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Disclosure, I have done some consulting for Tilt-5.

I really don’t think people appreciate the technology of a retro reflective game surface and individual viewers. The concept that everyone gets to look at the game board from their own perspective is simultaneously “of course” and completely unintuitive to folks who are thinking “computer game.” I am not sure why this is but so often the comment from people who see the glasses for the first time is “Wow! I really didn’t know what to expect I guess, this is AMAZING!”

After it is out there, and people have them in their hands, I expect WoC to wake up and say “Holy crap, we could do MtG tournaments with this without renting a venue.” And I give Jeri a lot of credit for holding on to her vision of AR on game boards. That got out of her control at CastAR but here I think it is going to ship as envisioned and be marvelous.

The problem with hidden state is interacting with hidden state. Like if we're playing battleship the partition blocks you from seeing where I place my ships. But with a filtered display you can see where I move my hand and know there's a ship there. In short, hidden state requires hidden interaction which means some sort of controller.

At that point we might as well be playing video games on separate screens.

I think what we want is better board games. Which means cooperative play in a large world. Or maybe cool graphics. Or maybe the convenience of not having to buy/store physical games.

So excellent idea. Consider that the players are in different rooms/places potentially thousands of miles apart. You look down at a patch of ocean with your ships arrayed and floating as if at anchor. Using the wand, you move over the game board and a light grid it superimposed on the surface of the ocean. As you reach a grid you suspect might have a ship or boat you click the wand trigger. A projectile come in from off screen and either you see a splash in the ocean or an explosion. With some debris around it. You repeat with the grid square next to it and another explosion and then a flaming patrol boat visualizes and sinks before your eyes.

Meanwhile when your opponent moves, in your array of ships you see the ocean splash as they take shots that don't hit your ships, and when they do, your ship begins to burn and flame. Eventually they get enough hits that the ship will sink. At that point both you and you opponent get to watch it sink.

You cannot see your opponent or their hands so that state is always hidden.

If closely mimicking physical Battleship (or similar games that hide state by physical occlusion) is important, you could add a 2-retroreflective-sided board vertically in the middle to block each player’s view of the other’s hands.

But a software game has many other possible mechanics that don’t work with a physical plastic board and pegs, so more likely people will just modify the game so that seeing someone’s hand motions doesn’t reveal hidden state.

How is that better than playing on a tablet?

The same reasons that playing in VR is better than on a monitor. But then one would question why this is better than VR. If all the players are physically separate and movement of physical pieces is limited (because all the opponent pieces are now virtual) you lose much of the benefit of AR.

This device is really best suited for people playing together in person (with online play a nice alternative, but not a primary target). As such I think a better example of the sort of hidden state it would work well with is Stratego. In that game the full board is visible to everyone but the identity of the individual playing pieces are not.

There are many other things you could do with hidden state, like show the stats of all your pieces floating above them, but not those of the opponents. Or show terrain of the board where your pieces have visited to you, but not to your opponents (who have to guess by your motions). It doesn't need to be completely hidden - partial knowledge or fog-of-war can make for interesting game dynamics as well.

There is a controller. Unfortunately they haven’t yet revived the demo we did at CastAR where you reached out and manipulated real physical objects in the game. I have a video of that somewhere.

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