So, How Does The Tony Hawk Controller Work?

You've heard the announcement, you've seen what the controller looks like, you've already formed half-informed opinions on the whole thing, but do you know just how the new Tony Hawk peripheral actually works?

Josh Tsui, president of Robomodo (the developers behind the game), told Crecente in his latest "Well Played" column that "Playing on the board is unlike any other game, and I'm excited for everyone to have the chance to feel what it's really like to experience the true feeling of skateboarding."

He's not kidding around. The game will be controlled entirely through the board. No controllers necessary. Which means that everything you do in the game - from turning to jumps to tricks - is handled through the game's full-scale skateboard replica peripheral.

This controller has not one, but two accelerometers. It has four motions sensors, one on the front, one on the back and one on each side. And it has a slightly curved underside, which tapers off slightly at the sides to make it easier to rock from side-to-side and turn on (though the very bottom is still flat, so you won't lose you balance).

All these sensors mean that for the game's more basic manoeuvres, you will control your character in exactly the same way you'd control a real skateboard. Turn left and you'll turn left. Rock to the right and you'll lean to the right. Whip around 180 degrees and, yes, it'll respond, and your avatar will turn around.

So, How Does The Tony Hawk Controller Work?

For the more complex stuff, like flip tricks and grabs, you'll have to move or hold your hands/feet over the sensors. Which will mean a lot of work, particularly if you've never mastered the coordination to handle a real skateboard.

Which is going to be one of the real dangers in replicating a skateboard so closely: people who can skate will, you know, skate, while people who can't skate may find the game difficult. In an attempt to cater to those of a less coordinated disposition, then, the game will feature three difficulty settings.

The hardest of these will faithfully recreate the act of skateboarding, and will require a ton of motion control from the user. The other two? They'll be much kinder to the lazy and novices alike.

For more Tony Hawk: RIDE talk, and how these plastic controllers are taking over, check out the latest edition of Well Played. And if you'd like to see the controller in action, hit the vid below and skip to the section "Up Close With The Board!"