#PlayFloorcraft & Guide Your Inco By Hand | State Of Matterless #41

We continue to share details about Floorcraft: Arena, our landing page is out, and we continue the competition on socials. Enter to win $250 USD! You have until Monday to tag us on socials and add the #playFloorcraft hashtag to your post.

About Floorcraft: Arena

In Floorcraft: Arena, players can control an augmented-reality toy hovercar by looking around with their phones. The hovercar will always drive towards a crosshair in the middle of the screen, which is projected onto a real surface that you are looking at, like the floor or a table. The player can also place down obstacles that every participant can collide into, which makes every hovercar explode.

The floor is your battleground.

Floorcraft: Arena How To Play

The idea behind making Floorcraft was to have the most seamless jump-on jump-off experience possible. After two or more players enter the game, one can immediately scan a QR like this:

Scan, and you’re in.
  • Players can spawn a hovercar in AR, and drive it around by looking at surfaces
  • Players can spawn obstacles in AR
  • If a player’s hovercar collides with an obstacle, they are destroyed and need to respawn
  • If a player collides with another player in multiplayer, the one who was struck in the side or rear is destroyed.
  • In the case of a head-on collision, both players are destroyed.

Floorcraft really comes alive when multiple people join through our patent-pending instant calibration. Driving into another hovercar will explode them, except in the case of a head-on collision which will explode both drivers.

Incos Behavioral Update (by Jason)

So far, the Inco’s actual behavior has been very non-reactive to the player’s presence. It felt more like you were an invisible spectator instead of a participant in the experience. Frankly put, we tested it and found it slightly boring.

So I spent some time reworking the behavioral system to be more reactive and engaging for the user. The primary reactive thing the Inco can do is to look at you, or more accurately, at the camera of your device. But it would only do this in certain conditions: if it was in the idle state and if your camera was inside the “vision cone” of the Inco.

I started by trying to break these constraints and instead of the Inco always trying to look at you, turning in place. As I worked on this, I wanted the Inco to try to look at you whenever possible. But that simple solution didn’t always make sense. If an Inco is going to eat food, it should be looking at the food, for instance.

This is why I ended up redesigning the behavior system from the ground up. To start, Incos have an awareness of the things around them, but their attention will only focus on one thing at a time.

In the background, we are now running an algorithm that determines which thing is the most interesting for Incos to focus on based on factors such as distance and the type of item. Once a target is selected, only then does the Inco decide what to do with it.

Use Your Hands

First, you deploy a food item. The inco is aware of the food. Incos like food, so quickly its attention shifts to the food. Once its attention is on the food, then it decided what to do. Since the Inco is hungry, it decides to go eat the food. And then, since the food item is gone, it no longer has the attention of the Inco, and its attention shifts back to the camera.

Using this foundation, I built a prototype with just cameras and hands, and the Inco suddenly felt way more alive and engaging.

When it was focused on the camera, it tried to stay on the screen and look at the camera. When a hand was detected, it would turn and look at the hand and either move towards it to be petted or will try to avoid it. The goal was achieved: Simply being in AR and looking at the Inco, and reaching out and touching it was much more engaging than before.

This is just scratching the surface of behavioral AI, but this was a good step (clap?) in the right direction. There is much more to come.

This is it for this week’s update. To experience the shared AR we talk about, download Floorcraft: Arena in the App Store and go win 250 bucks!

— Damir & Jason

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Matterless

Matterless

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Our mission is to prove to the world that digital things are real by creating genre-defining experiences in shared augmented reality. Magic is matterless.