Among classic arcade and console games, light gun shooters are some of my favorites. The problem is that the technology used for older video game systems required the scanning beam of a cathode ray picture tube to detect where you were pointing the light gun. For years, companies have attempted to replicate the same idea for today’s LCD or OLED TV displays, but have had little success doing it accurately – at least without the addition of some kind of light bar above the TV, and often wonky calibration techniques.
The Sinden Light Gun aims to change that, letting you play classics like Duck Hunt, Time Crisis, Virtua Cop, House of the Dead, and Area 51 with accuracy on modern screens.
The trick is in the Sinden’s HD camera and tracking technology which allows the light gun to know its exact location in 3D space relative to your TV screen. After identifying the corners of the television, and correcting for keystoning in real time, it calculates the gun’s X and Y coordinates relative to those known landmarks, then provides those coordinates back to the computer as analog mouse coordinates via USB. It requires no calibration, and works from any place you have line-of-sight vision to your display.
The prototype version of the Sinden is able to perform the process of capturing the image and processing it in about 40 milliseconds. That’s still a bit slower than a gaming mouse or old school CRT-based light guns, but should still be fast enough for a satisfying gaming experience. It’s expected to be compatible with Windows PC, Linux PC, Raspberry Pi, and PS1 and PS2 consoles.
Since the Sinden can also detect its distance from the television, it could also be used to provide Z-axis data, so it knows your exact position in 3D space. That could theoretically be used to provide position tracking, if game developers decide to take advantage of that information. In addition to the base model, there’s a version in the works with a solenoid built in that can provide the kind of recoil feedback found in some arcade guns.
The developer of the Sinden Light Gun is raising funds for production over on Indiegogo, where it has already blown through its funding goal. The base model Sinden Light Gun is going for $98, while the version with recoil is priced at $159. 2-player packs are also available at a slight discount. Keep in mind that this is the gun’s second round of crowdfunding after an initial campaign on Kickstarter last year, and the first batch of guns has yet to ship. The current plan is to start shipping Indiegogo orders this September, assuming COVID-19 doesn’t slow that down further.
This looks like just what the doctor ordered for anyone who loves retro console or arcade gaming, and its maker hopes it will lead to the development of new light gun games.
Well, we don’t know what the official Sony PlayStation 5 will look like, but Sony’s debuted their new controller design and here’s really what I think. It looks great, but it isn’t Sony-DNA. Sony’s DualSense controller feels a lot like an evolution of an Xbox controller, rather than a direct progression of its own design heritage, and that isn’t sitting well with Yonghwan Kim, who prefers Sony retain its brand DNA. In fact, he’s even designed his own console and controller combo to show Sony the path forward.
Let’s ignore the fact that the top-view of the conceptual PS5 console looks like one of Buzzfeed Tasty’s induction cooktops and move onto its monolithic design that actually follows the architecture that Microsoft set with its 2020 Xbox. The vertical pillar-shaped design is optimized for air-flow, pulling wind from the bottom and pushing it out the back. The design even features a rounded-hexagon top that extrudes upwards to reveal a CD tray, and a host of ports on the back, from the standard Power Delivery port to an HDMI, LAN, and USB ports. It seems like there’s a 3.5mm jack too for an aux out.
What I really like is Kim’s controller, which truly looks like the soul successor of the PS range. It retains the light bar’s position, keeps the touchpad the way it is, and doesn’t change much in way of the layout… but it gives the controller a refreshed aesthetic. I mean, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?
Thoughts, anyone? Besides the fact that it looks like Apple’s 2015 Mac Pro? Or an enlarged Amazon Echo? I mean I really think the form factor makes sense. It’s familiar, and that CD tray is actually pretty cool!
Designer: Yonghwan Kim
I’ll be honest, the new PS5 controller design is giving me slight Portal/Stormtrooper vibes with its flowy, organic, split-surface black/white design. Released as a set of images that would have probably debuted at E3 if it hadn’t been for this damned virus, the Dual Sense controllers for the PS5 are quite an upgrade or deviation, depending on how you look at it. If you ask me, it looks like someone made the old controller wear a white tuxedo and gave it a shave plus a dab of cologne… figuratively speaking, of course.
The PS5 Dual Sense controllers bear more of a resemblance to the Xbox Series X controllers if you ask me, given its ergonomic design and dual-tone finish. I can’t help but wonder what the design brief behind Sony’s upgrade was, but I do like how clean it looks. As per an official blog post from Sony, the new controller should look smaller and feel lighter than its predecessor. Among some notable upgrades are the presence of the light-bar on the top of the controller rather than the front, a switch to USB-C, and a built-in microphone array that lets you have conversations with other players without the need of a bulky headset. Sony’s also been working on better haptic feedback, and one of the Dual Sense’s most interesting features is the presence of variable tension in the L2 and R2 trigger buttons that become harder or easier to press based on what you’re doing in the game. Imagine a trigger on a handgun being easier to press, versus a trigger on an assault rifle or shotgun offering a significant amount of resistance. Sounds incredible, doesn’t it?!
Sony’s yet to release info on its pricing, availability, and color-variants, but that should come well before the PS5’s expected end-of-year release date… and given what the PS5’s images look like, it’ll be quite a role-reversal to have a gaming controller that looks SIGNIFICANTLY better than the console itself, no?
The Nintendo Switch is a fantastic little gaming system, with a great library of exclusive games, and the ability to switch between a portable and home console in one. The standard Joy-Con gaming controllers that come with it are pretty good already – if a little small for those of us with bigger hands. Now after seeing a number of fake renders of the idea, some has gone and built a set of Joy-Cons based on the classic GameCube controller.
Shank Mods really wanted to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with a proper GameCube controller, so he set about the complicated and time-consuming task of chopping up a real GameCube Wavebird wireless controller to convert it into a Joy-Con. He sliced the controller in twain, then ripped out the guts and replaced them with the electronics from the Switch Joy-Cons. That way he was able to preserve the style and feel of the GameCube joystick, while preserving the full functionality of the Switch’s controllers.
But as you can see in the build video below, I’m vastly oversimplifying the work that was required. The project took months, and he had to basically redesign the entire interior of the Wavebird, and custom 3D print various parts to make everything fit and hold in place securely.
The end result is really impressive – the controller splits in half and mounts to rails on the side of the Switch, as well as a central rail for joining the controller halves back together. I’d love to see Nintendo offer a series of retro style controllers like this for the Switch, but for now, we have to leave it to talented modders like Shank to get the job done.