I love the Kinect and have been playing it non-stop for years now. I don’t have any plans of stopping and I get very frustrated when I hear that people “hate” games on the Kinect. Unless you are just extremely lazy there is no reason to not give the Kinect a chance. I don’t want a bad experience to turn you off from a great option for gamers getting off their behinds and being active. As the #1 Kinect player in the world and also playing in multiple environments I thought it might be helpful to create a list with things that have made my Kinect experience so successful.
- First of all, it is worth spending some time moving some furniture around for your Kinect session(s). At my house and at the store I have the sensor on top of 52″ televisions (size of the TV doesn’t matter) and directly at my eyesight level (on top of the TV). I have played with the sensors below the TV and it SUCKS TERRIBLE. If you are ever playing with a sensor below the TV you will NOT have as good of a time.
- Secondly make sure you are about 8-10 feet away from the screen. This might seem like a chore in smaller spaces, but the trick is that you can put your TV in the corner of the room facing out diagonally. I did that in our house and it made a huge difference. The farther from the TV the better, but honestly at the store when you get past 10 feet away the sensor also gets mad, so the perfect range seems to be between 8 and 10 feet.
- Lighting is the third VERY important set-up. I have actually messed with this A TON at work, moving the florescent lights around the room and found that the light sources need to be above and in front of you. At home I have can lights in the ceiling in the corner of the room above the TV and that will be the only lights I have on in the room when I want the perfect experience. If you have to, move a desk lamp up on a desk or something and point it at you like a spot light, or two desk lamps. Having lights off behind you seems to also help a ton.
- I almost always reset the tracking on the sensor when I start a game. For some reason many times the sensor either A) Decides to cut off right above my head and arm motions above me are not seen or B) It cuts off my feet at the knee and it can’t see my feet movement correctly. When you start go to the Kinect guide, let it “adjust tracking” on its own (which never seems to work), then choose to adjust tracking manually. Move the sensor up/down until you can see at least 1 foot above your head and a bit below your feet. When the sensor is at eye level it will seem like it is pointing down more than it should, but you can watch your image as you adjust it and it will be obvious when you get it positioned correctly.
- Dress for success. Believe it or not it matters quite a bit getting the sensor to see all of your body correctly. The biggest thing I have found is to wear white socks, no socks or white shoes. When I wear black shoes or black socks the sensor seems to loose track of my feet quite a bit. Now it could just be that I have darker floors so in the rare case that you have white floors, I would assume that darker shoes would be better. Also the same goes for the rest of your clothing. If you are in front of a dark couch, wear lighter clothes. If you are in front of a light colored wall wear darker clothing.
- Stand on a blanket. This isn’t necessary if you have a solid color floor, but at home I have a patterned rug in our living room where the Kinect is played and on some occasions I find the sensor won’t read my feet correctly. I put a solid colored blanket down and all is better again. It also is nice when you are playing at night to dampen the sound of you jumping around the house when the kids are asleep. 🙂
- The final tip is more of an observation of sorts. After all of the Kinect I have played, the trick is not necessarily figuring out what to do by following instructions in the game. The trick is figuring out what you can do with your body to get the Kinect to see what it wants to see. Sometimes figuring out how to get a motion of your body to register correctly on the screen is the game, not the game itself. I have done bizarre stuff facing an opposite direction, taking my shirt off, tucking in my shirt, pulled my shorts up to my chest, standing on a chair, etc.
Some of these might seem irrelevant, but I can assure you that each item above needs to be addressed if you want to play Kinect games and have fun. Sure, not every game works perfectly and you might run into some that are just bad games. Don’t blame the Kinect itself and don’t group all Kinect games together if you have one or two bad gaming sessions. The Kinect is awesome and I am standing by it to the end! 🙂