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Kinect Sports Rivals
03-18-2014, 05:53 AM
Post: #1
Kinect Sports Rivals
with the game fast approaching the April 8 release date, a number of articles have come out to give more details...

here's Forbes's huge article. Definitely worth a read if you're a Kinect fan!!!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/andyrobertso...-xbox-one/

'Kinect Sports Rivals' Will Silence Xbox One Critics

Xbox One’s Kinect controller is a double edged sword. While some praise its new advance motion tracking others are keen to use it as a stick to punish for its insistence that every Xbox gamer must own it.

Let me pin my colors to the mast, I really like Kinect. Not only as a novel way for families to play, but for the theater and fresh interactions it makes possible — of which we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

But even I could appreciate some people’s qualms over having to buy Kinect at launch, not least because of a lack of a really killer Kinect 2 game. The Wii certainly wouldn’t have succeeded without it’s banner launch title Wii Sports.

It was with some eager excitement then that I got exclusive access to Rare’s studio and their game Kinect Sports Rivals. Although bits and pieces of the experience had been seen before this is the first time anyone had seen the game end-to-end and in real depth.

In a nutshell, from getting scanned in to create a digitized Avatar, to picking your team and playing through the different sports there is a sense of finesse and quality throughout.

Soccer, Bowling and Tennis return in updated form while new activities Shooting, Climbing and Wake Racing expand the Kinect Sports Rivals cannon. It’s an intelligent way of keeping things familiar while adding fresh interest for more core gamers.


The difference over previous Kinect Sports titles is a greater sense of competition and skill. Not that the game is harder per se, but that the increased accuracy of the Kinect sensor moves this from an exuberant frantic work out to something requiring a deft touch and strategic understand more common in the likes of FIFA.

Talking to Craig Duncan, Studio Head at Rare, it was interesting to hear him address how the new sensor opens the door to a whole new experience — even compared to the 360′s Kinect controller.

“When we started to work with the Xbox One hardware team it made natural sense to take [Kinect Sports Rivals] further — make it look better, play better and add more depth and mastery.”

Mastery is the phrase that kept coming to mind in each of the different sports. I’d often start out a little frustrated, having been used to more general gestures being sufficient previously, but soon realized that if I paid attention to the on screen advice and to what I was doing with my body things suddenly clicked into place.


Rare are uniquely positioned to achieve this in a number of ways, but equally this ground will quickly be followed by other developers. “We are set in 100 acres of English countryside. My job is to ensure the team has the right space and time to make great experiences. This facility helps keep everything secret – working with Xbox One and Kinect in their early stages.”

Challenging Duncan about shortcomings in the previous Kinect experience that didn’t necessarily match up to the marketing message he was surprisingly frank. “Fundamentally it is a camera, it sees as a camera sees. You need to set it up for an optimum experience. Kinect is an amazing piece of technology as long as you set it up right and calibrate it.”

Reflecting on Xbox One in general Duncan was clear about the role Kinect Sports Rivals needs to play for the platform. “I think what it’s been missing is that killer awesome game. Which obviously at Rare we want to be that, and why we were a demo on day one and why we made the game.”

Talking the Danny Isaac, Executive Producer on Kinect Sports Rivals it was interesting to hear about the unique opportunities for Rare as a Microsoft studio in terms of profitability. “You can look at profit in a number of ways. Keep the costs down, or build something really awesome so more people buy them. Everyday there’s a push-pull for any decision we make but fundamentally at Microsoft we are in a privileged position that the company is very solvent.”


Did that take the pressure off returning a profit to survive? “As professionals we wouldn’t just throw good money after bad. Ultimately it’s a balance and sometimes money wins out on somethings, but I’m always looking at it from a consumer perspective.”

Asking Isaac about what Kinect 2 offers over the original he was again enthusiastic and frank. “There’s a number of things we do to make it easier for people to play. With the sensor itself it’s a lot more accurate so we can really pickup the intent of the player.”

“That said, every player moves slightly differently. There will still be instances where it doesn’t work perfectly well. But as a gamer those are the things I love to learn to get the most out of the game.”

It’s a compelling combination, the improvements of the Kinect controller itself, Rare’s experience of getting the most out of the technology along with an all important appreciation for the reality of using that software-hardware combo in a real family home.

Perhaps the best way to get a feel for how this all works is to see it in action with a real life person. So here are a set of videos from the studio tour looking at each sport in turn:







As you can see here, once you acclimatise to the new accuracy of Kinect 2 the level of interaction and skill suddenly moves into the real of the core player. Equally there is enough guidance and tolerance here for younger players too — in fact the developers were confident that even the smallest players in the family could be accommodated (provided they were comfortable with the E10/PEGI 12 rating).

