The World's first augmented-reality laser-tag game with a global hit list! Let's Walkie-Stalkie!
The World's first augmented-reality laser-tag game with a global hit list! Let's Walkie-Stalkie!
U.S.C. - ULTIMATE STALKING CHAMPIONSHIP
Back in the 80s there was this awesomely bad movie called Gotcha! It was about a university student who played some hide-and-seek type game on campus with paintball guns. The main part of the movie was about him getting caught up with spies ... but back to the paintball game bit. Apart from the improbable liability of “tagging” some random person with paint-balls around campus, the concept of stalking and tagging people in some 007 cloak-n-dagger kind of way seemed really cool to my young teenage self!
How awesome would it be to be able to have a real world man-hunt type game that you could play anywhere and anytime!? None more awesome I say!Let’s face it … walking around with a restricted item like a paintball gun, or even a bulky electronic version like in laser tag is not really going to be something very many people are likely to do. This is where my smart-phone app turns the entire world into a potential arena, and enables anyone who wants to play a way to find others and participate.
Welcome to the world of U.S.C. – Ultimate Stalking Championships. A global competition for anyone using the Walkie-Stalkie app!
We are hitting the ground running on this Kickstarter! The prototype has now passed the proof of concepts phase, and contains all of the components that we need to complete the project. We have a Google App Engine back end, some slick animated user experiences, the targeting and trajectory algorithms working, and basic game play working. What it still needs is some slick graphical art work, some polishing and the final story board for the full game completed. Below are a few of the screens of where the project is at. They are fully functional, but as you can see they need some polish.
Game play comes with a simple compass/rangefinder to stalk your opponent. Weapons have range limits (upper and lower) and when you have your phone's camera pointed to +/- 5% from your target you get a HUD target! Different gauges show your stats, along with visual and audio feedback if you're being targeted and attacked.
Walkie-Stalkie provides a way for players to discover other players and an interface for location-based laser tag. Instead of using sensors the game uses location services and phone position information to triangulate where other players are. “Shots” at the other player are indicated with augmented reality screen-visualizations for feedback. During the game, players have a simple range/direction finder to the other player, a cloak to temporarily hide their location from opponent's direction finder, a temporary shield to protect them from shots, and a range of "weapons" to make shots at an opponent. Nice and simple.
Players use the real world to their strategic advantage and through the game random recharge drops appear that can refill ammo, shields and cloaks. Special weapons and shields can also be encountered as rare-finds that can give players extra edge!
It will cost both players a “battle token” to begin a bout with the winner who wins the bout receiving both of the “battle tokens”. Either player can re-challenge the other in a double-or-nothing bout. Winners accumulate tokens that can be used in future bouts, otherwise 10 battle tokens can be obtained as a 99c In App Purchase. So winners are literally grinners and losers ... well, they just need a credit card.
The game acknowledges achievements through levels, and upon reaching each higher level a player receives upgrade points that they can allocated to increase the weapon / cloaks / shields capacity. Of course anyone can obtain a little extra fire-power as additional In App Purchases.
Either way in any single bout, if you've run out of shields you'd better get a winning shot. If you've used up all your shots, you'd better start running. If you've used up all your cloaks, you can run but you can't hide!
HOW YOU CAN HELP
As you can see, we already have a fully functioning prototype and proof-of-concept! We are now ready to go through a polishing round and roll out a beta version for players. This is the perfect way to express your interest in the app and let us know that it has a viable user base. We invite all interested people to help us raise the capital to take this game to that level.
A successful Kickstarter campaign will provide the much needed cash-flow to hire some experienced app developers to audit our code and ensure that our first app does not contain any obvious errors. It’ll also provide the opportunity to clean up final UX issues where we get feedback from our Beta users. We’ve hit the ground running on this project but need the extra funds to ensure that we have a product that is polished, contains all our desired features and also to fund the servers for our back-end to run on. Did we mention we have we have awesome rewards?!?!
