So you've unwrapped all your presents and found a shiny new Kinect and games. Congratulations, and welcome aboard!

Unlike every other motion controller on the market, you don't need anything in your hands to play Kinect โ€” with no controllers and no buttons you're free to use your body and voice to play the games.

Because it's so different we've put together a quick guide to help you set up your sensor for the best results. If you're having specific problems, make sure you try the official Kinect troubleshooting guide.

Space and Lighting

The two most important factors in getting the most out of Kinect are having enough space and enough light.

Each game has its own space requirements but usually we'd recommend playing in at least a 6ft x 6ft area. If you're playing Dance Central 2 or Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 you'll need more space, probably at least 8ft x 8ft.

This doesn't just mean moving big furniture items out of the way, but make sure your floor is clear too โ€” rugs and pets are particularly dangerous during a Kinect Sports: Season Two face-off โ€” and making sure there's nothing you're likely to trip on or knock over.

Make space

Once you've got enough space it's time to get the lighting right.

Microsoft recommends you draw the curtains to minimise glare and sunlight in your play space, and while excess sunshine might not be a problem for many at this time of year it's preferable to have artificial light in your room. If possible, make sure you're lit from multiple angles and quite brightly; just a table lamp won't do it.

Now you've got your play space ready, head over to page 2 to find out how to set up Kinect itself.