The game launches in the US on 8th April and elsewhere on the 11th. It will be interesting to see how core and family gamers respond to the experience. Certainly there is now a very strong game-specific reason for that Kinect camera, along with the general voice and gesture navigation we’ve been enjoying so far.

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03-18-2014, 06:43 AM
Post: #2
RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
IGN has a huge preview article as well (lots of videos only available by reading the actual article):

http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/03/17/w...6a6c00000e

Like it’s predecessors, Rivals contains six sports. During my time at Rare, I got to spend quite a bit playing each one, and favourites quickly emerged. Below is a list not only of how I would rank them in terms of fun, but also what they’re like to play, their individual strengths and weakness, and plenty of footage showing the sports in action.

6. Football/Soccer

Without doubt, I think football is the weakest of the sports on offer. In part, this is down to your foot being a much cruder source of information for Kinect to interpret. Whereas other sports in Rivals take advantage of its ability to recognise an open or closed hand as an input, the foot doesn’t really give away much.

5. Shooting

The sensitivity and accuracy aren’t bad – the crosshair didn't wildly dart all over the screen, as I expect, and the Kinect remains well-trained on your finger tip. It's the action of shooting that proves counterintuitive. Even though you’ll find yourself pulling the trigger often, the shot is fired automatically once you’ve lined up the shot.

4. Bowling

Firstly, bowling is a lot of fun but is best experience with a bunch of friends. I played it solo, but there are a few things that quickly became apparent. There are nice touches, like the way you reach out to the right and grab your ball when it's your shot. If you open your hand accidentally, it'll drop to the floor. It's a neat bit of 'avateering', the term used to describe the way in which your onscreen avatar is mapped to your movements. Unlike the previous version of Kinect bowling, the sensor is now actually interpreting the action of putting spin on to the ball when you twist your arm.

3. Wake Racing

As one of the two events included in Rivals’ pre-season, Wake Racing might already be familiar to you. If not, it’s jet ski racing around a course littered with checkpoints, big cartoon sea mines that glow red and death-defying jumps over anchored ships. It's works well and is certainly one of the most visually appealing of the events – the way the setting sun reflects off the undulating water is quite lovely – but I worry about its longevity considering this isn't a fully fledged racer with a number of courses to sustain it.

2. Tennis

After a brief period of adjustment - I was constantly swinging just a fraction too late - tennis became one of the better events. It's also one of the few sports that has some depth to it – you're free to run about and use a selection of different shot types to win. Unlike shooting or football, which soon become repetitive, there's a spontaneous variety to tennis and the way it unfolds like the actual sport.

What also works particularly well in tennis is the uncanny way your Champion mirrors your movement in real-life on the court. From the way you naturally crouch down before an incoming serve to how you shuffle side-to-side as your opponent readies themselves, it's all mimicked onscreen. But importantly, that also extends to gameplay itself. When you serve, you throw the ball into the air and run around to reach well-placed shots. I soon found myself darting around as if I was playing tennis for real. It's a lovely illusion, and probably the best Rivals offers on that front.

I'm pleased to also say that it worked really well with two players – Kinect has no problem in discriminating between me and my opponent. But it did struggle to always understand what type of shot I wanted to execute. It's possible to perform lobs, slices and drop shots, I failed to do so with any reliability during my time playing. More often than not, I was powering it from the baseline regardless of how much force I was putting behind the return.

1. Rock Climbing

One of my favourite little games from last year was Mount Your Friends. If you haven't played it, you really should – it's fun, funny, and challenging. And rock climbing in Rivals immediately brought it to mind.

As I've already said, Kinect 2.0 can discern the difference between an open and closed hand, and this forms the basis of the rock climbing event. To ascend to the peak, you reach out your hand towards the nearest grip, close your hand to grip it, and push yourself up towards the next hold. Your legs aren't used for climbing, but you can jump should you wish to take the risk of reaching a grip far above your head.

It really comes into its own when played in two player, as imagine Rivals on the whole is meant to be enjoyed. It's much more satisfying to play when you have another human-controlled player in your eye line, either nipping at your heals or within touching distance. But you can do more than just touch them – you can reach out and pull their leg to make them fall.

Courses have alternate paths, with a faster course requiring more skill. Other more challenging stages have crosswinds and obstacles to contend with. There's a little variety, but it's really allure is the simplicity of its mechanic. It's a great mini-game.

