Microsoft to Xbox One developers: "surprise us"



May 4, 2013
Microsoft's ID@XBox program has already attracted some pleasantly original projects, from the likes of White Night - key inspirations: Jazz, German expressionism, Alone in the Dark - to There Came An Echo, in which you boss Wesley Crusher around using Kinect. There's always room for more. "Surprise us," was the message delivered by the Xbox Advanced Technology Group's Martin Fuller at the Develop conference earlier this month.

Speaking during a platform access presentation, Fuller called on indies to use the console's features as a springboard for new types of game. Among other avenues, he suggested making more extensive use of Xbox Live analytics to help players track each other's movements from the dashboard - a snappable auxiliary map app, for instance, that allows you to see where a player is in Call of Duty without actually joining the match.

Fuller also posited that developers could use SmartGlass to turn a phone into a motion-sensitive wand, perhaps in order to steer a plane using accelerometers and tilt sensors. Or how about this idea for remote processing? "Imagine if you had a terrain system where the terrain eroded, and you had millions of years of erosion that had to happen in five minutes." This would be doable via the Xbox Live cloud, Fuller went on, because "you don't need the result straight away, it doesn't matter if it doesn't happen for a few seconds, or even a few minutes."

"There's a lot of space for innovation," he concluded. "We really want to see what you can do with our platform." Interested parties might also want to consider cloud gaming boss Robert Fraser's presentation - he discussed how flexible Microsoft Azure server support allows "ultra-MMO" Age of Ascent to field a theoretical 100,000 players per session.

In the spirit of Fuller's address, here's a quick shortlist of One-specific game ideas from me.

1. The ability to grab and dual-wield your health and magicka bars in Skyrim, using Kinect. Bellowing "how's this for a Heads Up Display, punkass" is optional but strongly encouraged.

2. A cloud-based game in which only the cloud effects are processed on the Xbox One itself - all other operations take place on servers.

3. A survival horror game that can be stealthily tethered to your flatmate's phone, so you can show them sudden close-ups of screaming gorilla-zombies while they browse Instagram in the kitchen.

4. A game where all dialogue is written in Morse code, and transmitted via the Xbox One controller's motorised triggers.

You take it from here.

Source: News: Microsoft to Xbox One developers: "surprise us" - OXM UK