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Monday January 3, 2011 4:23 pm

Kinect Hack Turns World of Warcraft Into Full-Body Grind




Posted by Drea Avellan Categories: Microsoft, MMORPG, Mods/Hacks, PC

Microsoft Kinect allows you to maneuver your character and navigate compatible games simply by using hand gestures and body movements – at least that’s how Microsoft intended it to be. Researcher Evan Suma and his team at University of Southern California, have found a way to use Kinect is a somewhat unusual way. OpenNI, hacked programs (FAAST), and some tech voodoo, have allowed this team of masterminds to plug in Kinect to their computer’s USB port, and use it to play World of Warcraft. The software translates real-world gestures into in-game commands that allows for the player to level-grind with their fists.

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“Our software communicates with the Kinect software and recognizes the user’s skeleton,” Suma said in a phone interview with Wired.com. “It calculates each gesture you do and generates virtual keyboard commands, allowing you to communicate through them.”

So how was this all made possible? Simple answer – FAAST. This third-party hack is an open source middleware used to facilitate integration of full-body control with games and VR applications. The toolkit relies upon software from OpenNI and PrimeSense to track the user's motion using the PrimeSensor or the Microsoft Kinect sensors. FAAST includes a custom VRPN server to stream the user's skeleton over a network, allowing VR applications to read the skeletal joints as trackers using any VRPN client. Additionally, the toolkit can also emulate keyboard input triggered by body posture and specific gestures. This allows the user add custom body-based control mechanisms to existing off-the-shelf games that do not provide official support for depth sensors.

If you are a developer who is interested in this, I would advise you to start your project soon. The World of Warcraft terms of use prohibit the use of third-part software designed to modify the game. Blizzard's thoughts on this hack are unknown, as all attempts to get comments on this matter have been ignored.

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Comments:

Haven’t played WOW in years, was definitely a cool game.  I can only imagine the version 10 years from now.  lol!


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