I’m not an E3 so I’ll have to rely on others for coverage, but Nintendo has announced the long-awaited Wii Music at their press conference today. Now, of course, a number of readers here are already making Wii Music of their own, using custom software to turn Wii remotes into controllers. (Finally got my Balance Board working, by the way; more on that soon.) But it’s great to see mainstream games giving players more freedom; the new game promises to allow you to improvise freely instead of just time pre-determined reactions as in conventional music rhythm games.

Joystiq has a post I expect will be updated; see also their joint Engadget liveblog.

More on this soon.

In other news, it looks like Nintendo is adding still more sensors to its Wiimote, in the form of the Wii MotionPlus add-on. Sounds like the Wii hackers will have more to do – and that the Wiimote will remain gestural computing’s most excellent bargain input device.

  • http://www.roaldblijleven.net rhowaldt

    couldn't help but notice how there is an almost unbelievable excitement-gap between the commenters on the Joystiq-site and most people on CDM where it concerns the Wii. Meaning they bash and trash it all over the place, talking down on Wii-motes and balance boards, while over here people are jumping up and down in anticipation over all the new possibilities these toys bring… is it lack of creativity that separates the two? can't really think of any other option.

  • dead_red_eyes

    rhowaldt, that's because it's Joystiq. The fanboy-ism over there is rampant, and thick. Other sites like Kotaku and Demonoid are much better in my opinion. Still, the poor Wii gets trashed over there in the comments too.

    It's great to see that a community of musicians have embraced using the Wii remote, and add ons and have turned them into actual instruments/controllers.

    I love my Wii, what can I say?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I expect some in the gamer community are also reacting to the (admitted) hype over the Wii. The system absolutely has plenty to criticize — underpowered hardware, no storage, lots of shovelware third-party games that redefine awful. The flipside is, the Wii isn't really geared for the conventional console gamer. I will say, I've heard equal disappointment not just from hot-headed forum commenters, but even people in the game development community. The console inspires some pretty extreme love/hate reactions. (Thank goodness, as so much of gaming has been no-risk middle-of-the-road repetition.)

    But yeah, as for enthusiasm in music circles, I think it's because the Wii embodies so much of what we value in interaction design. Even among people who build their own hardware, the Wii hardware is indispensable — cheap, rock-solid build, reliable, and with first-rate sensors. That makes it ideal for teaching or for prototyping new interactions with software. And I also think a lot of us have a love affair with Nintendo, and with — nostalgia aside — the elegance of the classic 8-bit game library's music and visual design in a tiny space of memory. So I think it'd be easy to dismiss the enthusiasm here as people being nostalgic or into gaming, but it's clear the Wii is part of a bigger picture of digital design.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Oh, and for the record, Nintendo fanboyism or no … I'm completely baffled by the WiiMotion Plus or whatever it's called. It makes the Wiimote slightly longer. It … does something. I'm guessing at an additional sensor, but not sure why, given it already has 3-axis sensing… maybe adding another sensor gives you an additional data point to more reliably work out what's going on? Not sure.

  • dead_red_eyes

    Peter, read up more on the Wii Motion Gyroscope sensor here:

    http://gizmodo.com/5025583/how-the-wii-motionplus

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Ah, I see. It's basically a 3D gyroscope add-on. That would make a huge difference, then, as it'd give the Wii 3D orientation, whereas currently it has I think a 2D gyroscope (ie, the remote DOES know if it's face up, but not where it is in space.)

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    And I stand by what I said earlier: cheap. sensor. Gyro sensors are expensive normally. With this, you can use the Wiimote or (likely) go straight into an Arduino, etc.

  • rhowaldt

    exactly. i'm glad i'm hanging out over here reading happy reports from happy people happily swinging their wiimotes and making people happy with their happy happy wii-connected happiness. happy happy happy. :D

  • owesen

    The basic Wiimote just has a 3-axis accelerometer, it is orientation aware through guessing how much of the force applied to it is due to gravity. You could earlier get an estimate of its position in 3d space by keeping track of the accumulated acceleration over time, which is prone to errors.

    The gyroscope means you get a reliable way of knowing how much of the force applied to it is from gravity, so most of the error from the previous incarnation is removed.

    Really great news for anyone wanting to do more precise work with it, I for one am very excited by this gadget.