When we asked Brown CS students why they're taking Jeff Huang's hugely popular CS 1300 User Interfaces class, some of the first things they cited were his expertise and approachability, the friendly TAs, and the extremely relevant course material. But getting to play a great vintage video game can't hurt, either.
Jeff explains a recent input assignment, which saw students lining up in the atrium of the CIT's fourth floor to play Black and White, a classic game from 2001: "In Black and White, you play as 'god' of the game’s world. You oversee village people, build structures, and navigate the virtual world using an on-screen hand ('the hand of God'). In fact, nearly all the actions a god is capable of in Black and White are accomplished purely through the hand on the screen, which you control with your mouse. You can pan, zoom, rotate, tap objects, throw things, etc. using this hand and the computer mouse. That’s a lot of actions for just one hand—how did the game designers map these interactions? You will unpack the controls to find out. Keep in mind this game was released years before the iPod, touchscreens, and Google Maps."
When we dropped by, Edward Li was on hand to give us a quick walkthrough of the interesting assignment. Thanks, Edward! (To avoid disturbing others, we kept the audio quiet, so you may need to turn it up.)