Lichtspiel crosses board games with video games

Lichtspiel

Video games are amazing these days. Cinemagraphic game play, incredible accelerated graphics, you name it. The average tabletop board game though, has not received the benefit of all this technology. [Marcel] hopes to provide some options for changing that with Lichtspiel, an Interactive Digital Boardgame. Lichtspiel uses a Philips Pico-Beamer projector to project the game board onto a white surface. A camera (either a Raspberry Pi camera module or a Logitech USB webcam) then picks up the players interactions with the game board. Actual interaction is done with small black chips. When a player moves their chip, the vision system sends the x,y coordinates main processor. The game then changes based upon the chip position. [Marcel's] video shows two demonstrations, a matrix style board game simulation for two and a co-operative asteroids style game. In the asteroids style game one player moves the ship while the other aims the weapons.

We can’t help but see the similarities between this system and the board game demos for castAR , though we feel they fill different niches. Lichtspiel does away with 3D, and by doing so doesn’t require projection glasses to play. Lichtspiel definitely has possibilities. We’d love to see [Marcel] open up his software design so that it can be further developed.

Comments

  1. cr0sh says:

    That looks fun to play! It would be great at parties (add more players – multiple projectors, too!)…

  2. Galane says:

    Remember the Master Strategy games for the Odyssey^2? There were only three and the best one was Quest for the Rings.

    Replacing the game board and pieces with a system like this would be something neat.

    It used a map with plastic “castles”, each with an icon on the underside representing one of the four dungeon types. Several metal tokens representing the rings and a dragon or monsters could be placed under the castles. The regular way to play was with three people. Two to play and one dungeon master who would setup the board, and had a few posession tokens to take over from one player in order to prevent the other from obtaining a ring. There was also a turns counter on the board as a way of creating a way to lose by failing to obtain all the rings in the number of turns decided on before the game.

    To play with only two people, the metal tokens would be put under the castle chips without looking at the dungeon icons then stirred around the board and placed randomly at the castle locations.

    Monsters OR a dragon could be under a castle with or without a ring, but IIRC there was no way to have both monsters AND a dragon. The monsters were the Spydrath Tarantula (giant spider) and some vampire bat thing, both of which could instantly jump on you from short range and eat you head first.

    The gameplay art showing the dragon was inaccurate. The dragon always had a completely clear path across the screen and was a real PITA to get past. No sneaking through using wall blocks for cover!

    There were four types of character. Warrior, swinging a sword, the only one able to kill anything – but only the humanoid critters. Wizard threw a short range spell that would temporarily stun humanoids and knock back monsters. Phantom could turn invisible and all the monsters would ignore him. Don’t remember the 4th one’s name but it could walk through walls – except for the lava dungeons.

    Dungeon types, ordinary with black blocks, shifting halls – black blocks that periodically all shifted one step to the right which could trap you inside until it shifted again – setting you free if there was an empty space – monsters also got trapped, crystal caverns – invisible until bumped into which briefly revealed the whole dungeon, lava – bright red, deadly to touch except for the monsters of all types and the dragons.

    There was a sometimes useful trick to getting past the dragon, but only if one player was a warrior. Since there were unlimited respawns (the only score kept by the game was the number of rings picked up) the Warrior could whack the other player and he’d appear just off the right edge of the screen at a random location, hopefully not by one of the humanoid monsters in all dungeons and beneath the dragon’s open area. then just walk over (or through the walls with that character) and get the ring.

    The warrior was supposed to be able to deflect the dragon’s fireballs with his sword, but it took precise timing and positioning that would make killing the pterodactyl in Joust look easy. I may have been able to do it once in all the time I played Quest for the Rings.

    If you didn’t want to use the board there was an instant action mode where the game would just throw random dungeons at you, always with monsters or a dragon, with or without a ring. If both players died or the ring or exit arrow was touched, it was instantly off to the next random dungeon, non-stop until all the rings were obtained or you got fed up and reset it or turned it off. Great way to practice with the monsters and dragons.

    The video chip in the Odyssey^2 wasn’t used to its full potential. It could have been capable of higher resolution, the sprite for the bullets in the tank game showed it should have been capable of at least 2x the vertical and horizontal resolution than what was used for most everything else. Showdown in 2100 AD used the same sized bullet sprite, so did UFO. An updated version with an improved video chip (or upgraded software) was only sold outside North America. It supported higher resolution backgrounds with more colors, but the backgrounds were static images that didn’t interact with the game graphics. It kept compatibility with the original version of the console at the expense of the backgrounds being a digital version of the colored overlays used by some really old pong games (and the Vectrex).

    • cr0sh says:

      That game you described sounds very similar to the old Dark Tower board game (which is like an insane collectible today):

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Tower_%28game%29

      That type of game (physical/virtual dungeon crawl) would also be perfect for this system…in fact, the video, even though it was showing some other “wall game” (can’t remember the name of it – the mechanics looked familiar to me, though) – instantly reminded me of a rogue-like game map.

      If the pieces had fiducial markers on them (or some other way to tell them apart), you could have several players on the board (four would probably be optimal), each representing a PC – for a good dungeon crawl game. Or maybe even a board-game style version of Gauntlet?

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