EA gives inside line on Wii MotionPlus

TechRadar: How easy was it implement Wii MotionPlus into the game? Was it a steep learning curve?

Thomas Singleton (Grand Slam Tennis Producer): We are very happy with our Grand Slam Tennis controls with and without Wii MotionPlus and definitely feel they are a step forward for Tennis on the Wii platform. Once we got the libraries and better understood what the device does, we reverse engineered and figured out how we were going to use it. Nothing comes easy in software game development but when you put creative minds together with great technology, anything is possible.

Mike Taramykin (Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 Executive Producer): Nintendo's software library made getting the Wii MotionPlus's orientation data from the hardware very easy. The more difficult components of integrating the Wii MotionPlus came from modifying pre-existing game code to support being controlled in new ways. For example, the golfer's swing animation system needed a couple weeks of work to support the 1:1 back and forward swing.

TechRadar: How did you map the motions of players into the game (in relation to Wii MotionPlus)?Did this involve alarge amount of data processing?

Thomas Singleton (Grand Slam Tennis Producer): Once we know where you're starting point is, we calibrate that, as you move your arm high, your player will map that directly one-to-one. As you swing high to low, your in-game player will map that exact stroke and in our game, the result will be a slice shot. That same philosophy is used for all motions. Moving from low to high will result in a topspin shot, just as it would in real tennis. It's a complex device that simplifies what people are doing and delivers their exact motions.

Mike Taramykin (Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 Executive Producer): The basic principle behind the golf swing tracking is relatively straightforward. We make the assumption that the Wii Remote's orientation directly corresponds to the player's position in their golf swing. We track changes in the orientation with respect to the expected swing path, giving us an angle that represents the swing's velocity. Accumulating this angle over time gives us the swing's position that we use to drive the golfer's on-screen swing animation and the nearly perfect 1:1 mapping of the player's movement.

TechRadar: Do you think Wii MotionPlus is going to appeal to all gamers? Or merely the hardcore that wants more depth from their gaming experience?

Thomas Singleton (Grand Slam Tennis Producer): I think it's going to appeal to the masses because it's great technology that takes the Wii experience to an even more literal level than ever before. You don't need to know how to play a video game, just need to know how to perform real life sports motions.

Mike Taramykin (Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 Executive Producer): Without hesitation I can say yes, it will appeal to all gamers. Who wouldn't want a noticeable increase in fidelity, accuracy and near perfect 1:1 motion? When it's applied correctly the Wii MotionPlus will make any gaming experience better. I should note that in Tiger we have multiple levels of difficulty with regards to the swing.

If the increased fidelity of our advanced swing is too much for you and you want a different experience you can choose the Standard swing. It gives you the same 1:1 movement and reads your motion the same way so it will feel like a real golf swing. The difference is in the way we interpret the results. We make sure that the results come out in your favor more often regardless of the movements you make.