ChromeOS users can already access a lot of Android games through Google Play, but many of them are made with a touchscreen interface in mind. That can make it difficult for users to play these titles using a keyboard and a mouse. To solve this problem, Google today announced that with ChromeOS 105, it’s testing keyboard controls for select titles.
The company said that it’s simulating touch controls through keyboard presses to map touchscreen controls to a desktop system. It also insisted that developers should implement keyboard controls in their games so they would work better on Chromebooks without a touchscreen.
“By translating key presses into simulated touch events, the game controls feature allows players to use their keyboard to interact with on-screen buttons and virtual joysticks, resulting in a vastly improved experience for games with limited or missing keyboard support,” the company said in a blog post.
If you’re running ChromeOS 105 on a device with a keyboard and mouse (or a touchpad), you’ll see a keyboard overlay denoting controls that will simulate touch behavior on a supported game. With this release, users will be able to disable/enable keyboard overlay, disable game controls and customize control keys in a game (available through a settings square located on the right-center of the screen). They can still use the mouse for accessing in-game menus and dialogs.
For the initial phase, Google has concentrated on four kinds of games that will support keyboard controls: joystick, single-button, multi-button and swipe games. Here’s the list of supported games at launch:
- Heroics Epic Legend of Archero
- Wizard Legend: Fighting Master
- Pixel Blade R – Revolution
- Zombero: Archero Hero Shooter
- Archer Hunter – Offline Action Adventure Game
- Mr. Autofire
- Geometry Dash Lite
- Stack Ball – Crash Platforms
- Fire Balls 3D
- Stack Smash
- Drop Stack Ball – Fall Helix Blast Crash 3D
- Helix Smash
- Stack Crush Ball
- Crush Stack Ball Blast
- Stack Fall
- Helix Stack Jump: Smash Ball
- Tap Titans 2
- Hill Climb Racing
- Ninja Arashi 2
- Ninja Arashi
- Ninja warrior: legend of adventure games
- Power Hover
- 2048 (Androbaby)
- 2048 Original
- 2048 (Solebon LLC)
- 2048 Number puzzle game
- 2048 (S2Apps)
Google warned that this is an alpha version of keyboard support so users shouldn’t expect that all Google Play games will perfectly work on ChromeOS. Plus, given that this is an early experiment from the company, supported games also might encounter some glitches while using keyboard controls.
The company said going forward it plans to make an editor that can easily let you map keyboard and mouse controls to Google Play games with touch support.
Google has been trying to expand gaming on ChromeOS for a while now. The company officially brought on Steam to the platform back in March with limited game support. It’s also trying to make Android games desktop-ready. Last month, it launched Google Play Games for PC under open beta for Windows users in five countries.