This week’s been buzzing and busy – everybody’s back in the studio after a week of holidays, festivals, and trips to India. That means the studio mailing list has been buzzing again, and so it’s time to take the cream of the links and get them onto the blog.
Matt J found Gearbox, a company making “smart toys” to pair with your smartphone. Their first toy is a ball that rolls the direction you tilt your phone in. They explain:
We are then leveraging the connectivity and computing power of the phone to create a fully interactive experience for the user. Our first app for the ball is Sumo. I throw my ball on a table, you throws yours on the table and then we can try and sumo each others ball off the table. However, while our physical balls are moving there is also an onscreen component with online stats, profiles, damage, powerups and other aspects of gameplay that aren’t possible with a regular remote control toy. For instance, when the balls collide they can sustain “damage” and roll slower or I could get a powerup to reverse your controls for a few seconds.
Aside from the games we produce we are also opening up the APIs for the ball so any app developer with no hardware knowledge can build their own games or applications and bring them to the real world.
Smashing; it’s the open-API that really sets these toys apart from something more constrained, like Sony’s Rolly. And this is only their first product!
Joey Roth’s ‘Charlatan / Martyr / Huslter‘ poster has been doing the rounds, recently, and with good reason – it’s lovely. But equally lovely is the attention to detail on the webpage selling it. Matt W sent it to our internal list, commenting on how the product page “communicates desire” – the closeups of the type and paper stock, the shot (reproduced above) of copies being stacked. It reinforces that it’s not just an EPS on a piece of paper; it’s a real product, and Roth’s website makes you want it.
Here’s a short demonstration of an official version of The Settlers of Catan for Microsoft’s Surface. It’s a little underwhelming – very literal in some of its metaphors. That said, I loved the interaction between physical tokens and the board – in particular, the way the “visor” has an X-ray effect on cards underneath it. By making it a very realistic – and carefully masked – X-ray effect, the metaphor actually holds up better. It’s very much an understanding of the Surface as a Magic Table rather than a big window.
And finally – this is Racer. An old arcade cabinet; a remote control car on a small circuit; a remote camera, and timing circuitry. Put them together and you’ve got this charming and effective game. A tiny, remote-control version of C’était un Rendez-vous, if you like. This video of it in action is great – alas, I couldn’t embed it, so I hope the link suffices.