If I had to choose between reality, augmented reality and virtual reality, I’d go virtual every time. What can I say? Other than being the place where I keep all my stuff, I’m just not that into real life.
I might be, though, when Father.io becomes available. This is a new effort to bring augmented reality and smartphone gaming together; a task that many have attempted, but few have gained much ground with. Perhaps the nearest effort to Father.io thus far is the Google-developed Ingress, but even that’s a bit too complex and involved to engage the casual smartphone crowd.
Father.io tackles the difficult realm of augmented reality through its 363R Trigger peripheral, which turns your smartphone into the viewfinder for a laser tag gun. You, and other Father.io players, then run around the real world taking virtual pot shots at each other in an effort to capture territories for one of two factions. The world map is divided up into hexagonal territories for you to fight over, with actual resources such as hospitals or banks affecting their in-game value and the resources they provide to players.
There’s a surprisingly decent sci-fi tale bolstering Father.io, which tells of a connected near-future governed by an artificial intelligence. When this AI is infected with the Father.io virus, the planet’s population is split into two clans determined to wipe each other out. You can choose whether you’re one of the Evolved (who are connected to the all-powerful AI), or a good old fashioned home grown human.
There’s a Tilt-driven crowdfunding campaign going on right now that aims to put the Trigger peripheral into production, currently sitting at just over $17,000 of its not-insignificant $250,000 goal. Should Father.io come to life, you’ll be able to play with or without the Trigger device (although the laser tag action depends on having one strapped to your touchscreen), while an SDK will be released to the development community to help make the Trigger useful to more games.
You can pre-order a Trigger now over at Father.io, and find out more about the game and the Proxy42 team behind it. There’s a way to go before this epic augmented reality undertaking becomes actual reality, and we’ll be watching its progress very closely.