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Dungeons and Dragons on Microsoft Surface

by Sylvie Barak on 18 December 2009, 10:19

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Scratching the surface

A new Microsoft Surface video has, er, surfaced, showing off a rather impressive project by a team from Carnegie Mellon University, using the massive table-sized screen to play popular virtual game Dungeons and Dragons.

Apparently Surface lends itself rather well to playing the game with a group of other users, owing to its rather expansive form factor, the fact users can carry out face-to-face conversations and most importantly, that the system allows for physical objects to interact with the screen.  

Michael Lewis, one of the seven project team members, said 4th Edition D&D had been a good choice because the game was "very tactile," especially using the dice.

"From the earliest conceptual stages we knew we wanted to maintain that element - which was a large part of why we chose to work on Surface," he said.

Lewis also spoke about the team's use of physical miniatures placed on the board, calling them a "natural analog to use for characters, as players tend to identify more with the physical objects than virtual representations."

The team also decided to use physical objects to interact with menus.

Some of the major challenges in building the game for Microsoft Surface, said Lewis, mainly centred around orientation.

"We constantly have to be aware that the device is looked down on from all angles. We loaded a few games on there like Command and Conquer that have isometric views and became disoriented when looking at it as we moved around the table," he said.

"The orientation has led to a lot of our design choices concerning the camera as well as the user interface. Physical dice and graphics capabilities too," he concluded.

The team apparently created the software using Visual Studio 2008.


SurfaceScapes Gameplay Session from Surfacescapes on Vimeo.

HEXUS Forums :: 3 Comments

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'There may be (license) trouble, ahead…'
Dammit, I want, I want! But where am I going to put it?
oh that is the BUSINESS :)

what a tool…. Computer games AND Lead Figure painting

What a monster idea :)