Google Stadia – According to 9to5Google reports that Amplitude Studios’ upcoming strategy game Humankind will feature a new touch-based control scheme when it launches on August 17th.
Google Stadia’s “Direct Touch” feature uses multitouch input like a mobile game, rather than using a Bluetooth controller or gamepad overlay like in the past.
Playing with direct touch in Humankind can be visualized pretty well by the screenshots Google shared. Tapping an in-game object with just one finger brings up an in-game menu, holding down your finger previews content, two fingers cancels, dragging your finger around moves the view, and three fingers pauses the game.
Stadia State Share is another innovative feature of the game that lets you share screenshots or video clips with your friends so they can continue where you left off in the game.
In Humankind, you can also invite a friend to play your civilization and compare their achievements to yours as they play. This feature is called “Leave Your Mark”, which lets your friend see what your civilization was like and find ruins.
It’s obvious why a 4x turn-based strategy game like Humankind should be played with direct touch rather than a controller, if only because control support is difficult to offer. Strategie games require precise movements of troops and structures and navigating complicated menus.
It is possible to convert a mouse to a controller stick, but you will lose some of the finesse you would otherwise have possessed. Good console-exclusive releases of strategy franchises like Civilization Revolution are so beloved because they simplify a game to its core elements and make it playable with a controller or touchscreen.
A streaming games service like Google Stadia faces an extra challenge in the form of touch controls – possible latency issues. It is possible to expect even more immediate responses with touch than with a controller because touch-based interaction can be faster than controller-based interaction. Google has not mentioned whether any latency adjustments have been made with direct touch.
9to5Google had originally spotted direct touch as part of an Android update to Google Stadia earlier this year, but what exactly its implementation entails is not entirely clear.
It is believed that direct touch is a custom-built feature of mankind, so porting to Google Stadia in a similar manner should be straightforward. Whether direct contact would be effective at bringing mobile-first titles to Stadia remains to be seen, but it does mean that you should be able to play games on your phone much more easily in the future.