Alpha Range iOS game requires a pico projector and laser pointer, we go hands-on (video)


Granted, a magical little smartphone is all the gadgetry most casual gaming fans require to get their fix, but when LaserVR's Travis Haagen popped by our informal meetup at Portland's Ground Kontrol to talk about Alpha Range, we couldn't help but be impressed by the project. The game has a classic Asteroids / Space Invaders feeling to it, but Alpha Range is more than just another bit of mobile nostalgia. For one thing, you're going to need a lot more than just your phone, including a projector (pico will do fine for your needs) and a tripod. You project the game field onto a the wall (in the case of Ground Kontrol, we taped up a few pieces of paper, which worked fine) and interact with objects using a laser point.

When your iOS device is facing the wall, its camera monitors the field, using computer vision algorithms to detect your laser shots in real time, finally discovering a novel use for laser points that doesn't involve annoying rock bands or cats. Hitting the circular enemies will cause them to vaporize or perform other functions like opening up a black hole, depending on their color. The game was pretty responsive and incredibly addictive -- in fact, we were a bit bummed when we finally had to put the laser point down. Such fun isn't cheap, however -- it'll run you $8 from iTunes, on top of the price of all the accessories involved it getting it off the ground. Still, it's nice to see an innovative take like this on a classic gaming scenario.

We've got a video of the Star Trek: The Next Generation-inspired game after the jump.