Project Natal (Xbox 360): Technical problems before release

By Posted 7 Apr 2010, 12:10

We have some worrying details for Xbox 360 owners now, as a list of problems (unconfirmed) has been collected, detailing various technical issues for Project Natal – expected to release later on this year.

According to French site GameBlog, developers have been reporting problems on Project Natal after getting to grips with the developer kits that Microsoft are sending out.

Firstly, developers have been reporting lag issues, some 125ms to be exact. Also, Natal seems to have problems detecting body movement, especially if there is other obstacles in the room in view of the camera.

Further problems include Natal response in low-light conditions, difficulty depending on what clothing you wear, detecting movement of certain areas of the body and more.

Before you all panic, there doesnt appear to be any source on the website, so I wouldnt read too much into this for now.

Still though, it is hardly good reading for Xbox 360 owners. Let us know your thoughts on this.

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  • Steve

    I'm not surprised at all. If anyone has tried out the existing 'camera' these are the exact problems that made that piece of "tech" useless for any games that were designed for it.

    Also, if anyone watches the youtube promotional vids of people / celebs trying it out at the E3 (?), the system is setup in a room with no furniture and white walls – solutions to the issues the developers are having, but not a workable solution for most gamers.

  • Raggs

    Seeing as the camera uses it's own infrared source for illumination, light levels in the room shouldn't make the slightest bit of difference.

    The word obstacles (I don't know if this was drawn from the gameblog website) suggests things between the player and the camera, which to be fair it's only reasonable to expect some problems if this is the case.

    As for lag, well that's old hat, and there's been several statements since saying their working on it.

    From what I can see it's nothing new, something that seems to be obvious and another that's almost certainly wrong. And without sources, it's just not reliable.

  • Ken

    I am experienced in a few different camera types, but video game cameras (other than the Wii sensor/remotes) are not in my expertise; however, I was assume Microsoft would be smart enough in a case like this to have a camera calibration (and if not possibly they could integrate something like the one I've listed below), they can't assume everyone's living room is a green screen…

    Perhaps something along the lines of:

    1) Setting up the array where it needs to be (a recommended distance away from the participants, or perhaps you could even set the distance in some settings)

    2) Walk away from your xbox with your controller, making sure all people/moving objects are out of the sensor range

    3) Select a calibrate option, bam, the camera array does an analysis of the area for maybe 10 seconds (judging on the speed of the xbox, that should be plenty of time to set up a data array table for everything's depth and what not), then stores the information and creating a virtual green screen out of that.

  • Ken

    4) Now when ever there is movement or a different position for anything within the array it will detect that it and there should be no problem with obstacales there…

    I do see problems possibly coming from this because you'd have to calibrate your array all the time unless you kept a spotless house, and it may take a bit more processing power than the XBox has to access this data log constantly during play…

    Oh well just some ballparking on the subject!

  • AnthonyTony

    I'm not surprised about the lag though when you think about the amount of processing that Natal will need to do compared to the competition's devices. Let's hope they can reduce it before launch, otherwise 360+Natal will become the home of party games and little more.

    Now I'm just waiting for the first killer headline on launch: "Natal cannot see Muslims!", when the world realises that Natal cannot see people in loose-fitting long clothes or Muslim head-scarves.

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