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Warcraft III on a Table-Top 42

Posted by Zonk
ParadyNexus writes "IGN recently posted an interesting article featuringWarcraft III on an interactive digital table. From the article 'Possible uses of the technology range from tactical map manipulation and business collaboration to parlor games, but we see a real future in gaming. An intern at MERL was able to get WarCraft III running on one of the prototypes and shot a video of the DiamondTouch and a voice recognition system in action.' Photos and answers to commonly asked questions and a video showing multi user interaction can be found online."
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Warcraft III on a Table-Top

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  • by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 10, 2006 @10:45AM (#15099121) Journal
    Wow. For those who didn't read this apparently a small current is sent through your chair so that the table can recognize who is touching it and can accept many touches at the same time. Thus allowing for multiple users in a game like warcraft or any number of other purposes. I want one.. Now..
  • by Scott Lockwood (218839) * on Monday April 10, 2006 @10:45AM (#15099124) Homepage Journal
    Is a multi player game table where at least 4 PC's share a large table stop screen, so as to be able to play anything from WoW to Axes and Allies. Diplomacy, anyone?
  • We want our stock picks back.
  • Next step.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Monday April 10, 2006 @10:59AM (#15099204) Homepage Journal
    This will surely evolve into a complex holographic tabletop, which will project glowing 3D plans of maps and structures, allowing the players to figure out if it's a trap.
    • And when you head to Molten Core, it sets you on fire for added ambiance.
    • I actually thought of a way to do this a while ago. The table would consist of a giant set of convex mirrors like the mirage toys [rainbowsymphonystore.com] with a spinning OLED display at the bottom to sweep the image across 3D space similar to the crystal ball display [geek.com]. The center would have a plexiglass circle with sensors and darkened to not let the room's light in to wash out the image. The users could then pass their hands through the mirage projected onto the table to interact with the game itself.

      Unfortunately, even thoug
  • This particular application requires an expensive table. I'd love to see one that accomplishes the same thing with off the shelf, DIY hardware, even if it wasn't as fancy or didn't have all of the features. The way they are accomplishing this is clever and unique (a small current goes through the chair, then the person, then the fingertip or hand which the table detects, even being able to tell multiple users apart), but won't likely be priced for home use anytime soon. I want to build one so I can play
    • You could do much the same thing with a webcam mounted overhead, I think. Some simple image recognition stuff should be able to keep track of which finger is attached to which person, particularly if the image the table is projecting is easy to distinguish from the people (i.e. if the table flashes at 30 Hz and the camera samples at 60 Hz). No being wired to the game table is a plus, though I bet it'd be a much flakier system.

      You'd never get a big and cheap touchscreen though. You could fake that with the w
      • Reading your reply made me think of those digital whiteboards that track where you write and transfer it to a PC in real time. I'll have to look into how they keep track of the pens (they even know which color you are using), and if any of them can track multiple colors at once.

        Either hacking one of those or mimicking the principles they operate on may lead to something. Certainly they would work if the whiteboard were horizontal and a projector was projecting an image onto them...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This would be pretty useful for boardgames, but other then that i see it being very gimmicky. I find it odd that there are pretty much no games that take advantage of something as simple as 2 computer mice, but they come up with this interactive tabletop which really offers the exact same type of interaction that 2 mice would allow.

    ragdoll kung fu (http://www.ragdollkungfu.com/ [ragdollkungfu.com]) is the only game I can think of that actually uses 2 mice, and i think that game would be amazing on this device.
  • Projection? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 4D6963 (933028)
    While it's kind of cool, the one thing that disappointed me is that it was based on projection and not a screen. Regardless of the costs and technical challenge it may cause, projection over a backlit LCD screen has the big disadvantage of having undisplayed areas (where your shadow is) and although it doesn't seem like a problem in the demonstartion video, I see it as limitating the comfort of this whole thing.
    • These are rear-projection type screens, not front, so there's no shadow.
      • These are rear-projection type screens, not front, so there's no shadow.

