Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Pressure Sensors and Load Cells
Pressure sensors are an evolution of the simple button. A simple button has two states,
on or off, which can be used to trigger simple atomic actions in a video game such as
firing a gun or opening a door. However, simple buttons are not capable of informing
the program how you, the user, hits that button. Did you hit it quickly? Did you barely
touch it at all? The only thing the program can interpret is that you did in fact hit the
With pressure sensors, the program has the ability to discern how the user pressed the
button. This information can be used as incremental input, such as the player raising a
firearm before pressing the button harder to actually fire. Additionally, pressure sensors
can be used to create novel forms of human-input devices. While pressure sensitivity is
not uncommon in the more traditional console gaming markets, there is also a recent
push to move the sensors into touch-screen devices like the Nintendo DS and cell phone
gaming market. Pressure-sensitive touch screens are currently beyond state of the art,
however, so we'll primarily discuss the traditional methods already in widespread adop‐
In addition to pressure sensors, some new gaming consoles use load cells to allow the
player to use shifts in his or her body weight as input. The method by which this data
is collected and how the center of gravity is determined will be discussed in this chapter.
Lastly, some smartphones now include a barometer , a pressure sensor that measures the
pressure of the atmosphere. What it is used for and the type of information it can provide
will also be discussed.
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