Before playing Kinect Sports Rivals, I was sceptical about the difference the latest iteration of Microsoft’s motion controller would really make to the experience (as imagine you probably are). Was this going to be an afternoon of awkward moments and frustration, as it fails to recognise my inputs and I’m left standing looking like an out-of-shape lemon?

Surprisingly, that didn't really happen. Kinect rarely failed to recognise me nor did it get confused when I played with a friend. It offers a variety of experiences. Some feel like adaptations of the real-life sports, such as tennis which reproduces not only the structure of the actual game but the moves used by real-life players.

Other games, make too many compromises in order to bring them to life and accommodate Kinect. Football (soccer), for instance, does this to such an extent that what you end up playing is far removed from the actual sport, and it's unsatisfying as a mini-game in its own right. I wonder if football had to be included given its massive global appeal.

At the other end of the popularity spectrum is rock climbing. Who would've thought that would be one of the six sports included? But it's probably the best event in Rivals. Why? I think it's because it started by thinking about what the new Kinect could do, what it could recognise, and it grew as a game based on those findings.

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03-20-2014, 04:16 AM
Post: #3
RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
some behind the scenes:



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03-20-2014, 04:24 AM
Post: #4
RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
Eurogamer's preview (from a known Kinect hater):


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03-20-2014, 04:40 AM
Post: #5
RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
The Microsoft Store is offering a $10 gift card when you preorder Kinect Sports Rivals:

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msus...KSR_031714

Exclusive offer: Pre-order by 6 PM Pacific Time on April 6 and get it the day it’s released.* You'll also get a $10 Xbox gift card digital code.**

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03-21-2014, 09:21 AM
Post: #6
RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
There's a good interview at the following link. Some highlights I pulled from it (for full text, see the link):

Q: Does every mini-game support multiplayer and online play?

Drew Quakenbush: Yea 2-4 players. Our Bowling is up to 4 players, wake racing, target shooting and tennis all support split-screen. There’s also Live play so you can do console vs. console.

Q: How does the champion tracking features work?

Drew Quakenbush…With Kinect 2.0 and the incredible technology they put in there, what we’re able to do is recreate you within the game. We add our own artist style to that. During the scanning process there’s an initial scanning of your body mass. So it’s looking at your height, your shoulder width and your waist size, in order to determine the rough shape and size of you.

And then we go into a detailed facial scan – it’s about two minutes front and back for the entire experience – what we’re looking at is 86 key points in your face to determine your facial shape: the width of your eyes, the colour of your skin, whether or not you’re wearing glasses, if you have a beard, the shape of your hair, the colour of your hair and the volume of your hair, all to get an accurate picture of the shape and dimensions of your face. We take that data and then add our artistic style so everyone has a champion feel to them.

Q: With the mini-games that are returning is there anything specific you did to change them to make the experience different?

Drew Quakenbush: Absolutely – so the gameplay in it has change completely from previous iterations. With bowling we use the open/close hand to grab the ball (you can pick up your bowling ball now). We track your hand’s state, your arm and your elbow, to look at the position of your hand and when you open up your hand, that’s your release point. It really gives a smooth and natural gameplay mechanic that we just didn’t have before…

It’s really able to cleanly look at your state, your position, your velocity, where you’re positioned and what you’re doing. It really brings a natural feel to the gameplay.

What we’ve done with tennis, with previous iterations it was more of a back ball mechanic that was just looking at timing. But now we can not only measure your timing and the velocity of your swing, you can change the swing that you want. You can do top spin, you can do back spin and you can also do lobs. It really creates a more complex and robust gaming mechanic. Another really cool thing is you can now direct your shots…


http://o.canada.com/technology/gaming/in...-features/

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03-25-2014, 05:52 AM
Post: #7
RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
the game is getting close! here's one of the upcoming TV commercials:


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03-30-2014, 09:42 AM
Post: #8
RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
Microsoft is starting off launch of KSR with a global competition with real prize money!

I think everyone has a real shot at winning in KSR as it's less about twitch speed (remember all the running and jumping in KS1/2?) and more about finer control. Heck, just the chance to go to Comic-Con makes it worth it (nothing beats San Diego Comic-Con):

http://news.xbox.com/2014/03/games-kinec...ampionship

Today, Xbox announced the kick-off of the “Kinect Sports Rivals World Championship,” the first ever global motion-sports competition. The “Kinect Sports Rivals World Championship” will challenge players from around the world who have honed their “Kinect Sports Rivals” gameplay skills and award the grand prize winner with $10,000 in cash and a trip of a lifetime for two to one of four amazing destinations.

The grand prize winner will choose one (1) trip, from one of the following vacation packages: a water sports adventure in Bora Bora, walking the Great Wall of China, trekking to Machu Picchu or skiing the Swiss Alps.

