Dungeons & Dragons Brought to Life Using a Microsoft Surface Table

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

Dungeons & Dragons Brought to Life Using a Microsoft Surface Table

Wouldn't it be cool if the very table you were playing Dungeons & Dragons on enabled you to fully visualize your game? Now it can.

The Surfacescapes team from Carnigie Mellon University are working on a proof-of-concept project to show how tabletop games could be played on a Microsoft Surface Table. The Microsoft Surface is basically a table-like computer that features a large horizontal touch screen that can receive multiple inputs at once. Using Dungeons & Dragons as the basis for their first prototype, the team plans to bring a brand new level of immersion to the tabletop genre.

There may be some that think something like this would only ruin the spirit of Dungeons & Dragons, and those people have a point, but this looks so awesome I can't imagine that every tabletop player doesn't want to get their hands on it right now. Surfacescapes plans to eventually create a 15-20 minute demo showing off the full capabilities of their system, but this shorter work-in-progess demo already shows a huge amount of potential. The Surfacescapes team is not changing tabletop gaming, but enhancing it in every way possible. From the team's website, they plan to implement the following features:

1. Automatically tracking combat states and statistics.
2. Tracking character information.
3. Providing audio and visual feedback for player actions.
4. Use of physical objects which the Table can detect, such as miniatures, themed "control objects" and feat cards.
5. An intuitive and visually appealing virtual UI, in addition to incorporating physical objects.
6. Ability for the Game Master to alter the map on the fly.
7. Uploading of custom and premade "story slides" to enhance the narrative aspect of D&D.
8. Ambient sounds and lighting to aid in storytelling.
9. Enhance story telling by streamlining a lot of the book keeping that the DM usually handles.

The way that this demo's UI conforms around the miniatures placed on the Surface looks really futuristic. The only thing that I might disagree with is the use of the Surface to roll the dice. Ripping the 20-sided die out of peoples' hands almost seems criminal, though maybe it can be gotten used to.

This semester, the Surfacescapes team is focusing fully on the player experience with only a basic GM (game master) screen. Next semester, the Surfacescapes team plans to expand the abilities of a GM, adding "a robust map editor and a variety of campaign creation tools" according to their their website. This is very compelling work, and a perfect fit for a piece of technology like the Microsoft Surface.

Source: Surfacescapes via 1up

Permalink

I really would like to see Warhammer work with this.

It'd get my lazy ass interested in tabletop games.

Now if only that could be programmed for 3.5 I'd consider getting it.

dear god, how much would this cost for the average gamer?

this seems like an easier way to get people to play D&D, but what Im really wondering is how easy it is to set up stories on the fly, as in your buddies just called, they are down the street with several kegs of mountain dew with a metric ton of Cheetos and you have GM duty tonight.

Interesting concept to say the least

Ollie596:
I really would like to see Warhammer work with this.

Exactly what I thought

But the entire reason I like table top game sis becasue of the level of control you have over everything. If need be, you can change just about any aspect of how you play D&D, from rules you do/do not want to use to general statistics.

Looks pretty good... Until one of the pieces are swallowed by a child/pet/retarded cousin.

Microsoft demands a still beating heart to replace this artifact.

Ollie596:
I really would like to see Warhammer work with this.

I agree, This is an awesome piece of software/hardware, and I see great potential. Think of this, if this piece of hardware goes into full-scale production, and the price comes down to the point normal people could afford it, we could see a revolution in the gaming industry, with maybe the return of classic board games that have been pushed aside by current games.
Using your example of Warhammer, I would love to try out Warhammer 40k, but the cost of building an army keeps me from getting into it, and an absense of players. But with this piece of tech and a faithful adaption of the classic wargame, I could do it. Because I could justify buying the Surface Table because I could do other things than play Warhammer 40k or D&D on it.
I can't wait to see the full demo of this team's project, it will be very interesting.

now that looks great

"imagine"

I wouldn't like it.

The reason I love Dungeons and Dragons is because I can imagine it all play out. If I can see it on the screen, it ruins it for me.

Ollie596:
I really would like to see Warhammer work with this.

You know GW wouldn't allow that, they wouldn't be able to charge a shit ton for miniatures

Uh, how is that much different to playing NWN or some other DnD inspired game? Aside from it being horizontal...

Nimbus:
Uh, how is that much different to playing NWN or some other DnD inspired game? Aside from it being horizontal...

Hey, everything is better horizontal right? Hurr Hurr Hurr, Boom Chicka Wow Wow.

