Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kinect + Unity 3D - Zigfu's ZDK vs. Omek Beckon SDK + Motion Toolit

I must admit, I'm a bit uneasy about writing this post.  I've been in a week-long correspondence with the Omek Beckon team about getting their SDK working on my computer, and I they have been more then willing to try and help. 

Which is why I feel bad saying that I've chosen to go with their competitor, Zigfu.

For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, let me provide a little context with a quick recap: I'm trying to create a game which will incorporate Kinect movement tracking and (eventually) the Oculus Rift VR glasses, but I'm very much a beginner at game development. And while I've been programming for quite some time, I find my baby steps into this new programming genre are fraught with numerous challenges.

One such challenge has been deciding how I'm going to utilize my Kinect sensor within Unity 3D, my chosen game engine.  At the time of this writing, there are really only three main options:

1. Write a Unity-Kinect wrapper myself which would bind the device's SDKs to Unity

2. Zigfu's ZDK

3. Omek's Beckon SDK and Motion Toolkit

Let's just nix the first option right here.  I don't feel like reinventing the wheel. So that just leaves Zigfu versus Omek. And the best way to compare the two is to list both of their pros and cons.

Zigfu Pros
1. Has a free development version which is just as up-to-date as the professional version
2. Built off of the most updated versions of OpenNI, NiTE, and official Microsoft Kinect SDK
3. Clearly has an increasingly growing online community happy and willing to provide support
4. Very easy to install and get going
5. A good handful of example scenes that come with the installation
6. Apparently written by some REALLY smart guys

Zigfu Cons
1. In terms of official online support, I didn't see an easy way to contact the Zigfu guys.  But they seem to be active on the unitykinect (or maybe it's kinectunity) Google Group, so if you post there, you'll probably get a response from them directly
2. From what I can tell, no official documentation about their SDK or API

Omek Beckon SDK Pros
1. A development team which is approachable and very willing to help
2. Excellent documentation regarding installation procedures, API reference, and more
3. What appears to be a very good, intuitive API and Motion Toolkit package for Unity
4. They also have a free development version

Omek Beckon SDK Cons
1. It doesn't work on my development computer, and nobody seems to know why
2. It appears to be built off of less up-to-date code, and it doesn't work at all with the official Microsoft Kinect SDK
3. There is clearly less of an online community, which makes finding answers to technical or programming problems a lot harder
4. After getting it installed and working on a different computer, I couldn't get my avatar to jump, and that pissed me off

And so, i've decided to go with Zigfu. Now you might disagree with me, and i'd welcome that. The Omek Beckon guys were so helpful, they deserve another shot. Just not by me; it still doesn't work on my development computer.


  1. the world of 3D input is going to change drastically in the next 12 months... you'll have much better tools by this time next year on both hardware and sofware

  2. Thanks for this and the past post. I'm working with kinect too, and this have been very helpful. Greetings from Chile.