exploded.   :P

Avatar image for duketogo
#22 Posted by DukeTogo (1516 posts) -

He should demonstrate it for a DJ Hero add-on that allows for hip hop head bobbing.  He's already wearing the headphones.

Avatar image for linfosoma
#23 Edited by linfosoma (36 posts) -

I think the ArmA 2 demo ended up being a little bit too much for me, kinda sad really, looks like I'm not the serious player I thought I was.
Oh well, I will always have Killing Floor!

Avatar image for orgunuk
#24 Posted by OrgunUK (82 posts) -

I've been playing Arma 2 alot these past couple of days and I must have watched that video about 6 times since I started playing...SOOOOOO tempted to get one :)

Avatar image for jimbo
#25 Posted by Jimbo (10462 posts) -
@OrgunUK said:
" I've been playing Arma 2 alot these past couple of days and I must have watched that video about 6 times since I started playing...SOOOOOO tempted to get one :) "

Do it!  Then if it turns out to be terrible I won't be the only one here looking stupid ;)
Avatar image for jakob187
#26 Posted by jakob187 (22916 posts) -

You know, I've noticed that I can't seem to find a single fucking video for ArmA2 where people are ACTUALLY FIGHTING!!!

Avatar image for nasar7
#27 Posted by Nasar7 (3209 posts) -
@jakob187 said:
" You know, I've noticed that I can't seem to find a single fucking video for ArmA2 where people are ACTUALLY FIGHTING!!! "
lol so true. Also, for all this guy's jock-riding of ArmA2 and TrackIR, the tech actually looks pretty cool.
Avatar image for diamond
#28 Posted by Diamond (8678 posts) -
@jakob187 said:
" You know, I've noticed that I can't seem to find a single fucking video for ArmA2 where people are ACTUALLY FIGHTING!!! "
That's my main problem with ArmA2 videos.  If it's still anything like Operation Flashpoint there's still fighting in the game.

I did see one ArmA2 video with fighting, and it made obvious severe visual faults like the muzzle flashes that are a low resolution static texture in front of your gun, looks like something out of 1995...

Still mildly interested in ArmA2 as a game, I'll try the demo when I get my new PC.  ArmA1's demo was a buggy mess though.
Avatar image for aeterna
#29 Edited by Aeterna (1129 posts) -

Cool stuff. Looks very "practical".


Edit: The price isn't though.
Avatar image for ahoodedfigure
#30 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4567 posts) -

Yes, but how do most of our eyes look when we're playing some frigging action game?  Just as dead, probably :P

Avatar image for subject2change
#31 Posted by Subject2Change (2971 posts) -

Seems quite cool but not into the whole realistic sim; may look at Arma 2 though and that may change my mind.

Avatar image for orgunuk
#32 Posted by OrgunUK (82 posts) -
@Jimbo said:
" @OrgunUK said:
" I've been playing Arma 2 alot these past couple of days and I must have watched that video about 6 times since I started playing...SOOOOOO tempted to get one :) "
Do it!  Then if it turns out to be terrible I won't be the only one here looking stupid ;) "
It all comes down to £££ :( It's a bit pricey for me at the moment, maybe when I get my bonus heh
Avatar image for phlegms
#33 Posted by phlegms (1622 posts) -

This game looks so epic, but it runs like fudge on my laptop.

Avatar image for phlegms
#34 Posted by phlegms (1622 posts) -

This game looks so epic, but it runs like fudge on my laptop.

Avatar image for mrklorox
#35 Edited by MrKlorox (11142 posts) -

I'll bet this will be the most used feature of Natal, unless MS wises up and releases a pair of trackable full-controllers.

EDIT: Hey! I havr those exact headphones! Sennheiser HD-595s. Not a bad pair of cans.

Avatar image for keith1437
#36 Posted by KEITH1437 (291 posts) -

Trying demo for ArmA2. But the head thing looks...weird.

