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Capcom: Steel Battalion the most accurate Kinect game yet

After "massive aid" from Microsoft.

Capcom reckons Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is the most accurate Kinect game yet.

The Japanese company, which drafted in Dark Souls developer From Software to handle production, had a huge helping hand from Kinect maker Microsoft in getting the tech just right.

The end result is a mech operating war game that detects precise arm and hand movements from players who are sat down - most Kinect games require players stand.

"Microsoft and Capcom have been in it from the start on this," producer Kenji Kataoka told Eurogamer.

"Initially, when we started testing Steel Battalion on Kinect, the movement recognition was done by area. It detected where your hands are, and that's how the program tried to see what you were trying to do.

"But obviously, because Steel Battalion is fairly complicated, recognition by area wasn't good enough. So Microsoft developed another whole set of technology that meant it recognised actual gestures, not the absolute area.

"Now it's a combination of coordinates, area and gestures. That adds a lot more accuracy. It now can detect what your intentions are just by small movement rather than the absolute coordinate of where your hands are. In the end it turned out really well, but we really had to grill it to the last with Microsoft to make this happen."

In Steel Battalion players push and pull levers, push buttons and peer through periscopes using short, sharp movement of their arms. Accuracy is paramount - the game's battlefield is a busy place, and the gameplay, as you'd expect from a From Software title, is challenging in the extreme.

The Kinect recognition is combined with the traditional Xbox controller, which governs movement of your Vertical Tank (VT) as well as auto-cannon and rocket fire, in an attempt to simulate the virtual operation of a mech.

Players play while sat down (although you are able to pop out of the VT hatch by standing up), with Kinect tracking your head, shoulders, arms and hands. The rest of your body is, on the whole, redundant.

"[Microsoft] had to come up with a whole library in the SDK [software development kit] in collaboration with us to develop a whole new concept of using Kinect," Kataoka said. "We walked with them on this, and here we are, sitting down with Kinect works."

Now development on the game is finished (it's out next month), Kataoka is confident Steel Battalion outstrips other Kinect games in the accuracy stakes - at least those already released.

"I obviously can't tell for the ones that are not out," he said, "but against the ones that are already out, I do think we've gone the deepest and we've checked every single alley and potential Kinect can offer."

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