Still doesn't fix the problem of everyone in my area being far "too cool" for D&D.

Want, that would rock. I'm not even that into tabletop games (although i've always wanted to be) but this would certainly help.

Probably cost and arm and a leg though.

Hahahah, that's so awesome. And this is where I get to brag that my parents own a Surface so I'll probably get to play with this in the mid-to-near future. YAY!

TsunamiWombat:

Hey, everything is better horizontal right? Hurr Hurr Hurr, Boom Chicka Wow Wow.

My word!
Oh dear.

Anyway, that looks pretty damn cool.
Not a tabletop gamer, though.

great idea, but so much of dnd is made up on the spot (by me and my friends anyway) so i feel this board would make it too forced and not fun.
and it would probaly take out all comedy... eg, i want to lick the cat.

I only got into D&D a few months ago and I'm quite enjoying it, but I agree, part of the fun of the game for me is yelling at my cursed d20 when I keep rolling critical failures. If the computer is doing it for me, there's no-one to blame. Where's the fun in that? ;)

Nimbus:
Uh, how is that much different to playing NWN or some other DnD inspired game? Aside from it being horizontal...

You can still apply the flexiblity of a DM. I reckon this table will just be used for combat, something that computer can handle. For things like realistic NPC reactions or incredible stunts, the DM is vital.

Anyway, as I've said, this will end up just being used for combat and end up with rigidity in Dnd, the amathema of the idea so I'd say no to this gimmick myself. Warhammer, on the othe hand, would work execedingly well, as someone has already said.

lostclause:

Nimbus:
Uh, how is that much different to playing NWN or some other DnD inspired game? Aside from it being horizontal...

You can still apply the flexiblity of a DM. I reckon this table will just be used for combat, something that computer can handle. For things like realistic NPC reactions or incredible stunts, the DM is vital.

It seems to me that you could do that without a ridiculously overpriced table-screen.

Nimbus:

lostclause:

Nimbus:
Uh, how is that much different to playing NWN or some other DnD inspired game? Aside from it being horizontal...

You can still apply the flexiblity of a DM. I reckon this table will just be used for combat, something that computer can handle. For things like realistic NPC reactions or incredible stunts, the DM is vital.

It seems to me that you could do that without a ridiculously overpriced table-screen.

My thoughts exactly.

Nice.... I guess <.<

Who wants to bet that a couple of years after this comes out we'll have a wave of 'casual' tabletop gamers?

I'd play D&D if I could do it on the virtual table.

Great application of the table computer. I might actually try a round of DnD if that happened, I'm a little to self conscious to try it in it's current medium. However, I would like to see this system applied to other types of games, like turn-based and real-time strategy games. The touch control and the popup interface from the pieces would make it a lot easier.

Looks very impressive, could they impliment a feature that allows you to hook up with people via the internet maybe. So a group of friends in diffrent states could all play dnd if they all owned one of these boards.

also as Ollie596 said warhammer would be really cool with this

Tyras612:
It'd get my lazy ass interested in tabletop games.

hear hear.

Oh my, that is very nice, and as a big D&D player...it's right up my ally.

I hope this gets funding and they adapt it to 3.5 or even older rule sets and even allow custom rules sets for those that are really creative with their house rules.

Ollie596:
I really would like to see Warhammer work with this.

I thought that, too. Well, actually, I was wondering if Warhammer 40k would work on that.

Interesting, but unnecessary and likely not very cost-effective.

I'd probably have more fun playing the game with physical objects, dice and miniatures in particular. There's also the obvious ROLLING VIRTUAL DICE SUCKS argument, because it's nothing more than a random number generator with some limits on what it can spew out.

The only thing I could see this working for is for the pre-game slideshow and for making/keeping tidy maps, though you probably wouldn't be able to achieve the same level of creativity you can with a nice real-world setup.

EDIT: I can see this being a nice step forward for technology though. Holo-games, here we come.

Looks like it could use some work, but it's a good concept.

Darrkon Fearlock:
Now if only that could be programmed for 3.5 I'd consider getting it.

Yep. Screw 4E. Or I would rather just skip D&D 3.5E and just do the updated 3.5E rules from Pathfinder. That would kick ass.

axia777:

Darrkon Fearlock:
Now if only that could be programmed for 3.5 I'd consider getting it.

Yep. Screw 4E.

Yeah, I'm sure they could program it to do 3.5 but it'd take hours of work, and we also have the virtual dice problem, once again they could program it to allow you to input numbers that you roll yourself, but once again that would take hours.

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here