Racing game uses a physical race track and vehicle

Racer is a racing video game with a very real element. The player sits in an arcade-style console; wheel, pedals, shifter, and television display. But in what must be an homage to Tron the game taking place is very real. You can see the track above, designed in CAD and cut from cardboard, which is navigated by that little vehicle the gentleman holds in his hand. It’s wireless and broadcasts video back to the control console. What we have here is a homemade drone but for now it’s confined to the gaming grid. Don’t miss the demos after the break.

There’s a followup demo to the clip above but we were unable to embed it.

[Thanks Hideki]

Comments

  1. t&p says:

    That is bad ass! The only thing I can see to be a prob is the cam’s wireless signal seems to go out in a crash and the top of the arcade unit is not fastened correctly where it rotates on something.

  2. osgeld says:

    all racing games used physical items way back in the day (like when I was a kid)

    but this sure beats the hell out of a hotwheel glued to a wire with scrolling paper as a track though

  3. format c: says:

    awesome!

    one thought. inside the hexagonal shape of the track (great for stability), one could add a sort of half-pipe (just curved sheets of cardboard) to reduce the risk of flipping over, and allowing to use centrifugal force for taking faster turns :)
    i’m waiting for version 2.0!

  4. iBraud says:

    I’ve been wanting to do this, glad someone did.

    For version 0.3:
    Wireless induction charging in the base of the track, a la fzero.
    Voltage regulators to run the camera and its transmitter off of the RC battery so that the center of gravity is lower.
    Multiple cars/controllers for real time competition.

    For version 0.4:
    Laser tag weapon system between cars!
    turbo boost!
    sweet jumps?
    Bring it to my house?

  5. andres says:

    now where this is awesome is other nerds can build their own cars/video-controllers (doesn’t have to be a full steering-wheel thing)and have actual races.

    i think the full sized track is the real winner here.

  6. Mythgarr says:

    I may as well get this out of the way before the trolls do:

    No, it’s not technically a hack. No, there don’t seem to be instructions on how to reproduce it. Yes, there’s a very real possibility an Arduino was used somewhere in the process of designing/making/implementing this.

    Still, I WANT ONE!!!

  7. fartface says:

    Nice early alpha prototype.

    Now upgrade to a real camera and wireless video that does not blank out every 2 inches like the low grade stuff he is using does.

    what interested me more is the track design. That’s very cool compared to the ho hum rc car build. I am highly impressed with his choice of cheap materials and what looks like a modular design that would allow easy changes to different track configurations.

    That size with the right choice in cars and you could get 4 cars on the track at once for some real head to head racing fun.

  8. jim says:

    Pointless and totally awesome. Needs at least two cars and a better looking track :)

  9. James Costello says:

    When I was a kid I used to wonder if this was how racing games actually worked.

  10. fm says:

    I like the skybox graphics. :)

  11. Headbonk says:

    I did basically the same thing with my kids by taping a cheap wireless video camera to the top of one of their radio shack RC cars and then setting up an obstacle course out of toys in the living room.

    Driving the car from the TV only was pretty difficult, but it was really exciting. It gave you a much greater sensation of speed than any video game I’ve ever played. I think the tweaked sense of scale had something to do with it.

  12. phil says:

    add some augmented reality and this could be one stellar platform. need to try this with my slot cars.

  13. bob says:

    any possibility of a third person view?

  14. Greycode says:

    The first thing he does need to fix is the car, lower the center of balance on it. If you could get the CoB low enough, you could put a roll cage on the top of the vehicle, when it crashes it simply rolls over and sets itself back up, like a weeble.

    The only thing keeping that track from looking really well done is the ripple of paper in the middle of the road. It looks like he could use something to glue that down. It does not look like he sets the track up, then lays a roll of paper down, so secure the road surface a little better.

    Better camera system would be great too.

  15. Mikey says:

    It needs accelerometers and something to move the booth around when it hits a wall and such.

  16. Hacker Harry says:

    forgive me for answering in german:

    geil, geil, geil!

    Cheers!

  17. Marc says:

    Next version,
    3 possibilities of camera, in front (thats now), behind the steer and behind the car

  18. Marco says:

    15 years ago we made a somewhat similar prototype for an augmented reality system. The RC car had 2 cameras on it for stereoscopic vision that were fed into the helmet mounted display. Furthermore the car had ultrasound sensors which fed into renderers which knew about the (static) scenery. By flipping a switch the user would either view the track through the car’s “eyes” or a bird’s eye view of the car & track.

  19. Gilbert Wham says:

    Maglev track & Home-made turbines?

