Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor trailer explains Kinect hybrid controls

A new Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor trailer explains just how the mech 'em up combines Kinect and gamepad controls to simulate piloting a mech. It's quite a different approach to the original's 40-button controller, but sounds intriguing.


If you're still mourning the fact that Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor doesn't use a wacky custom controller like its predecessor, chin up! A new video explains how, by combining Kinect with an Xbox 360 controller, the mech 'em up still offers sim-y interaction--complete with punching out-of-control crew members.

The gamepad is used for basic movement and firing, but will combine with Kinect gestures like leaning forwards to aim through a window, reaching up to raise the periscope, and standing up to peek out the hatch. While it's all quite different to the original Steel Battalion's joysticks and buttons, it's the same idea of simulating being inside a mech, and sounds jolly good fun.

Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is stomping onto Xbox 360 Kinect on June 19, made by Dark Souls developer From Software and published by Capcom.

From The Chatty
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    April 4, 2012 6:00 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor trailer explains Kinect hybrid controls.

    A new Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor trailer explains just how the mech 'em up combines Kinect and gamepad controls to simulate piloting a mech. It's quite a different approach to the original's 40-button controller, but sounds intriguing.

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      April 4, 2012 6:07 AM

      lame. I haven't even watched the video, but lame, because there is no way to improve on the original concept

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        April 4, 2012 6:15 AM

        No way to improve on the concept of a big complicated controller??? Like was said on the bombcast, there is no bigger more complicated controller than you. You are the controller!

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          April 4, 2012 6:29 AM

          depends if your goal is to immerse yourself into a mech control environment.
          you can control a mech by clicking a mouse and making it walk somewhere! that's easier.

          why have a flight cockpit when i can make an airplane move up/down/left/right in gradius

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          April 4, 2012 9:11 AM

          That's not what they said on the Bombcast. Ryan talked about how there seemed to be two kinds of Kinect game mechanics: those that embraced the Kinect's strengths and worked around (or embraced) its weaknesses (Dance Central and Happy Action Theater), and then those mechanics that were directly mapped from what used to be button presses or analog stick axes. They did, however, compliment the Kinect Steel Battalion on letting the player use Kinect while holding the controller, opening the potential of having motion-intuitive controls on Kinect, and quick precise actions on the controller. We won't know how well it all comes together until reviews come out. The Bombcast crew were a little intimidated by this game having been developed by the same dev that made Dark Souls.

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            April 4, 2012 11:30 AM

            That is exactly what they said on the bombcast.

            Transcript from the Giant Bombcast 03-06-2012 starting at 1:17:57
            Jeff: So remember that Steel Batallion was a game that required a giant and complicated controller
            Ryan: They were going for their super realism in their crazy mech game
            Jeff: And then then announced that they were making Steel Batallion as a kinect game and everyone went like uhhhhhggg that couldn't be further away from what Steel Batallion was. No! Instead they have found a way to make a kinect game as fucking insane.
            Brad: There's no more giant and complicated a controller than you

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              April 4, 2012 12:04 PM


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              April 4, 2012 2:30 PM

              did you seriously just throw a transcript in The Archviles face and were all like 'eat it, bitch'?

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              April 4, 2012 2:37 PM

              I'm proud to say I was here for this moment in shack history.

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              April 4, 2012 3:15 PM


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              April 4, 2012 3:32 PM

              Oh, I thought you meant this week's Bombcast.

              Giant Bombcast 04-03-2012 1:52:40

              Ryan: I think there is a fundamental philosophical difference between the approach that games take that WORK on Kinect, and that DON'T. The games that work on Kinect realize what Kinect IS, and play to both the strengths and the limitations of that. I think Dance Central's a great example of that; I think Happy Action Theater is a great example of that. The games that fail are the ones that try to use Kinect to do something that they're already doing.
              Brad: Yeah, and you end up doing it worse as a result.

              The discussion goes on to things like how there's no way to "put down the controller" if you want to stop playing, and have to put your arm into the 45 degree Guide pose (or could you jump out of the Kinect's field of view? Does that work in all Kinect games?). That reminds me of Brian Leahy in the 2010 Weekend Confirmed series talking about how the PlayStation Move Assault Rifle Controller will be terrible to work with, since there's no dead zone, and there's no quick way to rest your arms if you have to itch your head or something (though the PlayStation Move has buttons on the controller, so the developer could potentially map a button to a Pause menu, making it quicker to pause than a Kinect). Brad said that the pod racer mini-game in Kinect Star Wars felt worse than the old Pod Racer game from the N64 days, since the Kinect has no frame of reference for how far you're turning the pod, so it's easy to put in way too much steering input (Brad said "oversteer", but that terminology doesn't mesh well with what he was describing, which was the Kinect interpreting the control motion as putting in more steering angle than the player intends).

              I forget when (come on, I haven't listened to 04-03-2012 all the way through yet), but there's also the criticism of the Kinect having a hard time recognizing fast actions. The Kinect has limitations; the best developers find these limitations, work around them, and play to the Kinect's strengths. What a bunch of developers seem to be doing right now is just mapping the hands on the Kinect skeletal model to cursors, analog sticks, or simple gesture tracking, which can sometimes trip up when the scan resolution limitations are encountered. In this respect, the Kinect is not complicated enough.

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              April 4, 2012 4:11 PM

              This is what journalists should do in the mainstream media instead of just playing soundbites and cowtowing to politicians. Well done.

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              April 4, 2012 6:09 PM

              You're just as big a sperg as the rest of us.

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                April 5, 2012 8:45 AM

                When you play the game of spergs, you win or you die.

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        April 4, 2012 6:23 AM


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      April 4, 2012 6:44 AM

      Hehe, really cool. I like the 'stand' motion opening the hatch, and the 'binoculars-to-the-face' motion for binoculars.

      The game looks pretty sweet, too. But without a PC port this is probably the last time I'll recognize this game's existence.

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        April 4, 2012 7:10 AM

        Kinect works on PC now, yes?

        I'm sure MS would capitalize on that.

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          April 4, 2012 8:20 AM

          No because MS are idiots....look at Alan Wake and how MS seriously dropped a major money making ball on that one.

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            April 4, 2012 9:30 AM

            I really hope the next generation moves away from the retardation of exclusives.

            I know they are there to sell consoles, but would the few extra console sales seriously out-earn profits generated from opening up your game to millions of more customers?

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      April 4, 2012 10:14 AM

      Massive 40-button controller with dual joysticks>Waving my hands in the air

      How does this work while you're holding on to a control pad? Any videos showing a person actually playing this game?

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      April 4, 2012 12:13 PM

      When are they going to show off the mech dancing minigame?

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      April 4, 2012 2:49 PM

      Wow, that looks exactly nothing like what made the original great

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      April 4, 2012 6:00 PM

      Hearing the Giant Bomb crew talking about this on the bombcast made it sound amazing to me.

      Of course, they like bad FMV and stuff so it's hard to know whether I should take it as complimentary by any definition.

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        April 4, 2012 7:10 PM

        It got me really interested too. I hope there's a demo or something though.

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      April 5, 2012 7:36 AM

      Ok, this video got me interested. I always wanted the original game but wasn't ready to spring for the stick (it was a lot of money to me back then). They do have some cool ideas here and this is the house that built Dark Souls (my game of the year last year) so they get some extra points right there.

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      April 5, 2012 10:14 AM

      Maybe they should include the option to put a semi-transparent image of yourself on the screen so you can see exactly what control you're trying to activate?

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