The Novint Falcon
The Novint Falcon

I spent more than two years working for Novint. Not only was it some of the most varied and interesting work that I have done in my career, Novint was also the best company I ever worked for. If it wasn't for the crappy economy, I'd still be happily working there.

The Novint Falcon is one of the most innovative computer controllers ever created. It is a haptic device (haptics is the science of human touch), and with the Falcon, you can feel everything that happens in a game. In a shooter, you will feel realistic recoils from each weapon and feel the impact of every damaging hit and collision. In a racing game, you feel the jolt of the tires bouncing over varied types of terrain and accelleration effects as you hit the throttle or make a sharp turn.

The Falcon adds a great sense of physical realism to your gameplay. Its already been integrated into many popular PC games, including Valve's The Orange Box (Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress), F.E.A.R., Doom 3, and Quake 4. You can even seperately purchase a pistol grip for the Falcon, to make those shooting games even more realistic!

Below is a little information about some of the games I personally adapted for the Novint Falcon. In addition, you can also find a tutorial for building scripts in Novint's F-Gen tools. F-Gen allows you to create Falcon forces and reactions in any Windows application.

I also recently did some cool work for Novint figuring out how to use various devices in F-Gen. See below for the YouTube video of them all working together!

I've also added the first Falcon game demo I worked on (it was my contract job before Novint ended up hiring me).

Tiger Woods PGA Tour '08

You've never played a golf game like this!

With the Falcon, you feel the weight and momentum of each club as you swing it. You feel the recoil as you hit the ball, and even feel subtle terrain effects such as extra resistance from a sandtrap.

In addition, the Falcon version adds the ability to over or undercut the ball during a swing (affecting the ball's pitch and spin), plus improved camera controls.

Tiger Woods 08 (with the Falcon) is now available!
You can grab it for $9.99 at Novint's website, or pick up a patch for $2.95 if you already own the older version of the game.... It is the most realistic golf computer game ever!

Chicken Hunter: Chicken A La' Kart

Cartoony Kart racing with a new twist... you can feel the action!

Feel the earthquake of someone dropping an anvil nearby, or feel yourself being squashed by that anvil. Feel your tires being blown out by a spike strip or get spun around by a water slick. You no longer have to just watch the cartoon effects, you can physically experience them!

Play through ten race tracks, either in time trials or two Grand Prix against computer opponents. If you have a second Falcon, you can even play split-screen with a friend!

Newton's Monkey Business

Help Newton win races by playing various Falcon minigames! This application is packed in with the Falcon when you purchase it.

Newton's Monkey Business includes more than 20 minigames, including everything from shooting an apple off a monkey's head to air-hockey, golf and pinball.

I built much of NMB, as well as doing extensive work on each of the many minigames. Many of the minigames also have larger full versions that can be purchased at the Novint on-line store.

Novint's F-Gen tools allow you to create Falcon reactions and forces in any Windows application or game. Here you can find tutorials I have built to teach you a bit about the scripting language and other issues related to using F-Gen:

Between October 2010 and March 2011 I did a bunch of contract work for Novint related to integrating a number of available devices (head tracking VR goggles, motion tracking sensors, an impact vest) as well as Novint's new Xio armature into F-Gen. The work was for a cool military simulation prototype, which you can see in action here:

The first thing I ever worked on for Novint was a small contract job (back around October of 2006)... the idea of the demo game was to build something like a kid's sandbox. Pick up and throw around various items (boxes, flowerpots, a couple of toy cars)... but then also be able to zoom in to a car and drive it around.

Note that this was the first Falcon (haptics) project I ever worked on... its not perfect. Over the next couple of years I learned a great deal more about how to do Falcon force effects and integrate them into applications. This demo does work pretty well, however... for a first try....

You can find the executable for that old demo here. It was built in 3DGameStudio (using 3DGS's C-Script scripting language), with a Falcon DLL built in Microsoft Visual Studio C++ 6.0. To run it, just unzip the downloaded file on your PC somewhere, and then run the tr1_main.exe file (though you will need a Falcon attached to your PC... otherwise you will get a pop-up error that then exits the app).

Controls for this demo are simple... use the keyboard arrow keys to move the camera around, and use the W/S/A/D keys to rotate the camera. Use the Falcon to move the hand cursor, and grab or drop items with the main Falcon button, which you should kinda feel when pressing against an object. (Note that the hand cursor is a bit buggy... for example, it often starts under the floor of the game, so you'll need to pull it up above the terrain to see it).

Move the Falcon against the "Shrink Me" button to zoom in to driving mode (the last car you picked up will be the car you zoom in to, though it defaults to the car the game starts out looking at). To drive, push the Falcon forward or back to drive forward or back, and move the Falcon left/right to turn. Hold down the main Falcon button to bring up the hand cursor, and then push into the "Grow Me" button to return to the sandbox view.

If you want more details about this Falcon demo (including full source code for the game), you can find it here:

Source Code for the demo

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