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Surface + Hippos = Fun


We’ve been knee deep in Surface development for a number of weeks now and I think we’re about ready to share what we’ve been up to. Being that this was our first venture into Surface development, we wanted to start with something simple and straightforward. We batted around a number of ideas and ultimately settled on something that I’m sure you’re all familiar with… Good old Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Being a 4 person game with a relatively simple interaction mechanic, the Hippos seemed like a natural fit for surface computing. From a user interaction standpoint however, it’s actually not quite as straightforward as we had anticipated.

The actual board game requires users (read: children ages 3-6) to rapidly press a lever in hopes of consuming the most marbles. The harder you press, the faster the hippo eats. Simple, right? Unfortunately, that doesn’t exactly translate as the Surface isn’t pressure sensitive – it only sees on and off. To compensate for this, we experimented with a number of alternatives and ultimately decided on a “rubbing” interaction. The faster you rub the hippo’s back, the faster he eats.

Mmm… virtual marbles.

We’ll be sharing a video of the actual gameplay soon, but in the meantime we’re gonna’ go a little retro. Enjoy.

Jeremy Bell More posts by Jeremy Bell