Your weekends as a Thief, Cleric or Paladin are about to get really cool and immersive and I’m not talking about the late night meeting with the board of trustees.

Using Microsoft Surface, Carnegie Melon’s Entertainment Technology Center has descended into the realms of touchscreen gaming with the development of SurfaceScape. The game, if you can’t guess from the headline and first sentence, is Dungeons and Dragon. Here’s a look at it in action.

Cool, but still not the same as having huge amounts of magic power and bladed weapons, then having it all taken from you, getting really angry and throwing miniatures, dice and bags of Doritos at your chubby friends.

Applying it to Product Development

Although product design can often be like living in a Dungeon, there are a few ideas that come out of this touchscreen gaming application. Most of the success of any type of high-end product development app on a touchscreen is going to depend on it’s user interface elegance. The SurfaceScape UI doesn’t seem all that elegant with the playing field grid and slow roll of a die. One thing that goes along with the virtual part of computing is the virtual shortcuts we can take around task that take too much time. For instance, we don’t have to simulate slow load times to make working within 3D seem more realistic. We don’t have to simulate clicks and lines being drawn to make it more life-like. If the mundane, time consuming tasks can be eliminated, remove them. Get rid of a dice roll and show me the Dire Wolf being slain with a +20 melee.

Via Rich White


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.