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Intel’s Anna Cheng showcases touch screen gaming

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Despite Microsoft pushing through a touch platform for the PC more than a decade ago, it took Apple’s iPad for anyone to notice. The increase in touch based systems, automatically leads to an increase in cool/new touch apps. Eugene and Intel were on hand today to show off just what can be achieved. KitGuru surfaced to see what’s what.

In January 2000, Alexis and Cedric Le Dressay formed Eugene in Paris. This independent game developer has grown steadily over the past 13 years and now employs a staff of 50 dedicated souls. They brought their demo team to London in order to show off the evolution from WarGame: European Escalation to a willing audience of gaming enthusiasts.

What made this presentation unusual, was the presence of Intel’s PR guru, Anna Cheng.

We asked Anna why she’s snuck out of Intel’s ivory citadel to attend a gaming presentation.

“Well”, she started. “You will see WarGame and other demos on these desktop systems today. But the cool thing is that you can play the same game – with an even better experience – on a touch-enabled Windows 8 Ultrabook, like these from Dell and Lenovo”.

While the Dell unit had the cool screen swivel, it was the overall build quality of the Lenovo Yoga at caught our eye.

“As you can see, the game settings are fairly high”, said Anna as she opened up the game’s control panel. “We’re running at 1680 with all of the IQ settings over the halfway mark”.

KitGuru has to admit that the game looks fine on the Ultrabook’s screen.

But then, as the game’s ‘camera’ scrolls over a battlefield scenario, Anna does something a little different. She folds the Yoga flat (so it is in 100% tablet mode) and starts to use her fingers. Now that’s different.

“I’m not the best at these RPS games”, she said with a smile. “But the touch interface makes it really straightforward to defend the West in a Cold War simulation”.

We noted that with standard finger movements she could quickly zoom in and out of every engagement.

“You can easily move from Tank Commander to Field Marshall”, said Anna. “With a simple movement of your hand. Launching attacks is as easy as touching your offensive unit, clicking ‘attack’ and then selecting a target”. Nice.

It’s worth noting that the game seemed to play smoothly on both the Dell (Ivy Bridge Core i5 with HD4000) and the Lenovo (Core i7).

But then Intel has a big trick up its sleeve in Q2 with the launch of Haswell. If the predictions are correct, then the performance pick up in games could be close to 100% in some cases, which will make the market much more competitive/exciting toward next Xmas.

When Texas-trained mainboard engineers like Anna Cheng speak, y'all better listen up.

KitGuru says: We like the way the game plays with a touch interface. The ability to rotate the screen in all directions – even portrait mode – will appeal to games who want to carry on blasting even when they’re eating cereal. From what we’ve seen, the Haswell Ultrabooks will probably be able to run the same game, smoothly, at native HD resolutions. Maybe not all games, but certainly the kind of interactive products Eugene is creating. More power to them both for exploiting the new interface in new ways.

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