        Wait, are we talking about the same thing as in the video? The projection is coming from the top, and gets projected on people's arms, and under their arms is nothing but the shade.

  • Apple multi-touch (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Teclis (772299) on Monday April 10, 2006 @11:39AM (#15099460) Homepage
    Just in case you think this is completely new:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=63791469 23853181774

    • First, the video you link to is not from Apple but from Jeff Han at NYU. It uses the technique of frustrated total internal reflection to allow arbitrary multi-touch gestures. It can detect touches on the screen in a fully pixelized manner. This technique does not, however, distinguish between the touches of different users. More information is available here [nyu.edu]. This is a very cool work.

      MERL's DiamondTouch is a multi-user system and can tell distinguish between the touches of several users. If you'r

      • Good Point, here's a comparison from the folks at Engadget:

        "...this new DiamondTouch touch panel table interface has one thing NYU's unit lacked: game. IGN has video of the DiamondTouch panel in action, and it really appears to be a glorified top-down projection system -- which it is. The image is projected onto a white table, which contains the actual magic. By touching the table you complete a circuit that sends a signal through your body with the X/Y position of your touch. This means the table can

  • imagine playing scrabble, and you set a prism (with one side-facing others-being one way glass) set over 'your' letters
    you could see them in the mirror image on the side of the prism facing you- the other players could not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 10, 2006 @12:35PM (#15099749)
    From http://paradynexus.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] I've been recently reading some forums [shoutwire.com] commenting on work that I did at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories. Most of them are postive (there's usually a couple 'If your system could play some game I'd wet my pants' type comments) . A few conspiracy theorists seem to think that my demo is too good to be true - and someone calls me to task on my Warcraft skills.

    First, I'd like to dispel the myth: this work is NOT fake, if you'd like to see exactly how we built this system please read our research paper [ucalgary.ca]. When you look under the hood you'll see that this system is really just a simple conversion of gestures and speech to standard keyboard and mouse commands.

    Second, people commenting about how this system is not as good as a keyboard and a mouse are totally missing the point of this research. It's not about being more efficient than a keyboard and mouse but rather this work is about making actions public so that others can
    double check to ensure the best outcomes.

    Many things in life are not like WarCraft III where you can die and play again. Think about safety critical applications such as real life military command and control or air traffic control. Here the collaborative decisions have a direct impact on people's lives. By making actions public on the tabletop others can monitor your activity and ensure that you are doing the right thing.

    Warcraft III is really designed as an example of a military command and control situation rather than a replacement for the keyboard and the mouse in the game.
    • Another Comment from http://paradynexus.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

      A question from Rob "Xemu" Fermier regarding the lag in scrolling gestures.

      [Rob] Very cool technology and a nice approach for demonstrating it. Using contemporary examples like Google Earth and Warcraft 3 is an excellent way of taking relatively abstract concepts and making them real for people. The gap between academia and "real world" software development is often pretty huge and it's great to see more approaches like this that can bridge that gap.

  • Minority Report (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ugmo (36922) on Monday April 10, 2006 @12:59PM (#15099901)
    This reminded me of the Minority Report Movie where the computer interface was gestural.

    The differences are that Minority Report had a vertical, transparent display, not a table top but this tabletop version is definitely something different than the WIMP (Windows, Icons, Mouse, pointer) interface. The two hand select was very nice. Another feature I liked was that the voice command system did not seem to get confused when he was commenting on the steps he was taking as opposed to giving the system instructions.
  • So when will we see duel monsters on one of these things?
  • There have been tons of publications of this work with comments that you might want to read up on. For example, from Engadget:

    "...this new DiamondTouch touch panel table interface has one thing NYU's unit lacked: game. IGN has video of the DiamondTouch panel in action, and it really appears to be a glorified top-down projection system -- which it is. The image is projected onto a white table, which contains the actual magic. By touching the table you complete a circuit that sends a signal through yo

  • ...this could revolutionize dinner as we know it :o

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