Moving Full Throttle

Posted by Vectorform – August 26, 2008

We recently completed our first implementation of the Vectorform Surface Trivia Engine, Full Throttle.  Players answer questions about automotive finance in a head to head race with friends to rack up points and race across the country.  We knew it would be a challenge to make a fun game out of finance trivia, but after a couple of pizzas, a few liters of soda, and the helpful testing of some local students, we found our first game is hard to put down.

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It just keeps growing..

Posted by Vectorform – August 24, 2008

The Vectorform Surface team that is. Since receiving our first Microsoft Surface in April, our team has grown up and out quite a bit. We now have eight Microsoft Surface units in the house and have expanded the team to 20+ people. The team definitely stays busy.  At times, there’s a backlog of people that need to get onto the machines for something or other.

Vectorform's Microsoft Surface Team

James Ryan of Mercedes-Benz Dual Wields SurfaceDJ and Vector Drums

Posted by Vectorform – August 22, 2008

James Ryan, an executive from Mercedes-Benz Financial, stopped by for his third demo of our entertainment apps and ups the ante by simultaneously playing SurfaceDJ and VectorDrums at the same time. Check out the video below to see the rhythmic action…

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Posted by Vectorform – August 22, 2008

We have to admit that the site is a tad old and ready for a refresh, but it is fun to interact with an old friend in a new way…

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The S-Files

Posted by Vectorform – August 20, 2008

Time to let the BAT out of the bag. Vectorform Labs is pleased to officially unveil our latest skunk works project—application development on the Surface platform. We’ve been working with the Microsoft Surface team and the Surface SDK for the last five months, so while other companies are still un-boxing their units, we’d like to show you the applications we have built on ours. Our videos aren’t much, but we feel the work speaks for itself. We will be releasing our internal blog entries over the next few weeks, as well as providing code samples, tutorials and sneak peeks of our next big Microsoft Surface App.

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What the hell is a muster?

Posted by Vectorform – August 19, 2008


You might be asking yourself, what is a muster, anyway? A “muster” is a term that was coined by our office in Berlin, and refers to any real-world object that provides a way to interact with a Microsoft Surface. Initially, we created musters using 1.5×1.5 wooden blocks, with an image on one side and black foam on the other. The muster would then be “tagged” with a sticker allowing the Microsoft Surface to associate the object with information, and display the related information.

Official musters made their grand debut when they were introduced on the BMW project. Each muster- approximately 20 in number – was created using images from BMW catalogs using authentic paint chips and actual materials from the car. The musters represented interior and exterior color and texture options, wheels, trim, and accessories as an interactive tool for viewing and selecting particular car choices. Our musters were designed with the customer in mind, to provide an interactive selection process through the use of real-world objects.

We’ve since expanded our idea of musters, tagging just about anything we can get our hands on.

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Surface in the Sauna (w/Drinks)

Posted by – August 18, 2008

At Vectorform were all about enhancing user experience, and what better way to enhance the Microsoft Surface experience then by placing it in the Vectorform Corporate Sauna. That’s right– sweltering temperatures, cedar walls and multi-touch goodness. After a series of tests we were all shocked at how well the Microsoft Surface performed at over 120 degrees.

Join us next week as our Surface stress tests continue with Surface Skydiving.

Surface Trivia Engine

Posted by – August 15, 2008

Most early adopters of Microsoft Surface technology are likely to have the resources to develop custom applications, but as multi-touch technology becomes more accessible, a large class of Microsoft Surface owners will not have the resources to develop custom applications. As consumers become more familiar with multi-touch applications it will become increasingly important that every Microsoft Surface deployment provides a unique user experience, or consumers will grow bored with the technology and adopt a “seen one–seen them all” mentality.

To help every Microsoft Surface owner provide a unique experience, we are developing applications that can be rebranded and customized by end users. One application we are working on is the Surface Trivia Engine. The Surface Trivia Engine allows non-technical users to build interactive trivia games. These customized applications and owner-friendly controls will ensure that every time a user sits down at a surface, they will get a totally new experience.

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SurfaceDJ 1.0

Posted by – August 2, 2008

For all you techno-loving wannabe DJ’s out there, SurfaceDJ 1.0 is the killer app to get your groove on.  I had the idea of creating a Mixer-type application for the Microsoft Surface shortly after creating VectorDrums.  I brought this idea up to Joe who loved the concept.  After some long hours during the day, we opened up a bottle of our favorite drink (gotta love a glass of… coke) and sat down and began prototyping.  Within an hour, we had a simple app that played some sounds when objects were placed in a specific area of the Microsoft Surface.   As fun as that sounds, we needed something more.

As an amateur music producer, I was struggling to figure out a way to incorporate music into this app.  A mixer is great and all, but it isn’t really creative.  It’s just a playlist with cross fades…  meh.   So we had an app that plays sounds and a new innovate device with a completely new interface to computing.  Where could we go with this?  Then it hit me.

I went home and started writing musical loops that would sound well when layered on top of one another.  The idea was to create an application that allowed multiple users to work together to create a song that sounded good without any musical experience.  Heh, yeah it’s not that easy.  I brought in the loops the next day and added them to the app and invited people to mess around and see what they thought.  The response was overwhelming.  I had almost everyone in the office hovered around my Microsoft Surface waiting for their chance to collaborate and develop their own song.  The app was very simple, which allowed anyone to use it, but provided a unique experience that cannot be found anywhere else on any device.

As with the VectorDrums, we invited James Ryan, an executive from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, to check out and play with our new creation.  He immediately began to sequence his own song, starting with a simple kick drum and eventually layering more complex melodies on top of it.  His performance was taped for your viewing pleasure.  Check it out below.

Since the initial prototype, SurfaceDJ has been re-skinned and shown to Microsoft who praised the application and will demo it at their upcoming Surface Release Party.  Who knew that having the ability to touch their music would be so fun?

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