Fans of Battlefield are always looking for ways to take their gaming further and these are players who want to be the best of the best, and experience the game like no other. In a world first, a unique FPS simulator has been built that runs a pre-release copy of the game and includes a full 360-degree environment, which is the world’s first, portable omni-directional treadmill, lets you control the movements of a Battlefield 3 character with your own body. The treadmills are your WASD keys, or left thumbstick, replicating your actual feet’s movements in the game and the wrap-around screen gives you an almost virtual reality-like environment to play in and the paintball guns, they’re there to actually shoot you when you’ve been shot in the game………………..
Battlefield 3, one of the most highly anticipated games of 2011 is yet to hit the shelves, but UK technology programme The Gadget Show, gained exclusive access to a pre-release level and hand-built a simulator to play it. As part of a challenge for the new series of the show, presenters Jason Bradbury and Suzi Perry brought together a team of design experts and an amazing array of technology worth £500,000 ($650,000) to build this one-off creation. Centred on the world’s first, portable omni-directional treadmill (designed by Swedish company MSE Weibull) the simulator lets you control the movements of a Battlefield 3 character with your own body. Other key technology employed includes: 12 paintball markers that allow the player, in real time, to feel the enemy gunfire experienced in the game; a wireless gun system; ambient LED lighting; and an Xbox Kinect camera hack. The idea for the simulator came in July this year when The Gadget Show realised that graphically-sophisticated games are held back only by the way many of us play them – sat in front of 1 static monitor. By projecting the game inside a 360-degree, 4 metre high and 9 metre wide video dome (provided by Igloo Vision) the gamers’ experience is made as visceral and immersive as possible. Ten infra-red motion tracking cameras continually monitor the real-time movements of the gamer on the omni-directional treadmill. This data is sent to the PC running Battlefield 3 to control the speed and direction of the in-game character. The same cameras also track the direction in which the gamer points their wireless gun. Using this information the simulator can rotate the 180-degree projected gaming image around the dome to keep the gamer immersed in the action. The immersive experience is completed by a pixel-mapped, ambient LED lighting system used to flood the dome with colours direct from the game and a bespoke Kinect camera hack makes it possible for jumping and crouching in the dome to be replicated in the game.