CamSpace is a new freeware program that lets you use your webcam as a controller. Well to be more precise you use any tool you like but the webcam software turns it into a controller. It’s kind of an extension to the Sony EyeToy technology, only in this case you can use a hairbrush, piece of paper or even two bits of brightly coloured paper stuck to your fingers to control your computer mouse, steer a car or fly a plane.
The first thing you do is lock your chosen controller to the software by waving it in front of the screen once the software activates the webcam. You can literally use anything you like as long as the camera can recognise it as a discrete item through shape and colour against the background. You can even use your fingers with Post-It notes stuck to them!
I found that the locking part was easy, although it really helps if you’ve got lots of light and a fairly good webcam. Once you’ve got the lock, you can load up any of a number of ‘emulations’ which will let you control your game or software application. There’s a list of a few games and applications – like Google Earth – already up on the site, but for those who want to add their own, the developers have supplied a pretty sophisticated Emulation Editor which lets you simulate mouse, keyboard and/or joystick events for your chosen app or game.
It’s not for the faint of heart, but there are some useful videos available which help to make the editor easier to understand. If you’ve ever done any macro editing, you should be fine.
In use the software works fairly well. It’s very beta at the moment, which means that the installation and user documentation is sparse to say the least, as is the website. It’s like the guys are having so much fun making the tech work that they’ve kind of over-looked the key need to explain things to the users. I got it working OK, though, so it can’t be that impenetrable (‘cause I’m a dufus, see?).
I did fail, however, to get my small red sweetie packet to act as a steering wheel for the demo driving game. I could get the lock, but when I fired up the game it crashed or didn’t register the controller. Ah well, it’s beta. Here’s a video of someone using fingers to control a shoot ‘em up game. And a driving game.
But more seriously, for this to fly properly, it really needs a nicer presentation on the front end, guys. At the moment it’s fine for your hard core beta testers, but most people will take one look at the interface and shudder mightily. Which would be a real shame, because this looks like it’s going to be a really fun thing to play with when it’s launched next month.
The two things that will hamper its adoption is the sloppy-joe interface (the instructions are just too basic, e.g. where does it say clearly on the main video screen to hold the control thingy up to the four arrows? Nowhere, that’s where) and the lack of clear cut, step by step instructions on how to create your own emulation for a game or program. One cool thing however is the DIY print out controllers that are available on the site. Nice.
All in all, this could be awesome if they just finish off the polish before launch. It sounds churlish when the tech is so darn clever, but this really does deserve a good showing in order to make an impression. Definitely one to watch for the future, as the community builds and the applications start rolling in!
With CamSpace, You can do amazing things! You can use a paper plate as a racing wheel, you can control FPS games by moving your fingers, you can control music applications by moving in free space, the possibilities are endless! CamSpace is an open platform that enables each and every one of us to create his own application in the language of his choice. You can either use CamSpace’s internal Emulation editor to connect it to any game, write a casual game or simple apps directly inside, or create a sophisticated software application that connects to CamSpace Automatically. Use C++, VB, VB.NET, C#, PYTHON or Delphi and get the tracking information easily from CamSpace API.