Can touchscreen controls ever replace—or even closely match—control input from a gamepad or keyboard and mouse? This demonstration of Valve's Portal and Microsoft Flight Simulator played on Microsoft's experimental Surface platform offers hope that it might.

Building on Mark Micire's DREAM (Dynamically Resizing Ergonomic and Multi-touch) Controller, University of Massachusetts Lowell Robotics Lab student Eric McCann hacked together an on-screen joystick driver that makes touch-based controls feasible for flight sims and first-person shooters. A perfect replacement? Not exactly. Even at double the playback speed, it's clear that Surface controls could easily be outperformed by more familiar interfaces.

But hardly shabby for a week's worth of adapting the already impressive DREAM Controller's touchscreen-based interface. Cooler still is that the DREAM interface dynamically re-sizes itself to a user's hands and can be moved anywhere on the Surface's screen.


The UMass Lowell Robotics Lab folks are teasing "more fun to come" that's likely StarCraft related on their YouTube channel. Can't wait to see what they come up with next.

Joystick Emulation using the DREAM Controller on the Microsoft Surface [YouTube - thanks, Justin!]