Off the back of their PlayStation Eye beat-em-up ‘Kung-Fu LIVE’ we chatted to Virtual Air Guitar Company’s CEO Teemu Mki-Patola about Kinect, the 3DS and how the developer kicks serious ass.
GamerZines: Kung-Fu Live is the first game Virtual Air Guitar Company has released. How has the reaction been pre and post release?
Teemu Mki-Patola: We got a lot of excitement to our announcements and from people playing the game on the festivals (e.g. Gamescom and Penny Arcade Expo). Post release, the average rating on PSN is 4.4 / 5 based on 500 player reviews and players have been writing us positive comments and emails all around, which has been truly awesome and we cannot thank them enough! However, the official reviews are completely divided. The other half doesn’t get the game working or gets it working but doesn’t like it. And the other half likes it. We are getting 4-5s and 7 to 8.5s and there seems to be very few in between those ranges.
GZ: When we played Kung-Fu Live at Gamescom in August, the person demonstrating it to us called it ‘The Kinect game for PS3". Do you think that comment is justified?
Teemu: Kung-Fu LIVE doesn’t use a 3D camera but other than that the approach is similar as the software does skeleton tracking and it is a full-body game. ‘The Kinect game for PS3′ was not our definition but a quote from media that stuck as it seemed to explain the approach to people in an easy to understand way. We have mostly used it with humour intact.
GZ: With that in mind, why did you choose to work with the Playstation Eye rather than Microsoft’s Kinect? Both technologies and target audiences suit a product like Kung-Fu Live.
Teemu: In short, we couldn’t get access to Kinect early enough. We wanted to make the game on both systems, which marketing wise perhaps didn’t fit into everyone’s plans.
GZ: One of the goals with a game like Kung-Fu Live is making it accessible. What tips do you have for people who might be struggling to achieve an adequate set-up for Kung-Fu Live?
Teemu: Ensure good lighting, try to achieve some colour difference between you and your background (e.g. use brighter clothes if you have a black couch behind you or tilt the cam and play next to the couch) and focus on the pattern tolerance and color tolerance on the advanced calibration menu if you have issues. I usually mostly tweak those two when setting up and have been able to make it work pretty much in every case. Sometimes you need to boost the exposure from the camera parameters, though, e.g. to make the camera see a difference between dark clothes and dark background. Also important to have enough shadow removal and color tolerance so that possible wall shadows get removed. Moving shadows can cause areas from the wall to become visible although you barely notice them with your eyes. Increasing the tolerances but not too much helps to remove this effect.
There are new tutorial videos (including a setup tutorial) coming to www.kungfulivegame.com/help.
GZ: We thought it was quite ingenious that we can use household items as in-game weapons. What tools are popular at Virtual Air Guitar Company for kicking some ass?
Teemu: We use plastic bags with something light, e.g. a shirt, inside and thick sticks made of plastic foam. A broom is also rather effective. These in-game weapons are most useful against the inklings and on the easy difficulty levels where the enemies do not block much.
GZ: Do you think Sony has done enough to support a peripheral like the PlayStation Eye?
Teemu: Well, the PlayStation Eye comes now with every PlayStation Move, so its spreading nicely. Making pure camera based games is quite difficult and I’m sure they have supported it as much as they saw reasonable.
GZ:A game much like Kung-Fu Live was released on the Nintendo DSi earlier this year called ‘Photo Dojo’ which used the system’s camera to put you into a beat-em-up style game. With the Nintendo 3DS pushing new ideas like augments reality using the 3D cameras, is this a system you would like to work with in the future?
Teemu: The 3DS is awesome, I really like it and Photo Dojo too. It was clever. But if you want to make real-time camera stuff that is somewhat complex, you need more processing power. We haven’t looked into 3DS coding at the moment.
GZ: What’s next for Virtual Air Guitar Company?
Teemu: We are toying around with the PSMove and interested of Kinect as well. Nothing to announce at the moment, but we will likely stick with motion based games.
GZ: Thank you for your time.
*Find out what we thought about Kung-Fu LIVE in our review. Click through the link on the right.
Tags: Kung Fu Live
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