Jim brought back a shiny new 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator from the Autodesk University 2007 event. I will have to cover AU another time though.
The SpaceNav is very entertaining to use, it plugs into a range of applications including sketchup, Google Earth and 3D modellers like Max and Maya and a suite of others. Though I was expecting to be able to navigate around, what was most interesting was that you can do this while doing actual operations with the mouse. So you can start building something, then pan and rotate your view of the geometry in mid creation or edit.
I only tried it with Sketchup and GoogleEarth so far and both under windows - I think I will try Maya on the Mac next.
The video from 3DConnexion on Youtube shows how easy the device makes navigation. This could be a powerful tool for having non-gamers get around in virtual spaces without having to learn those WASD/mouse movement or indeed a console controller. Armed with a SpaceNavigator users could move around freely and relatively intuitively using a device that doesnt reek of gaminess. This assumes we can get it working inside the engine at all.
That said, navigating isnt as easy as it looks and I feel very clumsy with it...
Here is a Youtube vid from the GoogleEarthBlog folk:
Crysis Physics Fun
Found this new video of the Crysis engine performing some amazing feats - I am not sure what it takes to do this or how much trickery we are seeing yet. Either way it is mighty impressive and has loads of potential for simulations in other industries.