Father.io – Massive multiplayer first person laser tag
Most people here will have played Laser tag in some form or another, right? Last time I played it was after a wedding and I ruined some good shoes trying to avoid the shots being fired by someone at least a third of my age. The thing is, there is something apparently wrong with someone in their 40s rocking up to a Laser Tag arena. But Father.io has the answer.
Father.io is not a new age evangelist, but a new generation of laser tag that uses your smartphone and augmented reality to create what feels like a real-world first-person shooter video game.
The company (which shares the Father.io name with the game) launched a crowdfunding project on IndieGogo to raise $50,000 and have totally smashed it. Their campaign actually raised 650%, a total of $363,609. This means that they can go forth and manufacture the special sensors that connect to the back of your iPhone or Android phone to make the entire game possible.
It’s easy to see why this has caught the attention of 6,116 backers. With people currently going gaga over the geolocation-based Pokemon Go, this game brings together elements of massively multiplayer hits like World of Warcraft with geo-locational action.
This is all possible because of Father.io’s “Inceptor,” which is the official name for the laser emitter that you attach to the back of your phone. It has an array of sensors on it to help make the game work. The emitter has an impressive range of around 50 meters and almost no lag. This means that you can get into fights in open fields where you can snipe an opponent from a distance and get almost instant feedback that you took them out.
The device will flash colors. But you’ll also see, in real time, that you’ve hit the enemy. The most important thing is reducing lag over 3G and LTE connections. Instead of broadcasting this information via the internet, they plan to broadcast inside the hardware. By utilising a 2Ghz connection similar to how a walkie-talkie communicates with others. This not only provides a more stable connection between Inceptors, but also has much better range than Bluetooth. The Inceptor then relays the info to your phone via Bluetooth.
That 2Ghz radio built into the Inceptor can send about 9.6Kb of information per second from one phone to the other without having to connect to the Internet. The company designed the multiplayer fights around this.
No Inceptor? No problem
But you don’t need the Inceptor to participate in Father.io — although it does make it easier. This is because the main goal of Father.io is to hold real-world locations for one of two factions. You can go and claim a faction without needing the peripheral. But if an area is already held by the enemy, you’ll need the Inceptor to initiate a takeover sequence that gives the other team a chance to defend its territory.
Not too late
I was kicking myself for not knowing about this before they reached their goal but you can still join in. You can get the InDemand – Inceptor 2 Pack for $50 USD. These enables you and a friend to join in – but there’s only 20 of the 100 available left.
Head over to the campaign page now.