Wei Yen is the chairman and founder of AiLive,
a company that deals with artificial intelligence for entertainment.
He was integral
in the creation of the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube, so it stands
to reason that his new project, LiveMove, first
revealed in October,
surrounds the Wii. It removes the necessity of coding for the Wii’s
motion controller, and aims to not only make the development process
but also to open up the creation of games to those outside the
In this exclusive interview, Dr. Yen talks with us about the ideas
and science behind LiveMove, why Nintendo was the first user, and
how the tool could bring new blood into the industry. To see the
tool in action, check the video
Gamasutra: Can you give us some insight into your professional
Wei Yen: Related to the game industry, I spearheaded OpenGL in
1989. I was the senior vice president of pro market technology
at Silicon Graphics. So yes, I spearheaded OpenGL, and delivered
the N64 for Nintendo in 1994. Then again, just as far as the game
industry is concerned, I was a founder and chairman of ArtX, which
later merged with ATI. And so (at ArtX) I delivered the GameCube
for Nintendo. So now it’s Wii.
I was running the product division at Silicon Graphics, so most
of my big customers were game developers anyway. So I’ve
never been directly in the game industry, but I’d been around
the game industry for over 17 years.
GS: So you’ve been working with Nintendo for a long
WY: Oh yeah, for a long, long time. And a lot of senior Nintendo
people were my partners for many years.
GS: So did Nintendo come to you to do this LiveMove idea, or did
you come to them?
WY: The Wii remote is completely Nintendo’s idea. But both
of us are very interested in natural control – to give the
player more natural control of their games, and participate in
it more naturally. So when I saw the Wii remote a year ago, I really
And the more natural the control is, the easier it is for the
game designer to go straight into working out gameplay, without
have to virtualize indirectly through a game controller. But by
the same token, you’re making the coding harder. The situation
can be so limited that you may not be able to implement some of
the ideas you have.
Another thing associated with the expense of coding is that you
can’t experiment. In other words, you can’t quick prototype
your game design. Game development is very costly, and quick prototyping
is very important to the game designer. So if you can do this,
and if you can go directly into the gameplay, this will unleash
an incredible amount of creativity on the part of the game designer.
So to really unleash the power of the Wii remote, you really need
to solve this problem. So we talked about it, and Nintendo said, “well?” – and
we took the challenge, and we delivered.