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Gaming rises to the Surface with Intel

After the huge success of Angry Birds and all the other iPad-o-sphere games that followed, it looks like the next generation of man-machine interface is going to be a lot more mature. Intel and Eugen Systems have collaborated together to introduce the next revolution in Surface gaming. KitGuru was on hand to see this union in action.

Having received our invites to ‘see something special’, the KitGuru team boarded a packed Metropolitan Line train on a crisp February morning and arrived at Baker Street station bright and early. Having walked passed the simple doorway twice, we finally managed to work out how to enter the Sherlock Holmes hotel for a scheduled presentation by Eugen Systems, co-hosted by Intel. Coffee, buns and chat here we come.

Together, they were keen to show us there new update to a gaming product that’s been on the market for a while, WarGame: European Escalation. Wargame is an RTS (Real Time Strategy) game based on the Cold War that’s now hoping to bring a more sophisticated gaming experience to the touch screen user. Intel and Eugen Systems have joined forces to deliver an exciting and seamless experience to the mobile gaming community – showing us where the next generation of WarGame will go.

Intel’s PR high-priestess, Anna Cheng, kindly allowed KitGuru to take the updated WarGame:EE experience for a test drive on her luscious, touch-enabled Windows 8 Ultrabooks. Luscious is definitely the word – especially if your normal experience of what a Windows-based laptop can do comes from the massed/cloned ranks of whatever PC World lines up around the £300-500 mark.

When we get Anna in our sites, it'll be "Boom boom: Out go the lights"

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For a tablet, the game itself is visually spectacular.

We were amazed to find how well the gameplay worked on a touch screen computer. Users are able to do familiar touch screen pleasures like zooming in and out of the game with just a swipe of their finger. Intrigued, we decided to get up close and personal with the coding folks behind this new world genre game.

Chatting with the developers, we were told that “The choice to incorporate touch-screen, means that games can be sold to a much wider audience, with something to entice both Surface and iPad users alike”.

We were also told that, in terms of graphics, “Eugen Systems is driving toward the most authentic experience possible”.

Given that one of the Le Dressay brothers (Alexis, who formed the company in 2000 with Cedric) is an architecture graduate, the dedication to detail makes sense.

“An immense amount of detail has gone into this game; from the trees and the mountains, to the villages and skyline. Genuine images of existing European landscapes have been incorporated into the game”, they said. And Intel will be happy that there is an impressive physics engine underpinning the whole game – for added realism – which helps “make the magic happen”.

Even before Haswell launches, Intel already has more then enough firepower for a mobile environment – so anything that (a) makes games look better and (b) uses more of the multi-core functionality available in an i7 etc is more than welcome.

The KitGuru team had fun flying an Apache helicopter that actually responded and behaved like its real life counterpart. We’ve never strafed enemy hardware in the German countryside, but it felt realistic enough.

The days when an RTS game meant unwashed teenagers, with photo-phobia, locked in dank bedrooms might not be over – but a new breed can take their desire to overthrow/defend Europe into the real world – to enjoy the experience out and about (for many hours at a time – according to Anna Cheng).

When the next generation of WarGame is released (soon enough, we’re told), it looks to help usher in a new era of mature gaming for the modern mobile platform.

Time to drink Wodka and defend Europe my friend. European Escalation has little to do with moving stairways.

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KitGuru says: With GPS enabled, surely it’s only a matter of time before gangs of Counter Strikers etc are seen running down the real streets of London, Munich and New York – playing games with each other – on tablet devices that actually have the world mapped inside the game. Brave new (gaming) worlds to follow.

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