Microsoft Surface Used as a Big Games Controller

Touchscreen gaming, like it or not, is soon going to be huge. Some would say that gaming on touchscreens is already big and here, and not in the way of the Nintendo DS, but the iPod touch, iPhone and all the Android phones that rely entirely on the touch screen for input.

What, then, will become of the control interfaces for more hardware games that require a controller or mouse and keyboard? Nobody knows yet, but University of Massachusetts Lowell Robotics Lab student Eric McCann seems to have an early idea of what it could be like.

Using Microsoft's experimental Surface table experiment, McCann hacked together a controller interface that uses both hands on the screen to control Microsoft Flight Simulator as well as Valve Software's Portal.

While it's not a perfect solution since your hands are still covering screen real estate, it's still a fascinating exercise that could point to how we someday may play hardcore games.

Check out the video demo below:

(via Kotaku.)

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  • TheStealthyOne
    I dunno if I like this; leaving a tangible interface doesn't sound ideal :/
  • Other Comments
  • thorkle
    This seems applicable for flight simulator, but portal looked very strange with those controls. I think it would be best if there were more specific control schemes for various games.
  • TheStealthyOne
    I dunno if I like this; leaving a tangible interface doesn't sound ideal :/
  • willgart
    interesting... not sure if its really useful as your hands will hide part of the screen all the time. and appear to not be comfortable in a horizontal position. certainly more powerful in a vertical one.

    maybe another touchscreen at the bottom of the device (like a keyboard in a laptop) will be better.
    In fact 2 touchscreens... then you can play with somebody else in front of you while sit on a comfortable chair (and you share the surface between the 2 users).
    Will be incredible for a wargame, you can have a touchscreen with some information in front of you and you can type commands here, and you can point the map on the surface itself to move the units...

    The idea of having a touchscreen instead of a keyboard could be really great, no more keyboard shortcuts but real dynamic icons, like an RPG game where you have your shortcut bar with your actions, these actions can be displayed on the "virtual keyboard" as well as life, stamina etc...
    (I think some next gen laptop will be like this)

    But I like the controller on the screen, appear to be really dynamic.
    is it working on a tabletpc ?