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Haptic Half-Life: The Novint Falcon

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April 25, 2008 4:45:06 PM

Article by Rob Wright

Novint's Falcon controller aims to bring haptic technology to PC gaming. Do forced feedback, motion control and sense of touch enhance the Half-Life 2 experience?

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/04/25/novintfalcon_review/
April 25, 2008 5:08:44 PM

That's cool.... but I never really have cared for force feedback. And 189 bones is too close to a better graphics card for me. Nice article though :) 
April 25, 2008 7:52:52 PM

I'm still trying to figure out what the hell I'm looking at. Should I be scared? Should I be turned on? Do I need to cover my precious privates?
April 25, 2008 10:36:52 PM

exfileme said:
I'm still trying to figure out what the hell I'm looking at. Should I be scared? Should I be turned on? Do I need to cover my precious privates?


We are doing a video with Rob playing on the thing that should be up next week. Highly entertaining stuff, especially when thing occasionally freaks out and starts gyrating independently.
April 26, 2008 2:11:31 AM

bennyblanx said:
We are doing a video with Rob playing on the thing that should be up next week. Highly entertaining stuff, especially when thing occasionally freaks out and starts gyrating independently.


Yeah a vid would be nice!
April 26, 2008 2:28:18 AM

bennyblanx said:
We are doing a video with Rob playing on the thing that should be up next week. Highly entertaining stuff, especially when thing occasionally freaks out and starts gyrating independently.
You MUST pick his nose in the next video... I would simply poop my pants in laughter.....
April 26, 2008 10:25:18 AM

"But it's not just about the device design; as we've seen with the Wii, you can make a sleek-looking controller that may be pleasing to the eyes but fails to accurately translate the action to the screen."

So he says that the Wii-mote doesnt work ? I guess he should try new batteries...

Interesting device tho, but I'm quite sure it will be VERY bad for your shoulder, a mouse is bad, but this looks really really bad
April 26, 2008 5:24:51 PM

Moonrise said:
"But it's not just about the device design; as we've seen with the Wii, you can make a sleek-looking controller that may be pleasing to the eyes but fails to accurately translate the action to the screen."

So he says that the Wii-mote doesnt work ? I guess he should try new batteries...

Interesting device tho, but I'm quite sure it will be VERY bad for your shoulder, a mouse is bad, but this looks really really bad


I guess I should have clarified that Wii statement -- I was referring mostly to the Wii Zapper gun controller, which I've found to be underwhelming in terms of performance. The Nyko PerfectShot controller for Wii shooters doesn't look nearly as cool but is supposed work much better.

And yes, the Falcon can be tiring since you have to keep your arm raised all of the time instead of simply resting your wrist on the desk to move a mouse.
April 26, 2008 9:55:14 PM

What's all this talk about vibrating and gyrating electronic devices?!!

For shame!!!
April 28, 2008 6:12:41 PM

robwright said:
Article by Rob Wright

Novint's Falcon controller aims to bring haptic technology to PC gaming. Do forced feedback, motion control and sense of touch enhance the Half-Life 2 experience?

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/04/25/novintfalcon_review/


Nice article. I just had a couple comments - Though we have heard from some people that aiming is more difficult with the Falcon when first trying it, we have heard from many others that aiming is easier. Many of our longer term users who originally thought aiming was difficult, also say that the Falcon is their preferred method with some time and experience. In fairness, people have spent countless hours with the mouse, and we have found that the learning curve to even surpass mouse control isn't all that steep. Fundamentally, the Falcon has two regions of interaction - a mouse-like inner area, and an outer joystick like area (enhanced by virtual haptic walls). The combination of those two methods makes for a control scheme that when learned and tweaked to individual preference many find better than the mouse.

on ergonomics, the Falcon is like any controller - you have to set up your workspace correctly. I often go 4-5 hour sessions with the Falcon with less fatigue or discomfort than a similar mouse session. If you have your elbow resting on a chair's armrest, and you keep your wrist straight, it is comfortable.

The WoW drivers are coming along well - they are past an exploration phase now (we need to update our website). One feature is that we use haptically enhanced gestures to cast powers and spells which can help with the high level problem of not having enough buttons near your left hand to easily access all your spells. We have a nice in-game customizeable UI for that as well. That plus the added immersion of feeling all your powers, I think will be powerful.

My favorite quote of the story, as it hits at the heart of the value of the Falcon was "the loss of the force feedback left me feeling naked" - often we equate playing games with the Falcon to movies before sound. Once you experience it, you never want to go back to the old way. That will be more and more true as we release new titles.

overall well written review - good job. The criticisms are fair, but we are addressing them well, with better grips and many more titles on the way. The EA deal is not just indicative of one deal, but rather, a licensing model that will work with other publishers too, so I think this year will be big for us in terms of game support. If you're interested in reviewing Penumbra Black Plague (exciting adventure/horror title), XLR8 (powerful driving simulator), Talon Special Ops (FPS), and Ascension Reborn (3rd person adventure/shooter that I am really excited about), we'd be happy to send you them in advance. The same is true of our other upcoming titles, like the EA titles or other upcoming relationships and games tba as they get closer to release.

thx, tomnovint
Novint CEO
April 28, 2008 8:01:07 PM

I remember seeing this on display at EforAll last year - they had demos running with half-life 2, but the ones I saw there all had proper pistol grips, not that wierd ball.

The recoil effect was really cool, certainly nothing like using a mouse or keyboard, and combined with force-feedback it does make one hell of a gaming device for first person shooters. The accuracy does need to be improved though. This device certainly does bring FPS games to a new life - it's kind of like playing GTR2 racing game normally, then playing it with a G25 wheel. You won't want to go back to the mouse again.

The interchangeable grips are cool - but how about making one molded from a "real" 44 magnum? That would definitely add value!!!

For me, it's not so much the price that will hold me back, but the 3rd party support - it's great to see support for half-life 2 and (hopefully) bf2, but I would need to see at least FarCry and Doom3 included on that list before I buy. Notice that I haven't even mentioned Crysis, Quake 4, F.E.A.R. or UT.

If they can get all the wrinkles ironed out, this could become an FPS must-have item.
May 14, 2008 3:45:36 PM

I've been using the Microsoft Sidewinder Dual Strike for FPS games since the first day I saw one in 1999. I haven't seen anything to beat it, including this device. Every time I experience FFB I find myself wondering what all the hype is about. BFD!!!
May 14, 2008 8:41:38 PM

Looks sorta odd, like an 8 ball with arms lol. Does it work with Battlefield 2 or are drivers required? It would be great for flying the choppers and jets I would think.
June 9, 2008 11:29:01 AM

You can feel the weight of the object lifted with the gravity gun? Sounds like they've missed the point with that portion of the mod...

Interesting device overall though I must say.
!