Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in his free time. Follow him on Twitter.
Laser tag is ridiculously fun, but that’s an activity normally reserved for expensive birthday parties or the occasional weekend. But what if the whole world became your laser tag arena?
That’s the basic concept behind Father.IO, with the added twist of MMOFPS (Massively Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter) mechanics.
It works via a combination of an app and a keychain-sized module – the $25 ‘Inceptor’ – which you attach to your smartphone and connect via Bluetooth. As with a variety of laser tag games, it uses infrared light to ‘shoot’ other players, and works up to 50 meters away. The company says the beam is focused to a “precise and well-collimated hitbox,” and the company tested the hardware with hundreds of gamers.
Father.IO also emphasizes its efforts to minimize lag, with the entire experience being comparable to playing online on a server with just 30 to 50 ms of latency. In my own testing, it certainly felt lag-free.
Impressively small hardware aside, it wouldn’t be much different from the myriad of existing laser tag systems you can buy online if all it did was allow you to shoot beams of infrared light from your phone. The highlight of the experience is its ability to incorporate your physical surroundings into the gameplay.
The app uses data from OpenStreetMap to let you interact with over 12 million locations in the real-world. That means that your banks, shops and even grocery stores can become bases for your gameplay for things like resupplying weapons and gadgets. A hospital might serve as a health recover center, and you can also create virtual structures if you’d prefer.
All this is bolstered by a full-fledged story, a variety of gameplay modes and different character classes – just as you’d expect from an MMO game – except this one you
Perhaps the most impressive thing is the price: The app is free, and the Inceptor module will cost $25 at retail, assuming the project is funded ($18 and $20 for early birds). And even if you don’t end up buying the module, you can participate by playing non-shooting gameplay roles, like a medic.
If you want to give it a try now, you can download the Father.IO Tactical Map Beta for Android or iOS over at the Indiegogo campaign link below.
➤ father.io: first real life massive multiplayer FPS [Indiegogo]
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