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November 18, 2010 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Dance Central on Kinect for Xbox 360. Good for exercise? Seems like it could be fun and sweaty. Seems like it could also be really, really annoying. Also, what's the fidelity to actual movements like? Will I really be dancing, or gaming the system by just flicking a limb at the right time?
posted by Cool Papa Bell to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So far I have only played Dance Central with groups of 3+ other people, meaning that I only get off my ass to dance every 10 or 15 minutes, but I still wind up slightly out of breath after my turn is over. When I do a couple of songs in a row, it's even more like actual exercise.

One friend who was over playing it observed that although you get points if you get the larger motion of a particular dance move right, you do even better if you can replicate the smaller motions in the move. So it is actually pretty discerning, and it can tell if you're not doing the right thing.

So, sure, you're "really dancing." However, this should not be confused with "dancing well." Do not try these dance "moves" in any other context.

Also, the sports game (it probably has a name, I can't remember it and it's not like I"m on the internet right now or anything) was quite heart-rate-raising. Particularly track and field, where you have to run in place like an idiot, and sometimes jump and fall on your hardwood floors. Kinect Adventures also -- I was pretty sweaty after the river rafting and obstacle course challenges.
posted by little cow make small moo at 11:49 AM on November 18, 2010

Yeah, DC is quite fun and is basically as much exercise as dancing for X amount of time.

On the movements, it's not like Wii Tennis or something where you quickly learn all you have to do is flick your wrist a few inches. It does have some wiggle room to keep you from going mad, but it can get a good idea what you're actually doing. Like, for a move where you have to step to the side, it has target rings showing how far it wants you to step, and you can get partial credit if you go outside those but you'll score much better if you hit it right.

The Kinect hardware is really cool and Dance Central and a couple other games use it well. Other games do not and so definitely read some reviews before buying anything, there's a lot of information for the game to process compared to Wii or Move and developers are just starting to figure it out. DC is pretty much the premier launch title, however.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:45 PM on November 18, 2010

The Kinect hardware gets positional 3D out of staring at you. The proprietary software does some amazing work at putting bones into that positional 3D geometry: It has a pretty good idea of torso, humerus, forearm, et cetera. Bones in three dimensions, plus an understanding of valid positions for a human (elbows can't bend backward...), make it hard to fool the game if the designers decide to be strict about the moves. There's a lot of leeway the designers can allow in the game to make it fun, but they don't have to.

Fooling a Wiimote is pretty much just getting the accelerometers to twitch at the right time, which can be gamed as you noted.

Off-topic to you, but perhaps of interest to Makers and other geeks, is that when the Kinect hardware gets hacked with an open source driver, you'll not be getting the gazillion hours of development into the human kinematics: No bones. It's still cool and useful, but not the whole coolness of Natal/Kinect.
posted by lothar at 2:28 PM on November 18, 2010

I get sweaty and out of breath doing the dances. And when you do a move "wrong" it highlights the part of your body that is incorrect with a red glow so you can correct it.

I'm overweight and hairy and this is the most exercise I've gotten in a while... :-)
posted by tacodave at 2:50 PM on November 18, 2010

With respect to exercise, it really depends on the song you pick. Some songs require a minimal amount of exertion, while others require you to move at a frenetic pace. There's actually a mode for calorie-counting, although I doubt its accuracy.

With respect to how well it tracks, it's definitely tracking more than just general positioning. But it really varies on how close you need to be. For example, there is a move that requires you to basically pretend to do a pull-up with your arms. If I don't have my forearms pulled together far enough, it complains I'm not doing it right. I think it's more forgiving of leg movements though. But the only feedback you get is that the on-screen dancer's limb flashes red when your corresponding limb isn't positioned correctly. It doesn't actually show you what you're doing wrong. So, going back to my earlier example, it took a while before I realized what I needed to fix. I can see that getting annoying.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 6:37 PM on November 18, 2010

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