One of the great things about the iOS development movement is the ability to try new and creative things with minimal risk. Digital Rising has certainly done that with VisionBall. Released last week, this is essentially a technology demo that creatively uses the iPad 2’s front-facing camera as a motion controller.
Taking on territory dominated by the Xbox 360’s Kinect, PlayStation Move, and Nintendo Wii isn’t surprising. Motion controls and Augmented Reality (or AR) apps are all the rage now, even if such control schemes have yet to prove themselves useful for hardcore gaming. VisionBall uses its patent-pending VisionTech to create a ‘pop-a-shot’ basketball game, which seems like a perfectly reasonable game style to emulate for their first time out.
To play, you lay the iPad down on a flat surface in a very well-lit room and hold your hand about a foot or so away from the screen. You can calibrate the game at any time, and seeing it map your fingers (or face, or whatever) is kind of cool. Playing the game, however, turned out to be a different story. While we can’t vouch for anyone else, our playtime with VisionBall proved less than impressive.
Aside from the obvious problem of how awkward it is to hold your hand perfectly steady above an iPad, the game seemed to have a lot of trouble accurately registering our movements. Getting the onscreen hand to shoot the ball seemed more like a random occurrence, even when the camera was properly tracking our hand. Still, the game is free and certain to be updated with improvements, so it’s definitely worth playing around with, if only for the gimmick factor. You might even have better luck than we did.