About this project
UPDATE 2/4/16 - We've received a Video Message From Paul Rudd.
Apparently, he thinks our graphics could use a bit of work.
We're working on it Paul! Check out this Golem Knight!
Two years ago, I began work on a game whose mechanics were based on quantum theory. A short time after I had a playable version ready, my graduate adviser at USC, Todd Brun, put me in contact with Caltech quantum physicist Spiros Michalakis, who had already worked with Google to design qCraft, a mod introducing quantum mechanics into Minecraft. Spiros must have seen potential in what I had created with my clunky prototype and our initial meeting turned into weekly Tuesday lunches at Caltech's Chandler cafeteria. More than a year later, the game had evolved into Quantum Chess and we began talking about including a video showing some gameplay at an upcoming event that was to take place at Caltech in January of 2016. The next few months were a whirlwind. Somehow this video turned into a Quantum Chess battle for the future of humanity, between Stephen Hawking and Paul Rudd. And it was being narrated by Keanu Reeves! The video, called Anyone Can Quantum, and directed by Alex Winter, premiered at Caltech’s One Entangled Evening on January 26, 2016 and has since gone viral.
So, why a Kickstarter campaign for Quantum Chess? I have spent the last two months assembling a team of professional game developers to turn the playable prototype seen in Anyone Can Quantum, into something that has a fighting chance of making a difference in our understanding of the physical world at a fundamental level. More importantly, I want to create something that is mind-bendingly fun to play! I am passionate about this game! I believe it is a good first step toward redefining how we perceive the "magic" of quantum mechanics, as illustrated by the incredible concepts of quantum superposition and quantum entanglement. I hope you will find this journey through the quantum realm as exciting as I do! Thank you for nerding out with me. Ah yes, I almost forgot. For your viewing pleasure, here is Anyone Can Quantum.
At its core, Quantum Chess is a quantum simulation that I have built the rules of Chess on top of. For the scientists, this means the board exists in superposition, and movement on the board occurs through unitary evolution. For the gamers, this means you get to play a game that is recognizably chess, but with some really awesome new abilities and effects!!!
Quantum Chess is NOT a game that will teach you the math behind quantum mechanics. It is also NOT a game that requires knowledge of quantum mechanics to play. Quantum Chess is a game unlike any other. It allows the player to interact with quantum phenomena in a way that has never been possible before. My intent in creating the game is to give people a way to develop an understanding of quantum phenomena at an intuitive level and to do so in a fun and mentally stimulating way.
- The Quantum Move: All power pieces, pawns not included, have access to a quantum move as well as their standard chess move. The puts the piece in a superposition with two possible outcomes: With 50% probability the piece can move up to two standard moves in away, and with 50% it does not move at all. The piece exists on the board in both locations until a measurement later in the game decides the outcome. The existence of superposition allows pieces to become entangled so their locations are intertwined!
- The Quantum Move Can't Be Used to Capture: You can however use a quantum move to attempt to move to a space that already has a piece in superposition. This will not attempt a capture. It will instead force a measurement, leading us to the next rule!
- Conflict Measurement: The ability for a piece to exist in superposition leads to situations where a space might be occupied by two different pieces. When this occurs a measurement takes place to reduce the total occupation to no more than one type of piece. Measurement just means looking at the space to see what is going on. It will resolve the probable occupation, as well as any probabilities for pieces that are joined through entanglement.
- Kill The King: The rule in Quantum Chess is for the king to be 100% dead. With the ability to exist in multiple locations, it also becomes possible for a piece to be both alive and dead (Schrodinger's state!).
The addition of the Quantum Move gives players a way to interact with, and use, quantum phenomena in a tactile way! When you are first learning to play it will probably seem as if all that has been added is an element of randomness to the classic game of Chess. However as you become more skilled you will learn to use Quantum effects like entanglement and interference to sway probabilities and outcomes to your advantage!
Most of our budget is allocated for development of the game. The base goal will cover:
- Professional refinement of the prototype code to create a more robust and flexible back end.
- A rudimentary networking system to allow for multiplayer.
- Updated art for a more visually stimulating play experience.
- A clean and intuitive UI.
- A tutorial to teach the mechanics of the game.
- Hotseat side by side play.
An exact timeline depends in part on how well this Kickstarter does. But we do have a rough set of timeline goals.
- Pre-Alpha Build - Backer Reward: March 2016
- Closed Alpha - April 2016
- Closed Kickstarter Backer Beta - May 2016
- Open Beta - TBA
- Quantum Chess Release - TBA
With 50K we can bring you a more robust and scalable networking framework with lobby functionality!
With 75K we can bring you a simple computer opponent so that you can learn the mechanics of the game, as well as a set of training puzzles!
With $100,000 we will be able to bring you a customized mobile experience including a networking platform tailored for mobile devices. (Ipad & popular Android tablets- and hopefully phones as well!)
Campaign Graphics By Sasha R. Deming
Broken Circle Studios is a digital interactive simulations developer that specializes in providing turn-key solutions to industry partners all over the world. Located in Southern California, our small team of experts has made it their mission to provide services of the utmost quality. Since 2007, we’ve made a name for ourselves by helping game developers and interactive simulations specialists achieve their goals on time, under budget, and above expectation. Our talented roster includes software engineers, sound designers, 2D and 3D artists, and business / marketing strategists capable of handling entire projects, filling the gaps in your production pipeline, and making the difference between success and failure.
Risks and challenges
At the end of the day, we’re talking about a pretty safe project (chess has been around for quite some time and is well understood, and the same goes for chess games). The most immediate risk would be not hitting our goal. But, so long as we reach this, and barring some unforeseeable disaster, there will be a release of a PC/Mac/Linux version.
One of the biggest risks, we feel, is not hitting our mobile stretch goal. We feel mobile play is almost a necessity for the game to have a chance to make a real impact. Making the game as accessible as possible, to everyone, is truly important to us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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