The Surface range of devices has long stood at the pinnacle of the Windows world. Now, with the Surface Duo 2, Microsoft is trying to show they can also stand on their own in the mobile world. The new dual-screen device delivers in many ways that the first iteration did not. But even with all the new power and features, there need to be apps and games to make any new tech worth owning.
To this end, CGMagazine got a chance to talk to Vo Trong Nghia, a Producer from Gameloft Vietnam. They recently ported one of the biggest mobile racing titles, Asphalt 9, to the Surface Duo 2, and they gave the inside scoop on the challenges, what the device offers, and what the dual-screen gaming future will look.
CGMagazine: What challenges did you face working on the Microsoft Surface Duo 2?
Vo Trong Nghia: On the development side, previously we had a chance to do a development for a dual screen device where the secondary screen acted as an accessory, yet Surface Duo is coming in with another level of challenge, as the second screen is inseparable. We also had a new view mode to be developed, that’s called span mode. Technical wise, the most challenging part is how to detect which mode view will be enabled during a certain case (portrait/landscape/span) and retrieve the surface rotation.
On the design side, we had to create a new UI design that should meet the requirement of supporting the dual screen, being ergonomically fit with the user hand position and eye level, not distracting the gaming experience, making sure it can be applied with the time given, and to always make sure it meets the quality demanded by the client, in this case Microsoft.
“Microsoft Surface Duo 2 offers enhanced experience for users with the use of a dual screen for gaming.”
On the testing side, we had to remake some testing procedures to fully cover the implementation of the new dual-screen feature in our games.
CGMagazine: What advantages does the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 offer players?
Vo Trong Nghia: Microsoft Surface Duo 2 offers enhanced experience for users with the use of a dual screen for gaming. With more screens and more viewing options, users can get more information in game and offer different experience/viewing options than regular form factor devices.
Users also can have more visual experience for the game without getting interrupted by additional UI. They can also decide what is the best strategy for tinkering with dual screen features. For example, for FPS games, users can focus more on the secondary screen without getting interrupted by the shoot/snipe button. Or, another advantage by having the secondary screen is to display additional information to the user, like a dedicated minimap or other information in real-time so the player can constantly check their position/status without obstructing their gameplay session.
CGMagazine: Do you see more companies looking to dual — screen devices going forward?
Vo Trong Nghia: We have seen other companies offer dual-screen as an accessory and it’s good to see that the advancement of technology offers different experiences for users. From our perspective as a game developer, it’s a new challenge to maximize the use of dual-screen. Therefore, with the collaboration between device manufacturers and the developers, we believe that we can see wider use of dual-screen in the future.
As well, by watching the success of some dual screen gaming consoles before and looking at the current trend where the players are looking for games with immersive depth and visual experience without getting interrupted by additional UI, having mobile gaming on dual screen mode is giving the player a chance for a new experience. That either boosts the ergonomics of the controls or the functionality of the secondary screen itself.
CGMagazine: What makes the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 a uniquely exciting device for gaming?
Vo Trong Nghia: Microsoft Surface Duo 2 offers enhanced gaming experience for users with the use of dual screen and flexibility in gaming orientation. Spec wise, it also comes with a powerful processor and graphic cards that can handle medium to high graphic games, screens that offer high refresh rate (90hz), and offers flexibility for users to personalize their experience with playing games and viewing mode.