While at the CodeStock conference in Knoxville, I had the pleasure of talking with several indie XNA developers about the potential of the Kinect. They were discouraged, though, at the lack of opportunities for indie developers to create games for the Kinect. All I knew how to do was create XNA games and put them on a PC with a Kinect hooked up to it – which wasn’t quite what they were looking for.
Then last week at E3 Microsoft announced Kinect Fun Labs. Currently Fun Labs is a free download for the XBOX with what are basically a few concept apps. It includes Kinect Me, which scans the player and turns her image into a 3D model (though not, as has been reported, an XBOX avatar that can be used in the rest of the system). The Kinect then tracks the player and manipulates the model to follow the player’s movements.
Kinect Googly Eyes does basically the same thing with any rectangular object.
And then there are a few additional one-offs that can be downloaded from within the Kinect Fun Labs app.
What is interesting in all this are hints on the official website that we can upload our own apps at some point. This may be rumor only, of course, and it probably won’t fully satisfy indie developers who would like to make some money off of their games, but once we get past all the ifs and buts …
It would be very cool to have a way to share our Kinect apps – watching demos on Youtube only get us so far. If the XBOX also supports Silverlight at some point, we will have additionally have a development platform on which to quickly develop Kinect apps. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.