NUIverse for Windows

2 Apr 2013 15:05
Last Modified
2 Apr 2013 22:31

As previously discussed, my manipulation processor now supports WM_TOUCH messages, which means that I can do native multitouch on both Windows 7 and Windows 8. I have therefore updated NUIverse for a Windows-release, as shown below in Figure 1.

NUIverse for Windows

Figure 1. NUIverse for Windows (running windowed).

There are some key differences to the PixelSense-release, as follows:

  • No support for tagged objects, since it does not use the Surface 2.0 runtime, nor require PixelSense hardware (though it will run on the latter outside of the Surface Shell).
  • Since horizontal form-factor multitouch hardware is generally less-common than vertical form-factors, I have added a single-orientation configuration setting. This is true by default, since even if mounted horizontally, many touchscreens will not deliver the multitouch performance required for simultaneous multi-user interaction.
  • Since the Surface Shell added chrome to close the application and by default the application runs full-screen, either drag in a menu control (see note below) and use the exit menu, or press ESC if a keyboard is present.

One of the current issues when running a full-screen desktop app on Windows 8 is that the operating system captures initial touches used for edge-swipes. If touch is maintained after an initial edge-swipe, further edge-swipes are not captured and therefore will add NUIverse controls to the screen. An alternative is to touch the screen and simultaneously edge-swipe, or to use two fingers when edge-swiping.

Several key configuration settings (in NUIverse.exe.config) are worth mentioning. Note that there is no graphical interface for these settings, and that the configuration file needs to be edited by hand (I would recommend saving a copy first):

  • PixelWidth and PixelHeight control the resolution used for both windowed and full-screen mode.
  • FullScreen controls whether the application runs full-screen (true) or windowed (false).
  • For the configuration settings specified in mm to work correctly, set PixelsPerMm to the appropriate value, taking account physical screen size and either PixelWidth or PixelHeight (square pixels are assumed).

To install NUIverse for Windows, proceed as folows:

  1. Install the XNA 4.0 runtime.
  2. Download and extract NUIverse for Windows (2.75Mb) to a suitable location.
  3. Low-resolution textures for several planets and moons are included, but extras can be created or downloaded from