GameChanger - Virtual Tabletop Gaming Surface
GameChanger - Virtual Tabletop Gaming Surface
A high-quality, durable, multi-touch LCD Gaming Surface for RPGs, Miniatures and other tabletop gaming.
A high-quality, durable, multi-touch LCD Gaming Surface for RPGs, Miniatures and other tabletop gaming. Read more
About this project
The GameChanger is the first affordable, durable and widely available gaming surface. Using recent price breakthroughs in LED panels, touch technology and mini-computers, gamers can at last take advantage of the latest technology, in an easily upgradeable and affordable way.
We've made a huge ruggedised iPad to use for gaming —for about the same price or less!
Now your favourite adventures (readily available on pdf or scanned) can be presented quickly and easily using whichever virtual table top, or any other tools you use for your games.
To make the price points as low as possible, there are several product variations:
- The 32" GameChanger Complete;
- The 32" GameChanger Touch Complete (with 4 point multi-touch).
And for people who have a spare TV already:
- The 32" GameChanger Kit (provide your own 32" TV);
- The 32" GameChanger Touch Kit (provide your own 32" TV, with 4 point multi-touch);
- The 42" GameChanger Kit (provide your own 42" TV);
- The 42" GameChanger Touch Kit (provide your own 42" TV, with 4 point multi-touch).
All of the products are available with a Linux Mini-PC, and all of them can be upgraded to touch or a PC later. You can also just plug a laptop in using HDMI or VGA.
Several attempts have been made to provide the main features of display, control and touch in a single product, even going back to the original Microsoft surface. Amazingly nearly all of these products had a demo of Dungeons & Dragons. Like many gamers, we wanted one of these, but there is nowhere to buy one. I found some marketing displays, but the prices were really high, and the products were not durable enough to use with metal minis, let alone stand your drink on. I found companies selling complex technology frameworks for apps, but no ready to go Gaming Surfaces for use with existing software and adventures.
Some people had been successful with home-brew projection projects, and they look great (providing you have the time and skill to invest), but I wanted to get a well thought-out product, that would just work and not cost a small fortune. So we started looking at the components, the materials and where we would put them together to create a quality product.
While we were doing this we started to think about the possibilities given that so many people have smartphones and tablets. Using services like Roll20, you could have a group of players using the GameChanger as a communal view and their tablets for personal information. Phones and other devices could be used for video/audio comms, chat, dice, reference; the whole mash-up would be great.
Then we realised that you could use tablets and phones to control the software as well!
I have been doing some work with low power ARM computers for some time, and the idea of embedding a Linux computer into the product to allow it run software directly (like Roll20, RPTools), or via screen-share (such as Fantasy Grounds or Realm Works) seemed like an obvious thing to do. These products are very powerful and only cost around £100. Of course you can always just use the GameChanger as a screen for your own computer, or use it with a ChromeCast or Android stick.
The next thing to think about was adding touch capabilities, so you could control the software by touching the GameChanger like a tablet. A lot has happened with touch for large format applications, yet we haven't seen touch make an impact in large size format units for home users. We've been able to take advantage of recent price drops for bulk orders to make it part of GameChanger; Imagine, we've just created a gigantic iPad-like device, ruggedised for play in a social setting, for less than £250.
We found a quality local manufacturer that could design and build the prototype, using fashionable, but durable materials, and we received our prototype in April. We recently put the project on Prefundia, which turned out to be a great success with hundreds of people subscribing.
When we started using the prototype at our gaming group, we were really pleasantly surprised at how well the GameChanger fitted in with the game; it worked perfectly and added a lot to the experience. Not only that, but despite getting beer and food spilled on it, it survived really well.
Since we've had the prototype, the unit has been used on a continuous basis and we've fed-back all our experiences into the design process. We've even taken it to the UK Games Expo and played it there on an open table. It was a great experience to show the GameChanger to members of the public in person and get their feedback face-to-face.
The product is made from several components, some are imported and others manufactured locally. All our partners are identified, costs baked-in and ready to go. If we meet our minimum funding goal, it will take around five weeks for delivery and lead-time on manufacture.
Fulfilment and delivery is all being handled through Amazon, and the GameChanger will be available on Amazon to buy (at a higher price than is available to our Kickstarter backers). So the same high standards of customer service and delivery you are used to from Amazon, will be there for you with this project. This has all been extensively researched, since the products are oversize to ship and it has been vital that this part of the project were nailed down.
With your help we can make this project become a reality and bring your adventures even more vividly to life.
So please make a pledge and help take your tabletop gaming to the next level.
Risks and challenges
This project is low-risk in many respects:
• The technology exists and is readily available;
• The product itself has been dreamed up and implemented many times over the past ten years;
• All of the manufacturing and sourcing has been done;
• We have been successfully using a pre-production prototype for more than a month;
• We are using Amazon for fulfilment and delivery.
The overwhelming challenge to provide a product like this to a niche audience of gaming enthusiasts, is simply to get enough initial interest to make it viable to produce it at these prices.
I have been a successful senior manager and entrepreneur for nearly twenty years, and I have researched what is needed to deliver this project, so I believe that you should have confidence that I can deliver it to you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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