Proceedings of the International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE '07), ACM, New York, NY, pp.155-162
Emergent game formats, such as machinima, that use game worlds as expressive 3D performance spaces have new expressive powers with an increase of the quality of their underlying graphic and animation systems. Nevertheless, they still lack intuitive control mechanisms. Set direction and acting are limited by tools that were designed to create and play video games rather than produce expressive performance pieces. These tools do a poor job of capturing the performative expression that characterizes more mature media such as film. Tangible interfaces can help open up the game systems for more intuitive character control needed for a greater level of expression in the digital real-time world. The TUI3D project (Tangible User Interfaces for Real-Time 3D) addresses production and performative challenges involved in creating machinima through the development of tangible interfaces for controlling 3D virtual actors and environments in real-time. In this paper, we present the design and implementation of a tangible puppet prototype for virtual character control in the Unreal game engine and discuss initial user feedback.