With the release of the iPhone 4 less than a week away, many readers are surely counting down the days until they can call Apple's most powerful pocketable device their own.  The iPhone 4 boasts hardware enhancements that will allow for more sophisticated applications of every sort -- but especially games.  Its "Retina display" packs four times as many pixels as the current iPhone into a display of the same physical size, yielding a 326 pixels-per-inch, razor sharp display that makes jaggies a thing of the past. The 1GHz Apple A4 processor, which is currently used in the iPad, will allow for more complex games with improved physics and AI. And, finally, there's the gyroscope which will allow for incredibly accurate in-game motion tracking.

During the WWDC 2010 keynote, we saw Steve Jobs demonstrate the new iPhone's gyroscopic capabilities in a Jenga-like demo app. It was an impressive display of motion-tracking tech that went beyond what we had previously seen from the iPhone. After all, you need a gyroscope to pull off that kind of control, right?

Developer Vishal Srivastava of Subversus Interactive might beg to differ.

As TechCrunch reports, Srivastava, formerly with Microsoft, has created what he calls the "Perspectiverse Engine" that allows the iPhone 3GS and iPad to track motion in a fashion that yields seemingly impossible results from a device lacking actual gyroscope hardware. His system allows the user to manipulate their body in the physical world and see corresponding motion in the virtual world, making the iPhone or iPad feel quite like a window into that world.

According to the developer,

[The engine] uses a combination of device sensors to constantly align the game world with the real world. No matter how you orient your phone, north in the game universe is the same as north in the real world, south is south, up is up, down is down, and so forth. This allows you to interact with that game universe as if you were in it.

And, I can tell you, it works far better than you're probably guessing. If you've got an iPhone 3GS or an iPad, you can give it a try right now with Srivastava's Magic 3D Easter Egg Painter [App Store], a Universal entertainment title that allows you to paint a 3D easter egg by moving around it in virtual space. (And it's on sale for $0.99 through this weekend.) The effect, even in this rather basic application, is pretty amazing.

The developer will soon be releasing a rather more interesting game title called Gyromaniac (previously known as Colonoscapade) in which you move your body around in order to find your way through a human colon and various other internal systems. A demonstration video shows the app in action (and gives one much appreciation for the trials of poor Lemmiwinks).

Srivastava began work on his Perspectiverse Engine long before we knew that the iPhone 4 would sport a gyroscope (it was put together last July, in fact). So, is he daunted by the news that came in the iPhone 4 unveiling? Not at all. The physical gyroscope will improve the accuracy of his engine on new hardware, while on supported devices which lack a gyroscope, the engine will do its thing to simulate one.

And for other developers that like what they see in this system, Srivastava tells us that he is definitely open to the possibility of licensing the technology for use in others' apps, but his first order of business is to build a range of apps on top of the engine that showcase its capabilities on current hardware.

  • http://icesky-calvin.blogspot.com IceSky22AIZ

    Delicious.

  • alma

    I don't get it... What is the different between this and old gyro? The Layar works same w/ old gyro... or not?

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      There is no old gyro. All iPhone devices have accelerometers, and some devices have a compass (3GS, iPad), but none prior to the iPhone 4 have a gyroscope.

  • MrMuggz

    "Colonoscapade - in which you move your body around in order to find your way through a human colon and various other internal systems."

    Really? The best game/application he could come up with for this technology was traveling through someone's colon? Ugh. =)

    • Hurricane Mind

      Really.
      Colonoscapade? How does that idea happen? (Someone had their head up their @ss.)
      Honestly, though, that game with that title could have become a cult hit to rival Enviro-bear.
      My brain is still trying to absorb just how insane an idea this is.
      COLONOSCAPADE!
      And reviewer Blake just casually glides over the idea...
      An adventure up someone's tailpipe?! THIS IS NEWS, MAN!!

      • Adams Immersive

        I call for a petition to change the name back to Colonoscapade!

    • Max

      Kudos for coming up with Colonoscapade. I had Arse Invaders, but yours is more subtle and accurate. Still laughing about it. Cheers

  • araczynski

    not to belittle the coding efforts here, but i don't see the fun in waving around my ipod/ipad, bad enough i have to occasionally put up with the stupid 'shake your device' mechanic that gets put into games just because it exists.

    • Lo

      I agree!

  • Blades

    This is not exacltly a "Must Buy" Feature for me. Also you'd look ridiculous waiving your arms all over the place as you are walking down the street.

    Besides we already have a problem with idiots that Text and drive and walk at the same time. Don't need any more distractions.....

    ;

    • Mystic

      OMG are you serious??? What you just said can go for ANY application, device, food, makeup, ANYTHING! But for some reason in your mind this egg painting app is going to be used mostly while driving a car???

      • Blades

        oh ok.....and exactly how much Apple Stock do you have???

        ;

  • Silverfist

    There's a time and a place for these games, you know... I highly doubt anybody would play this while walking down the street or driving a car, any more than one would play Zen Bound now while driving.

    Just because something gives us more immersion into game aging doesn't mean that everyone's going to immediately lose all common sense. Seriously people...

    .

    • Silverfist

      Game PLAYING, not aging... Big thumbs and an uppity spell corrector, sorry.

  • http://doesnothaveoneyet ultimo

    Wow, Glad to kno tht 3gs users won't have to upgrade just for the gyro :)
    For LAZY ppl who want to see the other vid but do not want to search...

