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Multitouch in Action

Yesterday we discussed Windows Mobile multitouch (a point between two points is a virtual key that can trigger a key press as well and thus simulate real multitouch). Well today we’ll go from theory to reality. The inserted picture is a real working controller for morphgear that relies on multitouch but it will only work for the Touch HD (the Touch Pro just doesn’t have a large enough or flexible enough screen to have a precise enough touch). In this thread you can download the attached controller as well as other virtual controllers.  It’s really very impressive and since it’s WVGA the Touch Pro 2/Diamond 2 can take advantage of this.

Let’s say we want something a little simpler so it’s friendlier for a smaller screen – we have that as well. If you’ll recall, this ‘multitouch’ works because when two keys are pressed a virtual keypress occurs between the two and if the screen is too small the virtual keys are too small as well so it lacks accuracy. TWolf (the king of flash:)) has provided a flash application that is three buttons and the screen displays the keypresses that occur including multitouch key presses. You can try it out by downloading this file. It also requires Flash Lite which is located here (and no, it won’t give you Flash for any real use since most website Flash is newer than the mobile version). What you’ll also see is if you simply press between the two buttons you will see the size of the virtual keys and the dual press will appear. It shows that this can work and also shows how hard it is to work consistently (it’s the technology, not the app) but I think with a little tinkering it can work more accurately. If, for example, the size of the virtual keys was increased to essentially fill the void between the buttons then a hit would be more likely.  TWolf provided this application as a demonstration of multitouch and anyone developing a game would need to incorporate something similar. It does show off how this form of multitouch can be implemented though.

Ultimately, developers can create onscreen keys that permit this kind of multitouch by strategically placing the keys so that the points of intersection are spread as far apart as possible and so that the virtual keys are as large a possible. That is why the Guitar Hero demonstration from yesterday’s post for the Nokia had the presses spread out towards the corners so that there was less overlap between virtual keys. If you want to see what the mapping can look like for a smaller dpad take a look at these images that Matt was able to whip up with the red dots representing the virtual keys. Again, if implemented the virtual keys would be as large as possible. But this type of mapping can easily be used for a Guitar Hero type game or a Tetris game (left, right, rotate) even on VGA/QVGA sized screens.

One last app this time from freaksey who put together what is essentially a drawing pad but it shows the point where the keypress is registered (and you can toggle to single/multipress) but it really shows off how dual presses are registered and shows that this may be easier at times than it seems. Check it out here (it’s just an exe to run off of your phone).

So now we have some actual applications that use multitouch and I hope more developers try to utilize this as well to create a new type of game for Windows users. Again, thanks to TWolf, Vijay555  and Freaksey for their very impressive work in this area and their pursuit of even more development and thanks to Matt for putting together the art work.