Additional prizes include:

2nd Place: USD $5,000
3rd Place: USD $2,500
4th Place: USD $1,000
5th – 11th Place: USD $500 each

The “Kinect Sports Rivals World Championship” will begin online on April 8 in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Brazil, and on April 11 in the U.K., France and Germany as competitors go head-to-head in the semi-final round of the global competition online. It will culminate with a live, in-person final championship this July at the San Diego Comic-Con, where top finalists from each participating country will battle for their country’s glory and the grand prize.

Starting today*, players who want to enter the world’s largest motion-gaming competition can register here for the “Kinect Sports Rivals World Championship.” Pre-orders of “Kinect Sports Rivals” are still available, so if aspiring Champions haven’t secured a copy of the game just yet, they should do so now! Additional details, including rules and restrictions, about the “Kinect Sports Rivals World Championship” can be found on Xbox.com.

Fans who want to start training to become the global Champion can join in the battle for leaderboard supremacy right now in “Kinect Sports Rivals” Preseason. “Kinect Sports Rivals” launches for Xbox One on April 8, 2014, in North America, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, and on April 11, 2014, in Europe. Remember, it is you vs. the world!

*Registration for Brazil will begin on Friday, March 28

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04-10-2014, 01:55 AM
Post: #9
RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
I put some Picture in Picture gameplays up below from Youtube. The first one is all of the sports except tennis. The second video is the rest of my bowling match and tennis. I've had a bit more time to play with the game since this video and have gotten better. However my general opinion of the game hasn't changed. It's not bad and everything works for the most part just fine (you REALLY have to calibrate your Kinect. DirtyVu has a good tutorial in this forum).

I still haven't seen any familiar rivals either. However I do seem to be getting them from the cloud and they have been pretty challenging and fun to play against. I don't know if there is any simultaneous online play?







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04-10-2014, 02:16 AM
Post: #10
Thumbs Up RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
Looks cool! Smile It's not out here in the UK until Friday. I've got it pre-ordered so hopefully I'll be able to play it then. (Not sure how much yet though since I had an operation to have my gall bladder out last week so have to be careful.)
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04-10-2014, 03:55 AM
Post: #11
RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
(04-10-2014 02:16 AM)Corellianrogue Wrote:  Looks cool! Smile It's not out here in the UK until Friday. I've got it pre-ordered so hopefully I'll be able to play it then. (Not sure how much yet though since I had an operation to have my gall bladder out last week so have to be careful.)

Ouch be careful. When you are up to it, I'll look forward to seeing what you think (I'm glad to see reviews back on the site). I wasn't blown away with it personally but it's an OK game (I really miss the minigames) in my opinion.

The good news is, with the exception of maybe soccer *goal keeping* there isn't much moving around. There isn't any American football or track and field like events where you run in place. For the most part most of the game involves very little lateral movement. Still though I'd take it easy, maybe you'll be able to try out the target shooting or something which doesn't involve as much movement.
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04-10-2014, 04:01 AM
Post: #12
RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
Well I'll let you know what I think but I'm not the actual reviewer, that's Mike. Rare have said there'll be plenty of DLC so I'm sure we'll see various minigames. Maybe new sports too!
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04-10-2014, 05:28 AM
Post: #13
RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
I just got the game yesterday. didn't have a chance to really play yet but will. if you see me online, we can play together.

i like the picture in picture videos that darthvargi makes... Tongue

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04-10-2014, 08:33 AM
Post: #14
RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
(04-10-2014 02:16 AM)Corellianrogue Wrote:  Looks cool! Smile It's not out here in the UK until Friday. I've got it pre-ordered so hopefully I'll be able to play it then. (Not sure how much yet though since I had an operation to have my gall bladder out last week so have to be careful.)

no gallbladder means you have to be careful about high fat intake... *best wishes for speedy recovery*

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04-10-2014, 10:40 PM
Post: #15
Smile RE: Kinect Sports Rivals
(04-10-2014 08:33 AM)dirtyvu Wrote:  
(04-10-2014 02:16 AM)Corellianrogue Wrote:  Looks cool! Smile It's not out here in the UK until Friday. I've got it pre-ordered so hopefully I'll be able to play it then. (Not sure how much yet though since I had an operation to have my gall bladder out last week so have to be careful.)

no gallbladder means you have to be careful about high fat intake... *best wishes for speedy recovery*

Thanks. Smile Hopefully my normal diet will be OK, they didn't say I needed to cut down any, they just said the same as you about not having the fat intake be too high.
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