WASHINGTON — French video game developer Amplitude Studios’ upcoming strategy game ‘Humankind‘ will be the first Google Stadia release to feature a new touch-focused control scheme when it comes out on Aug. 17.
Google has confirmed that ‘Direct touch’ is designed around multi-touch finger inputs like a traditional mobile game, rather than the previous way users may have played Stadia on their phone, with a Bluetooth controller or gamepad overlay.
“Stadia is Google’s gaming platform that lets you instantly play video games on compatible screens you already own,” Google said in a blog.
“Stream games directly to your favorite compatible devices. Games are ready wherever you have internet, without waiting for installs, downloads, or updates.”
The announcement video gave a pretty good idea of how playing with direct touch works in ‘Humankind.’
A single finger tap selects in-game objects, holding a finger down previews content, two fingers cancel, dragging the finger around moves your view in-game, and three fingers bring up the pause menu.
The game will also feature Stadia’s ‘State Share’ feature, which allows a friend to pick up where you left off in a match just by sharing a screenshot or video clip with them.
In the case of ‘Humankind,’ that also allows users to use a feature called ‘Leave Your Mark’ where you let your friend play through your same world, find the ruins of your civilization, and compare their achievements to yours as they play.
Using direct touch rather than a controller for a 4X turn-based strategy game like ‘Humankind’ makes sense, if only because offering satisfying controller support is difficult. Strategy games require navigating complicated menus and being precise where you deploy troops or build structures.
One can translate a mouse to a controller stick, but one will lack some finesse that one could have had otherwise.
That is why good console-specific releases of strategy franchises like ‘Civilization Revolution‘ are so beloved.
They strip down a game to its core elements and simplify things, so they work with a controller or touch.
Touch controls come with a potential extra challenge for streaming games like Stadia and potential latency issues. With touch, you might expect even more immediate responses to your taps than a controller, which is not always possible with slower connections.
Google did not share if it has had to make any adjusts to accommodate latency with direct touch.
It still is not entirely clear what implementing the input method entails. Google has said that Humankind’s use of direct touch is custom. The feature should make it easier to port games to Stadia while maintaining the same control schemes.
Whether direct touch could help mobile-first titles come to Stadia remains to be seen, but it does mean that games should be a lot easier to play on your phone in the future.
‘Humankind’ is to be released on PC, Mac, and Stadia.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Praveen Pramod Tewari
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