Wednesday, 27 January 2016

British startup brings Internet of Things to tabletop gaming

London-based game developer Sensible Object this week launched its first game, which combines the Internet of Things with tabletop gaming. Launching via a Kickstarter campaign, Fabulous Beasts is both a physical and digital game, designed for adults and children alike.

Fabulous Beasts is cooperative, where players build a tower on their tabletop out of  beast-shaped pieces, and see them simultaneously appear in a 'fabulous' world on the screen of a connected iOS or Android device.

As the tower grows, the on-screen ecosystem evolves. But if the tower falls, it’s game over – like a modern-day Jenga.

What's inside?

Behind the vivid design there's some serious tech: inside the base is a RFID reader, which reads unique IDs in each game piece. There's also a weight sensor - when a piece is scanned, the hardware knows the weight to expect to be added to the tower. Like the infamous “Unexpected item in bagging area” warning at supermarket self-checkouts. Finally, there’s a Bluetooth module, which sends the data to a connected device.

The game was developed at Makerversity at Somerset House. Makerversity provides affordable space, tools and cutting edge workshop facilities to startups like Sensible Object.

CEO and founder of Sensible Object, Alex Fleetwood, says: “We want to look at what happens when you use new technology to pull attention away from screens and back into the room, and the people you’re playing with. Fabulous Beasts is a big step towards realising that.”

The studio will be taking Fabulous Beasts into full production ready for final release towards the end of 2016. You can back the Kickstarter project here.