Blitz game designers on the wii controller

An interesting talk I attended yesterday at the Lyon Game Developers' Conference was the on entitled "Creating Great Games for the Nintendo Wii and Its Unique Controller" by Philip and Andrew Oliver from Blitz Games:

"Even though the ideas are fairly simple to prototype, getting the feel of each control system just right was a challenge in itself. Detecting the correct motion of the controller had to be very specific and tested thoroughly as different people held the controllers in sometimes very different ways. The problem of how to convey the instructions for the controller types within the game had to be addressed. As we all know, nobody reads the manual, especially at the target age range. A series of images, text prompts and even animated movies were experimented with, all with different results. Testing and interpreting these methods were key to getting a successful title."

Some of the results they described about designing wii movements:

"- swiping is tiring and it's difficult to sync movements on the screen - driving using the wiimote as a steering wheel that you can push/pull to accelerate/brake did not work because it was too tiring and small movements were unnoticed... and they noticed how an abstract notion like accelerating is better conveyed by pressing buttons - people hold the wiimote VERY differently. Kids tend to hold it very loosely and do movements with large amplitudes whereas adults hold it more firmly and do not swing it away too much (as if it was a sacred grail or a TV remote control) - certain controls that require player to hold the wiimote vertically did not work... because people do not hold it vertically: people do not look at the wiimote especially when standing. Asking someone to hold the wiimote vertically is difficult because it depends on situations: sit at a desk, lie on a bed, standing, standing with friends. - distance between the wiimote and the screen was easily detected and that variable was very accurate to be employed in a game mechanic."

Why do I blog this? these few elements are interesting and echoes with the (private) work I have done about this. More specially it resonates quite well with the importance of context in playing with the Wii. I am currently thinking about a study concerning how people have expectations about the wiimote, how they understand its usage. It would also be interesting to observe how people naturally hold the wiimote