Thursday, December 8, 2011

Real-life tennis video game puts you in control


The natural feel of the motion controls in Wii Sports Tennis might make you feel like you have stepped in to the shoes of Rafael Nadal or the Williams sisters, but the game's cartoon graphics slightly spoil the effect. Now researchers at the National Taiwan University in Taipei have come up with a new way to play that puts you in direct control of real-world athletes - or at least a video of them.

Jui-Hsin Lai and colleagues have designed a system called Tennis Real Play that can analyse video of a real-life match and turn it into a playable game. The game extracts clips of the players and the ball and smoothly blends them together to create a controllable character. It can also analyse an athlete's real-world performance and convert their success rate into in-game statistics.

Players currently use a Wii controller to swing and hit the ball, but Lai and team have also developed a Kinect-controlled version, which they will demo at the ACM Multimedia conference in Arizona at the end of November.

The researchers say their system could allow gamers to replay a tennis match they have just watched in an effort to change the outcome, and the system could also be used to create interactive versions of football matches or baseball games.

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