Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Deeper dice (2) - Dice+ and networking

If you haven't heard of Dice+, there's some info here at BGG.

It's a powered die, for use with tablets and so on. The version shown seems to have a battery, accelerometers, LEDs and a wireless transmitter. You roll as normal, the LEDs show the roll was recognised and the result is sent to the main device.

With all that tech inside we might wonder how balanced it can be, and how big the market is. After all, how many of us would want to carry it with a mobile device, especially for a possible US$30? I'd guess the firm want the niche to support long-term development with an eye on larger electronic gaming surfaces.

Whatever, it has me pondering how else a die like this could be used. There's clearly potential for peer-to-peer with setups like Pluristem and Flailsnails, and for any dispersed group. But what about in face-to-face games too? If all the dice were hooked up as a network, some of the ideas on relationships in the last post could be automated, and explored much further.

Assuming we're even willing to accept the idea - and I'm not convinced it's a good move - what else could a network do?

Think how cybernetic our kind of gaming already is. The basic language we use can seem quite limited, and tabletop games very mechanistic - we're all but chess computers at times. So what if the dice had voice recognition? If they realised one roll was a hit roll, they might guess the next die picked up was for damage, and even identify the rules needed. They could follow the game. With a speaker they could even tell us the number we need, or the chances, or correct us, and maybe advise us.

If terrain and miniatures were tagged, or the map scanned, the dice could triangulate the positions. The network could act as an opponent. Maybe one day we'll be pieces in their games..?


Angela Felsted said...

Now that is an interesting thought.

Porky said...

Yes it is. That said, I'd imagine it's old news to the people working on this kind of tech. It also makes me think that while some products might depend on hype, and generating a buzz and the expectation of the product being successful, others could be taking it step by step towards an unexpected and maybe almost unimagined goal.