Seeing as how the hacking community has embraced the Kinect platform, it is no surprise that Microsoft wanted to get in on the action too. The company is preparing the official, non-commercial Kinect for Windows SDK for release this spring. This will help advance the work that has already been done by hackers, researchers and even musicians.
The project is apparently a collaboration between Microsoft Research and IEB. It is aimed at giving “academic researchers and enthusiasts access to key pieces of the Kinect system – such as the audio technology, system application programming interfaces and direct control of the Kinect sensor itself.”
There’s one catch, though: the SDK can only be used for non-commercial purposes. So, if you’re looking to make games or other commercial software, you better contact Microsoft.
The official system requirements for Windows Vista have been released, and unlike previous assumptions the prerequisites aren’t too high.
As per the announcement, a “Windows Vista Capable PC” must sport a minimum 800MHz processor, 512 MB Ram, a DirectX 9 compatible graphics card and at least 15 GB free space on the hard drive. However, these specifications will not qualify for the “Premium Ready PC” title which will require the following:
- 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor1.
- 1 GB of system memory.
- A graphics processor that runs Windows Aero2.
- 128 MB of graphics memory.
- 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
- DVD-ROM Drive3.
- Audio output capability.
- Internet access capability.
To check where your PC stands, download the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor which will check the configuration of your PC and recommend one of the five versions of the OS for you.
Microsoft also announced its games lineup for Windows and Windows Vista operating systems; it also disclosed plans to bring the Xbox Live network to the Windows platform. The showcase lineup for Windows Vista will include the following games:
- Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (Funcom) is an online action-RPG with a mix of a deep, story-driven single-player experience and massive and brutal multiplayer end game, bringing to life the ultimate representation of the “Age of Conan.
- Alan Wake (Microsoft Game Studios) is a psychological action thriller from Remedy Entertainment Ltd. Cited as one of the best titles of E3 2005, “Alan Wake introduces a deeply engaging and suspenseful story line in a free-roaming open world that invites players to unravel the riveting plot and experience intense combat that combines the use of light with more conventional weapons.
- Company of Heroes® (THQ) is a World War II RTS from Relic Entertainment, the creators of game-of-the-year winners “Homeworld and “Dawn of War, that brings the cinematic intensity and dynamic battlefields of World War II to life through a truly visceral gaming experience.
- Crysis™ (EA) is an original FPS based on new intellectual property developed by Crytek, the makers of the award-winning “Far Cry. In Crysis, players battle an invading alien force in a number of environments against a backdrop of rising international tension and rivalries.
- Flight Simulator X (Microsoft Game Studios) is the 10th edition of the popular simulator that immerses players in a beautifully rich and realistic world, offering gamers a completely new and innovative experience with dozens of new aircraft, scenario-based missions and spectacular graphics.
- Halo® 2 for Windows Vista (Microsoft Game Studios), the game that redefined first-person combat and multiplayer action for millions of gamers worldwide, is set to explode onto Windows Vista.
- Hellgate™: London (NAMCO BANDAI Games America) is an action-RPG that combines the depth of third-person role-playing games with the action of first-person shooters. Developed by Flagship Studios Inc., which includes the creators of the revolutionary “Diablo series, the game offers infinite playability through dynamically generated levels, items, enemies and events.
- Shadowrun™ (Microsoft Game Studios) brings the Microsoft vision of “Live Anywhere to life. “Shadowrun from FASA Studio is the first cross-platform game for Xbox 360™ and Windows Vista. It is a multiplayer, FPS that propels team-based combat into a new dimension with a revolutionary blend of modern weaponry and ancient magic. “Shadowrun will be available when Windows Vista is launched.
In addition to the above mentioned titles, Microsoft will also preview the graphic capabilities of DirectX 10 which is now known to be exclusive to Windows Vista.
The company also disclosed its Live Anywhere vision, which was announced by the man himself Bill Gates. The new online network will provide support for Windows Vista and Xbox 360 gamers with a consistent experience, one gamertag, one set of achievements, one Friends List and voice communication between all Xbox Live members. It will also be extended to mobile phones.
That’s not all: the company also extended its wireless line of Xbox 360 peripherals to the Windows platform through the introduction of the Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows. The device will let gamers use the USB wireless receiver with Windows XP or Vista-based computers to enjoy games that work best with the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, Wireless Headset and Wireless Racing Wheel.