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Now we have Mick Hocking with us, Vice President Worldwide Studios. Here's how he found the SCEA press conference last night:
We had a really stong conference. We showed off some stunning titles, and really pushed the boundaries in quite a few directions.
We're looking at a much broader demographic with PlayStation now, and our line-up complements the core line up really well. It shows the PS3 has the strongest core line-up as well a fantatstic propostion for the whole family with Wonderbook.
We asked Mick how long the team has been working on Wonderbook and where the inspiration for the product came from:
London Studio has been working with Vision Technologies for nearly 10 years since the start of EyePet. In that time, we've had many innovative ideas to do with augmented reality and games in the living room space.
Wonderbook came up about four or five years ago as a tech demo that we all really liked and they current work really started in earnest about two years ago when we started to really develop the augmented reality book technology. This meant we could properly track every single element of the book - so this is just not a 2D AR marker, the Wonderbook technology allows us to track every surface of the book accurately even when the user turns a page.
For example, you can pick the book up and move it around to see the 3D content, we can have the content change as you turn the page - if you put a dinosaur on the page,as you turn the page backwards and forwards, you can reveal the dinosaur skeleton or go to a fully skinned dinosaur. The other thing to mention is that we found that this tactile and intuitive control is very compelling for our users."
jennytablina ased via Twitter:
Are there any other books coming to Wonderbook, or is Book of Spells the only announced title currently?
Book of Spells is our first title, but as we said at the press conference, Wonderbook is one book with a thousand experiences. We have many more books planned, including Diggs Nightcrawler, which is based around Diggs the detective worm, solving mysteries in a 1940’s style story. It features some amazing augmented reality graphics.
Wonderbook's concept looks really cool and interesting. i would like to ask the developers wether they intend to expan on the genres they will be making available. I mean the harry potter stuff was cool for new users and kids but i wonder about the potential possibilitys if you could use wonder book with adult novels and books or even graphic novels. that would proper get me excited because wonderbook while it looks interesting only has appeal to anyone under 10 when i reckon it could be so much more.
Absolutely, Wonderbook is well suited to a whole range of experiences from interactive story content to games to educational discovery books; for example, imagine a discovery book of the solar system where kids can bring planets off the page that will orbit around them in the living room and will allow them to manipulate celestial objects to see what would happen if they moved the position of the planets closer to the sun. You can even imagine Wonderbook being a companion to a sports game where you can collect the stickers for your favourite players and see them come to life in 3D on the book - so perhaps dad's playing his football game and his son can is collecting the players into the book and bringing them to life in 3D and looking at their stats. We're really excited about Wonderbook: Book of Spells and it's also just the start for this technology - we've got plenty of ideas of how it's going to develop in the coming years.
We asked Mick which came first - the opportunity to work with JK Rowling on a project, or the technology for Wonderbook.
We had this technology and we began building protoypes with different experiences. It was a wonderful coincidence where this technology perfectly fitted the concept of a spellbook, at around the same time as we were speaking with JK Rowling. After all, we are of course all muggles when it comes to magic, and we have the perfect magic wand in the PlayStation Move motion controller.
We asked Mick to explain all the different elements that go into Wonderbook.
You'll need the Wonderbook peripheral itself, the PlayStation Eye camera which we use to track the book and, for Wonderbook: Book of Spells, you'll also need the PlayStation Move motion controller which will turn into your wand. The Wonderbook: Book of Spells game itself will be launched on Blu-ray Disc and available at the usual entertainment outlets.
We've designed the whole Wonderbook experience to be easy and intuitive so that young kids and mums and dads can all enjoy it together. As we are now into the sixth year of the PS3 system's life cycle, Wonderbook is a perfect product to allow us to bring new audiences and new people to the PlayStation platform.
A quick followup to my initial question (back on page 1 of tis topic).
Will Wonderbook offer other types of content or is it "only" Harry Potter related? Some ideas could be Disney Channel or Cartoon Network characters. But I think the main question is will all content be localised to every langauge or is it English only?
We can't talk about what might happen, but as far as localisation goes, yes is the simple answer. JK Rowling has millions of fans around the globe, and we will be translating the game into most if not all European languages so as many people as possible can enjoy this game.
Please note: We will find out the exact number for you, Keldj, and get back to you.
Since we're on the subject of augmented reality, we asked Mick to tell us a bit more about some of the other cool technologies being developed at SCE London Studio by the Vision R&D team.
Mick: "At GDC in March, we did a talk on various different AR technologies with fixed and mobile cameras such as you find in PS Vita for example. For instance, on PS Vita, we have a new marker-less AR technology that can augment just about any surface that you look at - we can even use this technology to look at a building using your PS Vita cameras and augment that building so that we can have a huge monster burst through the side of the building and try and attack you where you stand. The big advantage with marker-less technology of course is that you don't need to carry a marker with you to create the AR experience. From fixed camera AR in your living room with Wonderbook to AR on the go with PS Vita, there are so many great new experiences we are working on."
Regames asked via Twitter: Will it feature any content geared toward older players?
We absolutely intend the Wonderbook platform to appeal to the young audience and also an older tween and teen audience. We have new experiences that we’re working on that I think will appeal to an older demographic too.
We asked Mick what kind of feedback the team has had from early testing of the game.
Wonderbook allows us to deliver story content in a way that has never been possible before. We can allow characters in the story to interact directly with the player. It can also some introduce some really interesting collaborative read alongs with mums and dads. Think about potential moral choices involving the whoel family.
We've found in testing Wonderbook that kids love the freedom that they get from jumping to any part of a story and just playing with the scenes and the characters, while often mums and dads like to sit with the kids and play through, helping them where necessary and just having fun with the story.
We asked Mick about the moment when he saw the potential in the Wonderbook technology.
Two years ago I took over London Studio and having long been a fan of stereoscopic 3D technologies and camera-based technologies, I saw the early prototype work on the Wonderbook platform which showed a range of different experiences you could have on the Wonderbook platform and how we could use the book as a controller, both by turning and rotating the book and by turning the pages to interact with content in ways that hadn't been possible before. For me, the key goal was to learn how to deliver compelling story content using this unique control method. At the same time, we were given the amazing opportunity to work with J.K.Rowling as a result of the Pottermore initiative and immediately we knew that we wanted to do was create a magical spell book experience which in turn became Wonderbook: Book of Spells.
We're wrapping up with Mick now, so he can get around the show to take a closer look at some of the highlights from PlayStation.
Here's what he's looking forward to:
The Last of Us and BEYOND: Two Souls really show how we're pushing the action genre. The level of performance capture in those games is the best I've ever seen, the way actors can be portrayed in-game is very special. Quantic Dream's experitse with performance capture is something I look at and think, "Wow". They are leading the way with delivering those experiences. The Last of Us too is showing how brilliantly a film-like narrative can be delivered through the action genre. Stunning work from both studios, showing a very different way to approach this genre.
So that's it from the SCEE media room here at E3 2012. Thanks very much to Mick and all of our participants, and make sure you check out eu.playstation.com for a round of all the answers.
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