We know that you’ll be very proud to be part of this exciting project, but we also hope you’ll love the rewards that we have to offer. Every contributor will have their playing account associated with a special map-marker icon so that when the game goes live people will know you were in at the ground floor. Please consider how much you can contribute, look over our rewards and become one off the elite USC champions.
Of course, there is much more to do than just Beta test and polish the iPhone proof-of-concept. If we can achieve greater Kickstarter success than expected, we have many more features that we hope to incorporate into the game. Below are a few of the features and the direction that we hope to take the project as we create revenue. We want to raise the minimum of $30, 000 here to cover basics, but we have some very big dreams and the rewards are geared to try and realise that potential.
Did you notice really vibrant and confident font here!! There's a good reason for that! A working version of the basics is just the first tier of work we have on the drawing board if we surpass the minimum level we still have an immediate to-do list. Apart from coming up with more treats for our supporters we could fund:
The USC leader-board website will have a link with all the names of our Kickstarter backers and their contributions. Immortalise yourself in the game where all players will notice your unique locator icon.
Please help us get the capital we need to make U.S.C. an augmented reality!
ABOUT THE TEAM
Aiden Dipple – In 1990 Aiden enrolled in an IT degree with the dream of becoming a games developer. It wasn’t until 3 years later, a strong knowledge of data models and business algorithms that he realized that none of that degree covered games development. Aiden was slightly disappointed but going towards the Y2K deadline and earning UK pounds while working on financial systems for multinationals in London quickly resolved that. Aiden has 25 years working as a software engineer and software architect and has just completed a PhD in computer science (biologically inspired software architecture design). Most recently Aiden developed two major products with one currently selling to major heavy industries at more than $1 million per license (the other not far behind). If only he had of negotiated royalties or equity in the company! Doh!
Christine Jones – After completing a Masters in IT with a software architecture focus, Christine proceeded down the corporate trail of coding SAP ABAP and Hana as a consultant. When someone codes "for fun" and can't put something down until she has "figured it out" then you know you can throw some challenges her way! Needless to say her obsessive attention to server-side architecture perfectly fits with her contributions to the Walkie-Stalkie project.
Risks and challenges
We had a problem to solve: how do you use an iPhone to accurately target someone and verify this? Hasbro put out a Lazer Tag game that used an iPhone and it’s camera as a screen but basically interfaced with infrared sensors on a toy gun and body sensors. It got some excellent reviews, sold hundreds of thousands and proved that there was a market for such a game. However, the equipment could not stay up-to-date with iPhone form factors, and no one is going to carry around a toy gun and body sensors on the odd chance that they’ll encounter another player on their daily travels. But they will have their smart phone with them.
We have used the smart phone gps locations to determine bearings and angles for rough camera shot directions. The camera will change the target sight image to show when it is pointed to the direction of a competing player, and different weapons (plasma rifle, grenade launcher and missiles) have different trajectories. Apple's assisted GPS lets the game play indoors and out, and if their iBeacon technology takes off we can improve accuracy to perhaps enable melee weapons in the future.
The only real issue is whether players will have a problem with the concept of "plasma rifles" etc that would shoot through solid objects that might be in the line-of-sight to the intended target. But what's a battle without a little collateral damage!?! Missiles (launched from space platforms) is a bit more plausible and dropping mines that can be "detonated" by trigger or proximity are quite realistic. We want a realistic battle playground that doesn't stretch into too make make-believe if we aren't using line-of-sight type concepts.
Our proof-of-concept shows that as long as we require a minimum 40 meters distance that we have enough accuracy for a verifiable line-of-sight shot.
We have incorporated a player rating system (like eBay) to assess Fairness, Fun and Freakiness. This mechanism of vetting out problem players falls within the expertise of Aiden and the PhD contribution that he made. This way we can quickly exclude players who either don’t play fairly, or are people who you just don’t want to be around.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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