Over the past few years the idea of using surround sound systems and positional audio effects for gaming has been gaining ground, with more and more gamers investing in the kind of hardware which used to be restricted to home cinema fanatics. Now Color Kinetics are planning to do the same for a game's visuals, with .. Surround Light! You there at the back - stop sniggering.
The system works by placing up to eight of Color Kinetics' digital lights around your room, all hooked up to a USB interface with CAT5 cables. Color Kinetics have already produced a WinAMP plug-in which promises to "create groovy effects through intelligent signal interpretation", synching the multi-coloured lights to the music the software is playing, while game developers Mad Doc have apparently implemented Surround Light support in Star Trek Armada 2, as CEO Dr Ian Davis told IGN yesterday.
"We used virtual lights to control the lights in the room around you - if a blue photon torpedo shoots by on the right, lights on the right side of the room will glow blue. We also used it for a few special effects - in a red alert the whole room glows red. When you combine that with the lights it's really breathtaking. You can also use the lights as indicators, some lights tell you the different systems on the currently selected ships - lights glow green when your shields are okay, red when they're not. And you can map a lot of lights just as ambient lights, or do it as indicators. It's amazingly useful."
To be honest we're a little sceptical at this point, as having a light show which would make Jean Michel Jarre jealous going off in the middle of a game is more likely to be distracting than immersive. Still, if you fancy turning your gaming den into a disco inferno, this could be just what you were looking for...
Source - IGN
Will you support Eurogamer?