I'm am working on a collection of games for a custom digital tabletop installation (similar to Microsoft Surface tables). Each game will be an individual executable that runs full-screen. In addition, there needs to be a menu/shell overlay program running simultaneously. The menu/shell will allow users to pause games, switch to other games, check their game history, etc.
Some key requirements of the shell:
it intercepts all user input (mainly multitouch) first before passing it on to the currently running game (so that it can, for instance, know to pop-up at a "pause" command);
can reveal on arbitrary portions of the screen, with the currently running (but presumably paused) game still showing underneath, ideally with its shape/size being dynamic, to allow for creation of an animated in/out drawer effect over the game.
I'm currently looking into different architectural approaches to this problem, including Fraps and DirectX overlays, but I'm sure I'm missing some ways to think about this. What are the main approaches I should be considering?
(Note the table is currently being run by Windows PC, but it could potentially be a Linux box instead. By this I don't mean I need an OS-agnostic solution. I'd be happy with a Windows-specific solution. But I would be willing to consider switching to Linux and using a Linux-specific solution if it's much easier to achieve this in Linux.)