Immersion, the developer of the force feedback software used in DirectX and whose chips power most of the force feedback paraphernalia on the market, wants you to get more sensation out of today's games than merely sore wrists. In a joint venture with Logitech they have released a new series of mice called iFeel, which can vibrate to simulate different textures using Immersion's TouchSense technology.
While the mice have been on the market for a couple of months now, their main obstacle thus far has been a lack of support for TouchSense in games. Patches have been released for a few of the more popular shooters, and at least two games ("Battlezone II" and "Soldier of Fortune") now ship with TouchSense support out of the box. But the killer app to showcase this new hardware's abilities has been lacking.
This should be remedied soon though, thanks to the enthusiasm of Peter Molyneux, who has gone all out to put over a hundred TouchSense friendly textures into one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the year, "Black & White". These will include everything from being able to feel your creature's fur to spells crackling as you cast them, and even the sensation of fish nibbling at your hand when you poke around in the water. Additionally the game will include an extra challenge which will only appear when the game detects a TouchSense enabled mouse.
Whether or not this move will help to make TouchSense enabled games commonplace or not remains to be seen, but it is encouraging to see hopefully revolutionary games paired with potentially revolutionary technologies. While the cynics among us would point out that the chance of failure is twice as great this way, we will hope for the best and keep an eye on this story as it develops. In the meantime, check the official press release for more details.