The Ents Inc approached Make Real to help them build a prototype Augmented Reality (AR) go-karting experience to gain further funding for a fully-fledged, location-based entertainment experience.
Initially the main challenge was to create a prototype experience that validated the concept of being able to project virtual race tracks whilst tracking electric go-karts within a space, using a known tech stack that needed tying together to operate as a solid solution.
Once the concept and hardware challenges were proven, this prototype could then be placed in front of investors to gain further funding for the full experience. Once the full experience was funded, the challenge was to make a go-kart racing game that was fun but safe, meeting specific health, safety and entertainment requirements, but also robust and stable for continued heavy use and expected up-times.
Go-karting has been popular for many years but they are hard designed into one physical space, whether it be indoor or outdoors. By utilising projectors and location-tracking of the [electric] go-karts, multiple tracks with a range of graphical styles and enhancements can be created for a single open, empty indoor space. This creates more variety and options around gameplay, rather than relying upon track knowledge and racing capability to enjoy a session.
Much of the exact details are covered by NDA but there’s many complex moving parts that had to be connected together in order to complete the full system and experience. From the booking system information being relayed to the go-karts, determining screen information to be shown about each player in each session, to the projection, tracking and location systems that match the go-kart real world position to the virtual game world being augmented over the open, empty space. This allows the fun aspects to operate, such as knowing when a racer has gone over a powerup weapon pickup and deployed it, affecting other racers but more importantly the safety aspects, such as when racers are headed for a collision to slow or stop the go-karts, as well as maintaining a fair race by stopping cheating from cutting virtual corners.
The initial impact of the prototype was that The Ents Inc were able to secure funding to design, develop and deploy the full intended experience. This is due to open in London, UK in Summer 2021. Press and public reactions will be available soon.
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