Hands-on with the Falcon
Touching in games has never felt so good.
Article by Aaron Drewniak (Email)
May 19th 2005, 04:48PM
Something is missing in gaming today. Even with Sony and Microsoft promising the ultimate in graphics and sound for their next generation consoles, creating a world so real you can almost touch it... but you can't. Even with the largest screen and the most expensive sound setup imaginable, you still can't forget about that controller in your hand. That too is about to change.
Produced by Novint Technologies Inc, the Falcon is a consumer version of what already exists as a commercial device, used in laboratories to accurately simulate the feeling of touch in a 3D space. Forget about force feedback. Comparing it to the Falcon would be like comparing an old computer speaker than can only bleep and blurp to the THX system of a modern movie theatre. It's much more than a few random shakes. With this device, you actually feel the weight of a basketball just before the toss, the fine surfaces of objects like gravel and sandpaper, or even the kickback from a gun in a first person shooter.
All of this and more I was allowed to experience for myself, and it left me... well, frankly awed, not only for the device itself, but what the future potential of it could hold. Imagine a role-playing game where every object, like wood and cloth, had their own unique feel, and where you could really sword the weight of the sword in your hand to the point it even effected how you attack. Or an adventure game similar to Myst were puzzles could be solved all through touch. This is a device that will not only expand current game genres, but produce entirely new ones not before capable by the limitations of conventional controllers.
Priced at $100, the Falcon will be released in the Fall of 2006, bundled with two touch-enabled games for the home PC. Then our gaming senses will extend beyond the realm of hearing and sight, into a world you can finally reach out and touch.