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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Heckendorn

I'm usually completely unaware of the development of hardware techno-wotzits happening all around me, but this week a couple of tactile tidbits caught my attention.

The video above shows a demonstration of Blizzard's Starcraft, operated via touchscreen. I hope this is the future of the RTS. Once the rapid-click online gamers attune themselves to this new method of strategic control, bypassing the mouse and having a player use their digits ought to reduce the time between instructions being mentally processed and physically issued. The player will literally feel 'hands-on', manipulating a game using fingers is not only cool, but aids immersion by requiring gamers to reach out and touch their units. On the down side, physically disabled gamers may find touchscreen control an obstacle to their enjoyment of the game and wireless keyboard users/lazy sods that play from their beds will have to get closer to the screen. An easy fix would be to make touchscreen gameplay an optional feature in future games.

I don't know much about Linux, but my limited understanding has me believe the main difference between Linux and Windows is that the former is open-source, that is, a user of Linux may freely alter the OS code to their heart's content. If that is truly the case then surely the only barrier to touchscreen gameplay on Windows would be a patch on behalf of Microsoft. This website offers monitors capable of touchscreen functionality on all versions of Windows (bar Vista) so perhaps the future is already here?

The image below shows an XBox 360 running gleefully in the form of a laptop. The Lappy 360 contains all of the hardware you would find within an XBox 360, plus 17" HD monitor, Wi-Fi adapter, a keyboard and a water-cooling system. This catatonic creation is the work of Ben Heckendorn; You can find his official site here, but as it is currently running very slowly, (likely due to popular demand) you can find Joystiq's coverage of the story here.


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