  20. Haku says:

    That track looks like lots of fun to drive, top marks for the entire build, lucky to have all that indoor space to build it in too.

    FPV RC car driving is a lot of fun, if you don’t want to go to the trouble of building a whole arcade cabinet then some good LCD glasses work great, especially if you take the time to somehow block off excess daylight so you only see the screens.

    When I first got into it I found that driving the car from the camera mounted to the front of the RC car becomes easier and more ‘natural’ than driving it normally.

    I got just got some Zeiss Cinemizer LCD glasses, pretty good optics though not as good optics on my high end Sony Glasstrons which are better for watching films etc., but oh so much more portable and ideal for FPV RC car driving.

  21. Leithoa says:

    v1.1 add some sort of shock absorbing/isolation mounts for the camera so it doesn’t cut out at every joint in the track or when it rolls.

    There’s no need drop cash to get a new better camera when you can acheive the same results with some rubber motherboard/case fan mounts that cost next to nothing.

  22. zool says:

    cool

    some ideas:
    you could also make it playable through the internet

    car needs to be self-righting

    they could use a slot car track

    multiple cars/players

  23. Mihail121 says:

    Wow, the game’s graphics are indeed pretty convincing and realistic. Makes me almost feel as this is a real car on a real track.

    Seriously though, I indeed have a comp.sci. degree, but I will never be able to be that creative. :/ Nice job and keep up the amazing work.

  24. Whatnot says:

    The camera cutting out might be annoying in a way but it also gives it a nice ‘real’ effect, and it might prevent it from getting boring maybe?

    And there are remote control toy cars that can flip and continue, might be an idea to use one of those, or add some attachment that tips it back.

  25. Admin@webdefend says:

    i think its cool

  26. Skitchin says:

    I wanted to do something a while back. I modified an XMOD with some performance parts. I put a small wireless camera on the hood and could drive through the house watching on my TV. I was trying to tap into the controller signal but gave up on that end. Those things get pretty damn fast with the right stuff on them, mine was tested at 30mph, which is pretty wicked inside.

  27. josh says:

    I love this! I always wanted to be able to play a ‘real’ game of Atari Combat with something like this.

  28. this is cool, i love it! make us the internet controller so we too can play! :-)

  29. strider_mt2k says:

    This is beautiful. :)

    Well done sir. I would like to play next please.

  30. Guy on the couch says:

    Lots of additional videos, photos and build infos on the different versions (mostly in german): http://racer.sputnic.tv/

  31. GIBurrito says:

    lol @ fm

    I love the over sized, thumbs up race-goers as well!

  32. Dosbomber says:

    Great build!

    @Mythgarr: There was an Arduino involved, as mentioned in the subtitles.

    @Headbonk: I did something similar to your RC car with a camera, except I built a tiny robot with a Wifi camera mounted on it, and instead of the TV, I watched the action on my computer. Instead of toys in a living room, I used mine to.. um… “explore the mysterious land of Underbed seeking new life (apparently inhabited by a civilization of Dust Bunnies)”. There’s no way I’d have built a dedicated cabinet for the control system, though. That’s hard core.

    Version 2 of my system (still just something to toy around with) is going to use 4 cameras with a 90° POV, one pointed straight ahead and the other three pointed at the main compass headings (in other words, separated by 90°), which would feed back to a set of 4 projectors that would project the feed onto a ring of screens that would surround the user’s head, so you’d get a full view around the vehicle without the encumbrance of an HMD, or the hassle of tracking the user’s head/eye position to adjust the view of a single display as the user turns or looks around.

  33. LPS2 says:

    I think it is an homage to “Wipeout” just as places such as engadget are reporting… looks like the first track from the newer games

  34. fivi says:

    This is brilliant. it’s like an irl virtual reality… i think someone may have posted this on Fireviews already, actually

  35. Phil says:

    This really isn’t very new at all. Haven’t we all done something like this before? It was the first thing I did when I got a small wireless camera – I taped it into a Lego built race car, built a track around my home and raced around with it while sat in front of the TV.

  36. aperson says:

    They have exactly this at Virtual Disney. Except instead of a cardboard track, it’s a maze built into the floor with around 10 vehicles you can drive around with.

  37. Andrew says:

    This plus some virtual reality, could equal some sick mario style racing, complete with power ups and all… could be a fun game..

  38. Joel Carlo says:

    Awesome. All the car needs now is a mini rocket launcher and sub machine gun attached to it for that added sense of realism missing from so many race games these days. Do it MEOW!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 93,810 other followers