In life you have to do a lot of things you don't f*cking want to do. Many times, that's what the f*ck life is... one vile f*cking task after another.
Thunderbox Entertainment Talks About AR and Tsuro
As you might have gleaned from Brad's video this morning, Thunderbox Entertainment has released an update for Tsuro which adds the ability to play via Augmented Reality.
I managed to talk to Dan Taylor at Thunderbox last night about AR and what he sees as the future of AR in regards to board game ports. Here goes:
iOS Board Games: With iOS 11 Apple is making a big deal about AR. Can you explain AR and why it's going to be a big deal.
Dan Taylor wrote:
A good AR experience is like having a personal window to a mirror dimension that's much like ours... but where magic exists! Everyone who tried our early AR demo for Tsuro would, without fail, try and touch the game peices even though they knew they weren't really there. When players believe that the game is taking place in the real world, it suddenly becomes that bit more immersive and compelling, allowing us to deliver a little more on our original promise of recreating the tactile experience of board gaming.
iOS Board Games: Playing Tsuro in AR is fairly incredible. To see the whole board, I got up and walked around the table and it kind of blew my mind. As a developer, how difficult is it to convert an existing game to AR? Is this something you could see other board games taking advantage of?
Dan Taylor wrote:
Thanks very much - that's wonderful to hear! Making an AR game is like the blackest of magics - many chickens were sacrificed to trap Tsuro to the AR dimension. I'm kidding - implementing basic AR is actually pretty easy. We are using the Unity game engine, which provides a plug-in for AR that does most of the heavy lifting, so we had a very basic demo working in about an hour. Of course, it helped that our game was already in high-res 3D! Having said that, delivering a polished and compelling AR experience was a totally different challenge, especially as the tech is new, so there aren't that many design standards set yet - we spent a considerable amount of time just trying to come up with a decent icon for AR! A week or two later, when we had Tsuro fully playable in AR, we started to notice unexpected things, like how the experience would change if you had your iPad in a stand, or if you were using a phone with a much smaller "window" on the game, or if you only had a small coffee table (or dog) to play on... so there was a bit of experimentation to find a good balance between allowing the player to do some fantastical things (like scaling the board up and down) and staying rooted in reality, while keeping the set-up simple enough for everyone to enjoy.
iOS Board Games: In your upcoming port of Roll For It!, are you thinking of using AR as well?
Dan Taylor wrote:
The thought had crossed our mind... With Tsuro, the paths make it a very physical game, where being able to inspect the board using the power of AR is a genuine advantage. We're not sure Roll For It would get a similar benefit from AR, and we wouldn't want to use a flashy new technology just because we could. But who knows... the dice in Roll For It certainly do look and feel real enough to exist in the mirror dimension of AR!
Thanks to Dan Taylor at Thunderbox for giving us some of his time! Now, go try AR mode in Tsuro and impress your friends.
- Tsuro for iOS Universal, $3
- Tsuro for Android, $1
Steve Jackson's Classic Tank Battler, Ogre, Now on Steam
If you're unfamiliar with Ogre from Steve Jackson Games then it might surprise you to learn it's been around in edition or another since way back in 1977. The latest edition, the sixth, was released last year and accompanying that was a digital version which just released yesterday for PC on Steam.
The PC version is from Auroch Digital, makers of the fine Chainsaw Warrior digital ports. This one is a full-blown tactical wargame, however, complete with infantry, marines, tanks, and bigger tanks called Ogres. There are hexes as far as the eye can see, and it's enough to make you want to don some field goggles and jump into an half-track.
The current version is for PC only, and it appears that other platforms aren't in the works. Still, it offers both single-player and multi-player options and more:
-Time-Tested, Compelling Gameplay: The Ogre tabletop game has withstood the test of time, captivating gamers for over forty years. This new release is the definitive digital edition of Ogre - including expanded G.E.V. rules for even more variety - and is the first digital adaptation since 1986.
-Meticulously Crafted Adaptation of the Original Game: Ogre veterans will be instantly be at home with this adaptation, while new players will find a deeply rewarding, turn-based strategy game.
-All-New Campaign: Engage in brand-new missions created in partnership with Steve Jackson Games.
-Multiplayer Capability: Test your skill against other players with online turn-based multiplayer gameplay with ranking and matchmaking, plus local "hotseat" multiplayer.
-Single Player Skirmish and Tutorial Modes: Completely new to the world of Ogre? Learn to play with our in-depth tutorial, then set up a custom game of Ogre and fight against devious AI opponents.
-Wide Variety of Units and Factions: Build out your faction with Light, Heavy, Superheavy, and Missile Tanks, G.E.V.s, Infantry, Marines, Howitzers, and Ogres (Mark I - Mark VI), while utilizing Trains and Command Posts as you see fit. Choose to play as either the North American Combine or the Paneuropean Federation.
-Varied Maps Offer Strategic Decisions: Roll through many types of terrain, across bodies of water, and make use of defensive areas to shield your units from attack.
-Playable Again and Again: Multiple game modes (including single player and multiplayer) plus achievements provide hundreds of hours of entertainment.
You can pick up Ogre from the link below:
- Ogre for PC via Steam, $25
Smash Up Coming to Mobile and Steam Next Week
We haven't mentioned Asmodee Digital in a week, so we're way overdue. While they didn't unleash any releases on us this week, next week we're getting a biggie: Smash Up.
Smash Up comes with 9 decks, each a different faction. Play entails picking two of these factions, mashing them together, and then playing something like alien-pirates, robot-ninjas, or dinosaur-zombies with the ultimate goal of beating everyone else up. I think. I haven't played the physical version, so I'm really looking forward to giving the digital version a whirl.
Smash Up was developed by Talisman: Digital Edition gurus, Nomad Games Ltd (II), so you know it's going to be high-quality and super polished. It also probably means that asynchronous play is out the window as both Nomad and Asmodee aren't really big on async. You never know, though. They could surprise us. I'm not sure if Smash Up's gameplay would be a good fit for asynchronous, either. Are there interrupts or ways to play cards on other player's turns? If so, then async is usually not a good idea.
-Play with 4 players or solo against the AI
-Online play against opponents from across the globe
-Add-on faction decks, including the base game set and more
-Random or manual faction selection
-Save game function for storing progress on the go
-Fully automated scoring
-Tutorial system plus ‘Step Through’ and 'Review' modes to help players learn
-Leader-boards and Achievements
-Nine playable factions
We don't know exactly what day Smash Up is coming, only that it will be on the App Store, Google Play, and Steam by this time next week. We'll try to have links ready to go as soon as it goes live.