Tag Archives: dnd

Touch Me

Okay, before you freak out over the title of this post, I’m talking about computers with touch surfaces. Got your attention though didn’t I?

I just read one of the coolest articles about computer and technology that I’ve read in a while. It was all about revolutionizing table-top gaming. That’s right, D&D with computers! This is all made possible by none other than Microsoft: the tech company that we all love to hate. A year or two ago, Microsoft announced a computer that looks a whole lot like a coffee table, and it was called Surface. We all thought it would be cool because they showed off how you could potentially split up a check at a restaurant, compare cell phone features, and various other things by doing nothing but sitting the objects on the table and letting Surface figure out what they are. Apply that to Dungeons and Dragons and you may very well have a sweet dynamic campaign map.

If you’ve never played D&D before then this may not be that interesting to you, but if you are a table top gamer, then this is going to be of great interest. Imagine that you sit down to play a game with your miniatures and your books, but you don’t have to draw out the maps by hand or guess whether somebody is in line of sight by looking at a bunch of squares. You can just put your pieces on Surface, let it show you the piece of the map that is visible from your characters point of view, and even choose an action or attack straight from the table! Now you can even roll dice simply by touch and throwing a virtual D20 (20-sided die for you non-nerds) across the table. I would definitely want my physical dice, but the option is totally there for people who may not have any.

This system has made so much possible for the world of table-top gaming. Imagine just having to click a button if you want to bring up a Monopoly board, or play a quick game of clue. You don’t have to go dig through your closet and attempt to find all the pieces; they will just be there when you need them. Everything is LITERALLY right at your fingertips.

There is no telling how much Surface is really going to cost for us casual consumers, but it may be very well worth it to have a fun, interactive coffee table for doing any number of things. This D&D scenario is most of the reason that I decided an iPad might not be a bad device to have. I just like the idea of having all of the D&D books right at my fingertips if I need it without having to lug around 10 pounds of books, if not more. Believe me, I understand the value of a printed book. I think it is SO very necessary that we have a physical record of everything. You never know when a massive EMP is going to come and blow out every hard drive on the planet. I don’t see it coming soon, but it very well may. Look at all the data we lost when the Library at Alexandria burned. Hundreds of years of human knowledge lost in a day. We need to avoid that. Copies, copies, and more copies need to be made of everything, and I don’t mean simply digital.

I’m excited about what touch computing can bring to the way we interact with technology. Do I think it is perfect for every application? Not at all. But I think that it will open some doors to some pretty awesome things that we wouldn’t be able to do with traditional interface systems. This is awesome stuff to think about, and I’m so glad to live in the time that we do. This next decade is going to be so cool.

Bad News…Twice!

This week has been particularly devastating for geeks everywhere. Gary Gygax, creator of the tabletop role-playing adventure game Dungeons and Dragons, has died. Gary GygaxI didn’t know much about the guy, other than he created Dungeons and Dragons, but a lot of people who have met him said that he was a really super cool guy. I imagine that he would have to be, seeing as he created one of the coolest games on the planet. Dungeons and Dragons has been entertaining kids and adults alike for years by forcing us into our imaginations where no other game could stand. It’s a game that has no set pattern, no board that forces you to only go one direction, and it has the craziest dice you’ve ever seen. It puts you face to face with terrible monsters, damsels in distress, and lets you step outside your dorky little shell and become a hero for at least a little bit…unless the DM decides to crush your hopes and dreams by dropping a Beholder on you at level 4, but that’s neither here nor there.

I urge all DnD fans who roll their dice on Saturday’s in the musty basement of their parents house to raise your goblets in tribute of the guy who gave you a reason to get together and drown yourself with Mountain Dew and contribute to the obesity epidemic by eating bagel bites and pizza rolls by the sackful. The very person who gave us all of this has passed from this world and onto the next. I really want to play some DND all the sudden 🙂

patrick swayzeNow onto some TERRIBLE news, that I want to refuse to believe. Patrick Swayze has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I don’t even know how to take this kind of news. Pancreatic cancer, in most cases, is pretty much a death sentence for all who get it. I can only hope that the Swayz winds up having the Jobs-ian cancer that is curable and he goes on to do some awesome movies. I’ve liked this guy since watching Ghost years ago. That and “Tall Tale” which was a cool Disney movie about Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, and John Henry. That was a really cool movie when I was little. Patrick Swayze is awesome and my thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family. We need a miracle for this one 🙁