Custom gaming tabletop brings touchscreen controls to PC games

Credit: Raymond Wong/DVICE

Joysticks are so last century, because why lug one around when you can use your touchscreen instead? That's the concept behind Ideum's GestureWorks Gameplay software for Windows 8, which allows players to turn any touchscreen-ready device into a customizable virtual controller.

Gamers can use the software to pick from a dozen pre-built virtual controllers, or create one from scratch for a truly custom controller that can be configured to your own tastes. Each Gameplay game controller can also be saved and shared with friends if you ever need to hang at someone else's pad, and supports two player games like Street Fighter and Tekken.

The Gameplay virtual controller is designed to be overlaid on top of an existing PC game, and works in conjunction with over 200 personalized gestures to allow interaction with your game screen. Game controls include joysticks, D-pads, switches, scroll wheels and buttons that can be placed anywhere on the screen. Sizing, color, labels and opacity further the design of your custom Gameplay virtual controls.

We tested the Gameplay controller out at New York Comic Con on a giant tabletop touchscreen, and while the overall virtual gamepad did its job, it took a little getting used to. Because there is no physical controller, you have to memorize where your fingers are in relation to the buttons, which can be a bit tricky.

During our Gameplay trial, a pause menu also popped up every other minute, so Ideum has a bit of work to do before the final version of the software is released in November. Still, PC gamers will appreciate the convenience of always having a customizable digital controller on hand for any of their games that can also be shared amongst friends. An October signup for the beta version of Gameplay is available if you really want to get your hands — er, fingers on the software.

(All photos by Raymond Wong and Terry Chao for DVICE.)

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