With all the recent hubbub about Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s PlayStation Move, you’d be excused for thinking that motion control is some new phenomenon. In reality, it’s a technology that’s been around on the PC for years. Head tracking allows you to control your PC with your head. Mostly used in sim games, head tracking lets you move and tilt your head to control where your character looks. There are, of course, some excellent commercial head-tracking systems available, but it’s possible (thanks to free software called FreeTrack) to build your own head tracker with just a webcam and a few dollars worth of electrical supplies. We’ll show you how.
E3’s been put to bed and tucked in tight, and we’ve given you a pretty good taste of what we saw while we were there. Here’s the thing, though: we only previewed games. Handy, sure, but isn’t there, like, an entire industry surrounding this stuff? So consider this your preview of everything else. Trends, technologies, when we’ll finally catch a glimpse of Half-Life 3 (answer: the day after Duke Nukem Forever comes out), and more!
1. Modern Warfare – I never thought I’d say this, but I sort of miss World War II. Actually, no I don’t, but after realizing that, by now, the number of fictional Middle Eastern countries invented to house fictional videogame terrorist groups probably outnumbers the actual Middle East, I’ve definitely started feeling some fatigue from constantly playing as the boys in fatigues. That, however, didn’t stop E3 from proudly displaying Call of Duty: Black Ops, Spec Ops: The Line, Medal of Honor, and plenty of others cut from the same cloth as Infinity Ward’s opus.
The Forecast: Modern Warfare’s influence has already spread to the most disparate corners of the gaming universe and will continue to do so. Some games won’t even try to dress up their influences (Medal of Honor, I’m looking at you. Oh, wait, is that you Modern Warfare 2? Sorry. Easy Mistake). Others, meanwhile, might try putting a personal spin on the proceedings – like Spec Ops with its choice-based storyline. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Every multiplayer game under the sun – war-based or not – is taking cues from Modern Warfare’s addictive level-up system. Don’t believe me? Try the latest Transformers game. Yeah.
Windows Explorer hasn't always been the most feature-packed of elements inside Microsoft's operating systems. Yet, oddly, it's probably the one part of your Windows version that you use most frequently. But that's not to say that everything is Microsoft's fault. We're often so quick to blame the software giant for what's more a lack of future-proofing than outright failure. In this case, Windows Explorer can't predict what's going to be the next big thing--it can't know that you'll want your photographs easily updated to Maximum Photos someday; it has no idea that you might somehow need to paste a direct link to a file instead of its name or containing folder.
Windows Explorer is, in a word, dumb.
But that's not what we're here to talk about. We're not going to sit around a table and lament about all the features Windows Explorer could have were you one, Bill Gates, and had access to an engineer, or two, or twenty thousand. We're going to go over all the unique little elements that you can build into Windows Explorer right this darn second. I can think of five off the top of my head that are useful additions to your standard interactions with your operating system. They're free, they're awesome, and they're yours for the taking after the jump!