Multitouch tabletop gaming

Reader [Ramon Viladomat] sent in what he has been working on over the last year at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Tired of see nothing but zooming map demos, he created a roleplaying game that takes advantage of the reacTable‘s multitouch interface. Along with multitouch, the reacTable also uses tangible fiducial markers to represent objects and as an alternative input method. Embedded above is a video demoing the interface and gameplay (starts at 3:43). The game lets you move your miniature through a virtual world. The surface shows you how far you can move dynamically as your action points regenerate and slowly reveals more dungeon as you discover it. You can pause the action and use gestures to set attack patterns. We really like this demo and would love to see someone build one using a popular tabletop game like Warhammer 40K. Embedded below is a demo of the associated map editor.

29 thoughts on “Multitouch tabletop gaming

  1. Pretty damn sweet, but that rotating light in the first part of the video is annoying as hell IMHO.

    And I bet it dazzles the babes too! :)

  2. i like this idea a lot.

    i could see warhammer working nicely if you let the table draw all the terrain and figure lines of sight and so forth.

    i’ve also toyed with the idea of using a projector to do overlays on an actual warhammer game, but besides looking neat it wouldn’t be nearly as useful.

  3. would make table top RPGs a lot simpler to get into. Less math, faster game play, not as scary so you’d be more likely to get people to play with you, etc.

  4. sign me up. my brother will also take one.

    imagine a couple of these networked. running some warhammer or any top down RPG, hell smash TV would kill.

  5. pretty nice! have any of you tried the new 3d glasses from nvidia ? it could be a cool mashup :P
    molt xula la taula, aquest de la pompeu us ho curreu i tot :P

  6. now what would be really cool is if they used machine vision to read actual dice. tabletop gaming isn’t fun unless you can through a fistfull of dice across the table

  7. @planadecu:

    those “new” 3d glasses from nVidia aren’t new by any means. they’re just trying to bring back a technology they tried to make popular ten years ago, and it’s going to bomb just as terribly as it did then. look up “elsa 3d revelator.”

  8. I am going to buy a reactable whenever I can, and with a bit of research perhaps I can make it on hack a day, lol. So many possibilities I’m far too excited…

  9. Is he opening the source or is this a proprietary thing?

    Please show me the source… I needs it, my precious. Precious table I wants to play! PLAY!

    This could be the new Table Top version of WoW. Open it Plueeeze!

  10. @iv

    Did you miss this sentance: “the reacTable also uses tangible fiducial markers to represent objects and as an alternative input method”


  11. I… hmm. This is interesting, since I sent the ReacTable team an e-mail mentioning my work on something similar. I’m curious as to whether they were inspired by my e-mail, or if they’ve been working on this for quite a while?

    At any rate, it looks less intuitive than I would have imagined. I was thinking D&D, and when in map editing mode it would display a grid and any walls would automagically snap to the grid (since everything is grid-based in D&D anyway). Enclosing an area with walls would automatically lay down the default floor tile, different “themes” would change the default tiles, textures, etc.

    Combined with some of the virtual tabletop engines out there, this could really be a great way to do long distance D&D.

  12. This is incredible.

    A system intended for tabletop gaming would need some way to make the figurines more visible. Either a ring of horizontal lights/leds around the screen to throw light onto items, and/or translucent figurines; much like the fiduciary markers.

  13. Need mythgarr’s ideas implemented and augmented reality goggles so that people can play long distance d&d with the people appearing to be present. Just without the smell. And with a volume control.

  14. @ eternaluxe

    Yeah, that’s the ReacTable source, not the source for this game. At least I couldn’t find it on ReacTable’s page. I want the game source.

  15. @ eternaluxe

    errrt… Sorry you said “original” so yes the original source is opened… that is correct. I guess I’m hoping then that this game’s source will be made available at some point as well.

  16. I agree this would be great for Warhammer Fantasy or 40k – the rules are increasingly complex every year and this sort of system would be really great. The computer games are great but lack the awesomeness of the miniatures – this would be a great mix of the two. It would also be another reason why playing GW games on the tabletop is a very expensive hobby.

  17. Ok, uh, someone above mentioned wanting to “buy a reactable,” but I can tell you first hand how painless and cheap it is just to build one, provided you have a decent webcam and a projector. I set one of these up a few years ago, actually, so I’m glad to see it’s getting some attention again.

  18. I am in the middle of starting a project nearly identical to this. I have the pieces on order to build a touch screen table, the right size to play D&D on. I was thinking of using fiducial markers on the bottom of D&D minis in order to identify them and use MapTool(an open source D&D table program with networking support) as a base, adding multitouch support to it. However, it seems rather silly to duplicate effort. I am wondering what the code for this is doing. Is it opensource or is it meant to be a commercial application?

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