Intuitive multitouch… or…What??? Over 9000???

One of the things that can make or break a game, or even an entire gaming console when it comes to market, is the interface.  Thinking back, I remember when the interface question for gaming was simply how many buttons do you have?  (Think NES vs. SNES vs. Sega Saturn vs. PS2); but then with the XBox and N64 generation, the ergonomic nature of the the controllors came into play.  Some innovations I have found to be less than stellar (ie, EPIC FAILS.)  For computers, you can now get mice with 18 buttons, 12 just for your thumb.  But how do you even use that???  You can get lost on that thing!   I’ve also seen that mobile games are now using motion sensing and touch screens.  Really?  You want me to turn the entire device to aim and then press buttons on my tiny 3.5″ screen to shoot?  FAIL.

The link below is for an new advanced multi-touch screen, with some examples of how a it can be used as a gaming interface.   This reminds me of the interface in Minority Report.

http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=28401

Ok, so it doesn’t take 9000 inputs…. but 50 is a lot – more fingers than I’ve got, for sure.   (And I’m so sorry, if you get the >9000 referece… sorry that I used it, and sorry that you get it.)

Do you think this could change gaming?  Do you think this could make complex educational games, with simulations, models, and labs for example, better? Or easier to use?

-Anthony

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Merz
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 19:21:04

    It seems like so many inputs would always be overkill, but i have seen a few of the 12 button mice in action during certain games, in which some they can all be used, sometimes not very well and other times to do many actions at once for a swift attack, and at other times they are completely useless. Using all 50 inputs at once would be impossible, but games using the interface are going to have to try and use as many as possible during the more complex games in order to get a gamer to actually use the system.

    Also, there is no reason to be ashamed of a large portion or your childhood Anthony.

    Reply

  2. Daniel Renfrow
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 21:56:59

    It seems like so many inputs may just be a talking/bragging point. It brings to mind some of the unnecessary components other domains (including cars, coffee makers, etc.) add that very few people USE, but the makers still find a way to offer these many superfluous additions as benefits — e.g. “You’ll never know when you’ll need [insert input]”.

    And, since we’re being open about our childhoods, I’ll admit (in a complete non-gaming admission) that I spent way too many hours watching Saved by the Bell growing up. I said it, and now I feel better.

    Reply

  3. Anthony
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 10:25:12

    Alright, so does anyone think that multitouch is useful in general, than? Personally, I’d say you’d need at least four points of detection to make it useful, and more likely 10+. My reasoning would be that, so far, pretty much everything that multitouch has allowed use to do so far, we have been able to do with a mouse. This multitouch version seems to allow some things that mice interfaces can’t lay a finger on. (No pun intended… Ok. So it was intended.) I would imagine that learning to use it would be a lot more like learning to use a keyboard (and keyboard commands for OSes!), than learning to use a mouse. Way harder, but for most things (other than point and click) way more efficient, IMHO. Thoughts?

    Reply

  4. Craig
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 11:21:39

    I have to disagree with you on mulittouch and motion-sensing controls. Sure, there are some situations where it doesn’t make sense (using the tilt to aim, for example), but for games where you’re driving or flying, the tilting of the device makes perfect sense! You don’t have to tilt it very far to steer so you can still see the screen, and it just adds a level of immersion because it sort of feels like you’re working a steering wheel.

    And sure, multitouch is basically using your fingers to emulate a mouse, but it’s still a relatively young game control form; given time I’m sure we’ll see more uses for multitouch that actually do something new that makes it worthwhile to use in a game.

    Reply

  5. Alex Rich
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 22:08:23

    I think it all comes down to critical mass. Once a system or consul has gained critical mass and has establishes itself as a credible name int he gaming world it can essentially do whatever it wants. Nonetheless, I do think the typical gamer prefers the simpler less intricate controller to the more complicated version as evidenced by XBOX and PS3.

    Reply

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