Kinect’s ‘Milo’ Shows Interesting Features

Milo was the poster boy way back when Kinect was first shown to the world as ‘Project Natal’. The interaction shown was packed full of potential, but then poor Milo disappeared.  We feared the worst, but he recently reappeared and seems to have acquired a dog called Kate and some interesting features that – if integrated correctly – could influence games of the future.

Firstly, some plot details have emerged. Milo and family, along with his dog Kate, have just moved to New England from London, and are settling into a new home. You play the part of a new friend he’s met there.

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Showing off the game at TEDGlobal 2010 conference in Oxford, Peter Molyneux has revealed that the game won’t be a boxed product, but it will be running off a cloud server.  This means that Milo will be able to change over time, getting smarter and adapting – and that’s when SkyNet will launch the missiles.  It all sounds pretty impressive (except the SkyNet stuff), especially as the game is said to learn about you, which in turn affects the way Milo turns out.

Voice recognition was reported to be impressive, with “immaculate speech recognition, response and conversational ability”.  Of course, this was under demo conditions, but the possibility of this system in other games is exciting.  Mass Effect 3 with an actual dynamic conversation system that can also see how you react?  Perhaps that’s a touch ambitious but you see where I’m coming from.

The motion control was said to have some lag, but overall it was effective.

Milo and Kate is turning out to be an interesting concept, and definitely one that gives us a glimpse of what Kinect can actually do.  However, I can’t help but just be impressed by the technology rather than the game.  Hopefully once we learn more that will change but until then all I will be thinking about is picking the games best features and putting them in other franchises.

Source: Wired

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21 Comments

  1. Not convinced with Kinect as a direct gaming application (beyond Wii style stuff, that is). Maybe Microsoft are taking a similar approach with Kinect as Sony did with DVD, Blu-ray etc – gaming is just the means of getting it in to homes a la trojan horse type thingy. Its true application could lie elsewhere.

    Milo is just freaky.

  2. Do you really need Kinect for speech recognition?

    • EXACTLY – everything that gets people excited about Milo is nothing to do with Kinect, it’s a marketing lie by Microsoft.

      Milo would only work with extremely advanced AI – Kinect doesn’t comes with AI processors so anything Milo is alleged to be able to do is purely down to how the 360 has been programmed to process the inputs. These inputs could just as easily come from a headset, webcam, and traditional controller… If you can’t have a conversation with a NPC in a 360 game today, what suddenly makes the 360 capable of doing it just because you talk into the Kinect microphone instead of a headset?

      In PC terms it would be like Microsoft launching a new mouse and claiming that by using it you could also run much more sophisticated software on your PC – the two just don’t go together!

  3. I just don’t like the idea of a live camera in my home connected to a cloud server.

    • With a company as powerful as Microsoft potentially on the other end. Definitely some privacy implications there…

    • Microsoft love the idea!

    • Yeah to be honest i unplug my PSeye, when not in use! yeah call me Mr paranoia (and so you should, as i am)

      • Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean Milo doesn’t want your soul.

  4. Sounds gimmicky – it’s all really impressive, but ultimately seems like it won’t lend itself well to gaming. More of a tech demo than anything.

  5. I think this is a testing bed before its a built in part of the next xbox.

    • or a similar kinect thing that can be used as part of a future os (for desktops and laptops, and even windows phones)

  6. Interesting, will be good to see where they go with this.

    Its operating system future in a computer controlled house is probably assured, but in games its path is less certain, like you say it could be used for conversational sections in games.

    Imagine something like Heavy Rain, but with the tech powering Milo behind it… Molyneux could be on to something huge here, but it will probably take years for it to play out properly

    • i dont get the whole artificial conversation thing in games, if i want to alter the path the game takes i want to do it through actions not dialogue

      • You never played Heavy Rain, Fallout 3 or practically any RPG then?

      • yes and fallout is 80% actions oriented, i haven’t got round to heavy rain yet but to my knowledge isn’t it actions oriented to ‘example’ theres a guy robbing a shop do you shoot him or dissuade him if you shoot him will you be quick enough besides i just said “i dont get the whole artificial conversation thing in games” implying that i have played games or more accurately western rpgs and felt that building the foundation of story progression and orientation through simulated dialogue is all abit meh, at least fallout made conversation a skill that you could level in various ways. to me this whole regarding human to human interactions as something that can be replicated through technology is a disturbing and ugly thought

  7. I’m still not a fan of anything to do with kinect, what’s the point if it can’t be used by people that are sat down, seems a bit mean to me as I’m sure there’s plenty of people out there who are restricted to wheel chair use etc that can’t enjoy this new tech, unless of course Microsoft sort it out so you can play sat down

  8. am i the only person that is thinking that kinect is a waste of time and money for microsoft

    • No

    • The reason is that Microsoft has sold over 40m meaning every single core gamer who has a passing interest in the 360 has already purchased one.

      It is a product/service designed to get the 360 brand to appeal to as many people as possible, and from there to sell as many consoles as possible.

  9. Don’t have an Xbox, but i think that if the missus walked in on me having a conversation with a ‘game’, she would be calling the white coat brigade asap!

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