Because I’m a Total Geek

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Ohhhhhhh LOOKIE! Cobblestone Press is doing a contest for the launch of WICKED (which if you haven’t noticed is only days away!)

Also fellow Wicked author, P Andrews is holding a poetry contest–don’t laugh. Go check it out!

ROPERS RULE goes on sale in like FIVE days! I have to say I’m really excited and plan on writing two more Wickeds as soon as I finish this book. It’s really renewed my excitement for writing erotic shorts. Also for anyone else interesting in doing erotic shorts, Black Lace is going back to doing their anthologies. Check out ERWA if you’re interested.

Also Pocket editor Abby Zidle has an interesting question up at Hey There’s a Dead Guy in the Living Room. You really need to read. I’m definitely fermenting a blog post on this one.

And for Mel…on the Wii Balance Board.

Now, for the second part of this series, I would like to interview the two men behind the development of the Wii Balance Board, the world’s first game accessory capable of measuring your weight and body balance. It’s interesting to note here that the two are from completely different divisions: one is from the Entertainment Analysis & Development Division, which develops software, and the other is from the Integrated Research & Development Division, which develops hardware.

Color me weird but I found this really fascinating!

Iwata: Of course, for Donkey Konga2. That, I would imagine, was easy to visualise as a new type of game controller. This time, though, you were asked to make an accessory that could perform like bathroom scales. (laughs) When you were asked to develop this, what was your first reaction?

Nagareda: To be honest, my first reaction was, “Why on earth would you want to develop that?” (laughs)

Sawano: I was leading the development of a software title called Ningen Copy Manebito4 for the GameCube. As part of the project I worked with Yamazaki-san, who is visiting China today, on creating a camera attachment for the software. The software would have allowed users to import their portraits and create their own original characters. Unfortunately this product never saw the light of day, but what we started there did eventually come to life in the form of Miis.

We were developing a piece of hardware that was to be bundled with a piece of software, so if we couldn’t keep costs down, we wouldn’t be able to sell it. Because of this, the first thing we did was challenge ourselves to push the cost down as much as possible. In the discussions with our development partners, it became clear that using the parts present in typical bathroom scales alone would have made the product much too expensive. We were, essentially, trying to do something that had never been done before. Eventually, we hit upon the idea of using the Nintendo 64 Controller. An optical rotary encoder had been built into the 3D stick8 of the Nintendo 64 Controller, and we decided we could use this encoder in our hardware as well. This was something we’d never attempted before, so it looked like it would be a lot of fun to work on, and we eventually discovered that the encoder could measure weight to a precision of 100g.
Iwata: By the way, this might be a bit technical, but a rotary encoder is a device that measures the number of rotations made by an object. If a depression were to cause a series of cogs to rotate, you would be able to measure weight pretty accurately using a rotary encoder.

Sawano: Exactly. I thought that was a pretty good idea, so we first created a prototype. But then we hit upon another problem. Most homes already have bathroom scales, don’t they?

Iwata: Most homes do have scales, and I can’t imagine people putting them in front of their TVs.

Sawano: That’s why I was worried that just making bathroom scales wouldn’t make a marketable product. Of course, that’s what I was doing because Miyamoto-san told us to do so! (laughs)

Iwata: That’s right, the only instructions he’d given you were to make an accessory similar to bathroom scales! (laughs)

Sawano: I knew that we needed to do something about this problem. Then suddenly, one day while I was at home, this image of sumo wrestlers passed through my head.
Sumo wrestlers are so heavy that when they weigh themselves, they need to step onto two scales laid side by side. I started thinking about this, and thought that it could be really interesting. So I told Yamazaki-san to bring me two scales that can transfer data to a computer, and we immediately started working on a prototype.

Yes I’m writing 🙂

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