Originally posted on iDigitalTimes.com
Don’t Call It Laser Tag: LyteShot Is “A Wii for Everywhere”
Despite popular belief, there are limits to imagination. Specifically, there are limits to how you can impose your imagination on others. Nowhere is this illustrated more effectively than in the live-action roleplay community (larping, for short) where fantasy/sci-fi/horror fans meetup in real life to stage elaborate battles governed by even more elaborate rule sets that dictate the size of weapons, the damage they inflict and the range of spells and projectiles. The physical limits of the imagination require a heavy dose of groupthink to overcome but one ambitious kickstarter campaign believes it has the solution for LARPers everywhere and maybe even some fun for non-LARPers, too.
“We’re in the process of rethinking mobile, we’re rethinking gaming. There really hasn’t been a platform out there for people to do work like this for our audience,” said Mark Ladd, co-founder of LyteShot. “Paintballers, laser tag, cosplay, larpers. I endearingly say it’s all the freaks and geeks that have been neglected by general marketers. People who want to blur that digital and physical line.”
LyteShot is the brainchild of Ladd and Tom Ketola who, through a recent partnership with Epson, showcased their invention at CES 2015 in Las Vegas. LyteShot bills itself as a “mobile gaming platform that provides unlimited gaming experiences in the real world.”
So although LyteShot has a direct and obvious appeal to LARPers worldwide Ladd wants people to know the vision is broader than just fantasy roleplay. He compares it to Oculus Rift, which is being embraced by techies the world over, not just gamers.
“LyteShot is the antithesis to Rift, in a good way. Rift is all about immersive reality, here we’re taking it outside and providing a visual overlay so you can interact with your environment,” he said.
Ladd said LyteShot can be paired with geocaching data and allow for any number of commercial and creative partnerships. Losing health in a shoot-em-up? Check-in at a local coffee shop to regain health. Stuck solving a riddle in a city-wide RPG adventure? Perhaps a local pub houses a helpful (digital) NPC. When paired with a headset like Epson’s Moverio, LyteShot can deliver a HUD that is like none other. At CES, the demo allowed players to look up at the ceiling and see a live scorecard and player data. “Hunger Games,” anyone?
“I’m super excited to see what people’s imaginations create. We put this out there to see what people run with,” Ladd said.
For example, the creators behind the popular “Humans vs. Zombies” have partnered with LyteShot to create a game called “Invasion,” which is designed to showcase everything LyteShot is capable of to an audience that likely isn’t aware of LyteShot.
Ladd hopes to achieve this mass market appeal through LyteShot’s open source software package. LyteShot’s software allows for a range of various games to be programmed to work with the “puck,” a square-shaped sensor worn by players that receive the signal from the Lyter. According to Ladd, the goal is to attract developers to platform and potentially use LyteShot to enhance the burgeoning e-sports scene.
“We are going to wrap arms around everyone who wants to develop for it. It will be free initially then move into a subscription model due to bandwidth. We have plans to integrate twitch channels into this. You’ll see real-time scoring and leagu eplay through our servers,” Ladd said. “When you watch e-sports tournaments, it’s people watching players bang on keyboards. Our vision is more like ‘Running Man.'”
Perhaps the largest obstacle for LyteShot to overcome with the general public is the kneejerk reaction to call it laser tag. Because, on the surface, it looks very laser tag-y and that provides the easiest analogy for people to try to understand what exactly they’re looking at. Ladd insists that LyteShot is, and can be, so much more.
“We do get the laser tag comparison,” he said. “If you left it at laser tag it means someone’s not getting the broader spectrum of what the platform can do. Laser tag is only one sensor, IR, whereas in our besieged game you’re using the accelerometer for spellcasting and others for melee, It’s a Wii for everywhere. You can play golf, play tennis, but the difference is you’re tethered to a TV screen and now you can take it outside. Stuff you’re doing in video games, there’s no reason you couldn’t do it in the real world.”