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Tai Chi Teachers Creating 3D Online Tai Chi Learning Game
January 28, 2013 -
"Tai Chi Elements" is a computer game that will create an online 3D environment where you can learn Tai Chi in the comfort of your own home. It is being created by a small team of developers who are also Tai Chi teachers in St Just, Cornwall, UK. The name of the game "Tai Chi Elements" is related to the Chinese philosophy of Taoism and the Wu Hsing or five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The players' store of Chi will be affected by three different variables in the game:

  • Personal energy development
  • Enhancing the environment
  • Forming groups and interacting with other players

The full-fledge product is still in development, but a working prototype of the software has already been completed. The prototype software includes an interface that allows you to view a 3D in-game model. The model performs the Tai Chi sequences based on the motion captured from a real live Tai Chi master. The interface allows you to play back a variety of aspects of a real Tai Chi class.

You can edit the playback interface to set the length of time for each section you want to learn in effect building up an entire Tai Chi class. Although there will be aspects of a Tai Chi class that will be difficult to recreate, it is offset by the advantages of being able to train at home.

You can log on to the teaching environment at any time of the day or night, for as long as you like, and as often as you like. You can be guaranteed to be in contact with a team of dedicated individuals, teachers and advanced students who can give you feedback and guide you along the path. Many of the in-game guides are teachers who are highly qualified and experienced in running their own real world Tai Chi classes so you can be assured that you are in good hands.

It's ideal for people who simply don't have access to a regular evening class but want to go further than looking at books and videos. It's also a comprehensive back up resource for people who are training regularly but want some way of checking they are doing the right thing at home. It's convenient, it's easy to use, and it's extremely good value.

The developers are concentrating on bringing the player as much feedback as possible in the game by looking at several approaches including using the Kinect, talking to teachers using voice over IP, text chat based approaches such as a user forum and in-game chat channels, an in-game browser, and also using video.

Players will be encouraged to be assessed by teachers in the same way they would in a normal class, they will learn the sequences then video themselves on a smart-phone, web-cam or video camera then upload this to the server. The video can then be viewed on an in-game screen which is semi-transparent and can be superimposed over the in-game animated models for comparison.

The model can be sped up or slowed down to synchronize the movements with the video and the screen can be positioned to get exactly the right angle either for side-by-side viewing or used as an overlay. As well as being a useful way for players to get an objective overview of their own progress it's also a way that teachers can assess them. Once a player has learned the initial set of moves a teacher can promote them to the next level where they can continue on to the next set of sequences and so on, once they have learned enough moves and other techniques they can even take the master grade which will enable them to either become an in-game guide or if they decide to take it further even set up their own real world Tai Chi class.

For anyone interested in participating in the beta test and for more information, blogs, screenshots, artwork, videos and updates about the project which is due for release on April 5 of 2013, please check out their website at




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