Boom Blox to feature head tracking

Play just by moving braincase about.

Electronic Arts has revealed you'll be able to play Boom Blox using the power of your head.

The game is being developed exclusively for Wii in co-operation with Steven Spielberg. Louis Castle, VP of creative development at EA LA, took the stage at the Game Developers' Conference to discuss the design processes involved.

For those who aren't familiar, Boom Blox is all about throwing, grabbing and blasting blocks. One of the game's most intriguing features is the "remix mode", which allows you to change the rules of mini-games and move the blocks in them around. Castle said there's plenty of freedom here - "Some of the playtesters have changed levels so much we don't recognise them any more." He went on to confirm you'll be able to share your creations online via Wii Connect.

But the most interesting part of Castle's speech came right at the end, when he revealed his "GDC Easter Egg": Boom Blox will feature head tracking. In other words, by strapping a special device on, you'll be able to control the game's camera as you move your head around. "It makes your television screen look like a window into a 3D world instead of just a camera that moves through a world," Castle said.

To demonstrate he played a short video. The camera moved round a collection of blocks and shards of crystal, frozen in mid-explosion. "What's moving the camera isn't a wiimote, it's a guy with a bar on his head going like this," explained Castle, waggling his own head about.

Said bar is available from Amazon for about USD 9, according to Castle. Apparently there are also special glasses with built-in LEDs you can use.

It's all very interesting - especially when you consider Sony appears to be up to something similar. On the GDC show floor they've been exhibiting a new piece of PlayStation Eye technology which registers the position of your eyes then uses them as waypoints. You can then move the camera by... Moving your head, and if you close one eye the effect is three-dimensional. Sounds mental, and it is. Sony says the technology isn't currently being used in any games; they're trying to find out if developers are interested in using it, and if so we could see it in future PS3 titles.

In the meantime, there's Boom Blox - it's out in May. Visit the gamepage for a trailer and some screens.

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