    Lemme Feed You :P

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrFLjCy-AP0

  • blackHorse

    Nice gimmick, but I like to eat real eggs instead of painting them, or virtual ones.

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      This is really more of a tech demo than an egg painting game. I'm kind of baffled by the vitriol, here. ??

      • Mystic

        @Blake: I am surprised too. Kids must be bored.

  • Dran

    That Gyromaniac.. seems to take the msot hated part of God of War 3 and stretches it into a full game.

    Will pass.

  • http://iptapp.wordpress.com SunriseMoon

    It'd be awesome if there was a platformer using this or the gyroscope where you had to move and jump through a 3D world. Your jumping would register as jumping in the game, etc. Doubt it's possible though.

    • http://doesnothaveoneyet ultimo

      Nice idea.... But not many takers
      PpL'll choose to stay indoors to play tht.... not on iPad though :rolleyes:

  • Dave

    This uses the built-in digital compasses. Back when they came out there was some hype because they were more responsive and accurate than the accelerometer but then everyone forgot about them.

    Now, if it truly tracked body motion that would be great.

  • annoyed

    Did you guys even try this?

    It's TERRIBLE, absolutely nothing like the gyro. This is nothing more than a bunch of rhetoric wrapped around the same old compass/accelerometer future used in dozens of iPhone games (and it's not even as good as some of the stuff that's out there).

    Perhaps this sounds harsh, but all you'd done is rehash their rhetoric and encourage a bunch of folks (including me) to gift this joker some money. Thanks for nothing, some much for trusting the articles on this site!

  • rezzor

    This app is really cool and shows the capabilities of the ipad and 3rd generation devices. Its fascinating to think of the potential games that can be made with this technology. Give it a go. A great novelty app.

  • Synergistic Ideologue

    "Ghost B" and "Ghost B Lite" do this as well and have for some time.

    • jjcoolz

      No Ghost Buddy is not the same at all . you just tilt to turn left and right, you dont actally turn yourself. no compass stuff there..

  • Glogerrt

    Ghost Buddy and Ghost Buddy lite by Quinn Genzei (2009) off something really similar on the iPhone.

  • http://subvers.us Vishal Srivastava

    a note from the developer:

    ok, first, the iphone 4 gyroscope and the ios4 coremotion api's are rad, and i'm integrating them in my engine today.

    technical aside: what they really add is the ability to handle fast user rotations gracefully. the gyroscope (which gives you instantaneous angular velocity), when combined with the accelerometers, allows you to isolate acceleration due to gravity from user-generated accelerations, mostly obviating the need for filtering when detecting device orientation, and getting rid of any latency filtering would add. it'll also give you independence from the magnetometer's noise.

    but... there's a huge class of potential games which uses the device's true orientation but don't involve fast twitching, that can accomplish a lot using current generation sensors. and, there's a huge market of ipad/3gs users that would benefit from this ability on their devices.

    this class seems to include jobs' own jenga gyroscope demo ( video: http://bit.ly/cI41uR ). his slides mention, among other things, "yaw, pitch, and roll" and "rotation about gravity", suggesting to some that these behaviors require the iphone 4 gyroscope. the demo he's giving in the foreground has him spinning around a single-focal-point 3d object and manipulating all sides of it with his finger -- the same interaction as the egg painter app (march '10) and has similar fidelity, but the latter is using today's hardware.

    i'm sure we'll see software soon that will utilize the real advantages of the gyro hardware, mentioned above; i'm writing some of it.

    my focus right now is on creating the games/apps on top of the engine, but here's what the perspectiverse engine does:

    - first and foremost - true device orientation (yaw, pitch, and roll) computed and tracked to align the game universe with the real world. calculations are optimized so performance is high.
    - two viewing modes - a single focal point "orbit mode" for access to all sides of a static 3d object, and an outward facing mode that propels the user forward in the direction his device is pointing. gyromaniac is mainly the latter mode but will switch in parts of the game (think orbit-mode boss fights that will literally make you sweat).
    - orientation-independent stereoscopic 3d viewing, using red-cyan glasses, with adjustable stereo distance. that's right, colon in your face.
    - noise/jitter mitigation
    - experimental filtering and interpolation techniques tweaked to make 3d transform animations more fluid and responsive than a.r. apps i've seen (fyi - the engine was built in july 09; hadn't seen any a.r. apps yet).
    - automatic reversion to tilt-only controls for older devices
    - full integration of iphone 4 gyro (when i can get my hands on one) - no filtering means no latency
    - too much opengl-level and physics stuff to get into here
    - deeper a.r. stuff (using back- and front-facing camera) planned.
    - some other pretty exciting things i'll be announcing soon, some of which have a music/sound emphasis.

    watch the videos, especially the swivel chair portion of the egg painter one. it's real, and it works well largely because the apps don't require fast user rotations. this is why latency due to filtering does not have a significant impact on usage. if it doesn't work the same way for you, you probably have a pre-3gs device. if you say magnetic interference would make the apps unusable, you either didn't watch the videos, are running the apps in a car or elevator, have a metal plate in your skull or a lot of toothpaste imported from china lying around. :) drop me an email and we'll figure it out.

    more info at http://subvers.us (there's a mailing list there).

    thanks.
    ~vishal
    subversus interactive