Thursday, October 13, 2005

Maya is Kinda Creepy

[ cross-posted with the Videogame Workout Blog ]

So far, I've done six sessions with Maya of Yourself!Fitness. I love the workouts and it really does help get the moves right to watch Maya do them and mirror what she does...but I have to tell you, she's starting to creep me out.

Maya falls smack into the uncanny valley.



First, there's the neck/head thing. Her neck doesn't move quite right and the head doesn't always face the right direction relative to the rest of the body. Especially when doing something where the body hunches forward such as a sideways step-touch, the head is all wrong. She reminds me of the zombies in a shoot-em-up...it's like the neck is broken and wobbling around a little but the body doesn't realize it yet and keeps on going.

Then there's the face. She talks, and her lips move, but the rest of the face doesn't move with the lips. And the lip movements aren't right - it's like a badly-dubbed movie. And her head sometimes seems too small for her body. Though she looks fine in posed shots and at key points starting and stopping an exercise, some of the transition frames are just plain...odd.



Her chatter is often inappropriate to the situation in ways a good programmer could have fixed but didn't think to. She'll announce "Moving on to kicks!" when it's the first exercise so there's nothing to move on from. Or when we just did kicks. When we do X on the right leg followed by X on the left leg, she'll say "Let's do X!" both times rather than saying "Now let's try the other side" at the transition. Sometimes the last segment in a workout is a rest; she'll say "let's take a moment" and sit there for ten seconds before announcing the workout is actually complete. When the music changes, sometimes it goes silent for a half minute. Which I wouldn't mind if it were worth the wait, but the new track is usually just as cheesy as what it replaced. I just want Maya to go find the hidden Deejay and smack him upside the head for sleeping on the job while she's trying to give a good workout, but she never seems to notice the silence. Maybe she's asleep too!

So it's still a fantastic program - and you should buy it right now - but there's room for improvement.

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