Playing DnD on a Microsoft Surface

Some Carnegie Mellon students have been playing with a Microsoft surface and have a demo of using the surface to play DnD.

They say:

The objective of the SurfaceScapes project is to create a proof-of-concept for playing tabletop role-playing games on the Microsoft Surface Table. We will be using Dungeons and Dragons as a basis for our prototype, with the option for future expansion to other role-playing games. SurfaceScapes will provide Game Masters and players with a set of features to enhance the combat and role-playing aspects of tabletop games. This will include the ability to interact with the digital environment using real objects such as miniatures and provide automated calculations and visual and audio feedback for actions performed by the player and non-player characters. We are taking traditional tabletop role-playing games to the next level, adding a new layer of immersive and intuitive gaming to the Microsoft Surface Table and assisting both GMs and players in enjoying exciting and engaging adventures.
SurfaceScapes… what lies beneath.



The Microsoft Surface is a multi-touch computer that responds to natural hand gestures and real-world objects, helping people interact with digital content in a simple and intuitive way. With a large, horizontal user interface, Surface offers a unique gathering place where multiple users can collaboratively and simultaneously interact with data and each other.

One comment

  1. mike954 · October 20, 2009

    If one wants to play ‘automated’ DnD, there are excellent videogames out there; videogames with an RPG slant already exist. Personally, what’s interesting about this story is the prospect of a technologically ‘enhanced’ RPG with a well-integrated videogame element.

    Any proposals for technological tampering with the proven pen and paper model would hopefully add to the atmosphere and sense of immersion, of ‘being there’. For instance, Quick Time Events/ QTEs as pioneered by Sega in Shenmue. This showcase project was an effort to immerse the player as deeply as possible in a detective story set in 1980s Japan.

    Arguably QTEs do not do this, I remember them being highly controversial, though many top-selling games use them nowadays, for example the Resident Evil franchise.

    Given that many roleplaying groups find it hard to meet as often as they might like, another possibility would be to make content available for players away from the infrequent pen and paper playing session.

    That is, the chance to develop characters and the plot of the game by playing game content in group online play or solo side quests or mini-games, which might even be playable in a few minutes on a 3G phone.

    Frankly, I’m keen to see what the brain-boxes at Carnegie-Mellon come up with to technologically ‘enhance’ the rpg experience.

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