The Daemon Platform: An Answer for Boffer Sports and LARP?
We have been developing an augmented reality system for LARPs and boffer style games called our Daemon Platform, a system that can be feasibly used by a variety of games across the globe. Whether you're a fantasy game with swords, a post-apocalyptic game with guns, or a wizard school in need of wands, our system is built to accommodate.
You can check out what the system would look like in action in our video below:
So, let's start looking at the long answer, shall we?
(Questions of the system's capability were posted by Glenalth Woodwalke, a player at Amtgard who contacted us on our Facebook page. These questions are paraphrased for clarity.)
Can the Daemon Platform...
1) Handle melee weapons of different sizes (from 10'' to 10') with permanent, semi-permanent, and single shot effects?
Yes. The actual size of the weapon is only limited by what you can build incorporating our hardware. We will be offering Daemon Platform foam weapons in our online shop after launch, but you can save money and build our pre-made electrical board and sensors into your own home crafted weapon, too.
Permanent, semi-permanent, and single shot effects (for example, magical boosts or master crafted weapon damage) are possible through your game's app and a central game-wide database. You would be able to link your account to your specific weapon, which can cause hits with any combination of effects.
We could feasibly include any effect that causes damage, damage over time, degradation of maximum health points, mana degradation...honestly, anything that affects a player's statistic tracked by the system. Typically this includes health and mana, but it could also include sanity or any other attribute.
2) Detect different types of melee hits, such as slashes vs stabs?
We detect weapon strikes using an accelerometer. When the weapon stops as it hits--and the strike is hard enough--the accelerometer is triggered and sends a message to the nearest sensor that a valid hit has occurred. A weapon could be made to do 'slash' or 'stab' damage, and could potentially switch between the two types by using the game's app or a button on the weapon.
Theoretically, the Daemon Platform could recognize different motions using the weapon's accelerometer to detect a different type of attack--but we have not yet tested the system to that minor detail. It would require specific experimentation.
3) Tell the difference between specific arrows or other thrown weapons? These projectiles may be coming from any direction, often simultaneously.
We have a design for a bow currently on the drawing board! This bow uses laser tag-like technology, as we've found it's financially impractical to put actual electronics into a projectile (technically it would work...it's just an expensive arrow to shoot off into the dark!). This does mean that using non-existent arrows might break immersion, but it also means you will no longer lose or break your arrows on the battlefield.
Using our bow and weapons, the Daemon Platform can track any number of incoming arrows, magical effects, melee attacks, etc. If the sensor receives a valid hit message from the opponent's weapon (regardless of type), then the system will work.
That said, it is possible that the system could be overwhelmed by several hits within a very short time frame. However, even with this possibility, we still believe that the system would be far more accurate than that used in our games today.
4) Support magic spells?
Magic within the Daemon Platform's system works essentially like laser tag. Magic casters would require a wand, staff, or other magical focus, and they would aim their spells at a target equipped with sensors. Upon a successful hit, the target receives a notification and an identifier of what spell they were hit with. Spell casting is the most developed and tested portion of our system, thanks to our recent SpellSlinger play-tests!
5) Support many different types of spells? One of our magic using players might have 5 types of magic balls and some enchantments/buffs for other players.
As for the spell effects themselves, they would work in much the same way as melee weapon effects...essentially, they are only limited by which statistics are measured in your game! This means that a spell caster could learn damage spells, poison, healing, buffs, curses, etc.
Your caster would have access to their entire list of spells through their app. Within the app, the caster would assign their desired spell to one of 3 buttons on their magical focus. They can then cast the spell by pressing the associated button/trigger while pointing their focus at the intended target.
For more than 3 spell types, the caster would need to change active spells on their focus within the app using a quick tool on the app's home screen. Or, they could theoretically carry more than one wand...maybe one blasting rod and one healing wand (just don't get the two confused 😉)?
6) Support verbal magics? Our magic casters sometimes have 5-10 verbal magics, which need to be said before casting.
It is not necessary to use verbal identifiers within our Daemon Platform, though players can certainly use incantations for role playing purposes. However, a “miscast” spell, one whose verbal component was wrong, can’t currently be voided automatically. We will be working on a cast-by-voice upgrade in the future to address this.
7) Create ranged magical effects, or only target armor/weapons?
The Daemon Platform can check the range of a spell as a part of it’s normal operation, which means that if a healing spell or curse requires touch--then the spell can be limited to that range! We can accommodate area effects, too. For example, players could cast a fireball spell that hits three people at a range of 15 feet.
If a spell affects only the equipment a player is carrying, that weapon (or shield or other equipment that can be affected by game effects) is identified in the player's app, and can therefore be modified by the incoming effect.
8) Judge the difference between a hit to different body parts or a piece of equipment?
Yes, this can be done thanks to the Daemon Platform's sensors. For a hit-by-location game, players would need to wear a sensor for each location they wish to be considered a separate target. We have reduced the cost per sensor radically thanks to our chained sensor option, but admittedly a fully hit-by-location game can still be a relatively expensive option for players.
This solution would, however, make it possible to tell the difference between a strike to the shoulder, arm, hand, and wrist. With additional calculations within the app, strikes could also be recognized as being against armored vs unarmored portions of the body.
It is possible that a strike equidistant to two sensors would trigger them both, in which case the system would just pick one.
9) Detect a shot that hit garb, but not the player?
Yes. If you have a sensor on your garb, it’s a target. If it doesn’t, it is not.
Phew! Okay! So, we hope that this has been an insightful look into our upcoming Daemon Platform, launching this year alongside our SpellSlingers mobile game. We're excited to start play-testing the system within our first augmented reality LARP, Tales of the Wanderer, and branching out into LARP games like Amtgard!
If you have more questions about the system, please drop them in a comment below. We will answer them...and maybe even include them in another blog post. 😉
Until next time,
~The Legacy Game Systems Team