Battlefield 3, one of the most highly
anticipated games of 2011 is yet to hit the shelves, but UK technology
programme The Gadget Show, gained exclusive access to a pre-release level and
hand-built a simulator to play it.
As part of a challenge for the new series of the show, presenters Jason Bradbury
and Suzi Perry brought together a team of design experts and an amazing array of
technology worth Â£500,000 ($650,000) to build this one-off creation.
Centred on the worldâ€™s first, portable omni-directional treadmill (designed by
Swedish company MSE Weibull) the simulator lets you control the movements of
a Battlefield 3 character with your own body. Other key technology employed
includes: 12 paintball markers that allow the player, in real time, to feel the
enemy gunfire experienced in the game; a wireless gun system; ambient LED
lighting; and an Xbox Kinect camera hack.
The idea for the simulator came in July this year when The Gadget Show realised
that graphically-sophisticated games are held back only by the way many of us
play them - sat in front of 1 static monitor.
By projecting the game inside a 360-degree, 4 metre high and 9 metre wide video
dome (provided by Igloo Vision) the gamersâ€™ experience is made as visceral and
immersive as possible.
Ten infra-red motion tracking cameras continually monitor the real-time
movements of the gamer on the omni-directional treadmill. This data is sent to
the PC running Battlefield 3 to control the speed and direction of the in-game
The same cameras also track the direction in which the gamer points their
wireless gun. Using this information the simulator can rotate the 180-degree
projected gaming image around the dome to keep the gamer immersed in the
The immersive experience is completed by a pixel-mapped, ambient LED lighting
system used to flood the dome with colours direct from the game; and a bespoke
Kinect camera hack makes it possible for jumping and crouching in the dome to
be replicated in the game.
The full Gadget Show episode premieres in the UK on Monday 24th October 2011 at 8pm on Channel 5.