What if you could take the games you know and love, and without any programming knowledge or hardware tweaking required, you could create an entirely new way of interacting with those games? You can do just that with GestureWorks Gameplay, which gives users the ability to configure their very own virtual controllers using a full set of tools for the ultimate in personalization.
Gameplay is a customizable touch overlay that can be added to non-touch enabled desktop games as an example of how more apps can enable touch capability in 2014. This doesn’t require the game developer to have to change any of their code, and also supports 2-in1 state awareness, which is the ability for applications to switch modes with the 2-in-1 platform has been converted to either clamshell or tablet modes.
If you’re not in a creative mood, GestureWorks Gameplay comes with a dozen pre-built controllers, but if you’re looking to create something truly yours, you can: users have the ability to move and size buttons, configure a joystick or game pad, label controls, or change colors and opacity. GestureWorks Gameplay is fully compatible with tablets, Ultrabooks, All-In-Ones, 2-in-1s, and touch-enabled desktop systems running Windows 8. So how does this work? From a recent case study:
“Gameplay software for Windows 8 lets gamers use and build their own Virtual Controllers for touch, which are overlaid on top of existing PC games. Each Virtual Controller overlay adds buttons, gestures, and other controls that are mapped to input the game already understands. In addition, gamers can use hundreds of personalized gestures to interact on the screen. Ideum's collaboration with Intel gave them access to technology and engineering resources to make the touch overlay and 2-in-1 awareness in Gameplay possible.”
Here’s a quick video of how this all works together to create virtual controllers on PC games:
Steam support? Yes. Here’s a demo of Half Life 2 with GestureWorks Gameplay:
This isn’t only for PC games. GestureWorks Gameplay works as an Android* remote as well, turning your smartphone or tablet into a virtual controller, allowing users to play PC games using their Android devices as controllers. You can customize your Android controller anyway you want; and it connects with Bluetooth for even more interactivity. Audio and vibration feedback with accelerometer support makes game playing interactive. Watch the video below for a short demo of how this works:
Virtual controllers – adding touch controls to games and other applications – coincide with the data about touch that keeps coming out on a regular basis. According to IT research company Gartner, more than 50% of PCs purchased for users less than 15 years of age will have touchscreens by 2015. From Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner:
"By 2015, we expect more than 50 percent of PCs purchased for users under the age of 15 will have touchscreens, up from fewer than 2 percent in 2009. On the other hand, we are predicting that fewer than 10 percent of PCs sold to enterprises in 2015 for mainstream knowledge workers will have touchscreens," she said. "Consensus among the Gartner client U.S. school districts is that over half, and possibly as many as 75 percent, will be specifying touch and/or pen input within the next five years," said Ms. Fiering. Based on this prediction, Gartner analysts also predict that in 10 to 15 years an entire generation will have grown up accustomed to working on touchscreen devices. "As with many recent technology advances, touch adoption will be led by consumers and only gradually get accepted by the enterprise," Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner said in a statement. "What will be different here is the expected widespread adoption of touch by education, so that an entire generation will graduate within the next 10 to 15 years for whom touch input is totally natural."
Kids and games go naturally together, so it only makes sense that as games come out, with controllers that might not “work” for kids, that there is a customizable option available that will work better. A recent study from NPD found that there is an average of 12 apps on the mobile devices that kids have access to; 88 percent of those apps were acquired for free. Kids spend about five days a week using mobile devices, with an average session typically lasting just under one hour. Much as it is with adults, gaming is a leading category on mobile for children. NPD found an average of 6.5 gaming applications on a device, and games were by far the most popular type of app used by children, followed by listening to or downloading music, and taking pictures.
There are a wide range of new form factors that have come our way in the last few years – tablets, 2 in 1s, new designs for smartphones, etc. – that lend themselves well to a great computing experience for the younger set. This is especially true of devices that feature touch-based interaction. If you’ve ever been around a child for more than a few minutes you’ll agree that touch is one of their primary avenues of interaction with their environment, and computers are no exception.
Touch-based tablets and convertible devices offer a low barrier of entry for kids that really want to jump in headfirst to their favorite apps. Devices that work best with kids have to present great touch interactions, an experience that offers various activities, and input controls that are user-friendly but not dumbed down. Customizable controllers seem to be a no-brainer.