Inside the Touch Pack for Windows 7: Rebound

Microsoft Rebound logoNext in the list of toys that Microsoft revealed in the new Touch Pack for Windows 7 is Rebound. Rebound, developed by Fuel Games (the peeps that brought us Tinker), is a simple pong-like game with additions such as electricity, spinning projectiles, futuristic sounds, and clumsy AI; the perfect time vampire, if you exclude Sony’s line of products. Gameplay consists of a player (or two) placing their fingers on a set of orbs to create an arc of energy, to act as a paddle. The arc’s strength and ball stopping ability is dependent on the distance between the player’s orbs. That’s the simple rundown, obligatory game-play video below. My thanks to Paul Thurrott for being patient with me.

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Judging by the score and timer counters, this was initially designed for Microsoft Surface.

On the technical side, Rebound is a native Win32 application, tying into the DirectX 9, DirectX10 and PhysX APIs. The latter is interesting because you may get a little physics processing boost if you’re using a fairly recent NVIDIA GPU (Geforce 8 or higher) or if you shelled out for and installed an AGEIA PhysX Accelerator. (If you have a PhysX card lying around collecting dust, send it to me!) With regards to shaders, things are a bit gray. It’s not clear which shader model the game requires but my guess is 2. Shader model 1 is for wimps and 3 is a bit bleeding, compared to today’s typical mass-produced consumer PC. Simply put, if your machine can’t do Aero proper (with transparency), you will have issues playing Rebound. You may be able to speed things up by throwing more memory at it with DOS/4GW, however.