Avatar image for hoagie
#37 Posted by Hoagie (69 posts) -
@pirate_republic said:
" This looks pretty neat, but very impractical. I'm not liking this trend of replacing the controller with you. "
It's not replacing the controller. You still move, shoot like normal and, watching the video, lean with the keyboard too. This just adds the ability to look around without turning your characters body. Imagine the wrap-around Forza 3 without the need to buy three monitors, three Xbox consoles, and three copies of the game.
Avatar image for roosterfeet
#38 Posted by roosterfeet (19 posts) -

I've been flying various flight sims with previous versions of Trackir for years and it works great.  It isn't for shooters, it's for controlling your view from a cockpit when you've got one hand on a stick, another on a throttle, and both feet on rudder pedals.  It takes about an hour to get used to, but after that it's as natural as using a mouse.  Similar web cam apps work, but they are not nearly as precise.

It's a very niche product and its a safe bet that 95% of Trackir owners will purchase Arma2.

Avatar image for diamond
#39 Posted by Diamond (8678 posts) -
@MrKlorox said:
" I'll bet this will be the most used feature of Natal, unless MS wises up and releases a pair of trackable full-controllers. "
I rather them use head tracking to give the illusion of 3D like that Wiimote demo that was made on Youtube by that guy that now works on the NATAL project (forget his name).

Imagine if you sat a little lower and things on the screen adjusted, you'd feel like you were looking through a window into another world.
Avatar image for kajaah117
#40 Posted by Kajaah117 (1071 posts) -
Avatar image for fuzzylemon
#41 Posted by FuzzYLemoN (1609 posts) -

Hm, too bad the game... kind of sucks.

Avatar image for secretrob
#42 Posted by secretrob (21 posts) -

For headtracking I use the Track-IR trackclip pro which I picked up for $29.99 and Free-track using my Xbox 360 cam.  Unfortunately for ArmA 2 you have to use ppjoy to emulate the head tracking to use with free-track.

Avatar image for emnii
#43 Posted by emnii (238 posts) -

Dslyecxi is the fucking man. This is an awesome demo, I'd love to see TrackIR implemented in a game like Freespace 2 or a new Mech game.

Avatar image for mrklorox
#44 Edited by MrKlorox (11142 posts) -
Anybody know if it's possible to use an analog stick from a 360 controller to make your character look in ARMA 2? You'd really only be able to use it in prone like the guy in the video since you'd have to take one hand off the controls... but it should work right?

@Diamond: Admittedly, I commented before I watched the video. I assumed it would be more like those wiimote videos from Johnny Cheung Lee. But yeah, that's what's gonna happen.

@Roosterfeet: I'm willing to bet it's more of a niche product than tactile transducers (bass shakers) but ironically not in gaming. If I were to choose between head tracking and physical bass, I would choose the latter. Appearantly, a lot of these "immersion" gamers would rather spend more money on a less functional device system such as amBX. Victims of marketing, I say!
Avatar image for airules
#45 Posted by airules (138 posts) -

This, combined with a video headset so that you actually look where you point your head, would be the best thing ever!

Avatar image for soap
#46 Posted by Soap (3774 posts) -

Arma 2 looks pretty shit hot from that o.O

Avatar image for eckster
#47 Edited by eckster (79 posts) -

I could see Project NATAL incorporating this.

Avatar image for softcoredave
#48 Posted by SoftCoreDave (176 posts) -

AND it get my seal of approval.....for what that's worth, lmao. That cracked me up.

Avatar image for scratch
#49 Posted by Scratch (647 posts) -

I played the demo of ArmA 2 that just came out and it was a little too much for me to handle. I don't know there's something about it, that just doesn't feel right. It's too realistic? I never thought I would be complaining about realism in games.

Avatar image for andrewb
#50 Posted by AndrewB (7814 posts) -

Doesn't it seem stupid to have to move your head away from what you're supposed to be looking at in order to look around you? Seems like this could work exceptionally well with a special peripheral vision monitor, or a triple monitor setup, but every other application seems more impractical than just moving your mouse in the direction you want to look.

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