MadRat Games, a Bangalore-based game design company has showcased SuperSuit, a wearable gaming platform intended to push physical activity. The platform wants you to get off your lazy bottoms and play games by physically moving around and interacting with other players. Founded by Rajat Dhariwal and Madhumita Halder, both graduates from IIT Bombay, the company is known for creating educational board games. A prototype of the gaming gear was unveiled at CES 2016. SuperSuit is designed to enable kids to cut down on the time they spend staring at screens by bringing the familiarity of a digital game in the real world.
The idea behind SuperSuit isn’t exactly the first of its kind and their claim is quite debatable since it seems more like a rehashed new-age version of laser tag. Of course, it is much more than just shooting infrared lasers at each other since it introduces the element of customisation.
Armed with three basic components – SuperGlove, SuperVest and SuperBeacon, you can battle with other players in all sorts of traditional laser tag game modes such as Capture the Flag, Protect the VIP, Deathmatch etc. The only difference here would be a set of functionalities given to the three pieces of hardware you’d be wearing. You’ll be able to assign actions to each component pertaining to the game mode as is evident from the below video.
A closer look at the suit
All three components are touted to have a massive range of possibilities when it comes to assigning actions. The SuperVest can act as a shield, display damage and scores during an ongoing match. It provides light, audio and haptic feedback, so when you’re hit by an opponent, you will actually feel vibrations and hear the impact. The SuperGlove houses several buttons on the top and sides, and could emulate firing, reloading and upgrading your weapon. It also has a proprietary gesture engine, which could be used to assign maybe a Force Lightning gesture to the glove. The SuperBeacon is a detachable component which can be placed anywhere in the arena. It can be programmed to emulate ammo refill stations, health packs or even turrets to shoot down enemies. More compatible hardware might follow soon but for now, this is what they have.
Upon launch, SuperSuit will come with a mobile app which can be used to monitor the fitness levels and the location of the person wearing it. The app interacts with the modules via Bluetooth. Additional games can be downloaded through the app and it will also let you upgrade the device firmware. Subsequently, it also allows you to store player profiles and miscellaneous game data. Since the SuperSuit relies on Bluetooth, monitoring will only be effective within a distance of 30m to 100m, depending on the class of the integrated Bluetooth module in the final version of the suit.
Known to have developed several educational board games, MadRat Games has raised funding from founders of Flipkart and GlobalLogic. There isn’t much information available on SuperSuit’s website about the technical specifications. The platform is said to be “open to developers” which means that it can further extend the variety of game modes that can be developed for SuperSuit. In the future, the company plans to open an app store where developers can publish their games while users can download them. They also plan on starting an online store for accessories and hardware which could be used along with the three basic components.
SuperSuit is targeted at kids, specifically the ones who spend most of their time on games involving screens with hardly any physical activity these days. This platform will not only let kids and parents have fun away from screens but it also has the potential to evolve into much more if the ecosystem of hardware and software builds up eventually. Laser tag isn’t dead, in fact, tournaments are still quite popular. SuperSuit might just be the change they were expecting.
With inputs from Mithun Mohandas.
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